President Bush has been unfairly maligned by the media and the Democrats for his “reversals” on carbon dioxide emissions and arsenic in drinking water. But part of his problem is his administration’s failure to confront the agenda of the radical environmental lobby with one voice in a principled way. He should start with the centerpiece of the environmental activist groups, the “precautionary principle”. This principle says “when an activity raises threats of harm to human health or environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause-and-effect relationships are not fully established scientifically”. In other words, all new innovations are guilty until proven innocent. The “spirit” of the Kyoto Treaty, which Bush has said is “fine”, is soaked with this principle. The premise is flawed and we should say so!
Radical environmentalism is a religion. It is based on the pantheistic belief that God is manifest (immanent) in nature and humans are merely intruders in an otherwise sacred environment. Unfortunately, this version of paganism has been mainstreamed, even among some Christian denominations. Most environmental activist groups are now Deep Ecology sympathizers, believing that the human species is simply one of many, not ordained by God, consciousness, or intellect to a privileged status on earth. Fighting radical environmentalism and its flawed science on purely scientific and economic terms is not enough. Bad policy based on bad philosophy must be countered in philosophical terms, head on. One place to look for some grounding is the Cornwell Declaration, drafted by the Interfaith Council for Environmental Stewardship (www.stewards.net), summarized as follows:
- The 20th century brought unprecedented improvement in human health, nutrition, life expectancy, and environmental quality.
- We have an opportunity, and a moral obligation, to build on these advances, and share them with less fortunate people in America and developing nations.
- None of this would be possible, were it not for the religious, economic, and scientific traditions now under assault.