Category Archives: nature

Wind Energy Shills Capitalize on Trump’s Climate Change Denial

Even unscrupulous liars can be fundamentally right about a topic or two. Donald Trump, despite his crassness and pro-development attitude, was telling truths about industrial wind power years before the 2016 Presidential election. His motives didn’t have to be pure to describe the obvious. The public had been brainwashed by “clean energy” rhetoric associated with progressive causes, enabling widespread desecration of scenery. It caught many people off guard when the blight rapidly accelerated in Europe and under Obama’s PTC.

With growing resistance to onshore projects, Big Wind hopes to industrialize the oceans with even bigger turbines. You’re slammed as a climate-denier or NIMBY if you resist this.

Trump’s public involvement started when he opposed an offshore wind project that would blight views from his Aberdeen area golf course (map), which itself was under scrutiny for covering shoreline sand dunes. There was also local opposition to the wind farm but environmentalists focused on protecting the dunes. Many have turned a blind eye to Scotland’s growing wind power blight as urgent CO2 targets are chased. See videos of Trump facing Scotland’s Parliament and getting nothing but smug attitudes despite articulate experts testifying with him. The wind industry treats iconic landscapes like graffiti walls and Loch Ness residents now fear encroaching wind monsters, much realer than their mythic beast.

Someone famous needed to call out the environmental hypocrisy and Trump was it, but he’s tarnished the anti-wind-power movement during a critical phase where subsidies may not be extended. Whenever he speaks you can imagine greentech nerds smirking over “installed capacity” on some ruined horizon. The only places safe from new wind projects are either windless, officially designated as scenic from many angles, obvious flyways for birds & bats, or capable of angering enough landowners. Even though backlash is growing, the world faces an increasingly ugly future as civilization pretends to right its wrongs.

The documentary, “You’ve Been Trumped” (2011) covered the golf course dunes dispute. It was depicted as greedy old Trump vs. Nature, while a much bigger wind power invasion of Scotland and other countries was in full swing. Trump’s golf course is a relative blip compared to the total scope of land alteration. Both the dune-protectors and Trump were losers in that case, and nature loses to energy sprawl daily. People have built wind turbines directly amid sand dunes (below) and just about anywhere they can get away with it. Calling it green on the flimsy premise that it’s “fighting” fossil fuels (which allow it to exist) is the very sort of lie Trump would tell!

wind turbines sand dunes 1
How many environmentalists cared when these sand dunes were targeted? These turbines happen to be in Brazil, but developers chase whatever locations they can get.

Using the logical fallacy of guilt by association, Trump is continually mocked for daring to criticize a “renewable energy” technology, with emphasis on his comments about birds and cancer. At rallies and conferences, he’s said that wind turbines are ugly, killing all the eagles, and actually cause cancer. It’s automatically assumed in politically-correct crowds that he’s lying or grossly exaggerating, since wind turbines still have a “green” sheen through extensive lobbying. They’re not killing all eagles (yet) and his cancer correlation should have focused on noise which can weaken immune systems and lead to greater disease risk. But he was telling a core truth when he said they’re an unreliable energy source because wind “only blows sometimes” (millions have seen idle blades). Trump erred by implying the power would go completely out, but fossil fuels usually provide backup, and new plants (typically gas) have been built to accommodate wind projects. They will never be 100% renewable, including their heavy manufacturing inputs.

2020 Presidential candidate Jay Inslee said of Trump: “Wind turbines do not cause cancer, they cause jobs.” He was cherry-picking Trump’s most dubious criticism while ignoring other big negatives. Inslee is a classic “bright green” progressive who thinks technology and rebranded growthism can fix everything. With that mindset comes denial of wind power’s big energy sprawl problem. As a long-time Washington Congressman, then Governor, he was OK with the southeast corner of his state being overrun by huge pinwheels and blinking red lights. The other end of the Columbia River has been under threat from the Whistling Ridge Energy Project which has more urbanites within its viewshed and may not happen. Scenery aside, Inslee’s job-creation angle is misleading, since wind projects generally bring in outside specialists with relatively few permanent local jobs. Emphasizing jobs as the gospel of progress also promotes economic growthism, which is what led to climate change in the first place. Most politicians will not touch that subject.

Typical example of wind energy sprawl in southeast Washington. Wide, scenic areas have become distracting industrial parks. This aspect of Big Wind is trivialized by tech junkies.

In time, as more turbines are built, Trump’s statements today will seem prescient, and he’s hardly the only one concerned. Even his rants about “fake news” have some merit in wind energy’s spun context. Highly intrusive due to their extreme size and acreage-needs, wind projects are no less harmful to the environment than any large structures displacing nature’s physicality, but they’re worse because of stark contrast with rural environs, like having Sky Whirl triple Ferris wheels all over the countryside, and much taller. Wind factories also require vast new road networks and forest clear-cuts, and their impact on birds and bats is well documented, despite industry attempts to understate it. Corpses are often eaten or dragged away; impossible to fully count over tens of thousands of acres per facility. Calling wind turbines “beautiful” is absurdly subjective if you see what environmentalists used to protect from bulldozers and chain saws.

If Trump proves that wind power is GOOD, Charles Manson proves that environmentalism is BAD. His general derangement didn’t debunk his deep ecology views, which were echoed by the likes of Arne Næss (as fair-minded as you’ll find). Trump is no Manson, just a greedy megalomaniac, but you don’t mock a logical message simply because the messenger is unpleasant. Almost everyone has valid views on certain topics, hard as it can be to admit. If Trump manages to slow the growth of wind power, the end could justify the means, especially since it’s doing very little to offset fossil fuels and can never replace them.

More thoughts on what ails industrial wind power:

End note on Trump: In a fair world he’d be impeached for environmental policy corruption, like accusing California of Clean Air Act failures after running an anti-EPA campaign and trying to cut MPG standards. Still, he brings up important issues like excessive immigration, the main source of U.S. overpopulation. Immigration has declined since he took office. Few politicians are willing to say “Our country is full,” even if Trump is in denial of overpopulation, ecologically. A leader with similar views who didn’t conduct himself like a reckless teenager, could actually do some good in the world. It’s too bad Trump has shown few signs of maturing during his White House stay. Re-electing him would be a yuuge mistake, but we sure don’t need the Green New Deal either.

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Green New Deal: Energy Sprawl Destroys Scenery, Wildlife and Rural Ambience

“Do people pretend to be Saving The Planet while simply rebranding business as usual? People DO.” (Chevron ad satire)

green new deal 3 logos edit1
Ominously upbeat logos reveal the future loss of open space to Green New SPRAWL. Climate change didn’t make land-use issues vanish. Environmentalists just became sellouts.

As a hasty response to Republicans’ climate and fossil fuel myopia, Democrats are pushing the “Green New Deal” which claims to be pro-environment but looks like the biggest industrial invasion of rural lands & oceans ever conceived. Acreage thought to be immune from development would be wide open to exemptions under a Clean Energy banner. Trump’s attacks on national monuments were already outdone by Obama’s fast-tracked wind energy blight. There’s a new psychological construct wherein a technology is only dirty if it directly emits smoke or CO2. Both the material chain of its existence and its physical intrusion on nature are wished away.

The core problem with “clean energy” is the scale of weak, intermittent sources trying to replace dense, reliable sources (oil, gas and coal) which inconveniently build the weaker infrastructure. A common term for this is energy sprawl and it’s already happening, but the GND would speed it up while adding costly social agendas. Wind power blight has been covered at length here (1, 2) but the solar component of rural uglification is increasing. Well-meaning environmentalists are in denial about this new sprawl, which they frame as a special case. You can’t just put new wind turbines on brownfields, nor can you only see them from there. They must know this.

Before environmentalists sold their souls to techno-fixes, few would link BIGNESS with greenness, like praising Glen Canyon dam or maximizing the Atlantic Ocean’s generating capacity. Had the Internet existed in the 1980s, conscientious searchers would be dismayed by thousands of hits for MASSIVE NEW PROJECTS linked to pro-environment causes. The word MASSIVE brings images of invasion and disruption, which is exactly what’s happening to our last open spaces. Even when they just invade farmland (considered “developed”) they kill the former feeling of openness. Invert wind turbines and you’ve got a claustrophobic H.G. Wells scenario, including red lights at night. Those who praise them the most rarely live among giants.

Fântânele-Cogealac wind farm Romania 1c

ANOTHER MASSIVE NEW WIND FARM is about to go online! This clean energy project created new jobs and economic growth, which is always good for the planet, of course. Don’t be alarmed because fossil fuels built it and it resembles urban sprawl. It’s different this time because we call it Green.

Due to the paucity of wind and sun in broad regions, new transmission corridors are needed, like the planned 780-mile Grain Belt Express Clean Line; a relatively benign example where pristine wilderness isn’t crossed. Unfortunately it’s planned as an overhead series of pylons, despite using new HVDC technology. Underground power lines have cost & maintenance issues, so most hidden lines are necessitated by lakes or oceans. When wild areas are targeted, politically-pressured environmentalists who normally fight clearcuts and lost carbon sinks may have to cave in. Constant attempts are made by wind companies to build in or near wilderness, which usually requires new power lines. Projects at Steens Mountain, OR and Crescent Peak, NV were rebuffed, but pressure will mount, just as it did with the fracking invasion.

The fallacy of “100% Renewable Energy” has become the cornerstone of progressive energy policies and needs to be called out. It’s based on carbon credits posing as “zero carbon” through accounting tricks and venture capital. RE100 is physically impossible with any known technology but the story’s been repeated too often to be quickly debunked. Shiny objects fool people who don’t trace their history. Not one wind turbine or solar panel has been built solely with energy from its kind, and ERoI will always matter in the physical world. When you debate supporters of these projects you often get vague answers about scaling and net energy factors. They don’t want to know because they’ve latched onto something new and it must be better.

The pervasive arrogance of the “renewables” crowd is deeply annoying to deep ecologists. As an example, if you try to post any substantial criticisms of landscape-change-denial to Green New Deal diehards, you’ll get a message like this: “You have been permanently banned from participating in r/RenewableEnergy. …. Note from the moderators: No whitewashing of Nuclear or Fossil Power; No casting doubt about feasability [sic] of Renewables.” In other words, telling the truth about energy sprawl is forbidden by eco-shills who claim to respect nature and open space but do exactly the opposite. It’s the politically-correct version of Trump crying “fake news.”

Imagine a committee of Green New Dealers writing an open letter to The Planet:

Dear Planet Earth:

We’re embarking on an ambitious plan to free the world from fossil fuels and stop climate change while employing the poor in new industries for a bright green future. This will allow us to solve serious energy problems, clean our air & water, and lift people of color out of poverty, all in one cohesive plan.

Oh so happy and green! Never mind the false scale. Cue up the Hallmark music!

Imagine the countryside glistening with beautiful solar lakes and unimaginably tall white forests, far more attractive than grim derricks and gray tailings, and even some living trees. Spin, Baby, Spin! We’ll show nature that we can coexist with it while changing only what we need to. The key is proper siting, and we’ve got plenty of space for that, according to Smart Growth planners. There’s also lots of room for immigrants in our diverse melting pot. Green growth is much different than standard growth-based capitalism.

On the social front, millions of misunderstood urban youth who once dealt drugs, tagged bridges and bumped bass will be happily cleaning solar panels and climbing wind turbines as they spread cool new 3D graffiti and move tasteful infrasound beats into farm & mountain country. These efforts will create countless jobs along with social justice and economic parity. It’s a win-win for nature and people.

We’re obligated to note that these green projects use quite a bit of space, so you’ll have to travel some distance on vacation to see unaffected vistas. But don’t worry, National Parks will remain mostly intact and you’ll get there in electric cars with a 500-mile range! It’s all good. Furthermore, there will be a number of casualties in terms of birds, bats, insects and other displaced species, but special breeding centers will mitigate losses. They may not fly as freely but they’ll be grateful for our help.

We fully expect Planet Earth to understand our wonderful new undertaking and we can hardly wait to get rid of all those ugly coal mines! Below is a sneak preview of Earth’s future using samples from the present. Just imagine this multiplied manyfold (in carefully sited locations). It’s Green so it’s all good!

Sincerely, Green New Dealers, Inc.

Scroll down to see just a small fraction of our b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l green future!

If the above looks like a bunch of un-green, bloated construction projects pretending to save the planet, you’re not mistaken. Quoting a famous rocker before climate fears buried aesthetic values, “How can everyone see it and yet be so blind?” The same capacity for denial that causes some people to ignore environmental problems makes others think they’ll be solved by the species that created them. It always comes down to building more stuff all over the place, never true conservation or personal restraint.

Earth, good luck with the Green New Deal if it ever gets fully implemented. This reluctant Democrat can’t support it. See “Roadmap to Nowhere” for one of the better take-downs of the whole scheme.

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Right-Wingers aren’t “Anti-Science,” they’re Anti-Nature

“The most beautiful thing about a tree is what you do with it after you cut it down.” – Rush Limbaugh (denial payback)

California and Oregon wildfires - August 2018
Record fires burn in California & Oregon (August 2018). “Now is not the time to talk about climate change” say brain-dead Republicans. Such thinking is an evolutionary dead-end.

What sort of ignorant conspiracy-nuts would look at a scene like that and blame it entirely on lack of logging or “job-killing” water regulations while refusing to acknowledge global warming as a major factor? Who would keep parroting rationalizations like “the climate’s changed before” with chronic resistance to established facts and the latest insights?

Stubborn right-wing idiots, that’s who. With all due respect to conservatives who can see the world beyond money, let’s call these people what they really are. We need to thin the deniers, not the trees (housing sprawl justifies understory fire-suppression). It’s long past the point where debates about man-made environmental problems are a case of “agree to disagree.” There’s a swamp of avarice badly in need of draining.

Here are some typical right-wing views on the environment, loaded with greed, pettiness and evil:

  • They think the economy must grow indefinitely, spurred on by the weakest possible environmental regulations. It’s a mindset of making money and destroying anything that lacks a utilitarian or recreation purpose. They see wilderness-preservation as an economic impediment, unless of course hunting is allowed. Everything’s about human wants, with no intrinsic respect for nature. Zinke under Trump and Watt under Reagan are prime examples of that attitude. Note that “Green Growth” is driven by many of the same attitudes, covered at length elsewhere on this blog.
  • They decry immigration (wise in a carrying-capacity context) yet defund contraception for impoverished nations, which could actually reduce the pressure. They’d rather build yuugely expensive walls to support resource-guzzling, make-work construction jobs. Their ability to grasp root causes and effects is limited by archaic beliefs and small-mindedness. A typical right-winger wants to know as little as possible about the nuances of a topic and far more about the latest slogans. Mind you, this is also true on the far Left, but they’re more forgiving of racial differences, even though some of it is naive.
  • Mindless global warming denial is an automatic response from Republicans. CO2 supposedly disobeys the laws of physics just for them. Some of the smarter ones acknowledge the science but would rather tow the party line and keep the threat vague, or throw free-market solutions at it. They “forget” that the free-market necessitated the EPA after decades of industry inaction. They now support filth-mongers like Trump, bent on crippling the EPA’s taken-for-granted progress. This speech by Steven F. Hayward is one of the worst (or rather best) examples of AGW-denial. He’s got no science background but rubes are easily fooled by his calculated language, just as shapely Fox News babes beguile them.
  • A number of wingnuts literally hate nature and take pride in pillaging it. Look in any comment section on endangered species articles and you’ll find some GOP dirtbag wanting a cost-benefit analysis of its very existence, wishing it gone for economic expedience. “Wipe your ass with a spotted owl” was a popular white trash slogan, as if decimating forests is a good thing. If that’s not an evil, sadistic attitude, what is? Creationism is common among that ilk, with emphasis on “subdue” in Genesis 1:28. One species, arrogant under God, united to destroy.
  • They call themselves “pro-life” yet resist reasonable gun laws and wrap their egos in firearms (a tool is just a gun). Many enjoy killing non-human life for entertainment and sleazy pseudo-conservation, e.g. Many “avid hunters” will shoot anything they can label a pest or game animal, often just to test new rifles or bows. Trophy hunters are like people who’d cut down an ancient tree just so they can “own” it. The intrinsic quality of a trophy is lost the moment it’s taken by force. The evil motives of quasi-hunters have become very clear in online media. Here’s what many “sportsmen” are up to, grinning all the while. Clearly morally superior to any subhuman mongrel.
greed - redneck rampage - prairie dog shoot - rolling coal
Greedy by nature, with “All the killin’, twice the humor, half the intelligence.” (spot-on slogan for a video game), plus prairie dog serial killers and wasteful diesel coal-rolling.

What exactly is a right-winger vs. an honest conservative? List of basic traits:

  1. Like other crass individuals, these people make few attempts to control their reptilian brains and unrefined amygdalas, but they do it in a specific ideological context framed by ethnic heritage. They wallow in the worst human traits while framing it as a freedom agenda.
  2. They tend to be shifty-eyed, incurious people who claim to be honest and fair but will lie & cheat if something cramps their style. You can tell when you’re speaking to one by a certain blank look, frequent sarcasm and flashes of anger. They like Trump because those behaviors suit him. Evangelicals who voted for Trump were sleazy all along (“mystery” solved).
  3. They’re always gloating about God, guns and greed. The Chosen Ones preach the loudest, shoot the fastest and grab the most resources. They’ve twisted blatant self-interest into a frontier-morality legend. Their false belief that frontiers are still plentiful drives much of their anti-regulation mindset.
  4. They prefer a bare minimum of knowledge to “git ‘er done,” e.g. “I don’t need book learnin’ to remove my catalytic converter and piss off the EPA.” If you ask them to think beyond what they “already lernt” they get agitated, in part because many lack intelligence and are jealous of those who have it. Basic stupidity explains some radical conservatism.
  5. Having general disdain for expertise and intellectuals, they dumb-down complicated topics and over-complicate basic ones to suit ideology. Global warming denial is loaded with that attitude. Global shutdowns due to COVID-19 “coronapanic” (arguably extreme) were lumped in with “climate alarmism” in right-wing circles. Everything’s seen as a government control plot, with different cases and contexts ignored. Worrying about any major topic except bank accounts and gun restrictions is seen as personal frailty.
  6. Morally, they’re the white equivalent of black or Hispanic ghetto thugs, with similar gun and vehicle obsessions. A common thread is “We do whatever we feel like and if others are affected, tough luck.” The appearance of having power, even when unearned, is vital to them.
  7. As with ghetto gang-bangers, everything bad that happens to a right-winger is someone else’s fault, often the government’s. In morally decent countries (which America aspires to be) corrupt people whine the most about “big gub’mint” because they resent how it controls their corruption, which they pass off as “individual rights.”
  8. They fixate on their own rights and everyone else’s responsibilities, choosing to shirk the latter when it cramps their style.
  9. If you catch them doing something morally wrong or illegal, they’re likely to keep doing it just to spite their accusers. Polluting and wasting energy on Earth Day or shooting game out of season are typical examples.

When a right-winger lies about humans having minimal impact, or talks about “plenty of land remaining,” refer them to Google Earth time-lapse imagery. Start by showing them lands with so-called sustainable logging and watch them go silent. Forests are constantly being pillaged because the population never stops growing. The process is also known as “job creation” among those who respect no other benchmark.

Per the topmost photo, this was written while surrounded by forest fire smoke, which gets one thinking about mass stupidity and denial as a political agenda. Don’t just blame the likes of Trump, blame your neighbors who thought he was fit to lead and supported his anti-EPA, monument-shrinking agenda. The current POTUS is merely the latest incarnation of a piss-on-nature mentality that Reagan kicked into high gear. People like that have been around since America was founded, and exist all over the world. They should be corralled in the foulest possible cities while decent people try to do the actual RIGHT thing.

P.S. This author is not technically liberal; just pointing out the worst of human nature from various angles. There are still good conservatives, meaning ones who actually conserve resources and respect wildlife. They unfortunately get drowned out by the far right. More are switching to Independent status but it doesn’t do much for elections.

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“Saving the Planet” is a Lost Cause (Anthropocentric Growthism Prevails)

“There is something fundamentally wrong with treating the Earth as if it were a business in liquidation.” – Herman Daly

urban land use 1
The actual ratio of cleared forest to urban land is exponentially larger than this, along with water, food and energy acreage. Most cities are temporary illusions of prosperity.

Too many cards are stacked against saving nature from human greed, hunger and environmental apathy. The evidence is clear when you get past the veneer of endless hope, techno-fixes and greenwashing. We should just admit it and drop the ruse of “sustainability” as more people consume more resources each day. Nature is under a long-term siege because “The Economy” demands it. A POTUS was elected on an EPA-gutting mandate while environmentalists engage in overpopulation-denial to avoid offending immigrants. Rare leaders who promote serious conservation are seen as weak, or enemies of individual freedom (to take as one pleases). Manifest Destiny still prevails, framing wilderness as a place to be feared more than respected. People actually trying to save the biosphere are caught in an expanding charade that bows to economic growth. Wise people should certainly keep trying, but not with optimistic rhetoric that ignores root causes and placates the masses.

Humans are genetically programmed to overcome nature’s hazards simply to stay alive. This includes ruthless survival tactics like lying and cheating to gain advantage. For many centuries these traits had limited impacts on ecosystems, then fossil fuels greatly amplified our ability to harm nature while also enabling a population explosion. The expansion of technology and consumerism turned us from survivors into destroyers. Even well-meaning people behave as if the power balance never shifted from nature to Man. They were born into a system that served their post-industrial ancestors and assume it must be “the way of the world,” so they keep obeying primal instincts in outdated context. They’ll say things like “what a crazy system!” as in fun-crazy instead of terminally corrupt. Some never contemplate the growing scale of human impact or simply don’t care. “People are basically good” doesn’t explain the true state of the world. The belief that God will decide when humans have gone too far is foolish since hardships occur with or without prayer. Christians who practice Creation Care are at odds with Genesis 1:28 and similar Bible passages.

Some conservatives gloat about polluting and pillaging nature, combining ignorance with evil. They also call environmentalism “socialism” when regulations cramp their style. The greedy see greed-control as liberty-infringement. The history of tetraethyl lead in gasoline is typical of toxicity driven by expediency. Its inventor also introduced CFCs, so “big government” regulations have saved many lives. Meanwhile, many liberals who claim to be Green are so concerned about being fair to other cultures that they ignore blatant problems like overpopulation and criminality. Or they push destructive technology like IWTs to protest coal, etc.  This complex combination of greed and naivety prevents intelligent policies from being carried out on a meaningful scale. The wealthy may think they’re above nature’s laws while the poor often trash their surroundings, e.g. homeless camps, nonexistent regulations in third-world countries and tropical deforestation. “Environmental & social justice” overlooks shared flaws in human nature. Growing numbers of people from all ranks are stifling environmental progress.

carrying capacity overload - migrants on boat
Desperate migrants on an overcrowded boat symbolize carrying-capacity overload. Stubborn pronatalists and cornucopians keep ignoring warnings about tipping points.

In crude but accurate terms, this is how a lot of people think:

  • I need stuff to live, so don’t question how I make money to get it. I’m special!
  • Hey, look at their stuff! I need some of that to boost my image and reputation.
  • I’ll do whatever it takes to get it, so screw the environment if need be. People first!
  • Is it wise to destroy your very life-support system to accomplish this? (voice of reason)
  • Look, I gotta feed my kids so get off my case. The guv’mint/tree-huggers just want to control me!
  • The conversation ends there because they won’t rise above their genetic programming.

Modern cultures are obsessed with economic growth, business and being busy with an industrious, industrial attitude. Action for its own sake is favored over letting things be. Slogans like “work hard, play hard” and “no limits” defy conservation and restraint. Most modern work depletes resources and the mantra of progress is to constantly build something, either physically or monetarily. It’s considered lazy to halt the grind and let nature recover, except temporarily for fallow fields, clearcuts or overfished waters. Everything’s about stock indices, housing-starts and production capacity, measured in flawed GDP terms. The ethos of “hard work” is seen as moral, regardless of what’s being sacrificed. One can feed a family designing war machines, or with barely ethical FIRE Economy schemes, including pyramids and Ponzis. Environmental shortcuts are inevitable in difficult, dirty jobs like mining, drilling, logging, construction and vehicle repair. The unnatural tedium and effort creates a mindset of “dump it in the creek so we can go home.” Workers are told to be grateful for miserable slogs that serve 24/7 manufacturing cycles and superfluous marketing, and union-busting is the trend. Countless jobs require hustling, lying and searching for loopholes, with no shortage of sleazy people willing to do it. Also, the words build and produce are not defined honestly. People merely convert nature into forms convenient to our species with little regard for balance. True production is growth without depletion, like plants fertilized by natural decay. Finite replenishment cycles have been replaced by the infinite allure of fiat money.

oil derricks and wind turbines on beach
The old oil derricks on this CA beach are similar to modern wind turbines except for low-carbon hype. Millions of very large, noisy machines are sought by cleantech hypocrites.

To ostensibly stop all this depletion, the term “renewable energy” gets thrown around, but it’s mostly a new spin on business-as-usual. Man has greatly escalated urban sprawl with things like industrial wind power, discussed at length in other posts here. The main differences between today’s “renewable” and non-renewable sources are partial energy offsets and green slogans. With the exception of dependable, high-ERoI sources like hydroelectric and geothermal, little of the infrastructure is viable without finite fossil fuels and mined raw materials for construction, maintenance and replacement. Greenwashing has millions of naive people convinced that destroying nature to preserve society is reasonable, so hard questions about overpopulation and restraint are unanswered by public policy.

Thanks to an artificial money system, people are the only species that keeps depleting finite resources to make a living. Money is seen as a resource unto itself rather than contrived compensation, thus physical commodity limits are disrespected. Other species don’t need to invent financial schemes merely to stay alive. They used to live in balance until we disrupted ancient systems and replaced them with unnatural growth. The mandate to constantly create jobs and build something (“green” or otherwise) drives most modern enterprises. Deliberate job-creation accommodates a surplus of labor and overpopulation. Intrinsically necessary work wouldn’t have to be schemed up or funded with credit, and it wouldn’t create landscapes that resemble mold growth.

As of late 2019, Elon Musk wanted to launch up to 42,000 Starlink satellites, despite astronomers protesting just 60 (center). The net result is more machine overpopulation.

Famous entrepreneur Elon Musk claims to be a green visionary but he’s more about technological showboating than conservation or preservation. He promotes the expansion of “clean” electricity for battery-powered vehicles, which means more wind turbines and solar panels invading open space (see energy sprawl). He’s also using SpaceX to litter low Earth orbit with a constellation of Starlink satellites, despite strong protests from astronomers. Lack of global space regulation gives him (and others, like Amazon) a loophole to try this scheme. It’s the same “disruptive” M.O. used by amateur taxi and electric scooter outfits that clutter-up cities and discourage mass transit. Musk’s initial goal was about 12,000 satellites, then it became a staggering 42,000. He’s well aware of space junk but has rationalized it away by tweeting “We need to move telescopes to orbit anyway.” Allowing restless billionaires to taint what’s left of nature is just wrong. Internet access won’t benefit remote “primitive” tribes who are already sustainable and don’t need to be corrupted by high-tech. The Internet is good in moderation but it’s also causing unnatural social problems and spreading viral lies. There’s no moral mandate to have access everywhere on Earth.

It’s hard to admit that true sustainability looks a lot like ancient hunting and gathering where resources manage themselves naturally (given a small enough population). Understandably, few want to revert to that lifestyle, except with temporary gestures backed up by modern gear. There’s a lot of contextual denial among “back to nature” types. If everyone tried to hunt, fish or survive on backyard farms, we’d quickly learn that agribusiness and dense livestock are the only practical way to feed huge populations. Many bushcraft practitioners make a living from videos these days. The worst hypocrites travel the globe killing wildlife as professional hunters, or enjoy the crass sport of bass fishing with speedboats. Look at how many jobs are based on recreation that mimics true needs from pre-industrial times. Nature needs to survive our growing harshness, not the converse; at least to the point where we destroy its ability to support us. It’s become a contest to see which happens first, Peak Oil or major AGW impacts, both of which are ignored by utilitarian commerce.

Oregon railroad clearcuts
Square-mile railroad logging parcels in Oregon symbolize human land-use. When species like bark beetles kill trees they’re a pest, but man-made damage is called “management.”

So-called victories for the environment tend to be islands in a sea of development, and have done relatively little to stop habitat fragmentation. People will save what they perceive as a special grove of trees while clear-cutting the rest, as long as most don’t see it on a regular basis. An ex-logger’s attempt to showcase such hypocrisy backfired when he felled a golden spruce to draw attention to all the clear-cuts surrounding it. A parallel reaction (addition vs. removal) occurs when wind turbines are protested in places like Cape Cod while allowed to ruin vast tracts of lesser-known scenery. On the wildlife front, if a trophy hunter kills an iconic lion, elephant or giraffe they’re vilified online, but countless other animals are shot with the same mentality. The rationalization is that hunting licenses support conservation, but it’s mainly for popular game species, not endangered animals in different habitats.

Man’s ability to develop and denude the planet went viral when fossil fuels made the work much easier. If you study the duties of environmental professionals, you realize they’re mostly cleaning up messes and shuffling population growth into different areas. They have no way to stop the source of the growth, and developers pay them for image-control. Urban planners plan for more destruction while calling it balance. Hands-on efforts like untangling animals from fishing lines or relocating endangered species make little difference as more people put pressure on nature. When root causes are addressed, it’s usually worded to not offend the human perpetrators. You can see why nothing really changes.

Some neo-environmentalists have taken fatalism too far, like terminally ill smokers who believe in reincarnation (examples: 1, 2, 3). They use the demented argument that we can never completely destroy nature (minus runaway nuclear war) therefore “the planet is fine” because nature will “recover” after we’re gone. The degree of recovery and “after we’re gone” date are kept vague to accommodate all future suffering they’ve rationalized as acceptable. Would today’s extinct or soon-to-be species get regenerated, Jurassic Park style, assuming there’s anyone left with such technology? Do they think quality of life now is meaningless to all the species lucky enough to have survived human impact so far? That includes us, you know! The whole narrative is arrogant anthropocentrism, i.e. forget the planet that allows us to live and rescue us from our sins in the absence of viable life-support.

Another twist on fatalism is asking “What are YOU doing about it?” whenever environmental topics come up. For example, a crusty rancher who denies global warming might brag about planting 100 trees, as if that proves he’s mitigating CO2 while you aren’t. It’s a tactic of those who view everything in terms of their own property, not the wider planet. Many people will never own enough land to personally restore it, but if they did they could plant 1,000 trees instead of building a rifle range. It’s all relative to personal leverage. The implication that you must single-handedly do something big or you should shut up about the environment is like saying don’t criticize murder unless you’re a cop who can prevent a few. Of course that’s an imperfect analogy because environmental damage is done by countless “good guys” per society’s standards.

Movies have widespread influence and apocalyptic themes are popular because people know something’s out of balance, but root causes are usually sidestepped. Most plots are sympathetic to human failings or go overboard with zombie plagues and alien invasions. Others use shock value by making overnight catastrophes out of slow-moving problems, e.g. “The Day After Tomorrow.” It ends up inspiring apathy because people see it as unrealistic. In the ecologically-aware 1970s, the film “Z.P.G.” tackled overpopulation but sympathized with people bucking efforts to stop it. A similar plot occurred in “Children of Men” where mass infertility could have been seen as a reprieve from environmental ruin. In the real world, economic recessions mandate conservation but are seen as negative. “They Live” tried to blame consumerism on aliens, with people as hapless victims. “WALL-E” was praised for its environmental message but the director said it was just a subplot. The viral-humans speech in “The Matrix” told the truth, yet a virtual reality cure was unacceptable. Human interest or anti-government themes tend to drown out pragmatic solutions. A society with gravitas about overshoot would face the topic head-on without endless tangents. “Soylent Green” was one of the few films that got to the point, and deserves a sequel. The “nobody cares” scene in “Silent Running” was also truthful. Many television documentaries present grim environmental warnings but usually stay polite to the perpetrators. Educating the public doesn’t help without personal accountability. Billions of complicit people will have to be offended at some point.

alfred e. neuman couple
Even when they do worry, most people still ignore the 24/7 destruction of their only life source, preferring to dwell on personal matters. Denial is built into the human brain.

If people were seriously planning to save nature it would be echoed in the things they do and say every day, but most still talk about making money (from depletion) feeling good and staying entertained. Watch and listen to your neighbors and co-workers. They’re generally ego-driven, hedonistic and impatient, with nature as a mere backdrop for their scarce leisure time. They keep electing leaders with similar values, then blame them for societal ills. The relative few who make sacrifices for the environment (beyond token recycling) or live at a slower pace are seen as “not with the program.” The Internet provides some hope with an echo chamber of wise people fighting all this denial, but they’re vastly outnumbered. If you talk among average people about what’s really happening you’ll be called a doomer, or get blank stares as the subject is changed to something upbeat, especially at work where it’s understood that “we’re here to make money.”

One grain of hope is that religious leaders can convince people to worship nature over anthropocentric gods, and not be ridiculed as pagans. Endless sermons tell people to live for a higher purpose, but it usually comes back around to them at the center. Creation Care advocates and preachers like Michael Dowd are trying to shift the focus to nature, and Pope Francis seems partly enlightened, but we really need a mass behavior-shift miracle. Many “doomer” articles offer hope at the end but ecological epiphanies are unlikely. So far there’s no evidence that enough people care about their true source of life to protect it from profit-driven sprawl and banality. This doesn’t mean don’t try your best, but more damage can be caused by making hasty choices when you don’t see root causes.

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Oil is FINITE at any price. Why do people keep wasting it?

“The human race does not have a very good record of intelligent behavior.” – Stephen Hawking

If you walk through almost any city you’ll see people idling their engines at zero MPG, often fooling with their smartphones or GPS devices. They seem oblivious to their surroundings and time itself. Sometimes it goes on for 30+ minutes, including situations where someone stands outside talking with the driver. Oil-wasters are easiest to spot at night when glowing screens and headlights give them away. Unsurprisingly, they waste bulbs like they waste oil, thinking “I’ll just buy more.” When the price of fuel is modest, idle-waste tracks with general apathy more than income. It’s a way of life in America; get inside, turn the key and don’t even think about where oil comes from as long as you can “afford the gas.” Gratuitous fuel squandering isn’t new but mobile entertainment has made it notably worse. The phenomenon peaks during extreme weather but it happens in all seasons and the apathy is obvious.

These wastrels could at least limit idling on hot and cold days by parking in the shade when possible, or blasting the heater before they park, letting residual heat linger inside. Also, a big 12-volt battery won’t get drained by charging a much smaller phone without the alternator. All it takes is some forethought and a general conservation ethic.

engine idling 1
Who really cares about oil depletion or global warming? This is America! We have better things to do, like checking Twitter and keeping the interior above a lethal 55-degrees.
rolling coal diesel 1a
Unburned diesel fuel, T&A, and a good ol’ time at the expense of others. Ain’t that the American way? You betcha! Gluttonous and proud. We’re gettin’ ours!

Many large pickup trucks are bought as crass status symbols or ego-boosters (similar to pseudo-hunting pursuits). Diesel drivers are known for excessive idling despite modern engines requiring much shorter warm-ups and turbo cool-downs. A number of them are wannabe semi-truck drivers who like the sound and torque aspects. Truck-stop idling itself is a major source of waste, though APUs are helping. The worst diesel offenders “roll coal” on other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. They’re scumbags but they’re also more honest than passive idlers in terms of environmental consequences. Overall, more fuel is wasted in cities due to sheer numbers of people. Country air is cleaner for lack of population density, not because residents put more effort into it. They take that for granted when they defy emissions controls with ego-mods, including removing catalytic converters to fight the EPA’s “back-pressure conspiracy.” Rural air would be even cleaner if fuel pumps had vapor recovery nozzles and two-stroke engines were phased out on thrillcraft. Average folk do things the cheapest, laziest way they can get away with.

Another common waste of fuel occurs at car dealerships and rental companies. An agent will walk up to a vehicle, open the door and immediately turn on the engine while describing its features. Are they trying to entice you to test drive it? With rental cars they already know you’ll be taking it, so why squander fuel you’ll have to replace anyhow? Techniques from the old days of looser engine tolerances still encourage pointless idling. In most weather you shouldn’t have to idle more than 10-30 seconds for full oil pressure. Engineering manuals suggest warming up by driving as soon as possible at moderate speeds, which warms the drivetrain along with the engine so it isn’t shocked by acceleration. Some claim that stopping and restarting a warm engine causes wear but there’s always a sheen of oil protecting the metal (otherwise, hybrid engines would fail prematurely). Remote starters are often abused as pointless gadgets rather than a warm-up method for very cold days. Cold starts have higher metal-on-metal risk but oil remains trapped in the rings overnight. Vehicles like fire trucks and ambulances have excuses for idling (to power equipment) but it can still be reduced. Chronic speeding is also a major source of waste. Efficiency plummets in top gear at speeds much over 60 MPH, and even hybrid drivers join mobs of tailgaters (Jevons paradox). 80 MPH speed limits in several states force frugal drivers to speed to avoid tailgaters. Calculations vary, but Americans alone waste at least 300,000 barrels of oil per day.

The only thing that really makes average people conserve oil is a price increase, which they quickly forget if it falls again. Over-hyped reserves of oil-bearing shale and OPEC’s deliberate overproduction (to starve U.S. frackers) temporarily wiped the 2008 oil price spike from Americans’ memory, and they’ll be caught off guard when it returns. At the time of this posting, oil prices had crept back into the upper $60’s after being flat for many months. SUV and V8 sales had risen as prices dropped and placated the herd, but the world was burning upwards of 90 million barrels a day all the while. That’s oil we won’t get back (abiotic oil is a conspiracy theory). We’ll see how long this recent price increase holds, but anyone who claims oil is infinite doesn’t understand geological processes. Creationist fables are behind a lot of that thinking.

When the “official” Peak Oil finally hits, millions of people will be indignant at first. Being willfully ignorant of oil’s physical limits, they’ll try to blame scarcity on “lack of drilling,” even if rapacious EPA-haters are still in the White House. They refuse to see that the fracking of shale for oil and natural gas is not an actual increase in physical reserves. There’s less of it in the ground every second and it will cost more to extract as sources get tighter. The world can burn a billion barrels of oil in ten days, so don’t be impressed when some huckster hypes recent discoveries in the billions. Peak Oil deniers are invariably educated in finance, not geology. Pseudo-petroleum sources like kerogen are an ERoI fallacy, hyped into “trillions of barrels” by wild speculators. Also, renewable energy infrastructure like bloated wind turbines can’t exist without fossil fuels and “100% renewable energy” claims are deviously optimistic. Increased “production” of ancient, condensed resources just means people are getting desperate and using newer extraction methods. Horizontal drilling isn’t a major leap, just a refinement of old techniques, but it suits the “technology will save us” narrative. After a point, there’ll be no new tricks and nobody else to blame for the squandering of finite energy.

peak oil graphs 2
These graphs follow the law of diminishing returns, even if the curves aren’t fully predictable. The number of nations already past peak production debunks abiotic oil theory.
oil rigs sunset decline peak oil
Peak Oil is inevitable. Renewable energy can’t match the scale of fossil fuels, nor can it be built without them. It’s also ruining landscapes that old energy didn’t disturb.

This page will be updated and reworded at random with new information. If you cite it, please post the link instead of a pasted snapshot.