Steven Hayward- Contributor
[Courtesty of Pacific Research
Hayward is Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies for the Pacific
Research Institute. He
is also nationally recognized for his recently released book, The
Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order 1964-1980 (Prima
Publishing, 2001), and Churchill on Leadership: Executive
Success in the Face of Adversity (Prima Publishing, 1997).
[go to Hayward index]
Another Earth Day
Oh, yeah, we're doomed...
[Steven Hayward] 5/11/04
Day has come and gone, and it is not quite clear whether anyone
noticed. Perhaps that’s because we’re
still alive and breathing, contrary to years of dire warnings
that we are running out of time.
A Gallup Poll released just before Earth Day found that the
environment is at its lowest point ever as a salient political
issue. And the topic of global warming, Gallup reported, is putting
people to sleep.
satire magazine The Onion captured the mood better than a poll,
with its own fanciful poll on "How
Are We Celebrating Earth Day?" The answers were: "13%-Cheering
on Dale Earnhart Jr. in the Firestone Earth Day 500; 12%-Thinking
locally; 28%-Staying away from Dad, who goes on a huge drunk
every Earth Day; 9%-Swerving to avoid guy on recumbent bicycle;
and finally, the most accurate, 40%-Saying ‘Huh, no s---’ when
someone tells us it’s Earth Day."
the public is increasingly tuning out the environment is that
is a prime example of Gresham’s Law (bad
money drives out good money) applied to political and social
issues. Too many environmentalists are focused on the wrong things.
to this year’s Earth Day included a breathless
New York Times Magazine cover story with an ominous photo of
a power plant smokestack belching forth a huge cloud of-steam.
Power plant emissions are a receding problem, yet they still
command disproportionate attention from the media and Washington-based
some environmental issues on which we are making little progress,
or that we understand
poorly, such as species extinction.
Yet on Earth Day this year, radio talk shows (I was on several)
and many print media reports were focusing on a nut job who wants
to ban disposable diapers. This kind of trivialization of the
environment ought to drive serious environmentalists out of their
minds; it marginalizes all environmentalists as silly "tree-huggers."
politicized environmentalists have never absorbed the lesson
of the fable
of the little boy who cried "wolf" too
often. In fact, they can’t even cry wolf much longer, as
the northern gray wolf is on its way to being taken off the Endangered
Species List, along with the original charismatic megafauna,
the bald eagle. CRO
2004 Pacific Research Institute