God's Politics

God's Politics


Returning to a Green Orthodoxy (by Logan Laituri)

posted by God's Politics

In an encouraging shift away from the status quo, many Christian groups are taking a more focused look at stewarding God’s creation. A few notable references to biblical environmentalism have been popping up in the news lately. On the recently aired CNN series God’s Warriors,” Richard Cizik explains “creation care,” a conservative evangelical approach to being a greener church. Two weeks ago, the pope took to a stage in Italy in green vestments to declare Sept. 2, “Save Creation Day,” and beseech Roman Catholics to make “courageous decisions” to spare the earth from destructive and irresponsible development trends.



Theologically, the Torah provides plenty of fuel to go green. In fact, humanity is bound to the earth in ways that we may never fully appreciate.



  • Genesis 2:7 tells us that God formed us from the very earth we inhabit (man = earth + breath).
  • The Hebrew word “adam” (Strongs # 121 and # 122) is the root of the word for earth; Adamah (# 127), tying the reddish hue of dust to the color of blood.
  • Through the sabbatical system (Shemitta in the Jewish tradition), both man and creation are entitled rest at a six to one ratio (Leviticus 25).

We can also learn from the Hebrew Bible rich applications of social uplift through proper stewardship of the earth in the form of the Jewish tradition of Peah. In Leviticus (19:9-10, and 23:22) the Israelites were told to leave the edges of all their fields and the fallen fruits “for the poor and the stranger (JPS).” Additionally, the socially engaging agri-practice of the Ma’aser Ani (the ‘poor tithe’ in the Jewish tradition) was a tenth of a landowner’s crop set aside for the less fortunate during the third and sixth years of the seven-year sabbatical cycle.


The increasing trend of environmental awareness in the Christian faith is both hopeful and historically rooted. Wendell Berry, a modern prophet who speaks boldly of our responsibilities to the Creator’s handiwork, recognizes that creation includes both the world around us and the people who live upon it. He writes, “Creation is not in any sense independent from the Creator, the result of a primal act long over and done with, but is the continuous, constant participation of all creatures in the being of God (Christianity and the Survival of Creation, 1992).” As the central achievement of God’s design, we have both the honor and responsibility to protect the rest of creation, and to return to a green orthodoxy.

Logan Laituri is a six-year Army veteran with combatant service in Iraq during OIF II and experience with Christian peacemaker teams in Israel and the West Bank. He is an active member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and currently resides in Camden, New Jersey, in an intentional Christian community called Camden House, where he continues to seek ways to wage peace wherever he goes. He blogs at courageouscoward.blogspot.com.



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Payshun

posted September 18, 2007 at 5:59 pm


Great post.
p



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Steven Conger

posted September 18, 2007 at 6:41 pm


It is interesting to compare this with the new report by George Barna on the issue of global warming and the evangelical faith’s unwillingness to see it as a concern or reality.
Check out the latest Barna Update at: http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdateNarrow&BarnaUpdateID=279



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kevin s.

posted September 18, 2007 at 8:38 pm


I have said before that if anyone is going to make progress for improving the environment, it would be conservatives. Mr. Cizik has proven me correct in that assertion.



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Ms. Cynthia

posted September 19, 2007 at 5:47 am


Dear Mr. K
In Christ there is no North no South, no East nor West, not left nor right, not male nor female, not young nor old, not conservative nor libral, not progressive nor fundamentalist, not black or white not yellow or red. Not even green vs brown.
We are all walking, talking environments who are part of Gods creation, its going to take every single one of us, you and me included to improve the environment.
The most important thing we can do to proactively prevent future world conflicts is to pursue a more echologically sustanable relationship with our creator.
Even if we agree that mankind should have dominion over (be responsible for the care of) creation I doubt this issue will cease to be contrivercial.
But that’s ok. We can’t afford to have anybody nod off in the pews right now.
The only one who does not seem concerned with the possibility of ‘Global Warming’ lately is the devil.
Good work Logan. I liked the way they linked your references. Got to find out how they did that so you can use it on your blog.



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squeaky

posted September 19, 2007 at 9:37 am


Kevin S.
“I have said before that if anyone is going to make progress for improving the environment, it would be conservatives. ”
You are right in that conservatives need to get their act together on this issue and stop denying we humans have a profound impact on the environment, as well as stop blocking environmental measures because they are economically inconvenient and go against the wishes of big business.



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kevin s.

posted September 19, 2007 at 11:00 am


“You are right in that conservatives need to get their act together on this issue and stop denying we humans have a profound impact on the environment, as well as stop blocking environmental measures because they are economically inconvenient and go against the wishes of big business.”
Well, no. I think conservatives will be the one to forge policies that are sensible and do not hamstring the economy, and those that will make a measurable difference in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as opposed to chasing shiny things (Kyoto, ANWR) etc…
I think conservatives will be the first to put the clamp down on the ethanol myth, though they have yet to do so. I think they will be the ones to forge policy that holds other nations, including India and China (without whose participation, any environmental policy is essentially worthless) accountable for their own environmental degradation.



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squeaky

posted September 19, 2007 at 11:15 am


I’m sorry Kevin, given the conservative track record, I don’t buy your optimism. Do you know what that track record is that makes me so skeptical? It would be important that you understand that if you really think conservatives can make a difference.
As for the ethanol myth–who is pushing that hardest? Liberals, perhaps, are in line with it, but you yourself should know that in your own state under Republican leadership, the direction that ethanol is going. I know in Indiana, too, also under Republican leadership, where we are going with ethanol. I know bush’s stance on ethanol. These are all conservatives touting it as a savior of our energy economy. they aren’t anywhere near clamping down on (or even articulating) the myth.



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Don

posted September 19, 2007 at 12:02 pm


I’m with you, Squeaky.
So long as so-called “conservatives” continue to spout the nonsense that sensible efforts to restrict carbon emissions will “hamstring the economy,” we can expect no leadership whatever from them that would make a difference.
Peace,



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squeaky

posted September 19, 2007 at 12:13 pm


Well, I agree, Don,
What I would like to see happen (along with U.S. curtailing our wasteful ways), with regards to developing nations, is someone with a lot of investment power (Bill Gates?) invest in the development of innovative non-fossil fuel energy. These nations are natural labs to develop these innovations, but they by and large are not doing it because the quick (and dirty) way to economic development is through fossil fuels. We can’t really begrudge them of the desire to better their way of life or their use of fossil fuels since we went the same route. If we do begrudge them that right, we should at least put our money where our mouth is and help them develop clean alternatives as well as encourage them to obtain and use energy-efficient appliances and vehicles.



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kevin s.

posted September 19, 2007 at 12:19 pm


“I’m sorry Kevin, given the conservative track record, I don’t buy your optimism. Do you know what that track record is that makes me so skeptical? It would be important that you understand that if you really think conservatives can make a difference.”
The conservative track record is one of opposing legislation that is going to cost jobs. The bipartisan track record is one of opposing international treaties and other disastrous plans that would ravage our economy in exchange for no nominal advancements in fighting global warming.
I am not concerned with determining who is the most fervent about this issue. Fervor gets us nowhere (see McKibben’s post on this blog). Pragmatism, which does not see this issue as mother Earth v. big business, is what is needed.
Look at the issue of CAFE standards. If you frame this as big business v. Mother Earth, it doesn’t work, because you have unions joining corporations in opposing higher standards. There is no political reason to support higher standards.
Some modest changes (whatever the unions allow) may still be made in that area, but real change is going to have to include big business, not regulate it.
And a lot of people don’t want to hear that. I’ve said it before, but the environmental movement is suffering a crisis of ambassadorship, and people like RIchard Cizik are working to change that.
“As for the ethanol myth–who is pushing that hardest?”
Leaders on both sides of the fence in the Midwest. Ultimately, however, I think it will be conservatives who finally stop the bleeding on this one. It really isn’t in the liberal DNA to stop a system that promises to help the environment,



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kevin s.

posted September 19, 2007 at 12:57 pm


“So long as so-called “conservatives” continue to spout the nonsense that sensible efforts to restrict carbon emissions will “hamstring the economy,” we can expect no leadership whatever from them that would make a difference.”
Wow, a so-called AND scare quotes. What, no rolling eyes smiley? Kyoto was not a sensible effort by any definition of the word, and wouldn’t have really made a difference either.
In terms of developing clean alternatives to export to other countries, I think you will see American companies doing precisely that. But any international solution that does not include developing nations will be fruitless.
If we let India and China off the hook, they will be able to export goods at a tremendous competitive advantage. Further, they will have no incentive to change their own policies, and will have every incentive to increase carbon emissions.



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justintime

posted September 19, 2007 at 1:34 pm


However, I do agree with kevin about the ethanol myth.
The energy expended growing corn and refining ethanol is greater than the energy contained in ethanol, the end product.
And look at the recent inflation of food prices.
Growing corn for ethanol displaces cropland from the production of food.



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justintime

posted September 19, 2007 at 2:00 pm


Yes there are, kevin.
But some observers speculate they are one and the same.



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justintime

posted September 19, 2007 at 2:09 pm


Kevin,
Can you name one sensible, pragmatic environmental policy advanced by conservatives?
Teddy Roosevelt doesn’t count.



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carl copas

posted September 19, 2007 at 2:33 pm


The problem is that if the trend continues there won’t even be an economy, let alone one that “preserves jobs.”



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Don

posted September 19, 2007 at 3:04 pm


“Kyoto was not a sensible effort by any definition of the word, and wouldn’t have really made a difference either.”
We don’t know that because we didn’t try it.
D



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kevin s.

posted September 19, 2007 at 3:29 pm


“We don’t know that because we didn’t try it.”
We do know that compliance (non-compliance) will cost New Zealand alone at least $1 billion, and that the treaty was projected to yield less than 1/10th of a degree Celsius change by 2050, and that most of its signatories are unable to comply, and that the treaty is fracturing the auto-manufacturing, and that compliance (or non-compliance) has resulted in mammoth gas taxes.
But yeah, other than that, the Kyoto protocol is teeming with sense. It won’t survive past 2012.
“Can you name one sensible, pragmatic environmental policy advanced by conservatives”
No matter which policy or bill that I name, you will not attibute its success to a conservative, but I’ll play… The Clean Air act of 1990. Google away.



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Don

posted September 19, 2007 at 3:47 pm


“We do know that compliance (non-compliance) will cost New Zealand alone at least $1 billion, and that the treaty was projected to yield less than 1/10th of a degree Celsius change by 2050, and that most of its signatories are unable to comply, and that the treaty is fracturing the auto-manufacturing, and that compliance (or non-compliance) has resulted in mammoth gas taxes.”
Sources?



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Jen

posted September 19, 2007 at 4:24 pm


I think it would be fabulous if Christians who are concerned about the environment became vegan. I am a Christian who became a vegan several years ago. It would not only bring no harm to animals, but all the land used for growing feed for cattle could be used to feed people instead. There are many more benefits; and I think it’s biblical. I look forward to the time when the lion and the lamb will lay down together and nothing will be hurt or destroyed on God’s earth.



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squeaky

posted September 19, 2007 at 4:41 pm


“Pragmatism, which does not see this issue as mother Earth v. big business, is what is needed. ”
So, are you saying you don’t think big business has anything at all to do with the ravaging of mother Earth, or that they have done nothing to cause environmental damage or block legislation to protect the environment?
“The conservative track record is one of opposing legislation that is going to cost jobs. ”
If that is your answer to my question about the conservative track record regarding the environment, I suggest you spend some time learning why environmentalists really don’t trust the conservative agenda (Justintime’s 1:25 post is a good start). Their track record has some pretty black marks on it, and it seems you either are not aware of them, or you prefer to ignore them.
And the idea that promoting sustainability or alternative energy will destroy the economy is nothing more than a smokescreen to shut down further discussion on the issue. Our economy thrives when innovation flourishes, and that is exactly what will flourish as we explore alternatives to the fossil fuel economy. Jobs are not at risk. They will just be different jobs, and that’s all.
“but real change is going to have to include big business, not regulate it.”
Of course, big business has to be part of the answer. That’s why many energy analysts advocate some sort of cap and trade system for carbon (a system that has worked for air pollutors). But regulation is also important–just look at the history of big business’ track record–they won’t willingly clean up their act if it means it will cost them money. Why do you think Big Coal fought so hard to get their aging power plants grandfathered in rather than convert to cleaner burning technologies?
“Ultimately, however, I think it will be conservatives who finally stop the bleeding on this one. It really isn’t in the liberal DNA to stop a system that promises to help the environment, ”
You think Pawlenty or Mitch Daniels is going to turn around on that? After they both have encouraged the development of ethanol in their states? After Indiana has sunk 100′s of millions of dollars into building all those ethanol plants? I doubt it. Dick Lugar is also leading the ethanol charge, as is George Bush. I don’t see it happening.
And why does it have to liberal vs. conservative anyway? You bring up many good concerns–economy is an issue that needs to be considered. What I don’t understand is when people say “economically, we can’t afford to stop global warming” or whatever. Why can’t we? Why such a negative attitude? Why can’t global warming be combatted in a way that fosters innovation and is economically advantageous? Where’s your imagination and faith in good Old US ingenuity?
Any solution will require a bipartisan effort because it is a complex issue, and we need all opinions and understandings at the table so we can develop a viable means of addressing the issue. But saying that conservatives will be the ones to solve the problems and liberals don’t know what they are talking about accomplishes nothing but further widening the gap between conservatives and liberals. It is too bad you think conservatives have all the anwers to the problems in the world while liberals have nothing of importance to bring to the discussion. It takes a wide range of perspectives to tackle complex issues, but as long as people insist on listening to only one side of any issue, nothing will ever get accomplished.



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kevin s.

posted September 19, 2007 at 5:01 pm


“Sources?”
http://www.treasury.govt.nz/kyotoliability/
$544 million and counting, though this is in New Zealand dollars.
As for the 0.07 C figure, it comes from the testimony of Patrick J. Michaels, who is considered a skeptic on the issue of global warming. However, I have yet to see a rebuttal to this figure, short of simply slinging mud at Michaels.



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kevin s.

posted September 19, 2007 at 5:18 pm


“So, are you saying you don’t think big business has anything at all to do with the ravaging of mother Earth, or that they have done nothing to cause environmental damage or block legislation to protect the environment?”
No, and I didn’t say anything close to that. I am referring to the attitude that environmental policy is part and parcel of a battle against capitalism, wherein big business and the environment must be at odds. Taking a bite out of big business (one of Justintime’s “bitch goddesses”) is as important as reducing greenhouse emissions.
“(Justintime’s 1:25 post is a good start).”
Start of what? It was a non-sensical diatribe.
“Their track record has some pretty black marks on it, and it seems you either are not aware of them, or you prefer to ignore them.”
I agree that conservatives, to date, have not taken the lead on environmental issues. I do, however, disagree with the mentality that a positive environmental track record is one that simply advocates the most legislation.
“You think Pawlenty or Mitch Daniels is going to turn around on that? After they both have encouraged the development of ethanol in their states?”
No. It will come from outside the midwest, if it comes at all.
“Our economy thrives when innovation flourishes, and that is exactly what will flourish as we explore alternatives to the fossil fuel economy.”
Agreed. And ethanol is an example of precisely the opposite concept, wherein governmental intrusion has led to billions of dollars poured into a non-alternative. This points to the need to tweak our existing system in a way that takes advantage of the free markets.
“And why does it have to liberal vs. conservative anyway?”
It doesn’t have to be at all. However, whenever you have advocacy for policy that does not take cost-benefit analysis into account, you are making a sort of religion out of that policy, and I think the left, to date, has been guilty of precisely this as it relates to the environment.
“It is too bad you think conservatives have all the anwers to the problems in the world while liberals have nothing of importance to bring to the discussion. ”
This isn’t what I said either.



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Don

posted September 19, 2007 at 6:17 pm


Cost-benefit analysis:
What is the cost if we make the effort to reduce carbon emissions vs. the cost if we do not? That’s the issue, not short-term profits and losses.
We are talking about major disruptions in our way of life, in our ability to produce food, in the safety of our coast lands, in the human habitability of large parts of the Earth, and in the loss of habitat and biodiversity. What are the costs of taking corrective action when measured against these costs?
That is the cost-benefit analysis that needs to be made, my friend.
Peace,



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justintime

posted September 19, 2007 at 8:36 pm


“Can you name one sensible, pragmatic environmental policy advanced by conservatives”

No matter which policy or bill that I name, you will not attibute its success to a conservative, but I’ll play… The Clean Air act of 1990. Google away.

Sorry Kevin, you’re wrong again.
Sen Baucus, Max [MT] sponsored this legislation, which was co sponsored by:
Sen Adams, Brock [WA]
Sen Burdick, Quentin N. [ND]
Sen Chafee, John H. [RI]
Sen Cohen, William S. [ME]
Sen Cranston, Alan [CA]
Sen Dodd, Christopher J. [CT]
Sen Durenberger, Dave [MN]
Sen Graham, Bob [FL]
Sen Hatfield, Mark O. [OR]
Sen Jeffords, James M. [VT]
Sen Kennedy, Edward M. [MA]
Sen Kerry, John F. [MA]
Sen Lautenberg, Frank R. [NJ]
Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT]
Sen Lieberman, Joseph I. [CT]
Sen Mitchell, George J. [ME]
Sen Moynihan, Daniel Patrick [NY]
Sen Pell, Claiborne [RI]
Sen Reid, Harry [NV]
Sen Warner, John [VA]
Sen Wilson, Pete [CA]
Sen Wirth, Timothy [CO]
Not very many conservatives on that list, are there?
Sen Mark Hatfield was one of the very few progressive Republicans, a species which has been driven into extinction by 2007.
The 1990 Clean Air Act amended previous clean air legislation advanced by progressive Democrats
In 1995, Republican Tom Delay introduced legislation to repeal the 1990 Clean Air Act.
It failed.
Our fearless leader has been trying to get the Clean Air Act repealed, but failing that, he has neutered it by placing his cronies in the EPA.
Why do you continue to defend the indefensible, Kevin?



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Payshun

posted September 19, 2007 at 8:58 pm


“The conservative track record is one of opposing legislation that is going to cost jobs. ”
You mean curtail profits, destroy the environment and pretend that we are not the biggest polluters in the world. I mean seriously even if we ignore India we still generate more waste than any country on the face of the planet. Right now we need to focus on ourselves and doing right instead of insisting this on others. It will actually make us look like we care about the environment.
p



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Sarasotakid

posted September 19, 2007 at 10:42 pm


“But any international solution that does not include developing nations will be fruitless.” Kevin S.
I don’t agree with Kevin that Conservatives are going to spearhead the solution to the environmental problems but he makes one very good point. If the developing nations are not constrained in greenhouse gas emissions, what is the point? China and India were exempted from the Kyoto-mandated emissions controls. How can that make sense and how can our industry compete with cheaper goods made by countries that can pollute more?



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kevin s.

posted September 19, 2007 at 11:03 pm


“You mean curtail profits,”
The two go hand in hand, dude.
“The 1990 Clean Air Act amended previous clean air legislation advanced by progressive Democrats”
Exactly, and any reforms passed by a Republican congress, you will attribute to the Democratic president. That’s why this game is fruitless.
“What is the cost if we make the effort to reduce carbon emissions vs. the cost if we do not? That’s the issue, not short-term profits and losses.”
Right, and using Kyoto math, the cost of substantially reducing global temperatures in the long term is going to be profound. You can’t simply toss away cost-benefit analysis simply because it is inconvenient to your point. If we are going to pay out trillions of dollars, I want to know what effect this will have on global warming, and how that effect will benefit us.
Maybe there are huge costs that are necessary, but we had better see huge benfits to go along with them. To move forward without answering the tough questions is simply hysteria. What is the cost of losing biodiversity? What is the cost of maintaining it? Can we prevent the loss? How do we prevent the loss? That is the cost-benefit analysis that needs to be made, my friend.



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justintime

posted September 19, 2007 at 11:25 pm


“The 1990 Clean Air Act amended previous clean air legislation advanced by progressive Democrats”

Exactly, and any reforms passed by a Republican congress, you will attribute to the Democratic president. That’s why this game is fruitless.

The 1990 Clean Air Act was written and sponsored by Democrats (joined by a mere handful of Republicans) and signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton.
It’s been attacked by Republicans ever since.
I’ll repeat it, conservative Republicans have never advanced any pragmatic, sensible environmental policy, as Kevin claims.
That’s not what conservative Republicans are all about.
Conservative Republicans are all about gutting environmental legislation so they can ravage the planet for profit.
Kevin’s rhetorical game of denial is fruitless.
Put up or shut up Kevin.



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justintime

posted September 19, 2007 at 11:32 pm


I don’t know of any Republicans in Congress right now that can even claim to be ‘conservative’.
They’re not conservative at all.
They should be called profligate Republicans.
They spend resources like drunken sailors and leave a trail of tears in their wake.



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Payshun

posted September 20, 2007 at 2:00 am


“The two go hand in hand, dude.”
True but considering how many jobs and industries are shipped overseas it seems like a mute point. Especially when CEO and other salaries are so high. That’s the part that you seem to ignore. Our own policies are hurting American jobs, not only that but we still are the country that pollutes the most. There is no country that comes close and that includes CO2 emmissions to actual trash…
p



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Payshun

posted September 20, 2007 at 2:04 am


Every white American needs to read Wendell Berry.
p



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justintime

posted September 20, 2007 at 2:13 am


Correction:
The Clean Air Act of 1990 was signed by Bush 41.
Ironic that Bush 43 has effectively neutered this legislation by undercutting EPA enforcement of the Clean Air Act.
Most EPA lawsuits against major polluters were dropped, leaving polluters with no incentive to negotiate with the EPA to clean up their emissions.
This was the main reason EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman, and most experienced, competent career EPA officials, resigned.
They have been replaced by Bush cronies and morale at EPA has seriously deteriorated.



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justintime

posted September 20, 2007 at 2:17 am


Wendell Berry is one of my favorite writers, along with Bill McKibben.



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squeaky

posted September 20, 2007 at 9:37 am


“It doesn’t have to be at all. However, whenever you have advocacy for policy that does not take cost-benefit analysis into account, you are making a sort of religion out of that policy, and I think the left, to date, has been guilty of precisely this as it relates to the environment.”
I don’t think the left has been guilty of that. I am on the left, remember, and many of my fellow lefties discuss things like cap and trade and innovation through development of alternatives and the jobs they would produce. It is a myth that environmental advocacy is about destroying jobs.
We both agree that ethanol is not the answer. But surely you can see the disconnect between your hypothesis that the conservatives will be the ones to find the solutions when it has been the conservatives who have been pushing for ethanol most strongly. Yet you seem to blame that on liberals.
The conservative track record is abysma. Are there any mistakes re the environment that the conservatives have made that you would concede?
“”It is too bad you think conservatives have all the anwers to the problems in the world while liberals have nothing of importance to bring to the discussion. “”
“This isn’t what I said either.”
It is certainly what you imply when you say
“if anyone is going to make progress for improving the environment, it would be conservatives.”
The truth is, if anyone is going to make progress for improving the environment, it will be BOTH conservatives AND liberals.
The points on Kyoto are very good–India and China will surpass us with regards to CO2 emissions if they continue in their current directions. That, however, does not excuse the US from curtailing our CO2 emissions–the largest consumer the world has never known, and we point fingers at others to justify our own inaction. Does that make sense? The US is the most influential nation on Earth, and we are supposed to lead by example. What example did we give by pulling out of Kyoto? What message did that send China and India? Screw the environment, profit uberalles. That’s the message we sent. How are we going to have any influence on their development at all when we don’t even practice what we preach to them?



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kevin s.

posted September 20, 2007 at 10:27 am


“True but considering how many jobs and industries are shipped overseas it seems like a mute point.”
So all of the jobs in America are, what, government jobs? This is a silly statement.
“But surely you can see the disconnect between your hypothesis that the conservatives will be the ones to find the solutions when it has been the conservatives who have been pushing for ethanol most strongly. Yet you seem to blame that on liberals.”
I am pretty straightforward with what I say, typically, and do not leave much to inference. I said that both parties have been equally responsible for creating this mess, but that the conservatives will be the driving force in stopping it. It just fits within their ideological purview.
“The conservative track record is abysma. Are there any mistakes re the environment that the conservatives have made that you would concede?”
Conservatives certainly share the blame for the SUV movement.
“What example did we give by pulling out of Kyoto? What message did that send China and India?”
For starters, that we are not going to join in international treaties that give them a competitive advantage, thereby incentivizing them to further destroy the environment. Second, that we aren’t going to spend billions of dollars on symbolic non-solutions.



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kevin s.

posted September 20, 2007 at 10:30 am


“The 1990 Clean Air Act was written and sponsored by Democrats (joined by a mere handful of Republicans) and signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton.”
And everyone was astonished at Clinton’s ability to travel back in time and assume the presidency, though it created certain consitutional issues.



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justintime

posted September 20, 2007 at 11:01 am


Can you think of any other pragmatic, sensible environmental policies created by ‘conservatives’, Kevin?
Or shall we conclude there aren’t any?



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justintime

posted September 20, 2007 at 11:10 am


I said that both parties have been equally responsible for creating this mess, but that the conservatives will be the driving force in stopping it.- kevin s
‘Free’ market ideology, promoted by ‘conservative’
Republicans, is the real cause of the mess we are in.
We’re certainly not going to hold our breath waiting for ‘conservatives’ to fix it, as you suggest.
To do so would be foolish and irresponsible.



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squeaky

posted September 20, 2007 at 11:16 am


“For starters, that we are not going to join in international treaties that give them a competitive advantage, thereby incentivizing them to further destroy the environment. Second, that we aren’t going to spend billions of dollars on symbolic non-solutions. ”
So you are saying that is how China and India understood our actions and that it is highly unlikely that they interpreted our motives as hypocritical. I can concede that your statement was part of the issue, but it is hard to ignore the strong opposition to Kyoto from the coal and oil industries who had a strong hand in our decision to back out, and who are the most vocal detractors of global climate change. Yes, it is about economy, but it is also about corporate greed. Not to mention failure of leadership. One quick and clean way to decrease our carbon footprint is conservation, and that is derided by the current administration. They don’t have faith that the American people can do it.



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Payshun

posted September 20, 2007 at 1:26 pm


Well to really square this critique of right and left we need to really look at what we eat. Hands down that contributes more green houses gasses to the atmosphere than all the SUV’s combined. If we really want to see our climate heal we will have to change our eating habbits.
p



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kevin s.

posted September 20, 2007 at 1:49 pm


“So you are saying that is how China and India understood our actions and that it is highly unlikely that they interpreted our motives as hypocritical.”
No, I am saying that our refusal to sign a bad treaty sends a message that we aren’t going to participate in ideas that don’t work. That should be interpreted as a sign that, when the United States calls on India and China to sign a treaty, we have carefully considered the costs and the benefits.
If they want to use it as an excuse to disregard environmental policy, that is out of our control, but not an argument for inflicting poor environemental policy on our economy.
“Yes, it is about economy, but it is also about corporate greed.”
Regardless, if you take corporate greed out of the equation, Kyoto was still a bad idea.
“One quick and clean way to decrease our carbon footprint is conservation, and that is derided by the current administration. They don’t have faith that the American people can do it.”
Can you provide an example of where this administration has derided conservation? I want to know whether the derision of which you speak pertains to individuals conserving or policies mandating conservation.
Was Kyoto a failure of leadership? This is where I think the environmental movement steps on itself. By clinging to a failed policy initiative that enjoys bi-partisan opposition, the environmental movement fails to progress to initiatives that have the potential to help the environment.
As I said, Kyoto is a failure, and will not be renewed in 2012. The Washington Declaration lays the groundwork for a more pragmatic solution that incorporates developing nations. The environmental movement would do well to be involved in the process.



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justintime

posted September 20, 2007 at 1:54 pm


Right on, payshun,
We don’t have to wait for ‘conservatives’ to forge ‘pragmatic and sensible’ environmental policy.
That will never happen.
We’re free to change our eating habits.
We can buy locally produced food and save transportation energy.
We can avoid ‘corporate food’.
Corporate food makes you fat and stupid.
You are what you eat.
Refined corn sugar is a major cause of obesity.
If you don’t believe this, watch ‘Supersize Me”.
As jen suggests, we can consider going vegetarian.
Apart from the moral/ethical and health considerations, raising animal meat for human consumption is an extravagant use of the planet’s resources.
Read “Diet for a Small Planet”.
Bush has curtailed FDA inspection of the food processing industry and eating animal meat is getting more and more risky.



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justintime

posted September 20, 2007 at 2:06 pm


Can you provide an example of where this administration has derided conservation? I want to know whether the derision of which you speak pertains to individuals conserving or policies mandating conservation.- kevin s
Dick Cheney dismisses driving hybrid and high mileage cars as merely ‘a personal virtue’ with the implication this will have little or no impact on energy policy.
Of course, Cheney allowed the energy industry to write America’s Energy Plan.
To this day, he has stonewalled attempts to find out who actually participated in this absurd exercise.
By the way, Kevin, you haven’t given any examples of ‘pragmatic and sensible’ environmental policies forged by conservatives?
That’s because there aren’t any.
Conservatives obstruct pragmatic and sensible environmental policy.
Haven’t you been paying attention?



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squeaky

posted September 20, 2007 at 2:10 pm


Kevin S.,
I suggest you spend some time learning about the successes of the environmental movement, rather than deriding it as a failed movement. Clean Air, Clean Water, banned DDT, national parks, cleaning up of the Great Lakes, recovering species are all examples of successes that would not have occurred without the environmental movement.
Dick Cheney, Toronto speech, April 2001:
“Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.”
The administration’s response to our energy needs has always been to produce more energy. I have never heard conservation proposed as a viable option, even though history has shown that conservation really does work (California energy crisis in the early 2000′s, 1973 oil embargo, WWII). They have never encouraged conservation (admittedly, I need to reread the most recent energy policy to see if that is true–bush seems to have come around on a lot of issues, so perhaps he’s changed his tune on conservation as well).
“Was Kyoto a failure of leadership? ”
We left the table, so yes. Surely there were solutions that could have been found that addressed our concerns so that the result could have been strong and useful.



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justintime

posted September 20, 2007 at 2:16 pm


As I said, Kyoto is a failure, and will not be renewed in 2012. kevin s
That’s because Bush completely bailed out on Kyoto, instead of negotiating with developing nations for pragmatic and sensible amendments to Kyoto.
Bush killed Kyoto and ignores other serious attempts to forge ‘pragmatic and sensible environmental policy’.
You can’t have it both ways, Kevin.



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kevin s.

posted September 20, 2007 at 2:48 pm


“I suggest you spend some time learning about the successes of the environmental movement, rather than deriding it as a failed movement. Clean Air, Clean Water, banned DDT, national parks, cleaning up of the Great Lakes, recovering species are all examples of successes that would not have occurred without the environmental movement.”
Well, I think we don’t necessarily agree on what constitutes success. Banning DDT is one of the monumental failures of the movement, a testament to zeal over practicality that has resulted in countless malaria deaths.
But yes, I am glad we have an environmental movement. I just wish it were better and more reasonable.
I find nothing to particularly disagree with in Cheney’s comment as it relates to policy. I don’t see how that consitution derision of those who choose to conserve, but rather noting that forced conservation does not constitute a comprehensive policy, which seems difficult to argue.
“We left the table, so yes. Surely there were solutions that could have been found that addressed our concerns so that the result could have been strong and useful.”
Were there? Clinton signed it in its flawed form, and it was unanimously opposed in the senate. The United States tried to play hardball in an attempt to include developing nations (China in particular) in the treaty, but the treaty moved ahead anyway.
If you are saying that Kyoto was a failure of international leadership, I agree with you. Clinton did play both sides, pretending to support the bill while making no serious attempt to ratify it, but ultimately he advanced the right policy.
“That’s because Bush completely bailed out on Kyoto, instead of negotiating with developing nations for pragmatic and sensible amendments to Kyoto.”
This is false on several levels.



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Payshun

posted September 20, 2007 at 2:56 pm


A little bit back to policy for a second. Kyoto was never designed to be the conclusion on global environmental policy. It was supposed to be a starting point. But since we walked away (as the world’s largest polluters no less) we stalled any real signficant global change. That’s something you ignore again.
p



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kevin s

posted September 20, 2007 at 3:28 pm


This is false on several levels.



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kevin s.

posted September 20, 2007 at 3:54 pm


The last post was not mine, but someone posting under my name, which is obnoxious.
“A little bit back to policy for a second. Kyoto was never designed to be the conclusion on global environmental policy. It was supposed to be a starting point.”
And it was a deeply flawed starting point that would have sent us in the wrong direction (and still would not have been renewed in 2012).
“But since we walked away (as the world’s largest polluters no less)”
Well, we aren’t any longer, and certainly aren’t as a function of our GDP.
“we stalled any real signficant global change. That’s something you ignore again.”
I don’t think we did. The other nations committed to Kyoto (with the exception of Britain, they are backing off that commitment) but there are more ideas out there, and we are finally starting to move forward.



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Anonymous

posted September 20, 2007 at 4:26 pm


but there are more ideas out there, and we are finally starting to move forward.- kevin s.-
We’re dying to hear you explain these new ideas, Kevin.
Did conservatives forge any of them?
If we’re finally starting to move forward, will human civilization as we know it survive the effects of global climate change?
In your opinion, Kevin, is anything working yet?



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squeaky

posted September 20, 2007 at 5:03 pm


“Banning DDT is one of the monumental failures of the movement, a testament to zeal over practicality that has resulted in countless malaria deaths. ”
So the recovery of the bald eagle and other bird species is a failure?
The malaria deaths occur in developing nations, and I would agree that a total ban in these nations is overkill. Localized application could have a positive effect without the widespread environmental impact that we saw in this nation. The banning is an evisceral response to what we saw happen here as the result of DDT’s gross misuse. But its ban in this country was a huge success, nonetheless.
“but rather noting that forced conservation does not constitute a comprehensive policy, which seems difficult to argue.”
the fact conservation isn’t even considered is the concern. It sends quite a message–Americans can’t conserve, Americans don’t have to conserve, Americans can just continue to live our wasteful lifestyles without concern for who it affects. We don’t really need to force conservation on people–people will do it willingly, especially when they understand the benefits–education and leadership is the issue. Unfortunately, derriding it as a non-effective solution gives the average person who does nothing to learn more about the issue the excuse to just go ahead and waste. A little top-down leadership would go a long way to help out. My parents turned down the thermostat when I was a kid because Jimmy Carter asked us to.



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squeaky

posted September 20, 2007 at 5:05 pm


“Well, we aren’t any longer, and certainly aren’t as a function of our GDP. ”
If we aren’t, why aren’t we?



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justintime

posted September 20, 2007 at 5:29 pm


DDT drove the Peregrine Falcon to extinction in many states.
My daughter was part of the effort to bring the Peregrine back to Colorado.
As of 2003, there were over 80 nesting pairs in CO. Peregrines have now been taken off the endangered list.
Spraying DDT is poisoning your own food chain and it’s not just birds that are affected.
Would you like some DDT in your mother’s milk, Kevin?
There are more intelligent ways to control malaria besides DDT, and that don’t poison the food chain.
Net tents are one of the better tactics.
They’re having a positive effect.
I doubt if it was a conservative Republican that figured this out.



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Payshun

posted September 20, 2007 at 5:35 pm


But that doesn’t include the stuff we import in and the waste that comes from that.
p



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Payshun

posted September 20, 2007 at 5:41 pm


One more thing our GDP is still number one in the world so judging off of that how do we not qualify as the most polluting nation?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29
p



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squeaky

posted September 20, 2007 at 5:53 pm


“Net tents are one of the better tactics.
They’re having a positive effect.”
I would add that net tents are actually far more effective than DDT or any chemical for that matter. There are always a few mosquitos that are resistent to the chemicals we throw at them, and they survive to pass on their genes. thus we end up in an “evolutionary arms race” and have to constantly devise stronger and stronger poisons.



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Payshun

posted September 20, 2007 at 6:07 pm


When it comes to CO2 emmissions we do pollute the most.
at least as of 2004
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions
when it comes to electricity usage we still produce more than double what China does.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_electricity_consumption
my point is that we still pollute more than any other nation and this administration only wants to cripple efforts to make things better.
p



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justintime

posted September 20, 2007 at 6:17 pm


Present day ‘Conservative’ ideology is based on the assumption that this is the best of all possible worlds and anything you can think of to make it better will only make it worse.
So it’s best to sit back, relax and enjoy life just the way it is.
Especially if you’ve got yours.



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kevin s.

posted September 20, 2007 at 6:29 pm


“Present day ‘Conservative’ ideology is based on the assumption that this is the best of all possible worlds and anything you can think of to make it better will only make it worse.
So it’s best to sit back, relax and enjoy life just the way it is.”
I could just as easily say that liberal ideology is based on the assumption that I cannot make life bette, so it’s best so sit back and let government do everything. Sloganeering is fun, but lets save it for the elections.
“If we aren’t, why aren’t we?”
China.
“One more thing our GDP is still number one in the world so judging off of that how do we not qualify as the most polluting nation?”
We won’t be by the end of the year, and by some measures we are already. More importantly, China’s GDP is going to increase exponentially, as will India’s, which is why any international treaty excluding those two nations is completely meaningless.
Pollution as a function of GDP is important because it measures pollution as a function of what we produce. Denmark might have one of the lowest pollution rates, but if they important 2,000,000 dolls from China, what difference does it make?
“So the recovery of the bald eagle and other bird species is a failure?”
At the expense of human life, and the ban on DDT indisputably resulted in the loss of human life, yes. Would you give your child’s life to save an eagle, last of the species or no?



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justintime

posted September 20, 2007 at 9:01 pm


I don’t think Kevin is listening to us.
He may be trapped in a two dimensional world.
I don’t know.
I wish he’d start to think outside of his box.
I think I’ll turn on CBC radio and get something done.
G’nite all.



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Payshun

posted September 20, 2007 at 10:03 pm


“We won’t be by the end of the year, and by some measures we are already. More importantly, China’s GDP is going to increase exponentially, as will India’s, which is why any international treaty excluding those two nations is completely meaningless.”
No it’s not meaningless and this is where your side screws up. Instead of making policy and technology that we could sell and help China develop you all give up. That doesn’t even include the role our C02 emmisions are having on our part of the world. It’s not meaningless, it’s smart. If we led the world we would be willing to sacrifice to make that happen. We aren’t hence your point about it being meaningless.
“which is why any international treaty excluding those two nations is completely meaningless.”
Again you give up way to early. Just because they may not want to join now doesn’t mean they could not or would not have joined later. But the sad part is that we never tried and as a leader of the world we failed by doing nothing. That’s something your side is ok w/ as long as there is some perfect international policy. It’s not going to happen. We will have to tinker and change it as more things change. But instead of being part of the solution we became more of a problem.
p



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squeaky

posted September 21, 2007 at 9:43 am


Kevin S.
Actually, you missed the subtlety in my question:
“If we aren’t, why aren’t we?”
China, yes, but also the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Otherwise, we might still rival China.
“More importantly, China’s GDP is going to increase exponentially, as will India’s, which is why any international treaty excluding those two nations is completely meaningless. ”
I agree, which is also why I think it is important to lead by example. Pointing fingers and telling China to get their act together when we do nothing about emissions ourselves is hypocritical. Even if we don’t sign Kyoto, we can still make steps in the right direction. A wise approach would have been to say we disagree with Kyoto, will not sign it, but we will take steps in ways we believe are economically viable to reduce our emissions. We did the former, and not the latter. All that says is we are hypocrites. Explain how it says otherwise because I don’t get it, and I don’t see how anyone else would either.
“At the expense of human life, and the ban on DDT indisputably resulted in the loss of human life, yes. Would you give your child’s life to save an eagle, last of the species or no?”
Who died here? It started as a US ban, not a worldwide ban. Do you understand ecology and the food chain and why DDT is a major issue? Do you understand our connection to the food chain? It’s not just about saving birds, you know.
Tropical regions still have the right to use DDT, so the ban is not an all-inclusive worldwide ban. Non-chemical means of controlling mosquitoes is a far better solution, anyway. What does the phrase “evolutionary arms race” mean?



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justintime

posted September 21, 2007 at 2:07 pm


What a shame there are college educated, privileged Americans who continue to ignore planetary reality,
insist on worshipping the bitch goddess of the bottom line
and expect her to save us from planetary disaster.
They’re really not worth the time of day anymore.



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squeaky

posted September 21, 2007 at 2:18 pm


Justintime–college educated doesn’t equal science educated. for that reason, it is easy for people to turn to blogs for their science rather than actual scientists, especially actual climate scientists.



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justintime

posted September 21, 2007 at 4:07 pm


So true, squeaky
And really no wonder so many Americans are deluded about environmental issues when you think about it.
Contrarian crank academics provide cover for conservatives who prefer to ignore climate change.
The Bush administration buries the facts and fabricates fake science to take the heat off corporate polluters and the energy industry.
The media is not being held to account for spreading misinformation.
And ‘Free Market’ religion is a huge obstruction, keeping sane environmental and economic policy from being implemented.



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