Member Rara Avis
... doesn't it simply make sense to cut down on environmental pollutants that we add to the atmosphere?
You mean like carbon dioxide, Amy? You know, that stuff you're exhaling with every breath?
Sure, cutting down on environmental pollutants makes a lot of sense. You really want to hold your breath that long, though?
Of course I'm being a little facetious by highlighting extreme examples, but I hope maybe it can help demonstrate the real problem. We all want to get rid of environmental pollutants -- as long as it's somebody else's pollutants. If I was in a slightly less cynical state of mind I might pose that a little differently, I suppose. I might, for example, contend that virtually all instances of pollution can be represented by a cost/benefit analysis. The CO2 you exhale carries a cost to the environment, but it's a cost greatly outweighed by the benefits of having you around. That's, again, the extreme example. But what about my SUV? There's a cost there, too, and a benefit as well, but neither is quite as extreme, nor, I believe, quite so trenchant. I *really* don't like being confined to the house every time it snows more than a few inches, so I'm willing to pay both the personal cost and the social cost.
I don't think anyone wastes energy because they're evil and want to destroy humanity. It's all about cost and benefit, about The Tragedy of the Commons, about finances and economics. I don't believe the solution to pollution is going to be an appeal to self-sacrifice, but rather, a leveraging of self-interest.
'Cause I, for one, sure don't intend holding my breath long enough to make any real difference.