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Save the planet—ignore a tree-hugger

December 6th, 2010 Posted in Opinion

By Jakob Asplund

As priests and bishops around the world seem to be losing more and more power, a new force is rising in influence and taking on the role as our new bad conscience: the environmentalists. And they have now reached all the way to Logan, Utah.

One of the most overhyped words of today is sustainability. Blue Goes Green, a Sustainability Council initiative at USU, was featured in The Princeton Review and by the U.S. Green Building Council. Thus, USU made it into their new “Guide to 286 Green Colleges” in 2010. It was a huge accomplishment that forced USU to print out brochures showing a map of locations on campus where “green” initiatives can be found.

The problem, not obvious to everyone, is that most of the locations on the map—or “Blue Goes Green Walking Tour,” as they so nicely put it—were already there before the actual program was initiated.

The food court is now called “Dining Services.” It brings well-being, not only to people but to the planet as well, by bringing fresh fruits and veggies to the cafeteria. Old Main, the oldest building on campus, which in itself makes it worth keeping around, is now a historic preservation that reduces the need for new construction, which could hurt our planet. The Bookstore has a section of “green” books. And the list just goes on.

Is it just me, or has the whole planet gone nuts? and now Logan is finally jumping on the bandwagon. When did everyone become so obsessed with saving everything?

It has gotten to the point where we are supposed to walk around, constantly worrying about living “sustainably.” We have to worry about the soil for our food, the air we breathe, insecticides, pesticides, asbestos and, my personal favorite, endangered species.

Saving all those poor animals is the degenerate way we humans show off our superiority; it is an arrogant way to control nature. Paleontologists estimate that over 90 percent of all plant and animal species that ever existed are now extinct. We didn’t kill them all. Where did they go?

These days, regardless of human behavior, animals disappear at a rate of 25 species per day, but since when did paleontologists become trustworthy? The problem isn’t that they disappear; it´s that humans are so self-important that we cannot leave those species alone. We have to “help” them by putting them in children’s zoos and safari parks instead of letting them go with a little bit of dignity.

And it´s not just the animals; the world is suffering too. We have to help save the planet from what we do to it—constant carbon dioxide emissions, about 29,321,302 thousand metric tons of it, to be exact, if you believe data collected in 2008 by the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center by request of the United Nations. It’s not like us common people understand the number 29,321,302 thousand metric tons anyway, so it probably isn’t very bad.

According to the study, the United States is responsible for about 20 percent of the emissions, which really isn’t that bad considering how many cars Americans are forced to use because of lack of public transportation. It´s not like they should be forced to use bikes and trains and subways to get to work like everyone else on the planet. What good would that possibly do?

Everyone has to save something these days. “Save the trees, save the seals, save the bees, save the geese,” and most importantly, “save the planet.” We as a human race can´t even take care of ourselves yet, and now we expect to “save the planet”?

And about our planet and all the horrible things we do to it? If I am not mistaken, Earth has been here for roughly 4.5 billion years. Humans, to the extent of Homo sapiens, have been here for about 200,000 years. Manufacturing industries have been around for about 200 years.

Throughout the 4.5 billion years, the world has been through erupting volcanoes, plate tectonics, earthquakes, solar flares, continental drifts, sunspots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles, millions of years of bombing from asteroids and comets, and meteors, worldwide tsunamis, worldwide fires, constant earth-body erosion, cosmic rays, ice ages that come and go, and we honestly believe that a few plastic bags and aluminum cans will make a difference?

No, people don´t really harm the planet. The planet will stick around for a long time after we are done here. It is somewhat of a self-correcting system that adapts and keeps on living. And if some plastic bags truly are not biodegradable, then the Earth will somehow find a way to incorporate plastic into its concept as “the World plus Plastic.”

Now if—and this is a big if—I happen to be slightly off target with this, and we turn out to be somewhat harmful for our environment, there really isn’t a need to worry anyway. Remember Al Gore´s presentation on the glaciers melting a while back? Not that I spend a ton of time on glaciers, but if they were to melt, we do have mountains to sit on. It´s not like the water level with raise several kilometers; it will take a couple of thousand years. We will have time to fix that problem. The ozone layer was completely destroyed at some point but then we found out we could fix it. Put a little bit of faith in humans. And if we can´t fix these problems, waterskiing is always fun.

The world is not going anywhere. Humans are, on the other hand, so pack up your shit, folks. Get ready to join the rest of the 90 percent of extinct species.

If you really think humans pose a threat to the planet, ask the Chilean miners how threatened they felt. Or the people in Thailand and Indonesia after the tsunami hit in 2004. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake that generated that giant tsunami released the same amount of energy as 23,000 of the atomic bomb used in Hiroshima. I am not good with math, but I am pretty sure that answers of whether the world would be destroyed with a third world war: Nope, just the humans.

I had big hopes for America, the land of the carefree and home of the people who don’t give a crap. In Sweden, where I am from, environmentalists have taken over completely, replacing the church as the new superpower controlling us, always telling people what to do. Back there, Swedes are actually arguing about cucumbers having the correct, environmentally approved dimensions, and we can´t get a driver’s license unless we know “eco-driving”—environmentally friendly gear-shifting and so on.

I had hopes for America, a place where people can drive airplanes to Walmart, drill for oil wherever they want and then wipe the mess up using baby seals. But it now seems like it is a lost cause as the “Blue Goes Green” project makes its march. Soon there will be talk about even further development in the alternative energy sources and actually putting out more than one or two models of hybrid or electric cars. Instead of buying gorgeous Ford Mustang where all you can hear is the engine, people are now buying Toyota Priuses, a car that only offers innovative style, plenty of interior room hybrid synergy drive and a poor average of only 50 MPG fuel economy.

They want us to take better care of the environment, yet we are not the ones creating a brochure that no one will read, paper that will end up in the trash. All environmentalists want to have their own newspapers, too, their own brochures. We have Internet now. If I want to find out about an organization, or a movement of some sort, I use Google. Keep your brochures.

That might actually be the reason why people brainlessly follow environmental organizations like Greenpeace—to receive a weekly or monthly newspaper to show company that you care about the planet. The fact that your eco-credentials lie on a handmade mahogany table originating from Indian child labor doesn’t seem to bother anyone.


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  1. One Response to “Save the planet—ignore a tree-hugger”

  2. By TheGreekUSUStudent on Dec 12, 2010

    We had a class together. Right on. Say it brother!!! You summarized it better than anyone I could possibly think could. People just need to realize that Mother Nature is one cruel cold-hearted bitch! But she runs the show. If she says its over. Its over. Greenpeace says it believes in conservation, but I think that’s impossible. Nature changes all the time. That’s one of the roles of nature. Thanks for the great article. Hope to see you again.

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