Sunday, March 11, 2012

Baxter Black: Personal sacrifice determines grade of environmentalist effort

“Since when did the term ‘environmentalist’ take on such a negative connotation?” This quote is from a letter to the editor of a major metropolitan newspaper. “Sure,” it continues, “there are extremists who make the evening news, but they are very much the minority.…”
    Maybe the first thing we should do is define “environmentalist.” It was not even listed as a word in my 1961 Webster’s dictionary.
    I found three definitions on the Internet:
1. Advocate for environmentalism
2. One concerned about environmental quality, especially of the human environment with respect to control of pollution
3. A person who protects the natural world from pollution and other threats.
    It seems anyone can call themselves an environmentalist. It just depends on how you define pollution, the natural world and quality. Since the definition is so vague, I suggest we have a means of evaluating one’s EnviroCred. Criteria would be based on personal sacrifice, realistic goals and actual reduction of pollution.
If you give up your job, leave your family and tie yourself to a tree, that might mark you a C+ environmentalist. You get your picture in the paper, but expect someone else to pay for it. Say a person sells his house, takes all his savings and tries to buy the tree to protect it, that would be a B+ environmentalist. Great personal sacrifice, but no guarantee you can force the owner to do something against his will.
    Compare that to someone who already owns the tree and refuses to cut it down. That would be the greatest sacrifice and therefore make the owner an A+ environmentalist.
    It is a matter of putting your money where your mouth is — not the government’s money, but your personal commitment. It’s easy to be generous with somebody else’s money.
    Those of us in agriculture are frequent targets for D-rated enviros who decide loach minnows are endangered. They are willing to sacrifice your land, your property rights, your labor, heritage and income to attain their goal. These enviros are the most despicable...

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