It is not too difficult to come down on the side of those who want to live in the real one—while still giving credit where credit is due for the environmentalist’s push that results in clean air and clean water—and this article from Spiked lays out the options.
“Everyone, it seems, is disappointed with the Copenhagen Deal drawn up by world leaders, with its promise of more money to tackle climate change and its commitment to stop the planet from warming by more than two degrees. But never mind all that. As spiked kicks off a major online debate about the future of the planet and humanity post-Copenhagen, here is our Alternative Copenhagen Deal.
“From Genesis to the Enlightenment, mankind was seen as the master of the planet. We have ‘dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and every other living thing that moves on the Earth’, said the Bible. Let’s put ‘nature on the rack’ and ‘extract her secrets’, said Enlightenment thinkers. Now we’re described as a malignant tumour, a ‘serious planetary malady’, in the words of one leading green, and our achievements – industry, cities, skyscrapers – are disparaged as the ‘human footprint’. The goal of environmentalism is to shrink this ‘footprint’, speaking to a view of humans as ultimately destructive and of our breakthroughs as gigantic follies that must be decommissioned. No way. We have not poisoned the planet; we have humanised it. And far from being shrunk, our ‘footprint’ – our 5,000-year project of taming and transforming this wild ball of gas and water – must be expanded further.
“Every human activity is now judged according to how much carbon it emits. Flying, working, eating, development and even reproducing – people’s decision to create new human life – are measured in ‘tonnes of CO2 emitted’. A baby is another 10 tonnes of carbon a year, we’re told; more fridges in China will add too much CO2 to the atmosphere, it is claimed. But human activity is not reducible to the number of toxins it allegedly creates. The carbon judgment on our daily activities has replaced God’s judgement – except where the God squad at least distinguished between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ activities, under the morality-lite, toxins-obsessed tyranny of original carbon sin, everything is potentially harmful. Stop carbon-calculating our lives, and let us celebrate people’s activities in human terms, recognising them as good, creative, explorative, industrious, or simply as making people happy.
“Creating plenty – plenty of food, homes and things – was the overarching aim of most human societies. From the toiling Israelites’ vision of a ‘land of milk and honey’ to Socialists such as Sylvia Pankhurst’s dream of ‘a great production that will supply more than all the people can consume’, we recognised that plenty would make us more comfortable and more free, allowing us to spend less time toiling and more time talking, thinking, experimenting, living. Yet in the eco-era, thinkers demonise ‘plenty’ and celebrate ‘enoughism’, to use one green writer’s word: but whose idea of ‘enough’?
“Economic growth is denounced as polluting, and people’s desire for wealth is redefined as a mental illness: ‘affluenza’. The sin of gluttony has been rehabilitated in pseudo-scientific terms. We should insist that ‘growth is good’ – in fact, it’s essential if we are to satisfy people’s needs, and liberate their time and their minds so that they can realise their desires.”