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Polluted Minds: Greenies think nature is bad for itself

by: daniel clark | published: 02 28, 2014

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One of the things liberals remember best about Ronald Reagan is that he said trees cause pollution. The reason they remember this is that it makes them feel superior to him, and no wonder. Can you imagine anything that sounds stupider than that? It’s the kind of statement for which we’d expect Sarah Palin to be ridiculed, despite her never having said it.

So why would Reagan say such a thing? Because trees cause pollution, that’s why. In particular, decaying leaves and pine needles produce organic compounds that contribute to smog and acid rain. His point was not that trees are bad for the earth, but that the way we define pollution often results in alarmist conclusions, and policies that needlessly inflict economic harm on people. As if to deliberately confirm Reagan’s contention, Barack Obama’s EPA has classified carbon dioxide – the stuff that trees breathe – as a “pollutant.” Obama himself, in last month’s State of the Union Address, declared that “climate change” caused by CO2 “is a fact.”

If CO2 is a pollutant, then the leading sources of this pollution include such unnatural phenomena as animal exhalations, decomposition, wildfires and volcanoes. The EPA doesn’t plainly state that trees cause pollution, but according to their own definition, “pollution” is caused in part by burning and rotting trees.

Of course, living trees absorb a great deal of this same “pollution,” and so does oceanic plant life. What liberals would have us believe is that this cycle is perfectly capable of absorbing just the right amount of natural CO2, but cannot handle the relatively small additional amount that is manmade. What’s peculiar about that supposition is that natural CO2 emissions are nowhere near constant, but instead fluctuate dramatically. When emissions increase from one year to the next, those who speak for science talk as if the earth knows whether the additional CO2 is natural or manmade, and consciously discriminates between the two. Actually, they don’t give nature that much credit; otherwise, they’d be more willing to trust it.

The reason the EPA has declared CO2 to be a pollutant is that it’s a greenhouse gas, but it is neither the most potent nor the most abundant of greenhouse gases. The most potent is methane, which is generated by decomposing organic matter. One of the leading sources of methane is swamps, or as they are known to liberals, “federally protected wetlands.” The most abundant greenhouse gas is water vapor, a fact that ought to give environmentally concerned college students pause while they’re boiling their Oodles of Noodles. If something as ubiquitous as human breath can be blamed for global destruction, then why not steam, also?

Looking back, it’s a wonder that the earth survived for as long as it did before liberals came along to save it. Notice that many of the environmentalists’ most feared bogeymen – like extinction, erosion, and invasive species – are everyday facts of nature. The earth – which they often claim to be a living, and even sentient being – must be dumb as a mollusk to have spent so many millions of years engaging in these self-destructive activities. Furthermore, the earth must have had no idea what its optimum temperature was, how much CO2 belonged in its atmosphere, how many billions of people it could support, or to which geographic area it must confine each particular species. Only liberals know these things – or at least they feel them, which is even better.

It only stands to reason that liberals would perceive the earth this way, once they have attributed human characteristics to it. Just look at the way they treat real human beings. They practically dedicate their existence to their perceived need to save us from ourselves. As far as they’re concerned, mere citizens can’t even be trusted to determine their own eating habits, let alone to raise their own children, decide what kind of car to drive, or handle firearms. Why should they find the earth any more trustworthy?

It’s a wonder that liberals don’t reinvigorate our space program, just so they can hassle the man in the moon. Perhaps they could send an OSHA official to demand that he pay to have all the craters filled in. Trip hazards, don’t you know. Would that be so much more absurd than penalizing human beings for the earth’s temperature?

In truth, the greenies didn’t disagree with Reagan when he said that trees cause pollution. They only took umbrage at his suggestion that this meant there was no need for their meddling.

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