November 3, 2009

Environmentalism = Fashion

From Slate:
What Ever Happened to the Amazon Rain Forest?
Did we save it or what?
By Brendan Borrell

We used to hear so much about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, but lately not a word. So what happened—did we save it or not?

We didn't save it, but we haven't stopped trying. Environmentalists fret over the fate of the Amazon for good reason: It contains more than half of the planet's remaining tropical rainforest, one-fifth of our global freshwater, and as much as one-third of the world's biodiversity. Saving all this was once a rallying cry for green activists, and a few early triumphs made that goal seem likely. But attention soon shifted away from the rainforest to issues like climate change and organic agriculture, and now the Amazon is disappearing at about the same rate it was in the 1980s.

They should have, like, Retro-Environmentalism, where everybody watches old Captain Planet episodes.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

42 comments:

Mark said...

Speaking of which, whatever happened to concerns about overpopulation? How come no one cares about it anymore, at least when it's happening in white countries?

Oh, nevermind...

If there's one huge reason I find it hard to take global warming alarmists seriously, that's the one. It's not about the environment, it's about power.

Pseudothyrum said...

We shouldn't kid ourselves: losing the Amazon would indeed be a tragedy.

The parts of the Amazon rainforest which are being clear-cut and entirely deforested for short-term and short-sighted cattle grazing and the production of monocrops to feed the world's burgeoning non-White urban populations are being turned in to permanent desert wastelands -- the fragile native topsoils are being washed away by pounding tropical rains because no vegetation or tree roots exist to hold it in place, and the tropical sun is relentlessly beating down on the soil and turning it in to worthless sun-bleached desert land.

Real bad news, y'all.

James said...

Yeah, and what happened to acid rain?

In the early 1980s you could scarcely pick up a single newspaper without reading about the environmental damage that acid rain was doing, notably to Germany's Black Forest. But I haven't encountered the phrase "acid rain" for at least 20 years now. Did the stuff just disappear, or what?

airtommy said...

Yeah, and what happened to acid rain?

In the early 1980s you could scarcely pick up a single newspaper without reading about the environmental damage that acid rain was doing, notably to Germany's Black Forest. But I haven't encountered the phrase "acid rain" for at least 20 years now. Did the stuff just disappear, or what?


A bunch of fashionable liberal fascists forced our valiant industrialists to clean up their smokestacks, and this reduced the acid rain. As a result, lakes are able to sustain fish again. Hitler would have been proud of those environmentalist monsters. Someday hopefully we can restore our glorious freedom that has been stolen from us.

The former Accutane Guy said...

Pseudothyrum and airtommy:

Exactly so. And thank you.

Grizzlie Antagonist said...

I doubt very much that the valiant industrialists were "forced" to do anything.

Environmentalism = Fashion as someone just said and "reactionary" big business leaders are always riding the cultural zeitgeist for a buck.

Since liberals control popular culture, there's a synergy of sorts between liberalism and big business.

Look at how PG&E has embraced the "global warming" nonsense.

Your "liberal fascists" include a Republican administraton and a number of Republican legislators.

More importantly, the scientists working for the power plants who came up with the solutions for complying with the federal mandates were probably disproportionately Republican.

It's no secret that devotees of the "hard" sciences tend to be more conservative than other academics.

Ann Coulter once compared liberals to women in a group setting who whined about the car being out of order while the men were patiently repairing it.

The use of relatively conservative scientists as a means of fulfilling screeching liberal mandates would be another example of that.

sabril said...

I think "acid rain" was pretty much a hoax just like global warming.

As far as the Brazillian rainforest goes, my thinking has changed since I have had to take care of a lawn in the suburbs. What I've learned is that it's extremely hard to control vegetation. It grows back at a phenomonal rate, and this is in the Northeast where I get a break for more than half the year.

I can only imagine what it would be like in equatorial regions.

Jeff Burton said...

Ozone hole? Have that been crossed off some big list somewhere? We should have all been dead of skin cancer by now.

l said...

Lefties used to be worried about the Amazonian rainforest being chopped down, until they got enthusiastic about Brazil's sugar cane-based ethanol ("green"/"alternative"/"sustainable").

RandyB said...

Indeed, this is a problem with the modern environmentalist movement. Until the first Earth Day (1970) most environmentalists were hunters or other experienced outdoorsmen who understood the brutality of nature. Today's enviro's are upper-class suburban kids who have a Garden of Eden idea of life in the wild.

New Jersey is a widely-criticized state, and a lot of people treated it as a joke that its governor was made head of EPA in 2001. But it's done a masterful job of partitioning its land into suburban, industrial, recreational and wild land, that would serve as a good model for developing mush of the west that' being kept primitive by environment laws and government ownership.

ziel said...

I believe what happened was that in the interim Brazil generally, and in particular the Brazilian Economy, got so cool that it became absurd to think that anything really bad could possibly be happening down there.

Mouthbreather said...

acid rain was semi-fake, like the ozone hole and global warming.

but deforestation, contra sabril, is real and serious as pseudo explained. the cycle of nutrients in tropical systems behaves very differently and deforestation there becomes effectively permanent.

tropical deforestation and fish stock collapses are environmental issues worth taking very seriously.

Tatu said...

During the times of Enoch Powell, British critics of immigration were concerned about the blacks. Then, they were concerned about Hindus. Now, they're concerned about Muslims. Clearly this proves that anti-culturalism is faddish and thus categorically wrong.

"Speaking of which, whatever happened to concerns about overpopulation? How come no one cares about it anymore, at least when it's happening in white countries?"

There were massive campaigns to decrease the birth rate and they worked. Global TFR is now 2.5 and continues to fall. Thus, overpopulation is no longer such a concern as it once was. You know, kind of like with acid rain, as airtommy explained.

William1066 said...

Watch the IMAX show on the Amazon sometime. In it they discover that the increase in man-made CO2 has actually caused the Amazonian biomass to increase by about 10% per acre.

Got to love those SUVs.

RobertHume said...

The ozone hole was serious and was solved by technical means. The acid rain was serious and was solved by technical means. Particles of soot on my car windows, unending haze across the US as seen from airplanes were serious problems and were solved by technical means.

I'm on Steve's side on immigration, AA, HBD; but some of you guys need to get a grip and be objective.

Lost Pilgrim said...

No they shouldn't. Except as punishment for attending one of those stupid PETA rallies.

keypusher said...

Ozone hole? Have that been crossed off some big list somewhere? We should have all been dead of skin cancer by now.

Chalk up another for "enviro-fascists."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Protocol

It's a point that has been made several times already, but not everything that environmentalists worry about is a chimera.

Mr. Anon said...

"l said...

Lefties used to be worried about the Amazonian rainforest being chopped down, until they got enthusiastic about Brazil's sugar cane-based ethanol ("green"/"alternative"/"sustainable")."

And the sugar can is harvested by machete-swinging coolies, who labor in the hot sun so that Petrobras executives can drive ethanol powered mercedes with the money they made selling Brazil's oil to foreigners.

But the deforestation of the Amazon basin has an upside: the desertification should increase the Earth's albedo which should help with that global warming. Tell that to an environmentalist.

Anonymous said...

"Environmentalism = Fascism"

That's what I first thought was the title.

l said...

P.S.: Kinda like how the Sierra Club backed down on its opposition to unlimited immigration -- because of accusations of racism -- maybe 'progressives' looked at who's cutting down the rainforests. Almost no WASPs whacking away with machetes.

Bill said...

If you have Google Earth, feel free to look at the forest in Brazil. It is not "disappearing". In fact, the Amazon rain forest is far more intact than any major forest in the United States.

albertosaurus said...

I used to be employed at judging the effectiveness of public programs. I learned that there are two two equally bad outcomes for government - the program is shown to have not worked and the program is shown to have been successful.

Most government programs can survive even after it has been demonstrated that they simply don't work. For example Head Start. Much more serious is success.

Environmental problems were indeed real. For example in the San Francisco Bay Area in the sixties the air was bad and the bay was being rapidly filled in. It was only half as big as it had been when whites first saw it. Furthermore the beaches were being privatized and the best of the big tree forests were under attack.

All those problems were solved quickly and simply. The major player in those reforms was surprisingly Ronald Reagan.

In fact environment problems are quite easy to solve and almost all of them were solved decades ago. Alas, the crazy rhetoric endures.

sabril said...

"the cycle of nutrients in tropical systems behaves very differently and deforestation there becomes effectively permanent."

I am happy to look at your evidence, but it seems to me that if the rainforest were as fragile as you claim, it would have disappeared long ago.

sabril said...

Here's an excerpt from a Wired article about deforestation in Puerto Rico:

"He points to a road that winds through the western fringe of El Yunque, the Caribbean National Forest, the only tropical rain forest in the US national forest system. Picture One, an aerial photograph taken in 1951, shows the area on the west side of the road:clear-cut, mowed down, absolutely denuded of trees. It looks like stumps and dead grass. The east side of the road, by contrast, is deep, dark, and flush with vegetation, an untouched virgin rain forest.

Picture Two shows the same area 13 years later: from the aerial photograph, both sides of the road are identical. "

rob said...

I see the appeal of tribalism. I really do, hell I'm halfway to WN.

Pollution is an obvious case of the tragedy of the commons. Rivers really did catch fire, acid rain was not pretend. Now one can probably find 'tards who thought acid rain would burn their skin off in a downpour, but reduction in fishery output, making national forrests where people like hiking and such uglier, that was real too.


Ends and means are not bad just because the "swipples" like them. Arguem ad Obama=Hitler is just as much as a fallacy as original.

"Medicine = fashion"

I remember when they were all concerned and shit about polio and cholera. Now they talk about obesity and Alzheimers.

"Drug scare = fashion"

People used to be worried about 'shrooms. Now they all care about methamphetamine. Shrooms didn't go away.

Foriegn policy = fashion

They used to want to invade Afghanistan. Now they want to invade Iran. WTF?

Actually the foreign policy one is pretty true.


Sometimes people stop caring about a problem because it's largely fixed, like lead in gasoline. Or because they noticed a much bigger problem. Changing one's response to changes in reality isn't wishywashy, it isn't even all that smart, it is just not being retarded.

Losing South American jungle is terrible. Just losing the fungi and bacteria would be a disaster. There may not be anything unexploited worth exploiting in Europe, but South America is full of the dimmest Europeans, Black Africans, and the peasant classes of Pre-Columbian cultures after the elite were slaughtered. There's lots of things they wouldn't even know were awesome.

Anonymous said...

And what about the hole in the freaking ozone layer? It was going to kill us all, remember?

If global cooling goes on for another 5-10 years, they'll have to come up with something else. What could it be? Dysgenics? j/k, that would be too factual.

David said...

RandyB said

> New Jersey [has] done a masterful job of partitioning its land into suburban, industrial, recreational and wild land, that would serve as a good model for developing mu[c]h of the west <

Yeah, because if there's one thing the West should become, it's more like New Jersey.

C. Van Carter said...

They would always say "WE are destroying the rainforest" when it was the Brazilians.

David said...

I always assumed it got cut down. What a bore the subject was, by the way.

airtommy said...

In fact, the Amazon rain forest is far more intact than any major forest in the United States.

In fact, the South Bronx has less crime than Johannesburg. Why are people so afraid to walk the streets of South Bronx?

Seriously, you guys sound like a bunch of libs talking about HBD.

Bill said...


In fact, the South Bronx has less crime than Johannesburg. Why are people so afraid to walk the streets of South Bronx?

Seriously, you guys sound like a bunch of libs talking about HBD.

-airtommy


You don't get it, do you?

Not only is the Amazon forest more pristine and less threatened than American forests, it is something Americans have less control over than our own forests.

Liberals in San Francisco love to talk about ANWR and the North Bank, but they are totally ineffective in their own backyard. Who would ever take these jokers seriously? Certainly not the farmers who clear land in south Brazil.

It is soooo much easier to mount a campaign over something purely symbolic than it is to do anything about where you, personally, live. It is also cowardly and a waste of everyone's time.

Pseudothyrum said...

As an example of what will happen to the Amazon basin if it continues to be deforested, just look to North Africa. Massive forests used to exist in North Africa and even in to what is now the Sahara Desert -- as recently as the 6th millennium BC at the beginning of the Neolithic Period much of North Africa was covered with dense forests and vegetation.

Well, eventually a bunch of nomadic herders of Near Eastern origin came along, clear-cut the land of trees for their migratory herds and some crops, and slowly but surely desertification set in and the land became almost entirely worthless as viable and productive living space. Now all that exists there in North Africa in what were once lush, wet, dense forests is a lot of sand and some nomadic Arabs with their camels and some very hardy goats struggling to make it across the wrecked desert stretches from one water-hole to another.

The same was true of Italy, Spain, Greece, etc as recently as ancient Greek/Roman times -- all of those areas used to be heavily forested but after having their forests denuded now all are dry, dusty, and hostile semi-deserts, ruined by clear-cutting Near Eastern nomads and their rapacious herds.

---

"Nature followed the rule of return, and the Nomads, unlike the true farmers, failed to follow the, rule of return. Indirectly, by cutting down trees and shrubs for fuel and for ash, they made the soil drier. Rain fell and was by nature broken into a fine spray by trees, shrubs and thick grass and was thus evenly and widely spread in the topsoil. The topsoil, sheltered from sun and rain, stored the water. By slow evaporation from the vegetation, the water was returned to the air. But where excess of cattle fed upon the land and where trees and shrubs were widely burnt, the soil was exposed, dried and powdered, and then blown away by the winds or washed away by the rain. So a district of desert was formed, which forced the Nomads to move on. Nature then returned and in many cases restored the ravage. But if the destruction of fertility had been too great or if the half-recovered soil was again used for crops and grazing, permanent deterioration was the result.

The Nomads, then, lived a life of ill-balance by not following the rule of return, which is the only stable rule of living. They were, therefore, forced to live a life of chance. They depended on the seasons and, as the seasons varied, they themselves were necessarily speculative. In this character, indeed, they were like to other kinds of speculators, many prominent at the present time. Speculators disregard the rule of return. They strive to gain without giving; they disregard future generations; they are indifferent to the sufferings of others, provided they themselves can escape suffering. Yet eventually there is no escape from the effects of these actions, because ultimately their values are destructive and not conservative."

- http://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/Wrench_Recon/Wrench_Recon_6.html

Pseudothyrum said...

Another quote:

"The Nomads have been the great human desert-makers, and the deserts of the Gobi, the Lop Nor, the Taklamakan, the Registan, the Great Salt Desert, the Syrian Desert, and even the Arabian Desert and the Sahara of Africa are due to their treatment of the soil. Nor is this desert-making by men at an end. It is going on at the present, as future chapters will show, in North and South America, in Russia, in Asia, in North and South Africa, in Australia, and even in the islands of New Zealand and the West Indies, with a speed that outstrips that of the Asiatic Nomads, so much so that it may even be said that man, in this proud scientific era, has paid for his all-too-swift advance by the loss of terrene capital, of the fertility of the soil. He has become the great transferrer of this capital to other fields than those of the soil, and, by his destruction of the soil, has foredoomed himself to God knows what impending calamities, exceeding those brought about by the Asiatic Nomads, unless he calls a halt."

- http://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/Wrench_Recon/Wrench_Recon_6.html

Pseudothyrum said...

"The spread of the degradation of the soil was centrifugal from Latium itself outwards. Varro noted abandoned fields in Latium, and two centuries later Columella, about A.D. 60, referred to all Latium as a country where the people would have died of starvation, but for their share of Rome's imported corn. The Roman armies moved outwards from Latium demanding land; victory gave more land to the farmers; excessive demands again brought exhaustion of fertility; again the armies moved outwards.

'Province after province was turned by Rome into a desert,' wrote Simkhovitch, 'for Rome's exactions naturally compelled greater exploitation of the conquered soil and its more rapid exhaustion. Province after province was conquered by Rome to feed the growing proletariat with its corn and to enrich the prosperous with its loot. The devastation of war abroad and at home helped the process along. The only exception to the rule of spoliation and exhaustion was Egypt, because of the overflow of the Nile. For this reason Egypt played a unique role in the empire. It was the emperor's personal possession, and neither senators nor knights could visit it without special permission, for even a small force, as Tacitus stated, might "block up the plentiful corn country and reduce all Italy to submission".'

Latium, Campania, Sardinia, Sicily, Spain, Northern Africa, as Roman granaries, were successively reduced to exhaustion. Abandoned land in Latium and Campania turned into swamps, in Northern Africa into desert. The forest-clad hills were denuded. 'The decline of the Roman Empire is a story of deforestation, soil exhaustion and erosion,' wrote Mr. G. V. Jacks in The Rape of the Earth. 'From Spain to Palestine there are no forests left on the Mediterranean littoral, the region is pronouncedly arid instead of having the mild humid character of forest-clad land, and most of its former bounteously rich top-soil is lying at the bottom of the sea.'

- http://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/Wrench_Recon/Wrench_Recon_3-5.html#Ch5

tommy said...

I have often wondered if forests in the Amazon couldn't be chopped down and composted for soil rather than burned. Since rain forest vegetation contains the large majority of the nutrients, wouldn't this make the soil sufficiently rich? Couldn't farming and grazing activities be sustained on a parcel of land for a much longer period of time, reducing the need to slash and burn every few years? I guess this wouldn't work because I have have never read of any attempt to do this. Why isn't this viable?

Gil said...

If any grumpy Conservatives here bothered to consult Wiki they'd find out these problems still exist but it's no longer newsworthy. After all, wars, killings, rapes and strife continue to ravage the African continent but who cares? The Congolese suffered for the sake of rubber a century ago now they suffer for coltan but it's not news. It's a combination of NIMBYism and compassion fatigue.

Svigor said...

P.S.: Kinda like how the Sierra Club backed down on its opposition to unlimited immigration -- because of accusations of racism

Are you the only one here who doesn't know it was David Gelbaum's 100 million dollars (he was specific as to what it was for) that did that, or are you just trying to get someone else to mention it?

blue anonymous said...

Pseudo, I'm an environmentalist, but it seem to be that you claimed some of the same areas were desertified both by ex-Mideastern nomads, and also by the Roman empire. Which is it?

Le Mur said...

"Rich countries gain, poor countries lose forest cover ... Globally, forest cover has generally been expanding in North America, Europe and China while diminishing in the tropics."

"Whether you're rich or poor, it's nice to have money."

Ray Sawhill said...

Here's an environmental issue that looks like it may be worth a little attention:

http://bit.ly/2ZYVhA

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to the spotted owl? According to wiki the friggin bird is dying off despite closing millions of acres of federal land to logging.

jody said...

well, at the minimum, climate change is absolutely, positively fashion. if proponents of the idea, and the potential consequences, were serious, every single one of them would be very strongly in favor of a nuclear build out.

but they aren't. so, i'm so supposed to believe they're good enough at science and math to detect "for certain" that climate change is happening, is partly or wholly due to humans, and could cause serious problems, again "for certain"" in less than 100 years. but at the same time i'm supposed to believe the same people think a build out of photovoltaic cells and windmills can replace oil and coal, when they definitely, DEFINITELY, cannot. the energy density is not there, nor will it EVER be.

it already makes sense to transition to improved fission reactors, and eventually, fusion reactors, since all of the oil and coal is going to be used up at some point anyway. might as well begin the change over right now, today. go for the highest energy density and lowest pollution of any energy source, fusion, which powers stars, and should power human cities by 2100.