This letter was written as a reply to a comment on the previous letter. My answer…
Thank you Dan Schubart for providing me with an excuse to further the debate.
Dan says exploit the earth AND die…..I say exploit the earth and live. Clearly one of us is wrong and I wonder if it’s only because we attribute different meanings to the same words.
Let’s explore a couple of meanings of terms or concepts we commonly use. The Webster dictionary lists the term ‘exploit as, ‘to utilize, esp. for profit’. Could it perhaps be the term ‘profit that irritates Mr Schubart? The dictionary lists multiple meanings for ‘profit’ but (3) advantage; benefit; gain, describes my meaning of the concept.
A still clearer meaning can be appreciated if we look at ‘profit’s’ antonym, ‘loss’. The meaning of its opposite, ‘loss’ and the concept that give it meaning, ‘value’ clarifies things.
To profit is to gain a value; a loss means its gone. To value our own life requires that we work to sustain our lives. Keep in mind that we are a carbon life-form requiring carbon-based foods to survive.
It’s here that I think Mr Schubart and I part company. He’s accepted today’s most prominent lie, that carbon is harmful to life. This is the lie that is costing us our affluence and, unless exposed for what it is, will send us back to poverty.
The claim of impending global devastation from our use of energy, for burning and liberating previously sequestered sunlight, is disproven by one single clear thought – the earth’s life is locked up in those fossil fuels. Yes, the earth was very habitable for life when the same carbon that built those fuels was in the air.
To get at the truth, we need to remember that those who call themselves experts can also be wrong. If something makes no sense, it probably is nonsense.
The world’s climate is continually changing and has done so forever. Fear of a changing climate should mean fear of holidaying in Hawaii, something few people have. Given that human life now covers the entire world climate spectrum, it bears remembering that it’s possible because we wisely use energy to make life pleasant and possible where nature is inhospitable.
Sure we have a carbon footprint. We just need to be proud and grateful that it happens to be a size 18 boot-print rather than being ashamed of it.
From the arctic wastelands to the scorching deserts to the life-crushing pressures of our deep oceans and the chocking lack of air in space, mankind is comfortable…..because we utilize the products of the earth.
And in that sense, taking advantage of nature means an impeccable adherence to nature’s rules. A seed well planted and well nurtured will bear fruit. A tree, harvested and properly cut will provide shelter. A few holes in the earth, dug in the right place, processed according to nature’s rules, will give us a bridge and the car to drive over it.
In full context, human flourishing today is still limited by the material on this planet, the only source of all the ingredients necessary to sustain life. Our only restriction should be, do so wisely and do no physical harm to other people we share the earth with.
The earth remains man’s only source of the material needed to support life. Take advantage of its bounty (exploit) …or die.