According to Guy McPherson, Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources, Ecology, etc., at the University of Arizona, (presumably man-made) climate change is “irreversible” and, basically, we’re all doomed.

As I’ve noted before, anyone who actually values human liberty and progress should welcome declarations of the “irreversible” nature of global warming. After all, if there’s nothing we can do to stop it, then we can just get on with our lives and leave humanity to dealing with environmental problems as they come, which is what homo sapiens have been doing for millennia.

So, McPherson’s pronouncement that it’s irreversible is a real load off. We can stop having the debate about whether or not to crush human economic progress with global regulatory efforts to massively reduce everyone’s standard of living via carbon emission controls (except for the super-wealthy and politically-well connected, of course).

But not so fast.  McPherson has come up with a novel twist on this one. Even though humanity is totally doomed, that doesn’t mean we can now just drop the issue and get back to increasing our standards of living as fast as possible in our last remaining years. Nope, we apparently have a responsibility to destroy ourselves to that other animals can have the planet instead. The method of suicide? We must “terminate industrial civilization.”

Since McPherson considers himself qualified to speak on these matters, I’m going to assume that he is in fact aware that terminating industrial civilization would result in the near-immediate starvation of a large portion of the human race. This no doubt fits into his plan to destroy humanity for the sake of amoebas and elk, but he then implies that he doesn’t understand what the end of industrial civilization means when he declares that, being doomed, our only choice is is to “enjoy and create moments of joy while we are here.”

So which is it? Should we terminate industrial civilization or “create moments of joy,” because those  two propositions are mutually exclusive for the vast majority of humans.

Perhaps McPherson is one of those people who is under the mistaken impression that prior to industrialization, life on earth was some sort of bucolic joy-filled wonderland. Such risible nostalgia for a past that never existed seems to infect many environmentalists. The reality of the good ol’ days of the pre-industrial world, of course, is one of scratching a subsistence out of the ground from dawn until dusk while hoping one isn’t struck down by some plague.

For most people, joy comes from having some free time in relative comfort, and access to modern medical amenities when one falls ill. Without industrial civilization, there’s no modern medicine, little comfort, and certainly no free time to speak of. Where we’re supposed to attain this “joy” is a mystery in McPherson’s vision.


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