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February 12, 2014

In Your Opinion: Can't let fear quash progress

The Daily Star

---- — If I was right last month about the predominant mentality behind environmentalism being one of trying to reduce mankind’s environmental impact to the lowest practical level, I don’t think people put enough thought into just what is involved.

Do we really understand what that goal could mean in actual physical terms, if carried to the fullest extent? I doubt that most have the first clue about just how different their daily lives would be. 

To dissect this subject a bit, if our impact is determined by how many of us there are, then it would follow that there needs to be an ideal number. But just how many would “sustainability” dictate there be? And would that number be safe from the ever-changing political winds? 

Or if simple technological progress is responsible for our extreme impact, then would it be a question of technology slowing, stopping, or even regressing? Imagine even a subconscious fear of certain things being invented and advanced, simply because of an illogical fear of their possible environmental effect. I can’t help but see such a mentality in today’s society. 

Now imagine if the same mindset existed 10 to 17 decades ago. How many years longer would it have taken the electric light, camera, radio, telephone, refrigerator, airplane and automobile to be invented and perfected if there had to be environmental impact studies? Or what about the effects of the invention of paper and the press? If the New York fracking debate is any indication, all those things probably would have taken at least a decade longer to become reality.

In fact, I firmly believe that all the technological advancement humanity has known would have been significantly delayed if we had this current obsession about our environmental impact throughout our entire existence.

Robert Olejarz