Continued from page 1
Social ecologists proffer same prescriptions but with an anarchistic twist. The hierarchical view of nature - with Man at pinnacle - is a reflection of social relations, they suggest. Dismantle latter - and you get rid of former.
The Ethicists appear to be as confounded and ludicrous as their "feet on ground" opponents.
Biocentrists view nature as possessed of an intrinsic value, regardless of its actual or potential utility. They fail to specify, however, how this, even if true, gives rise to rights and commensurate obligations. Nor was their case aided by their association with apocalyptic or survivalist school of environmentalism which has developed proto-fascist tendencies and is gradually being scientifically debunked.
The proponents of deep ecology radicalize ideas of social ecology ad absurdum and postulate a transcendentalist spiritual connection with inanimate (whatever that may be). In consequence, they refuse to intervene to counter or contain natural processes, including diseases and famine.
The politicization of environmental concerns runs gamut from political activism to eco-terrorism. The environmental movement - whether in academe, in media, in non-governmental organizations, or in legislature - is now comprised of a web of bureaucratic interest groups.
Like all bureaucracies, environmental organizations are out to perpetuate themselves, fight heresy and accumulate political clout and money and perks that come with it. They are no longer a disinterested and objective party. They have a stake in apocalypse. That makes them automatically suspect.
Bjorn Lomborg, author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist", was at receiving end of such self-serving sanctimony. A statistician, he demonstrated that doom and gloom tendered by environmental campaigners, scholars and militants are, at best, dubious and, at worst, outcomes of deliberate manipulation.
The situation is actually improving on many fronts, showed Lomborg: known reserves of fossil fuels and most metals are rising, agricultural production per head is surging, number of famished is declining, biodiversity loss is slowing as do pollution and tropical deforestation. In long run, even in pockets of environmental degradation, in poor and developing countries, rising incomes and attendant drop in birth rates will likely ameliorate situation in long run.
Yet, both camps, optimists and pessimists, rely on partial, irrelevant, or, worse, manipulated data. The multiple authors of "People and Ecosystems", published by World Resources Institute, World Bank and United Nations conclude: "Our knowledge of ecosystems has increased dramatically, but it simply has not kept pace with our ability to alter them."
Quoted by The Economist, Daniel Esty of Yale, leader of an environmental project sponsored by World Economic Forum, exclaimed:
"Why hasn't anyone done careful environmental measurement before? Businessmen always say, ‘what matters gets measured'. Social scientists started quantitative measurement 30 years ago, and even political science turned to hard numbers 15 years ago. Yet look at environmental policy, and data are lousy."
Nor is this dearth of reliable and unequivocal information likely to end soon. Even Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, supported by numerous development agencies and environmental groups, is seriously under-financed. The conspiracy-minded attribute this curious void to self-serving designs of apocalyptic school of environmentalism. Ignorance and fear, they point out, are among fanatic's most useful allies. They also make for good copy.
Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .
Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com