environmental threats, invalidated …

H. L. Mencken succinctly explained the (Green) objective […],

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

Which brings me to this:

“… the basic flaw of absolutism in environmentalism

[…] Wildavsky set out to determine the truth about environmental threats by using the proper scientific method of posing a question and testing it with experiments. The question he posed was, “But is it true?” that later became the title of his posthumously published (1995) book. The experiment involved graduate students with no science degrees asking the question and seeking the origin and validity of the various environmental stories.

A 1995 article summarized some of the findings;

“The ban on DDT, one of the first great triumphs of modern environmentalism (and a tribute to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring), did “more harm than good.”

Despite the hysterical fears of parents, asbestos in schools poses no detectable danger to children.

There is no evidence that acid rain poses significant danger to the environment except in a few isolated places (such as some high-altitude forests).

Most hazardous waste sites (including such notorious ones as Love Canal in upstate New York and Times Beach in Missouri) posed no significant danger to residents. The government’s extraordinarily costly Superfund program for cleaning up such sites is, on the whole, a waste of money.

There is no credible evidence to support fears of global warming.

“there is no clear evidence of global ozone depletion,” that there is good reason to believe that what depletion there may have been has nothing to do with CFCs and that there are “strong indications that the harm from [ozone] depletion will vary from little to none.”


Today, 20+ years later, the validity of these findings is confirmed. They are all victims of what Wildavsky identified as the basic flaw of absolutism in environmentalism. He asked,

“What norm states that health is the only value or even the dominant value?” “Whatever happened to other values? How much is a marginal gain in health worth compared with losses in other values such as freedom, justice, and excellence?”

Dr Tim Ball asks the question, is Wildavsky still right?

Today, 20+ years later, the validity of these findings is confirmed. They are all victims of what Wildavsky identified as the basic flaw of absolutism in environmentalism.

The funds removed from real environmental rehabilitation practices is astonishing. The politics and science of global warming is a failure, science must now regroup, and return, unencumbered by ideology.


About Tom Harley

Amateur ecologist and horticulturalist and CEO of Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Inc. (Tom Harley) Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Incorporated Kimberley Environmental Horticulture (KEH) is a small group of committed individuals who promote the use of indigenous plants for the landscaping of parks and gardens. Rehabilitation of Kimberley coast, bushland and pastoral regions are also high on our agenda. This includes planting seedlings, weed control, damage from erosion or any other environmental matter that comes to our attention. We come from all walks of life, from Professionals and Trades oriented occupations, Pensioners and Students, Public Servants and the Unemployed. We have a community plant nursery where we trial many old and new species, with a view to incorporating these into our landscaping trials. Our labour force are mainly volunteers, but with considerable help from the 'work for the dole' program, Indigenous Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) groups and the Ministry of Justice, with their community work orders; in this way we manage to train many people in the horticultural skills needed for indigenous plant growing. We constantly undertake field trips that cover seed and plant collection in the Kimberley. Networking around the Kimberley region and the east Pilbara is a necessary part of promoting our activities. We consult on a range of Environmental and Landscaping matters that deal with our region. Our activities involve improving Broome's residential streetscapes by including 'waterwise' priciples in planting out nature strips. Sustainable environmental horticulture is practised by members of our group. We use existing vegetation as the backbone of any plantings, using these species to advantage when planning to develop tree forms or orchards. The Broome region is sensitive to development. Subsequently many weed species have become dominant in and around developed areas. The use and movement of heavy machinery is the biggest single cause of environmental degradation. We dont live in a 'Tropical Paradise' but on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert. The plants that survive best here, grow in well-drained pindan sand, and are found from the Dampier Peninsular southward to where average rainfall is below 600mm. When we use rainforest species, detail is important when planting, water catchment, sunlight and understorey species are all considered. The use of recycled 'grey' water is an advantage here as well as treated waste-water, although many local species do not fare well with nutrients from this source. We use waterwise planting methods which include harvesting asmuch rainwater as possible, with swales designed to hold up to 200 litres, to help recharge the local groundwater aquifer. There has been a serious decline in this aquifer over the last few years. With the fast expansion of the Broome peninsular, more and more land is being covered by concrete, iron and bitumen so that much less water is available to replenish the aquifer, allowing the salt content to become significantly higher. The small Broome Peninsular is on the south-western corner of the Dampier Peninsular (bound by Broome, Derby and Cape Leveque at the northern tip). Compaction by vehicles also inhibits water retention due to the content of our local pindan sand, hard as concrete in the dry, going to soft and sloppy mud after rain. None of us are botanists, inevitably we have got some names wrong, names changed, or have not gone to sub-species level. If you note a photo or description may be wrong, please e-mail to kimenvhort@yahoo.com.au
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