Environmental White Knights Not So White

From over in Olean, a great "guest viewpoint" in the Times Herald—the kind that makes you say, "Wish I'd written that."

By Peter Jermann
Two generations ago the discovery of retrievable gas from the Marcellus Shale would have been greeted with, “It’s there, we need it, let’s get it.”
Today, after two generations of the environmental movement, the response is, “It’s there, you don’t need it, it will hurt the earth.”
In the mid-20th century the lords of industry reigned as the only team on the playing field. Today, environmentalism has become a full-fledged belief system and has largely won the public relations war. The environmental movement now plays on the field from a dominant position as the white knights opposed to the now dark lords of industry.
But how white are the knights?
The current environmental movement fixates on improvements that are immeasurable, intangible, and unaffordable. Where earlier gains in environmental protection tangibly cleaned up dirty rivers, dirty lakes and dirty air, it now fights against remote possibilities, against threats not actually visible but hiding behind every stone and every tree in our future landscape.
For these “improvements” it will sacrifice jobs that measurably improve many lives. It will sacrifice cheap energy that cooks our food, heats our homes, drives us to work and even pumps the water whose purity it holds supreme. And it will sacrifice public funds on schemes that would never see the light of day if people were asked to invest their own personal resources.
A movement that was both necessary and highly successful has become the reformer who can’t stop reforming. It has become the mother who can’t see the goodness in her own children, but only the few faults, no matter how small, that still remain. A movement that began with rivers afire and moon views dyed brown by smothering smog has become a movement of hubris dictating the perfect climate and the perfect earth....