Global Warming. The Green Movement. Environmental Activism... To a lot of people it seems like just an excuse to push socialist agendas and/or sell stuff.
And a lot of people are right. It is a ploy being used to push socialist agendas and sell stuff.
Unfortunately, the fact that socialists and hucksters are capitalizing on the environmental damage doesn't mean it isn't real. Only that their solutions are usually BS.
It's true that climate change has been going on since long before human industry came along, and we don't know exactly to what extent mankind's actions are effecting the system. But burning 85 million barrels of oil and about 20 million tons of coal every day and pumping the resultant pollution into the atmosphere might just be contributing to the situation a little bit, don't you think?
But let's put aside the global stuff for a moment and consider the environment on a more directly observable level.
The countryside is another kind of resource, so vast that we tend not to recognize that it is finite. (Sorta' like oil.) For over a century, we've been expanding suburbia ever-outward. Bulldozing all the old farms, pastures, woods, and country lanes to stack cookie-cutter McMansions, strip malls, and highways where they used to be.
Suburban build-out, and the concentration of agriculture onto industrial farms, have trashed the environment in a way that you don't have to imagine in a world-wide or multi-millennia way. I've only been in this part of Dixie for less than a quarter century, and have seen so very many miles of quiet country consumed by suburbia. Creeks that used to be favorite fishing spots are now virtual sewers.
Legendary Southern Sportsman Franc White says
the cleanest place to fish in the Carolinas is the septic tank...
But the lid is stuck.
Even now, with the housing bubble busted, developers, bankers, and politicians are looking out over the few remaining meadows, barns, and farmhouses, trying desperately to think of some way to get the bulldozers going again.
Now, I agree with George Carlin that it's a high order of hubris for mankind to be worried about "saving the planet"...
Mother Nature can take care of herself. But, since she's in no particular rush to clean up our messes, we're going to have to live with them for a while.
Driving a Prius, sticking a couple of solar panels on your roof, and putting a little Victory Garden in your back yard aren't isn't going to make a difference at this point.
"And by the way, driving a Prius does not make you Jesus Christ!"
With the topsoil bulldozed away, flood plains and water table altered by paving and clear cutting, there's not going to be any timely reclaiming of the suburbs for localized agriculture.
Most of the talk about "green construction", "clean energy", and "sustainable development" is plain old snake-oil. With nearly seven billion people to support, there's no way to cut pollution enough to matter without making radical changes in the way people live in the First World, which would pretty much eliminate the "table scraps" the Third World depends upon for meager survival now. The human race has painted itself into a corner on this one.