August 27, 2007

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

The Delaware Sierra Club's Carol Taylor makes the following statement in a letter today:

As stewards of our planet, we are faced with an undisputable challenge that no human has ever before faced. We're running out of pure breathable air, potable water and, in the case of Delaware, vital farmland to feed us.

Really? According to the Index of Leading Environmental Indicators for 2002, things are actually improving:

  • Air quality is improving and is going to continue to improve. "Since 1970, aggregate emissions of the six 'criteria' pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Acts have declined 29 percent, at the same time that the US economy grew 150 percent, auto travel increased by 143 percent, and total US energy consumption (the primary source of air pollution emissions) increased 45 percent." And guess why -- technology and stricter regulations.
  • Water quality is improving. "Water quality is measured very poorly and inconsistently in the United States, but several measures indicate substantial improvement. Wetlands loss has virtually ended, for example."
  • The United States is not running out of farmland or open space. The rapid growth of American metro areas in recent decades has fueled the understandable perception that we are "running out of land." New methods of analyzing satellite imagery have revealed that most of the statistics on land cover in the United States are turning out to be wrong by a high order of magnitude. How cities should grow is an important issue, but choices should be made based on accurate information.

It's not surprising the groups like the Sierra Club have to resort to scare tactics. This is how they operate in order to get needed funds and members. After all, how much money would be flowing in and how would membership increase if the S.C. put out a press release stating what it says in the bulleted list above? The dopiest line in Taylor's letter is where she says "and, in the case of Delaware, vital farmland to feed us." This is misleading on two levels: One, it presumes that we who live here in Delaware need to have our own [state] farmland in order to eat (or, at least, to have an adequate food supply). Nothing could be further from the truth. Second, she asserts that the planet as a whole is in danger of running out of food (as a result of land loss). Even the frenzied United Nations realizes that food production isn't a problem in and of itself. It's how it's managed.

Carol ends her letter by stating "We cannot afford skepticism. We must instead have hope, faith and optimism." We do have hope, faith and optimism, Carol. We have faith that we can solve any problem that comes our way, as we've demonstrated countless times over the centuries. The skepticism comes when people continually hear the cries of doom from folks like yourself.

Posted by Hube at August 27, 2007 03:57 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Yup, modern pollution levels are far lower than where we were in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Is Delaware running out of farm land? Well it sure seems to be turning into housing complexes. But will we run out of land so we can't feed ourselves? Unlikely since we don't feed ourselves from Delaware farms anyway.

Posted by: Jeff the Baptist at August 28, 2007 09:54 AM