Thongchai Thailand

ENVIRONMENTALISM

Posted on: September 21, 2021

THIS POST IS A CRITICAL STUDY OF ENVIRONMENTALISM THAT BEGINS WITH A LECTURE ON ENVIRONMENTALISM BY GREENPEACE.

LINK TO GREENPEACE: https://www.greenpeace.org/international/story/11658/a-brief-history-of-environmentalism/

PART-1: WHAT THE GREENPEACE ARTICLE SAYS

Awareness of our delicate relationship with our habitat likely arose among early hunter-gatherers when they saw how fire and hunting tools impacted their environment. Anthropologists have found evidence of human-induced animal and plant extinctions from 50,000 BCE, when only about 200,000 Homo sapiens roamed the Earth. We can only speculate about how these early humans reacted, but migrating to new habitats appears to be a common response. Ecological awareness first appears in the human record at least 5,000 years ago. Vedic sages praised the wild forests in their hymns, Taoists urged that human life should reflect nature’s patterns and the Buddha taught compassion for all sentient beings. In the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, we see apprehension about forest destruction and drying marshes. When Gilgamesh cuts down sacred trees, the deities curse Sumer with drought, and Ishtar (mother of the Earth goddess) sends the Bull of Heaven to punish Gilgamesh. In ancient Greek mythology, when the hunter Orion vows to kill all the animals, Gaia objects and creates a great scorpion to kill Orion. When the scorpion fails, Artemis, goddess of the forests and mistress of animals, shoots Orion with an arrow. In North America, Pawnee Eagle Chief, Letakots-Lesa, told anthropologist Natalie Curtis that “Tirawa, the one Above, did not speak directly to humans… he showed himself through the beasts, and from them and from the stars, the sun, and the moon should humans learn.” Some of the earliest human stories contain lessons about the sacredness of wilderness, the importance of restraining our power, and our obligation to care for the natural world. Early environmental response. Five thousand years ago, the Indus civilisation of Mohenjo Darro (an ancient city in modern-day Pakistan), were already recognising the effects of pollution on human health and practiced waste management and sanitation. In Greece, as deforestation led to soil erosion, the philosopher Plato lamented, “All the richer and softer parts have fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the land remains.” Communities in China, India, and Peru understood the impact of soil erosion and prevented it by creating terraces, crop rotation, and nutrient recycling. The Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galen began to observe environmental health problems such as acid contamination in copper miners. Hippocrates’ book, De aëre, aquis et locis (Air, Waters, and Places), is the earliest surviving European work on human ecology. Advancing agriculture boosted human populations but also caused soil erosion and attracted insect infestations that led to severe famines between 200 and 1200 CE. In 1306, the English king Edward I limited coal burning in London due to smog. In the 17th century, the naturalist and gardener John Evelyn wrote that London resembled “the suburbs of Hell.” These events inspired the first ‘renewable’ energy boom in Europe, as governments started to subsidise water and wind power. In the 16th century, the Dutch artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder painted scenes of raw sewage and other pollution emptying into rivers, and Dutch lawyer Hugo Grotius wrote The Free Sea, claiming that pollution and war violate natural law. Environmental rights Perhaps the first real environmental activists were the Bishnoi Hindus of Khejarli, who were slaughtered by the Maharaja of Jodhpur in 1720 for attempting to protect the forest that he felled to build himself a palace. The 18th century witnessed the dawn of modern environmental rights. After a yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin petitioned to manage waste and to remove tanneries for clean air as a public “right” (albeit, on land stolen from Indigenous nations). Later, American artist George Catlin proposed that Indigenous land be protected as a “natural right”. At the same time in Britain, Jeremy Benthu, wrote An Introduction to Principles of Morals and Legislation which argued for animal rights. Thomas Malthus wrote his famous essay warning that human overpopulation would lead to ecological destruction. Knowledge of global warming began 200 years ago, when Jean Baptiste Fourier calculated that the Earth’s atmosphere trapped heat like a greenhouse. Then, in 1835, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote Nature, encouraging us to appreciate the natural world for its own sake and proposing a limit on human expansion into the wilderness. American Botanist William Bartram and ornithologist James Audubon dedicated themselves to the conservation of wildlife. Henry David Thoreau wrote his seminal ecological treatise, Walden, which has since inspired generations of environmentalists. Hiking Tour through the Spessart Mountains © Andreas Varnhorn / Greenpeace Hikers on a tour in the Spessart Mountains. Trees with first leaves, deadwood with moss. © Andreas Varnhorn / Greenpeace A few decades later, George Perkins Marsh wrote Man and Nature, denouncing humanity’s indiscriminate “warfare” upon wilderness, warning of climate change, and insisting that “The world cannot afford to wait” – a plea we still hear today. At the end of the 19th century, in Jena, Germany, zoologist Ernst Haeckel wrote Generelle Morphologie der Organismen in which he discussed the relationships among species and coined the word ‘ökologie’ (from the Greek oikos, meaning home), the science we now know as ecology.

In the early 20th century, the chemist Alice Hamilton led a campaign against lead poisoning from leaded gasoline, accusing General Motors of willful murder. The corporation attacked Hamilton, and it took governments 50 years to ban leaded gasoline. Meanwhile, industrial smog choked major world cities. In 1952, 4,000 people died in London’s infamous killer fog, and four years later the British Parliament passed the first Clean Air Act. Ecology grew into a full-fledged, global movement with the development of nuclear weapons. Albert Einstein, who felt morally troubled by his contribution to the nuclear bomb, drafted an anti-nuclear manifesto in 1955 with British philosopher Bertrand Russell, signed by ten Nobel Prize winners. The letter inspired the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, in the UK – a model for modern, non-violent civil disobedience. In 1958, the Quaker Committee for Non-Violent Action launched two boats – the Golden Rule and Phoenix – into US nuclear test sites, a direct inspiration for Greenpeace a decade later. Rachel Carson brought the environmental movement into focus with the 1962 publication of Silent Spring, describing the impact of chemical pesticides on biodiversity. “For the first time in the history of the world,” she wrote, “every human being is now subjected to contact with dangerous chemicals.” Shortly before her death she expressed the emerging ecological ethic in a magazine essay: “It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the Earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility.” The ecology symbol designed by comic artist Ron Cobb The ecology symbol designed by comic artist Ron Cobb Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss cited Silent Spring as a key influence for his concept of ‘Deep Ecology’ – ecological awareness that goes beyond the logic of biological systems to a deep, personal experience of the self as an integrated part of nature. In The Subversive Science, Paul Shepard described ecology as a “primordial axiom,” revealed in ancient cultures, which should guide all human social constructions. Ecology was “subversive” to Shepard because it supplanted human exceptionalism with interdependence. In India, villagers in Gopeshwar, Uttarakhand, inspired by Gandhi and the 18th century Bishnoi Hindus, defended the forest against commercial logging by encircling and embracing trees. Their movement spread across northern India, known as Chipko (“to embrace”) – the original tree-huggers. In 1968, the American writer Cliff Humphrey founded Ecology Action. One media stunt involved Humphrey gathering 60 people in Berkeley, California, to smash his 1958 Dodge Rambler into the street, declaring, “these things pollute the earth.” Prophetically, Humphrey told Greenpeace co-founder Bob Hunter, “This thing has just begun.” A year later, inspired by the writings of Carson, Shepard, and Naess, and by the actions of Chipko and Ecology Action, a group of Canadian and American activists set out to merge peace with ecology, and Greenpeace was born. Co-founder Ben Metcalfe commissioned 12 billboard signs around Vancouver that read: It’s hard to imagine now, but in 1969, most people did have to look it up. Ecology was still not a household word, although it soon would be. Crew of the Greenpeace – Voyage Documentation (Vancouver to Amchitka: 1971) © Greenpeace / Robert Keziere The aim of the trip was to halt nuclear tests in Amchitka Island by sailing into the restricted area. Crew on-board the ship, are the pioneers of the green movement who formed the original group that became Greenpeace. © Greenpeace / Robert Keziere In 1977, after two anti-nuclear bomb campaigns and confrontations with Soviet whalers and Norwegian sealers, Greenpeace purchased a retired trawler in London and renamed it the Rainbow Warrior, after a indigenous legend from Canada. The Cree story (recounted in Warriors of the Rainbow, by William Willoya and Vinson Brown) tells of a time when the land, rivers, and air are poisoned, and a group of people from all nations of the world band together to save the Earth. Nearly a half-century after the foundation of Greenpeace, the global ecology movement has reached every corner of the world, with thousands of groups springing up to defend the environment. Meanwhile, the challenges facing us grow ever more daunting. The next half-century will test whether or not humanity can respond to the challenge.

PART-2: CRITICAL COMMENTARY

  1. CLAIM: Anthropologists have found evidence of human-induced animal and plant extinctions from 50,000 BCE, when only about 200,000 Homo sapiens roamed the Earth. RESPONSE: There are of course large uncertainties in data of this nature but the standard theory of the first human caused extinction is the Dodo bird 400 years ago.
  2. CLAIM: Fire and hunting tools impacted the environment. RESPONSE: Fire was used to make hunting tools by paleolithic humans in their caves. The environmental impact cannot be compared with natural wildfires. If fire caused extinctions or environmental impact, paleolithic humans cannot be compared with nature in that context.
  3. CLAIM: Ancient Indian Vedas and Buddhism provide evidence of early environmentalism. RESPONSE: These religious details of ancient Indians concerned about their re-incarnation status cannot be described as environmentalism any more than the practice of the Jains of not killing any living thing. Religion is not environmentalism and that assessment also applies to the Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem of a religion. Environmentalism may be a religion but religious scripture of traditional religions cannot be described as environmentalism
  4. CLAIM: In ancient Greek mythology, when the hunter Orion vows to kill all the animals, Gaia objects and creates a great scorpion to kill Orion. When the scorpion fails, Artemis, goddess of the forests and mistress of animals, shoots Orion with an arrow. In North America, Pawnee Eagle Chief, Letakots-Lesa, told anthropologist Natalie Curtis that “Tirawa, the one Above, did not speak directly to humans… he showed himself through the beasts, and from them and from the stars, the sun, and the moon should humans learn.” Some of the earliest human stories contain lessons about the sacredness of wilderness, the importance of restraining our power, and our obligation to care for the natural world. RESPONSE: As in the case of religion, so in this case, ancient mythology cannot be understood as eco wacko values and action. There is no recorded eco wacko actions of these ancients who happened to have a mythology that can be interpreted by modern eco wackos as an eco wacko value system.
  5. CLAIM: In North America, Pawnee Eagle Chief, Letakots-Lesa, told anthropologist Natalie Curtis that “Tirawa, the one Above, did not speak directly to humans… he showed himself through the beasts, and from them and from the stars, the sun, and the moon should humans learn.” Some of the earliest human stories contain lessons about the sacredness of wilderness, the importance of restraining our power, and our obligation to care for the natural world. RESPONSE: As in religion, that modern eco wacko activists can interpret the mythology of the ancients in terms of their eco wacko value system reveals only that the primitive societies can be interpreted in terms of eco wacko by eco wacko activists but not that these people had envronmental ideals and priorities that had given them an eco wacko lifestyle and an eco wacko relationship with nature.
  6. MORE OF THESE: Five thousand years ago, the Indus civilisation of Mohenjo Darro (an ancient city in modern-day Pakistan), were already recognising the effects of pollution on human health and practiced waste management and sanitation. In Greece, as deforestation led to soil erosion, the philosopher Plato lamented, “All the richer and softer parts have fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the land remains.” Communities in China, India, and Peru understood the impact of soil erosion and prevented it by creating terraces, crop rotation, and nutrient recycling. The Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galen began to observe environmental health problems such as acid contamination in copper miners. Hippocrates’ book, De aëre, aquis et locis (Air, Waters, and Places), is the earliest surviving European work on human ecology. Advancing agriculture boosted human populations but also caused soil erosion and attracted insect infestations that led to severe famines between 200 and 1200 CE. In 1306
  7. COAL BURNING IN THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: That during the Industrial revolution an English King ordered reductions in coal burning for the sake of air quality for the humans does make sense but it is not an eco wacko action in which humans are in charge of taking care of nature.
A Brief History of Environmentalism - Greenpeace International

SUMMARY OF ANCIENT ECO WACKOISM: That ancients had primitive lifestyles and belief systems about how the world works and about their role in it tells us nothing other than the primitive state of primitive people and it certainly does not imply that modern humans today must imitate these primitive people.

The primitive beliefs and practices of the ancients have no relevance to the eco wacko activism issue of our time where the human ego has decided that humans are not just another species of mammals and not a part of nature but that they are a God-like life form external to nature with the God-like duty of taking care of nature.

This assumption by the humans that first appeared in the West where there is a Biblical tradition, surely derives from Genesis in the Bible that explicitly assigns humans the job as the masters and operaters of nature by way of the “DOMINION” given to the humans by God himself.

As explained in a related post: LINK: https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/11/15/the-bambi-principle/ , The combination of Genesis and the Bambi image of what nature looks like, what it is, and how it relates to humans, has completely corrupted our true place in nature and made us into god-like managers and caretakers of nature. This Bambi image of nature and our Genesis role of Dominion over nature has corrupted our view of the world, of nature, of life on earth, and of our role in it so much so that what we find is that even the Pope is on Youtube spouting eco wacko nonsense as seen in this related post: LINK: https://tambonthongchai.com/2021/02/15/divine-environmentalism/

Download "Laudato Si" | Pope Francis' Encyclical on Environment and Climate  Change

Some examples of the Pope’s eco wacko vision of nature with my response in red.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

HOWEVER, THE SECOND HALF OF THE GREENPEACE TEXT ABOVE THAT APPEARS IN A DIFFERENT COLOR DOES DESCRIBE THE REAL ENVIRONMENTALISM OF THE SIXTIES IN THE USA WHEN A HIPPIE MOVEMNT AGAINST SMOG AND AIR POLLUTION TURNED INTO A MOVEMENT AGAINST FOSSIL FUELS AND AGAINST THE DISREGARD FOR THE IMPACT OF INDUSTRY IN THE POST WAR ECONOMIC BOOM ON AIR AND WATER QUALITY AND ON THE HEALTH AND QUALITY OF LIFE OF THE CITIZENS. THIS MOVEMENT IS ONE IN WHICH THIS BLOGGER PARTICIPATED AND IT IS DESCRIBED IN A RELATED POST ON THIS SITE:

LINK https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/03/30/the-humans-must-save-the-planet/ WHERE WE FIND:

The rapid industrial and economic growth in the post-war era progressed mostly without adequate safeguards against environmental degradation. This situation became sensationalized through a series of high profile events that captured public attention. The wanton use of pesticides such as DDT was blamed for killing butterflies and birds (Carson, 1962). The explosive growth in automobile ownership shrouded large cities like Los Angeles and New York in smog (Gardner, 2014) (Haagen-Smit, 1952) (Hanst, 1967). The widespread dumping of industrial waste into lakes and rivers was highlighted by events such as the fire in the Cuyahoga River (Marris, 2011) (Goldberg, 1979). The hippie counter-culture movement of the 1960s rejected many conventional values and in particular, the assumed primacy of technological advancement and industrial growth. It opposed the unrestricted use of pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, food additives, fertilizers, and other synthetic chemicals. It fought against the release of industrial waste into the atmosphere and into waterways, the harvesting of old growth forests for the wood and paper industries, and the inadequacy of public transit that if expanded could limit the number of automobiles in big cities and the air pollution they cause (Rome, 2003) (Zelko, 2013).(3): This environmental movement was the driving force behind the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the USA which was given the laws, the ways, the means, and the power to act quickly and decisively to clean up the air and water(Ruckelshaus, 1984). In Canada, a Ministry of Environment was created with the same mandate. The EPA cleaned up the air and the water in the USA with strictly enforced new laws and procedures that limited the concentration of harmful chemicals in all industrial effluents and also required all new enterprises to obtain the approval of the EPA of their environmental impact before they could proceed. The remarkable success of the EPA made it a model for environmental law and environmental protection in countries around the world (Ruckelshaus, 1984) (Andreen, 2004) (Dolin, 2008). This development was the esssence of environmentalism in its true sense but the enthusiasm that it created and the power of activism that it revealed led to its corruption by what is called the Bambi Principle described in a related post.

THE EXTENSION OF ENVIRONMENTALISM TO THE BAMBI PRINCIPLE

Environmentalism in its conceptual sense is the idea that humans should take care of the environment (surroundings) for their own good such that human life, health, and security are enhanced. This idea is contained in the hippie wisdom that if you shit in bed you will sleep in shit. At some point, the enthusiasm of environmentalism became separated from this fundamental reality and the conceptual underpinnings of environmentalism were arbitrarily extended in a spirit of emotional enthusiasm into what we can call the “The Bambi Principle” discussed in a related post linked above in which the concept of environmentalism became corrupted first by separating humans from nature and second with a role for humans as caretakers of nature.

It meant that humans must take care not only of their environment (surroundings) but of nature itself such that humans now saw themselves as caretakers of nature. This is the corruption of environmentalism that has rendered it into a Biblical expression of Genesis. It is thus that the environmentalism that started out fighting pollution to enhance human welfare became corrupted by Genesis and Bambi into changing their self image from being part of nature to being the lords and caretakers of nature.

HERE WE ARGUE THAT GENESIS SHOULD BE UNDERSTOOD ONLY AS RELIGION AND NOT AS ENVIRONMENTALISM. HUMANS ARE PART OF NATURE AND NOT THE MANAGERS AND CARETAKERS OF NATURE.

GENESIS AND BAMBI HAVE CORRUPTED ENVIRONMENTALISM.

hippie5

THE CONFUSION AND FRUSTRATION OF STUDENTS BEING TAUGHT THIS NONSENSE AT HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE ARE EASY TO SEE IN THE KINDS OF QUESTIONS THEY ASK ONLINE AT THE QUORA SITE WHERE MANY OF THESE QUESTIONS ARE REFLECTIONS OF THEIR DIFFICULTY WITH ASSIGNMENTS: LINK: Quorahttps://www.quora.com

HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES

  1. WHY ARE ENZYMES IMPORTANT TO THE ENVIRONMENT?
  2. WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE?
  3. WHAT ARE SOME OBJECTS ON OUR EVERYDAY LIFE THAT ARE A CATASTROPHE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?
  4. WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP THE ENVIRONMENT?
  5. ROCKS ARE ALL AROUND US. IT IS USED FOR BUILDING MATERIALS, CARS, ROADS, AND APPLIANCES. HOW CAN YOU PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN UTILIZING THESE RESOURCES?
  6. HOW DOES OVERPOPULATION OF HUMANS THREATEN THE ENVIRONMENT?
  7. HOW DOES GLOBALIZATION THREATEN THE ENVIRONMENT?
  8. HOW DOES ESS CONTRIBUTE TO MAKING EARTH SUSTAINABLE?
  9. HOW HAS MAN CONQUERED THE ENVIRONMENT INSTEAD OF ADAPTING TO IT?
  10. HOW CAN YOU BE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY?
  11. WHY IS ECO INNOVATION THE NEED OF TODAY? HOW CAN WE ADOPT IT?
  12. WHY DO WE NEED TO PROTECT THE AMAZON RAINFOREST TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT?
  13. WHY ARE WINNIE THE POOH AND FRIENDS LIKE THE ORGANISMS IN THE ECO SYSTEM?
  14. WHY IS WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SO IMPORTANT?
  15. DO YOU THINK THAT ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES WILL BE SO CONTENTIOUS THAT IT WILL CREATE STRAINED DIPLOMATIC RELATIONSHIPS AMONG NATIONS AND LEAD TO WAR AGAINST NON COMPLIANT NATIONS?
  16. HOW MUCH POPULATION CAN THE EARTH SUSTAIN AND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THERE ARE TOO MANY?
  17. WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF STUDYING PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY TO UNDERSTAND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES?
  18. WHAT IS THE ISSUE OF ECO ENVIRONMENTAL WATER DEMAND IN THE RIVER? WHAT ARE THE METHODS FOR DETERMINING THE ECO ENVIRONMENTAL WATER DEMAND IN THE RIVER? WHY IS THAT IMPORTANT FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?
  19. WHAT IS YOUR PRINCIPLE TOWARDS THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT?
  20. WHAT INDUSTRIES SHOULD HUMANITY COMPLETELY ELIMINATE TO PRESERVE THE ENVIRONMENT?
  21. WHAT SHOULD BE DONE TO DEAL WITH THE HARMFUL EFFECT OF HUMAN ENGAGEMENT WITH THE ENVIRONMENT?
Quotes about Environmentalist (99 quotes)
Ecoscam: The False Prophets of Ecological Apocalypse: Bailey, Ronald:  9780312109714: Amazon.com: Books

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  • chaamjamal: Very interesting assessment. Thank you very much. I'll read it again after golf.
  • chaamjamal: Good point. Thank you.
  • cédric cabrol: The effect of low level clouds could not be more obvious. But, it has not always been, since their number will initially have increased at first. Bu
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