Some recent news reports shed light onto anomalies in the environmentalist weltanschauung, a peculiar form of paganism I have characterized elsewhere as driven by self-loathing hominids.
The first report brings us more news about the downside of wind power. The believers in eco-faith who form the core of the environmentalist movement have been pushing "renewable energy" sources (paradigmatically wind and solar power) while waging a jihad against all forms of fossil fuel.
Nowhere has this cult of the renewable been as strong as it has been in California, where Governor Jerry Brown, long a high priest of the environmentalist faith, is back in power. About five months ago, Governor Moonbeam signed a law he helped push through the state legislature that mandates that by 2020, one third of the state's electricity must come from renewable energy sources.
Ah, but here's the rub (or more exactly, the shred): the preferred renewable that has been used in California -- to wit, wind power -- is killing massive numbers of birds. This includes some species that are endangered, such as the golden eagle.
In particular, the story details that the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area -- a large wind power facility in the Bay Area with roughly five thousand wind turbines -- is destroying the golden eagle population, a species already on the endangered species list. The wind turbines have killed an average of 67 eagles a year for thirty years now. This is far beyond the capacity of the existing number of birds to replace through reproduction. And the turbines kill more than eagles, of course. They kill at least two thousand raptors (probably many more, but the carcasses get moved by scavengers) a year. Moreover, they kill many bats at night.
Indeed, nationwide, wind farms kill an estimated 440,000 birds a year -- and again, because that estimate is based on counts of the bodies of shredded birds, the estimate is very likely too low. But amazingly, not one wind farm operator has been sued by the gazillion federal agencies that supposedly enforce laws such as the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Act.
Contrast this with the treatment of fossil fuel companies: should they even threaten an obscure lizard, the EPA or some other federal agency will pounce on them like a golden eagle on a rabbit. The recent report on the obscure dunes sagebrush lizard makes this much clear.
This five-inch-long lizard, supposedly dying out, has a habitat that stretches across southeastern New Mexico and west central Texas, smack-dab in the middle of the longest-exploited and most productive oil field in America, the Permian Basin field. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to get this lowly lizard listed as an endangered species, claiming that oil and gas development is ruining the lizard's habitat.
Of course, if the feds declare this banal reptile "endangered," all drilling companies in the affected area will immediately come under the iron fist of the Fish and Wildlife Service, which will demand that they work without "harming" the habitat (viz., sand dunes) of the mundane creature. Fish and Wildlife will accordingly threaten the drillers with massive fines for disturbing those dunes.
By the way, nobody knows the size of this repellant reptile's population to begin with, which raises the question of how exactly we know that it is endangered. (Not to mention the question that you always want to ask: what makes this or any other species "endangered" by human activity, as opposed to merely dying out because it is no longer fit for survival?)
Naturally, local folk fear for their jobs. As New Mexico's Republican Governor Susana Martinez said, "the future of our state's economy and livelihood of so many employers and hardworking New Mexicans are at stake." And, also naturally, environmentalists are pooh-poohing the notion that jobs will be lost. For example, Noah Greenwald, "endangered species director" at the Center for Biological Diversity -- the activist organization that first proposed putting this lowly creature on the endangered species list -- replied, "They are totally baseless claims that are being made by politicians who feel that there's political gain."
Considering the massive loss of jobs that resulted from putting the infamous spotted owl on the endangered species list, and the annihilation of so many jobs in California's Central Valley from the delta smelt being ruled endangered, Greenwald's demurral is manifestly intellectually dishonest.
The third story reports some interesting news about the new and virulent strain of E. coli that has poisoned people all over Europe, killing thirty-five already.
It turns out that the source of the contamination lies in Germany, despite early efforts by the German government to put the blame on Spanish cucumbers. In fact, in the absolute acme of irony, the source of the new bug was...an "organic" farm! Yes, an organic farm growing sprouts -- using some mixture of manure, as soi disant organic farms are wont to do -- creating a natural laboratory for new strains of bacteria.
What is even more ironic -- since this is beyond the acme of irony, let's call it transcendent irony -- is that Germany is one of the few countries that has seen fit to ban an extremely effective way to combat food poisoning: irradiation. After a German spice maker started a program to irradiate its products in 1957, the historically powerful German Green movement (hell, even Hitler was a dog-loving vegetarian!) got the government to ban the practice in 1959.
This, despite the fact that irradiation can neutralize up to 99.999% of E. coli and other bacteria, and was found to be a safe technology by the U.S. FDA nearly fifty years ago.
Scratch up more deaths to the Greens. But then, as self-loathing hominids, they are probably celebrating the removal of more human vermin from the divine planet.
Gary Jason is a contributing editor to LibertyUnbound.