Common Sense Isn’t Common This Election Year
It is an election year so common sense is nowhere to be found. After hearing the speech that a certain presidential candidate delivered to an audience in North Dakota, I was reminded of the position this candidate has taken on topics like carbon emission and climate change. I then felt the need to discuss a few obvious points at their most basic level.
The Earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old. The earliest ancestors to humans started to evolve and separate themselves from prehistoric apes around 6 million years ago. Modern humans evolved about 200,000 years ago, and civilization as we know it has only been around for 6,000 years.
The Earth’s environment has undergone some changes over the billions of years it has been orbiting the sun. Dinosaurs are gone and ice caps are melting. The question I have for this presidential candidate and his supporters is this: have human beings contributed to changing the natural environment of the Earth, and if so, would it not be more beneficial to pursue initiatives that would improve the natural environment rather than destroying it.
This candidate proposed that China created the concept of global warming in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive, so to keep this discussion more objective we will just concentrate on observable effects humans have had on Earth’s environment throughout history.
Humans started farming some 7,000 to 12,000 years ago. Arable farming to grow crops requires some degree of manipulation to native terrain that in most places, would not have occurred naturally or in a timely enough fashion to ensure a sustainable food source to the human population. Farming led to rural societies which replaced native terrain.
Fast forward a few years to The Industrial Revolution when rural societies in Europe and America became industrial and urban. Before The Industrial Revolution, manufacturing of goods took place in private homes on a small scale. Industrialization caused a shift to power driven, special purpose machinery that required the expansion of manufacturing facilities allowing for mass production of goods and increases in standards of living.
This purposeful behavior of human beings to meet the demands of society through innovation and growth creates ecological footprints. An ecological footprint is a measure of human impact on Earth’s ecosystems. It is measured in area of native wilderness or amount of natural capital consumed.
The Earth is obviously a much different place with humans on it that it would be otherwise. Carbon emissions are a direct result of the effect that humans have on the natural environment. To determine whether carbon emissions and unregulated growth initiatives are good or bad, we have to look no further than “The Factory of the World”.
In their supposed plan to make manufacturing in the U.S. obsolete, China is now choking on the emissions of their unregulated growth. They have successfully removed hundreds of millions of people from poverty but it has come at a cost of poisoned air and land. They are now faced with the challenge of cleaning up their environment which will no doubt eat into their economic growth.
After witnessing the environmental aftermath of three decades of unregulated growth in China, why would any presidential candidate run on the premise that defunding the EPA, removing regulation from oil and gas companies and promoting initiatives that keep alternative energy infrastructure costs sky high would be a good long term plan? The better question is, why does this presidential candidate continue to gain support? It is obvious that short term growth trumps long term sustainability.
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