environmentalism The view that ‘the environment’ (everything that is not man or manmade, apparently) requires protection, usually via *politics. Although dressed up as a science-based ethic, at the extreme this ‘Green’ *ideology has become a fashionable *religion of sentimentality and technophobia whilst also being extremely *authoritarian and even misanthropic in its political aspirations.
Eliminating all of man’s environmental effects is impossible (without the *genocide or demise of all human beings: the most extreme Green ambition, apparently) as new effects will constantly arise in a dynamic *market, and environmental changes arise from a dynamic nature too. Environmentalists tend to hate the dynamism of both and want to stop, or even reverse, *economic development and possibly *natural change itself (maybe mistaking it as human-caused).
Real human-caused environmental problems are chiefly negative effects for which politics is responsible. *Depoliticizing ‘the environment’ largely solves these problems by making those people who are responsible pay and causing the economizing of *resources (see *economic efficiency). Within a *private-property framework, real environmental problems will continue to be tackled efficiently. However, many of the allegedly serious environmental problems are highly speculative if not entirely bogus, partly because bad news sells news media (see *disaster fascination) and partly because they are merely the *dogmata of environmentalism.
See also *biodiversity, *common property, *ecosystem, *endangered species, *externalities, *future generations, *genetically modified organisms, *global warming, *natural resources, *nuclear power, *ozone layer, *pollution, *population, *precautionary principle, *recycling, *spontaneous orders, *sustainable development, *tragedy of the commons, *tropical rain forests. One book that covers many of these issues, and others besides, is The Ultimate Resource 2, 1998, by Julian Simon (1932-1998). See also The Skeptical Environmentalist, 2001, by Bjorn Lomborg (1965- ).A Dictionary of Libertarianism