I am a pragmatic environmentalist. As an environmentalist I am always on the lookout for how we can make incremental changes to improve the world around us. As a pragmatist, I acknowledge that we need to advance our cause through practical steps that will produce tangible results.
Sadly, the pragmatic environmentalist is very much an endangered species in many parts of the world. Ironically, the biggest threat to pragmatic environmentalists comes not from the business or political sectors but from their more idealistic kin in the environmental movement, a group I call the “noble-cause environmentalists” (NCEs).
We all know the NCEs because they are the activists we see on TV and hear on the radio. They are the ones at the protests, chaining themselves to refinery gates, trees or whatever. They are idealists who see the world in black and white and as good vs. evil with themselves on the side of good, and anyone they disagree with on the side of evil.
As idealists, NCEs tend not to respect pragmatists (often placing us with “team evil”) and are renowned for their unwillingness to compromise. It is that unwillingness to compromise, to accept part of the pie, which is losing the environmental movement its credibility.
Historically, I have been hesitant to call out the NCEs on their misstated claims and faulty arguments. Well, my thoughts on that have changed over the years. I think we need to start calling out the NCEs for what they are a hindrance to our goals of achieving a cleaner tomorrow.
That is exactly what President Donald J. Trump has done by pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord. The U.S. has already been cleaning up its environment through technology since the 1970s.
The environmentalists talk about moving toward a “fossil-fuel free future” oblivious to the fact that not only are we not close to such a future, but such a future is simply not possible given the state of our civilization. We can reduce our fossil fuels for electricity generation, but even then fossil fuels will still make up the lion’s share of our energy mix.
Most people are unconscious to the marvels of science that keep their daily lives moving forward and are essentially unaware of the physics, chemistry and biology that helps them live the lives they love. Yet, they follow along with the climate change agenda based on science without critically thinking it through.
The Paris Climate Accord cannot determine what is best for each country, therefore the U.S. withdraw from the accord is very reasonable and pragmatic to me. The U.S. has been cleaning up its various ecosystems through unique innovative technology ever since it made its own messes. Other countries are already doing that as well. Global governance, like the United Nations, has not stopped warring or genocide, so what makes us think the Paris accord could stop climate changes?