Green With Apathy

Consider this, reader, your no-self-deception guarantee. As the author of this fine column, I’ll be the first to admit I’m unlike most Americans. I live in the richest county in the U.S., I send my kids to private school, I’m a laptop-class news junkie who processes the world through an app once named for an aviary parley, but was idiotically rebranded to the twenty-fourth letter of the alphabet. “Middle and upper class people who think that everybody in society is a version of themselves are deluded,” says Rod Dreher. But not me! I’m checking my privilege early so I can consort with the one issue of which I’m incorrigibly average.

When it comes to nature, trees, streams, the sky, flora, and fauna—the so-called “environment”—I’m as American as it gets, if American is a byword for agnostic. Pollution/conservation/climate change/save the trees! ranks low on my Maslow’s pyramid. Like really low. Maybe slightly above the survival of wombats in New South Wales.

I’d prefer our whirling blue orb not be willfully dispossessed of its splendor to the point of looking like the industrial hellscape in Final Fantasy VII or William Blake’s dystopian vision. But I’m not about to bind myself to a Sequoia, and tree-sit for hours like a Gaia-worshipping hippie, staring down a bulldozer in Birkenstocks.

My Mother Nature views can be fairly described as “caroming.” I get a primordial ache seeing felled trees, which I often descry driving around the artificial environ known as Server Valley. Any time I read Paul Kingsnorth or Wendell Berry decry the degradation of woodland or prairies or foothills or heaths, I go into a stricken, depressive mood like that Indian in that famous pollution PSA Then I get angry, boiling even, and want to smash every steamroller or skid steer I see to bits. Oh, and I sing along loudly to “Big Yellow Taxi,” as well as any secure straight man.

So I have a soft spot for dirt and grass, and even the pokey nettle I yank weekly from my garden. But I’m also mature enough to realize that not only is reversing supposedly skyrocketing temps out of human hands, but material security comes at a natural price, e.g. Bambi’s wood hut has to be displaced for my two-car garage. What? Am I supposed to park on the street like a peasant? Plus, God Himself gave us the go-ahead to “subdue” the earth, but, obviously, don’t overdo it. (A message too many strip-mine operators in Coal Country plugged their ears to.)

What’s my long-winded leafy prologue actually about? Well, I may be a conservationist, after a fashion, but I remain, like most Americans, impervious to climate alarmism. Even straight reporting on environmental initiatives can’t be taken at face value.

Case in point: A New York Times report on the “green” détente between the United States and China. The title kicks off the fallacious framing: “China Rules the Green Economy. Here’s Why That’s a Problem for Biden.” It’s a “problem” for the President that another country is bearing the burden of financing industrial development to lessen fossil fuel use? Don’t environmentalists want a cleaner, greener planet regardless of the government funding R&D for sustainable-use tech?

Then comes the preface from reporter Somini Sengupta that veers right off an editorializing cliff: “In an ideal world,”… I’m going to stop our intrepid reporter right there. What happened to the Edward Murrow ethic of “document, don’t judge”?

The ecological wishcasting continues: “Maybe affordable Chinese-made electric vehicles would be widely sold in America, instead of being viewed as an economic threat.”

An economic threat? China pollutes the impressionable minds of millions of young Americans daily with its divisive video app. Are we really so naive as to think the country wouldn’t pull something if it became the dominant auto manufacturer in the U.S., even if it’s just harvesting driver data?

Next is an obtuse hypothetical: “Or there would be less need to dig a lithium mine at an environmentally sensitive site in Nevada, because lithium, which is essential for batteries, could be bought worry-free from China, which controls the world’s supply.”

Where to even start with this assumption-pumped blather? Lithium is indeed essential for li-ion batteries. But so is cobalt, of which 70% is exclusively extracted from the Congo by preteen boys risking their lives without proper equipment. Guess not all black lives matter to Sengupta.

Nor do all excavation sites matter to Sengupta either. She’s worried how open cast mining may foul the Nevadan scrubland. What makes America’s wilderness more inherently worthy of preservation than China’s? Isn’t climate change a global issue? Why does Sengupta write off despoiling Chinese lands to harvest rare minerals? Might there be a hint of MAGA in her dreamy implication?

Sengupta is right about the touchy balance Biden is trying to strike on politics and the planet: “The Biden administration wants to cut planet-warming emissions by encouraging people to buy things like EVs and solar panels, but it also wants people to buy American, not Chinese.” Again, were the earth warming to an apocalyptic degree, America-First concerns would be nugatory. Who cares which country is producing world-saving batteries? The “green-race” matters not if everyone is burning to death.

If the Biden Administration was truly focused on lessening the amount of black plumes puffed into the atmosphere, they wouldn’t be employing a smarmy Clinton fixer as a weather authority. Anybody would be better than the guy who didn’t think to have his candidate visit Wisconsin. The weatherman at the local CBS affiliate in Albuquerque has more meteorological gravitas.

The left’s climate policies rely on a good-faith acceptance of their intentions. Yet after years of failed predictions, unscientific bans, ruined artwork, traffic blocks, and performative stunts, only the most swayable minds take the radical greenies seriously. Walter Block had their number years ago when he foisted on enviro-agitators the fruity appellation “watermelons”: green on the outside, commie red within. Marxists in piupius, in other words.

Now excuse me while I go burn a pile of grass clippings in my backyard. What? Why the askance look? I need a permit? Well I’ll apply for one after Obama sells his oceanfront manor.

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Free the People publishes opinion-based articles from contributing writers. The opinions and ideas expressed do not always reflect the opinions and ideas that Free the People endorses. We believe in free speech, and in providing a platform for open dialog. Feel free to leave a comment!

Taylor Lewis

Taylor Lewis writes from Virginia.

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