Religion and the Environmental Tales of Woe

I may now safely add the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to the list of mythic environmental disasters that don’t actually exist. Reports are now available denying the existence of his mythic monster. Oh, make no mistake; there is plastic that finds its way in to the ocean and because of the unique characteristics of plastic, remains in the water far longer than a piece of wood. But a huge garbage patch in the Pacific twice the size of Texas? No, that isn’t real even though it has been repeating in the press so many times that it assumes the properties of real. It motivates people. It spawns legislation. And, it continues the work where religion left off painting humans as malevolent and evil because of their insatiable appetites. Thousands of ships and sailors have passed though those waters and they do not report a mass of plastic that goes over the horizon. Most of the plastic that might be out there is on the bottom of the ocean anyway. Is plastic in the ocean a problem? Yes, because fish eat it and it works its way up the food chain. Plastic lasts a long time and we need a biodegradable plastic as well as strong protocols on garbage collection. But is it a plastic monster swirling around and menacing all who come near? No, of course not.

Oceana weighs in:

This disappearing disaster is part of a long line of fake crisis which is another reason why I know it’s not real.

Consider another perennial of the media degradation porn regarding the Amazon rain forests. These forests, we are told, are the ‘lungs of the planet’ and the term is used so often that I suspect there are people, kids mostly, that think the planet actually has lungs. There is mass gas exchange in rain forests, but that doesn’t constitute lungs. Over at, they claim that 1.5 acres of rain forest is lost every second. That would be 5,400 acres per hour, 129,600 per 24 hours for a whopping 47,300,000 acres per year. At that rate, 100% of the rain forest should have been gone long ago. Ditto with the claims of species loss; 50,000 per year. Care for some statistics on indigenous peoples? It is claimed that there were 10 million ‘Indians’ living there five centuries ago and only 200,000 now. There are no notes on how these numbers are derived, but lots of notes on the cause of the disaster; cattle ranching and logging. One wonders if this ranching and logging might be carried out by Indians. – read for yourself

Whales have been the subject of many degradation porn reports over the decades. The International Whaling Commission reports on how difficult it is to even survey the whale population since they live in remote regions and spend a portion of their lives in the deep oceans. They also live a long time. Whales were hunted and eventually overhunted after a century of expeditions, mostly for the oil in their tissues. The people responsible for their commercial exploitation began to set limits on their capture and as a result, the commission reports that some stock of whales has recovered to pre-whaling days and others are still rare. Those that haven’t recovered die in nets and boat strikes but not whale hunts. And yet, we’ve been told for decades that the whales were in their final years. Further, the best thing that ever happened to whales was drilling for oil, which brought forth an abundance of oil that wasn’t from dead whales. Will the disaster porn people ever point that out? Again, of course not.

Status of whales:

What about the Great Barrier Reef? This was another asset that was subject to panic porn about massive destruction on a biblical scale. The Australian government agency, called The Great Barrier Reef Park Authority, has plenty of statistics about the area , including size estimates. The reef is about half the size of Texas. If you don’t know how big Texas is, the reef is about the size of the UK and Holland combined. It is also a massive site for tourism and the Reef Park Authority reports that the tourists are flocking to the reef and it is fine. The authority indicates massive instances of coral bleaching, which are natural, as are recoveries. Warmer water is affecting the system, but not to the degrees so often reported. CBS News, an American reporting agency, says that so much damage has occurred as a result of global warming that the reef “may never recover.” Precious “baby coral” has declined by 89%, they report. “Deadly back-to-back bleaching events devastated the reef” CBS reported in 2019. Everything wrong with environmental reporting is in evidence here including the liberal use of the word baby and young, oddly specific statistics meant to convey certainty, like 89% rather than 90% and describing natural events using language normally associated with human feelings, such as “devastated.” Can a coral reef be devastated? 

This is what the Reef Park Authority says:

Let us not forget about a great disaster of years past known as acid rain. What is acid rain, you ask? Well, it would seem clear enough; it’s acid raining from the sky and dissolving or burning everything it falls on. Except that isn’t what it is; it is rain that has been made slightly acidic (also meaning low pH) because of elevated level of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide in the air. The water vapor mixes with the chemicals as it’s coming down. These two chemicals can be released in to the air by industrial plants that burn various fuels, but they can also be naturally occurring and come from sources such as volcanoes. The problem with rain that has picked up these chemicals is not that it destroys the forest, which is, of course, what was reported. The problem is that it slightly alters the soil where it falls and this inhibits forest growth. Acid rain was a great term to induce panic and lead stories peddling disaster porn, but the problem has been mitigated in a number of ways and so, the disaster never occurred. Was this reported? Of course not.

The Irish Times has more on the story:

One could go on a long time refuting the hyperbole of this kind of reporting. Baby seals, polar bears, glaciers, and numerous tiny fish has all been the subject of weepy pieces of reporting that struck again and again at the same theme but were rarely true pictures of the situation. Nuclear meltdowns and lots of stories about the “devastating effects” of this or that storm is just a normal day in the press. The theme that humans are destroying the natural world via economic activity and ‘greed’ is the theme of every one of these essays. These underlying themes are why I label them for what they are; religious reports. That the natural world is despoiled by greedy rapacious sinful man is a religious story about man’s nature. But, of course, it is masquerading as science.

Because bad humans are the problem, then too many humans is the real problem and that is what was reported by Paul Erlich and his wife. This couple is one of the world’s most bumbling duos of scientists. The Population Bomb was a book they wrote that was published in 1968 and it predicted mass starvation within a decade as too many people consumed too many resources. The writers relied on something called the Malthusian Theory which stated that populations were increasing exponentially but food production was only increasing linearly and in that gap was starvation, war, degradation, and disaster.

Most of the predictions from The Population Bomb didn’t come to pass, of course, because they failed to take into consideration the human ability to engineer solutions to problems. Mass starvation didn’t happen; mass obesity did. None of this has, of course, caused the Erlichs to revise their book, and Mr. Erlich has continued to defend the use of harsh government polices to suppress population, or put more bluntly, remove from the individual the choice of having children. The Chinese tried this, of course, and they had a one child policy for 36 years, and it facilitated the murder of unknown millions of kids, motivated millions of abortions, mostly of unwanted girl babies, created a market for selling babies to childless Westerners, and justified the forced sterilization of millions more. And now, China has a new problem in that its population has too many boys relative to the girls, and the average age of the Chinese population is moving upwards.

In one of his many justifications for what he wrote, Erlich made this interesting statement: “…the biggest tactical error in The Bomb was the use of scenarios, stories designed to help one think about the future.” And here we arrive at the two biggest problems of all this doom mongering.

Problem 1 is that stories meant to help one to think about the future are not science in any sense. All the stories in the Bible are meant to help a person think about the future. Stories are not facts. The NOAA tells stories about how bad hurricane season will be to get people to prepare, and not because the forecasts are based on facts. They openly admit this. The stories the doom mongers tell are never good, and that brings us to the second, more pressing problem.

Problem 2 is that the solution always the same; the surrender of human freedom to higher authority. These environmental doomsday scenarios are always followed by a call for less freedom, less private wealth, less choice, less human agency, and more government and power collected in the hands of the expert scientists who will manage the earth for the collective good. These predictions are a pretext for tyranny every time. These green tree stories have deep red roots of collectivist tyranny. The stories they tell aren’t true, but they do serve a purpose; to get people to surrender their freedom and personal agency.

Which brings us to Global Warming and it’s morphing into the all purpose phrase known as Climate Change. It’s genius really. Climate change is the all purpose explanation for anything from flood, drought, heat waves, fires, freezes, disease, and anything else you can think of including racism and discrimination against women. The climate change fiasco is the greatest environmental porn story ever, and under its insidious wing, anything can be justified to ‘save the planet.’ Does it advance human freedom or well being? It does not.

Is there anything to climate change? In the sense that greater level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere changes the earth, yes, that is true. But how much and to what degree, and even if it is good or bad, that is not known. There is no climate change equation that can say with any certainty what level of carbon equals what temperature or sea level. All the doom mongering is speculation and all predictions of doom with any time metric, such as was issued by Al Gore and many others, have all been missed. They will continue to be missed.

Human activity has downsides to the environment in a local and even larger sense. But problems have solutions. Sewer pipes used to dump sewage into the nearest river, as did industrial waste systems. That was addressed with regulation and better processes, but what the degradation porn purveyors want goes way past improvements and into religious control of humanity. As such, it must be resisted and everything reported taken in with deep skepticism. The job description of climate scientist should be equated to used car salesman in terms of perception. Listen to what they say, but bear in mind what they want.