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Lifestyles of the Poor and Obscure: An environmentalist laments the tragedy of electricity
The Weekly Standard ^ | 08/28/2002 | Katherine Mangu-Ward

Posted on 08/27/2002 9:10:42 PM PDT by Pokey78

THE INTRODUCTION of electricity has caused the "destruction" of cultures in the third world, according the editor of an environmental website. He says "there's a lot of quality to be had in poverty."

"I don't think a lot of electricity is a good thing. It is the fuel that powers a lot of multi-national imagery," said Gar Smith, editor of the Earth Island Institute's online journal the Edge, in an interview with CNSNews.com's Marc Morano.

"I have to been villages in Africa that had a vibrant culture and great communities that were disrupted and destroyed by the introduction of electricity," Smith said. "People who used to spend their days and evenings in the streets playing music on their own instruments and sewing clothing for their neighbors on foot-pedal powered sewing machines" are now inside their huts watching television.

The CNSNews.com article is studded with similar gems from Smith, but his proposed solutions to the simultaneous degradation of culture and the environment were even more interesting.

"The real question," Smith asks rhetorically, "is what personal conveniences and self-indulgences are you willing to give up in order to stop destroying the planet?"

Smith explains that "a lot" of his friends "have given up automobiles and commute by bicycles and mass transit," and that they have given up meat, since "the amount of water used to produce a pound of hamburger meat is probably enough to sustain a third world village for half a year."

Though this calculation casts some doubt on Smith's quantitative skills, like most U.S. environmentalists, he firmly believes that "the level at which Americans consume is unsustainable." He quotes a recently released World Wildlife Fund statistic: "If the rest of the world consumed at the same rate as the United States we would need three extra planets to exploit."

Smith goes on to declare that poverty is "relative." He explains that "you can't really have poverty unless you have wealthy people on the scene." One wonders why he hasn't moved to a locale more in tune with the lifestyle he and his friends embrace. There, with no health care, living on a subsistence diet, with a leaky roof over his head, at least he'd have the comfort of knowing he isn't poor.

But Smith offers comfort for avowed permanent residents of the developed world as well: "There is a solution to climate change and pollution. We saw it happen to Russia when their economy collapsed. Their industrial plants closed down, the skies got clear. Their air is a lot clearer now."

Thankfully, Smith is far from being a major player at this week's United Nations Earth Summit in Johannesburg, but some of his conclusions are the logical extensions of the mainstream environmentalism those delegates will be pushing.

Patrick Moore, a founding member of Greenpeace, left the group in the 1980s after becoming disillusioned with its radicalism and "eco-imperialist politics." He says of the delegates at the Earth Summit: "They are mainly political activists with not very much actual science background who are using the rhetoric of environmentalism to push agendas that are more political than ecological." O

f Smith, he exclaims, "What does he think--that some illiterate with her teeth falling out in the mountains is a good thing?"

Katherine Mangu-Ward is an editorial assistant at The Weekly Standard.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 08/27/2002 9:10:42 PM PDT by Pokey78
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: Pokey78
Wow, I am amazed, this dude either has the first abacus connected to the internet, or he is a flaming hypocrite.
3 posted on 08/27/2002 9:14:33 PM PDT by ContentiousObjector
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To: one_particular_harbour
This may have been posted previously. Apprently this "enviral" thinks he can end poverty but preserve ignorance.
4 posted on 08/27/2002 9:15:14 PM PDT by BenLurkin
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To: Pokey78
This would be a headline story that my local rag would print. The Eugene Register Guard, right here in the swill of socialists, they would applaud the man's veracity.

And It would appear above the fold.

5 posted on 08/27/2002 9:20:04 PM PDT by joyce11111
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To: Pokey78
Taken to its logical conclusions, the environmentalist argument calls for human extinction.
6 posted on 08/27/2002 9:21:38 PM PDT by Monti Cello
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To: snopercod; Pokey78
Yet another chapter for my book, Electricity Comes from Walls (c)1995.
7 posted on 08/27/2002 9:46:07 PM PDT by First_Salute
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To: Pokey78
"the amount of water used to produce a pound of hamburger meat is probably enough to sustain a third world village for half a year."

This guy's a real wacko!! And we should throw our toilets out the window, piss off the porch and save enough water for the entire world's population. I know - this fruitcake has been depriving himself of oxygen so he can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and save the planet. Or he's a veggie and all he eats is, is, is, nothing! He doesn't want to contaminate the planet, cause a carrot pain, or abuse flour by beating it into bread.

POOOOOOOORRR DUUUUMB BAAAAAASTAAARDDDDD!!!!!!

8 posted on 08/27/2002 9:48:26 PM PDT by Rockyrich
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To: Pokey78
"the amount of water used to produce a pound of hamburger meat is probably enough to sustain a third world village for half a year."
Of course he fails to tell you that that village is halfe a word away from where the beef drank the water, and there is no way it could be sent to the village.
9 posted on 08/27/2002 10:03:23 PM PDT by 20yearvet
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To: one_particular_harbour
Let's see - so if I understand this neo-Luddite idiot correctly, he'd have no argument against being dropped stark naked somewhere in the Yukon wilderness.

But hey, I'm a generous man. I'd spot him a loin cloth and a nice sharp stick.
10 posted on 08/27/2002 10:03:53 PM PDT by Noumenon
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To: Rockyrich
I've got two words that usually stop these back to nature idiots in their tracks:

"modern dentistry"

Check, please...
11 posted on 08/27/2002 10:06:16 PM PDT by Noumenon
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: one_particular_harbour
He says "there's a lot of quality to be had in poverty."

Oh, yes, there's quality - if you mean by "quality" a life spent scratching around in the dirt. That's real "quality" to a delusional leftist.

The lefties can't quite make their minds, you say? After all, they want to end poverty, yet they want to promote it because it's so culturally charming. They want a world without electricity; they want a world where the vacuum pumps at abortion clinics operate round-the-clock. They want it all - but what they're absolutely convinced of is that they know best (yet such dogmatism would hardly appeal to them in any other instance).

You would think such obviously brilliant brains would be consistent, but they're far too sophisticated for that sort of thing. Narcissistic infants tend to be that way.

13 posted on 08/27/2002 10:25:44 PM PDT by Reactionary
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To: Pokey78; All
I heard about this idiot on Hannity the other day.

I think these idiots have this romantic notion, probably rooted in childhood, that it's somehow cool and exciting to be primitive. This yutz probably saw too many 50's b-movies or read too many comic books where head hunters boiled explorers and ran around spearing whooly mammoths or killing lions with their bare hands.

This elitist idiot wants to play act Tarzan. That's fine--just don't expect the rest of the world to play along. Heck--electricity means... food storage, air conditioning, communication, all manner of nice things. He laments that those poor dumb villagers are watching tv in their huts rather than playing instruments and sewing cute indigenous clothing for their pals. Cry me a g*d d*mned river, punk--they did that because they DIDNT HAVE digital cable.

The human animal likes what the human animal likes. Comfort and convenience doesn't mean a lot to someone who grew up with them... let this yutz live in a hut his entire life and he'd be crying for a flush toilet... heck, a Sears catalog... anything. I hate him. I hate him, I hate him.

I am done ranting now.

14 posted on 08/27/2002 10:36:30 PM PDT by RepoGirl
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To: Noumenon
A rational person might agree. However, with this loon, he would say, "yank em all," I don't need `em. All I eat is grass like the cows and drink water.
15 posted on 08/27/2002 10:40:38 PM PDT by Rockyrich
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To: Pokey78
This guy deserves the electric chair.
16 posted on 08/27/2002 10:59:42 PM PDT by mtg
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To: Pokey78
"I have to been villages in Africa that had a vibrant culture and great communities that were disrupted and destroyed by the introduction of electricity," Smith said. "People who used to spend their days and evenings in the streets playing music on their own instruments and sewing clothing for their neighbors on foot-pedal powered sewing machines" are now inside their huts watching television.

Blame television, not electricty.

Red

17 posted on 08/27/2002 11:05:35 PM PDT by Conservative4Ever
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To: Pokey78
There is an interesting and somewhat relevant article:
'Sustainable growth' is not sustainable solution

...Few groups have been more consistently wrong in their basic assumptions and predictions than the sustainable-development crowd.
The philosophical assumption undergirding sustainable growth -economic growth without depletion of natural resources -has a very old pedigree, dating back most famously to the 18th century economist Thomas Malthus, who claimed the world would starve because food production could never keep up with human population growth. ...(more... - short article)

& Post # 3: ...The difference between rich and poor countries is not due to a lack of natural resources, nor is it due to a lack of motivation or ability. The thing that these poor nations is lacking is....
THE SOCIAL AND/OR LEGAL INFRASTRUCTURE NECESSARY FOR THE CREATION AND PROTECTION OF WEALTH! - That's it... - by Billy_bob_bob

...A short study of the Heritage Foundation's list shows one thing very clearly---there is no free nation that is not prosperous and no unfree nation that is not poor. No exceptions. It has nothing to due with population density, natural resources, or mean annual rainfall. Top two nations on the list are Hong Kong and Singapore--both have extremely high population densities and no natural resources whatsoever. - 11 by edger

18 posted on 08/28/2002 12:08:21 AM PDT by Golden Gate
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To: RepoGirl
"you can't really have poverty unless you have wealthy people on the scene."

And you can't really have idiocy unless you have intelligent people on the scene.
19 posted on 08/28/2002 4:08:10 AM PDT by SaudiDuck
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To: Pokey78
Sometimes I watch shows on the Discovery Channel of people who live very simply in villages with no electricity and it appeals to me. They seem to have happy and stable families. Everyone works together because survival depends upon it. They work very hard and thus they are usually in great shape. They also get to hunt every day and camp out every night!

Remember, Man survived for thousands of years without electricity. Now, we call it "roughing it" if we have to stay at a Motel 6!

20 posted on 08/28/2002 11:52:01 AM PDT by Feiny
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To: feinswinesuksass
No...no...before electricity there were no wealthy people oppressing the poor, just like before guns there was no violence.
21 posted on 08/28/2002 12:00:45 PM PDT by meowmeow
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To: meowmeow
Oh, I see.....rich people suck. ;^)

Did you know that close to 80% of the worlds population doesn't even wear shoes?

22 posted on 08/28/2002 12:17:22 PM PDT by Feiny
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To: feinswinesuksass
Sometimes I watch shows on the Discovery Channel of people who live very simply in villages with no electricity and it appeals to me. They seem to have happy and stable families. Everyone works together because survival depends upon it. They work very hard and thus they are usually in great shape. They also get to hunt every day and camp out every night!

They have a life expectancy of about 40 years! If it appeals to you, please go and have the real experience.

23 posted on 08/28/2002 12:22:21 PM PDT by cinFLA
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To: cinFLA
You must be over 40.....lighten up a little.
24 posted on 08/28/2002 2:19:49 PM PDT by Feiny
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To: Pokey78
Lileks has a screed today that is apropo....
And a hoot, BTW.

http://www.lileks.com/screed/monbiot.html
25 posted on 08/28/2002 2:47:29 PM PDT by SarahW
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