Environmental Alarmism?

On the flight back from Montreal (which is a great city BTW) I read a somewhat scary essay in the July/August edition of  Foreign Affairs Magazine titled, “Environmental Alarmism, Then and Now” by Bjorn Lomborg.

The author sought to discredit the Club of Rome report completed 40 years ago that predicted potential environmental collapse due to human activity, but did not bother to cite ANY current Literature on Sustainability.  He described paper recycling as unnecessary because some countries have sustainable forests and that organic farming is “killing tens of thousands of people”.  Because a scientist made an incorrect prediction 40 years ago does not release us from our current situation: we need to change the way the economy functions – its is unsustainably using finite resources. There may be some factual truth to his arguments on some issues, but regardless of some errors in the report or some environmental successes, sustainability needs to be a priority as we look forward. Yes we can extract more resources from the earth, but at what cost?  What are the long run implications of loss of habitat, ecosystem destruction, climate change, aquifer poisoning, fishery destruction, loss of rain forests,…?

I do agree with the author in some of his criticism, I think it can be counterproductive to ONLY have a doomsday scenario scripted.  I believe in people and their ingenuity – if properly harnessed I believe WE can create a sustainable economy in which we all can prosper (and have clean air to breath, clean water to drink, and clean food to eat).  I believe is starts with good policy, politics, and economics.

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