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Denial, Weather, Food, and People
September 12, 2015
by William P. Meyers

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I would like to direct your attention to three articles, all of which are very good articles, and all of which have something in common, which will be the topic of this essay.

Two of the articles appeared in the "liberal" or at least neutralist New York Times:

A Mohave Solar Project in the Bighorns' Way by Thomas Lovejoy and Edward Wilson appears to be about a strictly local, Los Angeles area controversy, but raises the question: is paving the earth with solar panels really a way to improve the environment?

Extreme Weather and Food Shocks by Tim Benton and Rob Bailey (similar articles are available at other sites) looks at how climate change could increase the number of droughts and heat waves, resulting in more regional crop failures. If the main grain exporting areas (parts of Russia, United States, Argentina, etc.) are hit multiple years in a row, or all simultaneously in a single year, the result will be severe global food shortages.

The other, far more thoughtful article about stategy and tactics to protect the environment appeared in Spring 2015 Earth First! Journal:

Untrodden Ground Is Fertile Ground by Hard Rain Collective is not online, but you can subscribe to Earth First! Journal or send $6.50 to P.O. Box 964, Lake Worth, FL 33460 and request the Spring 2015 issue.

I'm going to quote it extensively here, but the full article makes a lot better read. It argues that environmentalists, while not neglecting either local direct action nor NGO type political lobbying, could do something more effective. Real, "meaningful" change can be effected by a mass movement that is "forcing" an end to the global catastrophe. Change that stops global warming, that forces governments to confirm policies that have been effected by the people.

"Succinctly: environmental nonprofits pressure policy makers, while radical organizers more typically focus on directly confronting fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure projects ... "

"The professional environmental sector, on the other hand, sees the acute physical a temporal parameters involved in the climate crisis and scrambles to find a mechanistm as hastily as possible to address it, not fighting for broader, systematic change ..."

"The trick, you see, is to stop extracting, transporting, refining, and burning fossil fuels ..."

"This is a holy war if their ever was one. We should be willing to do virtually anything to win it."

So what do these three articles, and most environmental product, have in common?

They fail to address the real problem. The need for solar panels, the potential for famine, and global warming all have an obvious cause. As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

Most environmentalists will admit the world is overpopulated, but they don't like to talk about it. If you talk about it even within the environmental movement, you are likely to be accused of being anti-immigrant or anti-human rights. Leftists yammer about the need to divide up things more equally, as if a more equal division of environmental destruction is less environmental destruction.

Reduce the number of people and you will reduce the amount of gasoline burned on earth. You will reduce the amount of copper and steel mined, the spread of suburbs, the breaking up of ecosystems, and the speed of death of the ocean and terra firma.

Simply distributing more birth control is not enough. Birth control is good, but not everyone will chose to use it.

A pragmatic first order policy is a one-child policy. We can implement a one child policy in an individual state of the United States, and ultimately

What would a one-child policy look like? Hopefully not like the one China used to have, that sometimes involved forced abortions (but I am fine with voluntary abortions, including counseling people to have an abortion once they already have one child).

Right now people get a tax reward for each child they have. They get a Federal tax award and, in those states that have an income tax, they get a state reward.

We should limit that reward to one child per woman. If you have a second child, you don't get a further tax exemption.

Better still, give the extra exemption to every woman between the age of 18 and 45. Whether or not she has had her one child. That would help young women and their partners get started in life, and then having a child would not get them any further tax exemptions. Better still, take away that exemption at some point, say when a third child is born.

It is simple but it won't be easy. Even Green Party candidates currently shy about this type of thing, although they will allude to world overpopulation in general. Politicians will only do it when

The savings to the public would be tremendous. With a one child policy America would not have to build new roads, drill new oil holes, or even build new houses. We could concentrate on making sure everything else in our society is well maintained. We could make sure we have quality schools, quality medical care, and a quality pay scale for all workers.

Ultimately the population question is a global one. We need one-child policies in every nation. But we have to begin somewhere. Starting in California, or one of the other states, is the obvious first step.


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