It’s Easy, Not Being Green

Writing yesterday on the copout environmentalists

use to explain their use of massive quantities of fossil fuel products—“We live in the word that we live in, not the world that we’re trying to create”—it became clearer to me just how corrupt their notion of moral responsibility is. Moral responsibility starts with the individual, whose job it is to do the right thing in his own life, and to persuade and enable others to do the right thing. The way an honest person attempts to convince people he cares about to stop doing something he believes is harmful to them, is first to boycott the activity himself, and then to try convincing them with reasons to do the same. In practice, this would mean Bill McKibben and riding bicycles, not airplanes; building and living in wind and solar-powered communities; reducing their fossil fuel use by 80%, not exceeding the average person’s use to attend conferences and protests around the world (credit ruth). It would mean McKibben taking to heart his 1998 description of what it would mean to curtail fossil fuel use by 60%: “Forget your computer, your TV, your stereo, your stove, your dishwasher, your water heater, your microwave, your water pump, your clock . . . your light bulbs, compact fluorescent or not.” (McKibben now recommends an 80% cut.) The reason environmentalists don’t live by their own goals is that they know those goals would cause them enormous suffering. That should be enough of a red flag for the rest of us to keep them away from political power.