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Happy Earth Day: I want my $10,000

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Earth Day is the only “holiday” you don’t see advertised in the greeting card aisle.  But we should buy our Congressmen and Senators Earth Day cards.

Mine will include a bill.

I figure I’ll charge them $10,000 (which would put the cost of Earth Day at somewhere around $3 trillion over the last 44 years).

Why do we need an Earth Day?  The Earth is just fine without it.

Nobody can deny that some acts of pollution injure people, destroy property values, and cause long-term damage to ecosystems.  Examples abound:  Exxon Valdez, Love Canal, Bhopal.  Criminalizing acts of environmental carnage is in the public interest.  Banning drilling, chemical production, and nuclear power is not.

We all love to talk about the diversity of Earth’s flora and fauna species, and it’s a shame when the last of something dies, but I’m not sure the Earth will miss such species as the Golden Toad (extinct 1989) or the Po’ouli (Black-faced Honeycreeper, which only lived on the southwestern slope Haleakala volcano in Maui, extinct in 2004).  The Po’ouli became extinct because its habitat changed, and its primary diet of tree snails evaporated.  Should the government have engaged in a terraforming effort to preserve the volcano so that the species survived?

It seems like the rabid environmentalists who advocate Earth Day can’t be happy unless humans simply didn’t exist and Mother Earth could finally rid itself of our infesting presence.

The creation and promotion of Earth Day is a prime example of political opportunism and hay-making.  According to the earth day.com website’s own history,

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. “It was a gamble,” [Senator] Gaylord [Nelson] recalled, “but it worked.”

Earth Day’s website reveals its current masters:

Climate change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, reticent politicians, a disinterested public, and a divided environmental community all contributed to a strong narrative that overshadowed the cause of progress and change.  [emphasis mine]

When we celebrate Earth Day, we celebrate the idea that government must do something to protect the Earth from evildoers who would deplete all our resources, poison our air, pollute our water, and basically render our planet uninhabitable within a generation.

While I agree that we humans need to be good stewards of our planet, over which God has granted us dominion, I don’t agree that without government intervention, we will destroy the environment.  The belief that all social movements find their expression in government regulation birthed Earth Day, and the delivery bill increases every year.

According to a report by the Property and Environment Research Center, it’s difficult to even tally the cost of the Endangered Species Act, because the government obfuscates these costs in its reporting.

The federal government underreports ESA costs because it only collects estimates of what it has spent on ESA implementation.  We know that actual federal expenditures are far greater than these estimated costs. For example, based on a House Resources Committee report, our analysis shows that the actual costs of just five of the twenty agencies reporting exceed $1.2 billion per year.

I can’t even calculate the billions upon billions of dollars of lost economic value, opportunity costs, direct compliance costs, lawsuit defense, and fraud resulting from environmental legislation.  Even the current “Sagebrush Rebellion” highlighted by Cliven Bundy’s civil disobedience stems from environmental regulation, subverting the rancher’s grazing rights to the desert tortoise’s habitat (cows and tortoises have no conflict in using the same land, and never have).

Environmental regulation has been used by the government to advance social agendas such as gun control.  The last lead smelter closed in 2013, which isn’t going to affect lead stocks in the USA, but it’s another example of government controlling the use of resources through environmental regulation.  Don’t be surprised if the EPA next goes after the ammunition makers themselves since they use lead.

Here’s my ideas for giving a present to the Earth, and freeing us from the tyranny of Earth Day and its corpulent masters such as Al Gore:

Criminalize polluters who cause injury.

This means issuing warrants, arresting, and jailing the CEO’s, managers, and board members of companies that cause environmental disasters.  Let them have their day in court, defending themselves, and if found guilty by a jury, put them in prison, for a very long time.  At least as long as drug lords.  Don’t think that will work?  It would work as well as Tokyo’s anti-yakuza laws:  in Japan, if you pay protection to the yakuza, or use them in business, you become a criminal, and go to jail.  What we have now is a morass of Federal regulations and standards that by itself is an environmental disaster for all the trees killed to print it.  The fines for non-compliance only drive the cost of everything up, and many of the regulations are unnecessary, onerous, and economically disabling.

Create realistic fishing limits, and use a labeling system to indicate if a species is abundant, overfished, or endangered.  

Government gives us no credit for conscience.  I wouldn’t eat an endangered species.  Overfishing is a real problem, but we can’t enforce limits outside this country.  We are destroying the fishing industry in the US with limits that make fishing economically unviable.

“90% of the seafood consumed in the United States comes from overseas. So we do all these rules and regulations here, we tie down all our fisherman from going fishing. And the rest of the world don’t [have] the same rules that we do, and they taking our market share,” says Carlos Rafael of Carlos Seafood in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Use artificial habitats to save endangered species

Why must we preserve the “natural habitat” of endangered species?  What’s wrong with zoos?  Really, zookeepers are not evil and in fact are animal champions.  All the preservation in the world is not going to save certain habitats.  The Amazon in Brazil is being deforested.  Saving a tortoise or rare rabbit species in the US is not going to change that.  But the economic damage caused by designating millions of acres of land as habitat for an endangered species is both useless and ignorant.  We can’t stop certain natural processes, and when we try, we end up messing up the ecology, which is a tad more complex than most environmentalists would admit.

One “invasive” predator species introduced in a new habitat can take over very quickly, since it has no natural enemies.  Then we (humans) realize this and bring in a natural enemy to combat the predator.  All these acts irrevocably alter the original habitat, leading to more intervention.  Let’s acknowledge the facts:  human progress and modern transportation has forever “tainted” the Earth’s segregated habitats.  Over time, animals will adapt.  The sane thing to do, if we want to study and preserve an endangered species, is to create an artificial habitat and put the animals in it.

I realize that animal rights activists heads just exploded.  But if animals have any rights at all, they have the right to live.  “Freedom” and “self government” are concepts beyond animals’ capability.  Why try to transfer those values to animals at the expense of losing those very precious ideas ourselves?

So, to our government:  Happy Earth Day.  I want my $10,000, along with the other 349,999,999 citizens of our country.  Stop squandering our resources in pursuit of an impossible ideal.

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