Class discussion on Environmental Policy  

rm_MLMSDaddy 36M
1 posts
11/19/2005 2:59 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Class discussion on Environmental Policy


I just got out of class -Public Policy Analysis- and I have to say that today was the most interesting class I've had this semester. I'm by far the most capitalistic, free market, conservative - I'm still a libertarian, not so bad as the Republicans - in the entire Public Administration program at Nothern, so class discussions usually wind up with me being demonized by the bleeding heart, socialistic liberals that populate the program, but today was different. The topic of discussion today was environmental policy, and with my B.S. in Forestry and the Associate's degree in Mining Engineering, I am sort of well versed in everything that has to do with the management of natural resources.
The discussion started off in its usual manner with the liberals clattering about excessive logging, mining, the social injustices associated with the lack of minorities involved in natural resources industries, etc... but I managed to make the point that the real issue behind natural resource policy making isn't the theoretical injustices that may or may not exist today, but the certain injustices towards future generations and their ability to survive that are threatened by our excessive, wasteful lifestyles. If we consume all of our natural resources today, then future generations will not have the necessary materials to live, and that threatens more than one or two minority groups in the US, it threatens the entire survival of the human race. It's a global problem.
The fact is - and this is undeniable - humans manage the population of every other species on Earth because we have seen what occurs when populations are allowed to consume resources without any form of checks and balances. The population spikes due to the lack of competition, predators, etc... until it consumes everything and then you witness a population die off of apocolyptic proportions. This die off is sudden, often accompanied by disease, genocidal acts between members of the population, canabalism, real end of the Bible kinds of horrors as any existing social structures erode in the face of individual survival. Once the population has to all extents and purposes been destroyed, the few surviving members begin to reproduce and gradually the population rises to levels more in equilibrium with its environment, where is stays.
This is demonstratable in every species on Earth, but for some reason, humans seem to think that we exist outside of the systems Mother Nature has built in to stop overpopulation. Do we really believe that the planet won't treat us the same way it treats any other organism that reproduces without restraint? News Flash: If we don't alter our view of the global ecosystem and try to bring ourselves into balance with the Earth, the planet's natural processes will kill us off just as efficiently as the bacteria populations that demonstrate this principle in high school science classes.
So we are faced with two courses of action when we try to formulate policy that attempts to dictate the management of our natural resources. 1) We enact population controls to govern the human population in accordance with the availability of resources. No one really likes this Malthusian view that logically leads to euthenasia, birth limits, and governmental control of the population, but it is what is required to prevent overpopulation. No one wants that to occur. No one wants another human being to dictate to them when they can breed, where they must live, what their resources allotment is, etc... 2) So we must make policy based on the other course of action, which is two fold. First, we must increase space. Every human needs a certain amount of resources - water, minerals, room to grow the food you eat, space to build your house, etc - and those resources require a certain amount of land area, which is finite. To increase the carrying capacity of the planet, you must begin to build vertically. Build a ten story building that has 1 square acre worth of area for the floor, and you have created 9 more acres that can be used to hydroponically grow crops, provide housing, etc. But this is just a temporary fix, as the amount of materials required to build those structures is also finite. The other half of this course of action is to develop policy that promotes efficiency and responsibility in the utilization of our resources - sustainable forestry practices, mine remediation, carbon credits - in the attempt to buy ourselves more time to solve the problem of escaping to other planets, thereby increasing our available resources and removing the threat of extinction should the Earth ever be destroyed. Unfortunately, true freedom for humans will only occur when we no longer have to manage ourselves and resource usage with the goal of perpetuating the species. Yep. It's pretty grim, but until we become established on multiple planets, we are all slaves to the survival of the race.
Well, that's enough of my preaching. I'll get down off this soapbox and let you think about it for yourselves.
Y'all have a good day, and help the little fella that needs a hand.
--Big Mike

rm_lickmepretty 50F
851 posts
11/19/2005 5:03 pm

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