Carpe Diem

More reading to observe the green ‘holy day’ – Earth Day

On Earth Day in 2010, Paul Rubin, economics professor at Emory University, wrote an article in the WSJ titled “Environmentalism as Religion: While people have worshipped many things, we may be the first to build shrines to garbage,” here’s an excerpt:

Consider some of the ways in which environmental behaviors echo religious behaviors and thus provide meaningful rituals for Greens:

• There is a holy day—Earth Day.

• There are food taboos. Instead of eating fish on Friday, or avoiding pork, Greens now eat organic foods and many are moving towards eating only locally grown foods.

• There is no prayer, but there are self-sacrificing rituals that are not particularly useful, such as recycling. Recycling paper to save trees, for example, makes no sense since the effect will be to reduce the number of trees planted in the long run.

• Belief systems are embraced with no logical basis. For example, environmentalists almost universally believe in the dangers of global warming but also reject the best solution to the problem, which is nuclear power. These two beliefs co-exist based on faith, not reason.

• There are no temples, but there are sacred structures. As I walk around the Emory campus, I am continually confronted with recycling bins, and instead of one trash can I am faced with several for different sorts of trash. Universities are centers of the environmental religion, and such structures are increasingly common. While people have worshipped many things, we may be the first to build shrines to garbage.

• Environmentalism is a proselytizing religion. Skeptics are not merely people unconvinced by the evidence: They are treated as evil sinners. I probably would not write this article if I did not have tenure.

Some conservatives spend their time criticizing the way Darwin is taught in schools. This is pointless and probably counterproductive. These same efforts should be spent on making sure that the schools only teach those aspects of environmentalism that pass rigorous scientific testing. By making the point that Greenism is a religion, perhaps we environmental skeptics can enlist the First Amendment on our side.

12 thoughts on “More reading to observe the green ‘holy day’ – Earth Day

  1. It is just part of a human’s nature to need to believe in something that transcends yourself and gives meaning to your life. If not God, then Gaia.

    • This is a sad truth. Humanity is so stupid that it must seek invisible magical creatures to give its existence meaning. Thank goodness for the critical few or we’d be in real trouble.

      • Or, magical parallel universes:

        “He closed by outlining “M-theory” … Hawking sees that theory as the only big idea that really explains what he has observed. M-theory posits that multiple universes are created out of nothing, Hawking explained, with many possible histories and many possible states of existence. In only a few of these states would life be possible, and in fewer still could something like humanity exist. Hawking mentioned that he felt fortunate to be living in this state of existence.” — NBC News

        Just don’t call it religion.

  2. “Greens now eat organic foods and many are moving towards eating only locally grown foods.”

    Particularly hilarious since organic farming requires more land and thus more deforestation (and STILL uses pesticides) and the locally grown foods can be both worse for the environment and the poor.

    “While people have worshipped many things, we may be the first to build shrines to garbage.”

    Outside of the topic of recycling (and no offense to the blog host, a minority in the academy), isn’t that what universities have become?

    • While people have worshipped many things, we may be the first to build shrines to garbage.

      I’m not so sure. Those pre-Columbian mounds found throughout the Eastern US Look suspiciously like landfills to me.

    • Hmmm, I don’t know what its like now but back in the sixties, seventies, and eighties much of the 3rd world was reduced to using organic farming methods…

      The job that really sucked was being the night soil carrier…

  3. I’ve made a similar point a handful of times before, that for all the left’s claims of believing in science, they’ve recreated a prince and priesthood with their religious belief in big government. They would simply institute a blessed philosopher-prince, Obama- when he starts foreign wars or bombs people to death with drones, it’s okay, because he’s your pope- supported by his academic priesthood, Geithner, Summers, Romer, etc. The environmentalists are just a particularly annoying cult in this larger religion, say the Jehovah’s Witnesses of the big government religion. ;)

    As Sam and Methinks say, it probably comes from a deep human need to be part of a movement or entity much larger than oneself, which can provide some guidance for what you should do in your life. So many of the big govt faith claim to be irreligious, yet they have simply replaced the subject of their faith. I think it probably comes from the fact that almost all of us are raised by two god-like beings from birth, our parents, and it’s tough for many to leave that mindset when they become adults and leave their parents’ home, so they look for replacements. There are many religions that are glad to offer their priest, whether Dolan or Obama, to boss you around for the rest of your life.

    How else do you explain something like the recent Barney Frank incident, where he believes so strongly in big government that he feels compelled to raise the issue of tax cuts after the bombing at the Boston marathon?

    • How else do you explain something like the recent Barney Frank incident, where he believes so strongly in big government that he feels compelled to raise the issue of tax cuts after the bombing at the Boston marathon?

      ““You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste.”

    • “…deep human need to be part of a movement”

      I’ve had some rather Gross-looking movements lately. The doctor says I should cut back on the fiber.

      • I’ve had some rather Gross-looking movements lately.

        And did you want to become part of them? No? This is why we’re friends. So many people see a shitfest and rush to join so they can be part of something stinkier than themselves.

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