What is the rationale behind environmentalism? First, we should clarify what we we're talking about. What is environmentalism? Many people think that the environmental movement is concerned with clean air, cleaning drinking water, so that to protect the health and safety of the population. You don't want pollution getting into tap water, and causing people to sick. That falls under the domain of public health, public safety, and environmental health. It has absolutely nothing to do with the environmental movement. Environmentalists couldn't possibly care less if people get sick. Nothing could be farther removed from their interest. Other people think environmentalists are concerned with protecting areas where people go camping, so they can enjoy the natural beauty of the great outdoors. Actually, places where people go on vacation, such as National Parks, could not possibly be more protected than they are right now, and environmentalists are not actually concerned about that. They are mostly obsessed with preventing species from going extinct. Many people hearing that, assume that they are interested in protecting species from going extinct that would otherwise benefit humanity. For instance, let's say a plant contained a chemical that could be used to make a pharmaceutical. However, that is not what environmentalists are concerned with. They are obsessed with preventing the extinction of species that could not theoretically benefit humanity in any way.
Environmentalists are obsessed with preventing the extinction of the spotted owl and kangaroo rat. In fact, they demand that large numbers of people lose their jobs just to minimize the likelihood of these species going extinct. Why? They are not used as a source of food. No pharmaceutical is extracted from their bodies. They don't keep pests under control. Outdoorsmen would not be profoundly disappointed if they saw no spotted owls while on a camping trip. Even environmentalists don't sit around admiring the natural beauty of kangaroo rats. This begs the question as to why the environmentalists CARE if these species go extinct. This isn't just the idle ramblings of mad men because for some reason, these people wield enormous political influence. They actually managed to get laws passed to prevent the extinction of these species. Politicians actually knuckled under and passed these laws despite the fact the laws would cause massive unemployment in the lumber industry. What's really amazing is that they passed these laws despite the fact that not a single person, racking their brain, could come up with a single reason why anyone, even an idiot, would give a rat's ass whether the kangaroo rat went extinct.
When trying to figure out why environmentalists care if a species goes extinct, you can't help but notice a connection to the animal rights movement. The animal rights activists are another group of irrational people. They suffer the delusion that all animals have human intelligence, and therefore should be afforded the same rights as people under the constitution. Many environmentalists suffer a similar delusion, and there's obviously overlap between these two groups. However, that all by itself doesn't explain the irrational views of environmentalists. The environmental movement is also motivated by protecting plants, and even the most irrational environmentalists don't pretend that plants have human intelligence.
However, this is not to say that environmentalists consider all life to be equal. There do exist species where even the environmentalists don't care if they go extinct. I noticed a deafening silence from the environmentalist community regarding plans to destroy the world's last smallpox virus. Where's the outcry? Why is it worth it to save the spotted owl and kangaroo rat, and not worth it to save the smallpox virus?
However, this isn't to say that some strange views aren't held by some environmentalists. There exists a group of radical fringe environmentalists who are actually against manned spaceflight. They are totally opposed to a manned flight to Mars. They are somehow trying to "protect" Mars from human impact.
Since the environmentalists are left wing liberals, and the pro-choice advocates are also left-wing liberals, these are often the same people. Therefore you have people who are against killing spotted owls, and not against killing human fetuses. Would they be against killing spotted owl fetuses? They probably would be against that. Therefore, it's not the characteristic of "fetus" that causes them to not mind killing human fetuses. It's the characteristic of "human" that causes them to not mind killing human fetuses. At its fundamental core, the environmentalist movement is anti-human. They believe that human footprints on Mars would deface the surface of Mars. An example of an extreme environmentalist is the Unabomber, who is so anti-human that he killed three people.
None of this answers the question as to what is the rationale behind not wanting species to go extinct. If they are deeply anti-human, and an extinction is causes by humans, they would be against that just because it's something caused by humans. However, they also seem to be obsessed with preventing naturally occurring extinction. They actually got passed legislation to try to prevent the natural extinction of some insect. You can't explain that by their anti-human hysteria. There are about five billion living species, and five trillion extinct species, so for every species alive today, there were 1000 species that went extinct naturally. Are the environmentalists against this? It doesn't make any sense.
I have no idea why environmentalists are against species going extinct. However, aside from that, they are doomed to fail in their task of trying to prevent. Few people alive today realize how much genetic engineering will alter civilization. All life, including humans, will be genetically altered beyond recognition. In future centuries, there will be no naturally occurring species anywhere. The sentient beings, which won't physically resemble us, that will comprise our civilization 1000 years from now, will look upon a civilization so primitive that the original biosphere still exists on their home planet, the way we would look upon a stone age tribe of hunter gatherers. From that point of view, the environmentalists clinging to their lost hopeless of preventing the extinction of species really seems irrational. Of course, why anyone would want to do this anyway is beyond my comprehension.
If environmentalists want to preserve the Earth's biosphere, they're fighting a lost cause, and not one anyone should cry over. Today, we don't need the natural environment as a source of food, clothing, building materials, and in the future we won't need it for oxygen either, just as astronauts will use artificial biospherics. Through genetic engineering we'll be able to create any organism whatsoever, and we won't be limited to things similar to life that once existed naturally on Earth. A few centuries from now, which is a fraction of an instant in the history of this planet, we would have genetically altered ourselves beyond recognition. Every inch of the solar system will be as developed as Manhattan is today. Through genetic engineering, there won't be a definite boundary between living and nonliving objects. There will be no trace of naturally occurring ecosystem or biosphere anywhere. At that time, people will view a civilization so primitive there actually exist traces of original naturally occurring biosphere on the home planet of the species, the same way that we today view a stone age tribe of hunter gatherers. It would never cross anyone's mind that some one might think that this is a bad thing, in the same way that today nobody cries about the fact that Manhattan is no longer covered with dense forests. Therefore what is the purpose of environmentalism? Not to preserve naturally occurring ecosystems, since they will be gone in a fraction of an instant in geologic time, and why would someone think that wasn't a bad thing? Historians at that time will be unable to figure out what 20th Century "environmentalism" was since the concept would be so alien to them.
Usually, if there is a group of people I disagree with, I understand their point of view. However, with environmentalists, I've never figured out what their point of view is. You can understand the position of advocating public health which has to do with helping people, such as wanting clean drinking water. However, environmentalists usually advocate things that help no one at all. For instance, they feverishly advocate the government trying to prevent the extinction of the spotted owl and the kangaroo rat. However, that would help no one whatsoever. In fact it would hurt people, since it would cause people in the logging industry to lose their jobs. If there was something that hurt some people, and helped others, you'd have a debate. However here, it hurts some people, and doesn't help anyone at all. Yet they advocate it anyway. Why? Some people say that environmentalists do this so they can enjoy the physical beauty of the natural world. If that's want they want, they could preserve pockets of "beauty" such as national parks, and not worry about places that no one ever goes to anyway. Besides, that doesn't explain why they care if the spotted owl or kangaroo rat goes extinct. How often do even environmentalists sit around, staring at wild kangaroo rats, enjoying their physical beauty?
Environmentalists cite overwhelming evidence that humans are increasing the average temperature of the planet, which no one disputes, but cite no evidence whatsoever to support their assumption that this is harmful to people. A scientist would ask the following questions regarding global warming. What is the greatest increase in temperature which would be harmful? What is the least increase in temperature which would not be harmful? Is the projected increase in temperature above or below that threshold? Is the observed increase in temperature harmful and if so, how harmful is it? These are difficult questions to answer but these are the questions that a scientist would ask. However, the authors of these articles never ask any such questions. The fact is that questions such as these would never cross the mind of an environmentalist since they would reflexively assume that any increase in temperature, regardless of how small, is synonymous with the End of the World, but only if it was man-made and not if it was naturally occurring. To understand why environmentalists believe that, you have to first recognize that they are motivated entirely by their religious beliefs, which is not mainstream religion, but New Age religion.
First you have to distinguish between the proto-environmentalists of the 19th and early 20th Century, and the modern environmentalists. The proto-environmentalists included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, John Audubon, John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ansel Adams. It started as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution. They motivated by enjoying the beauty of natural scenery.They wanted to preserve National Parks so people could go there on vacation. The modern environmentalists are totally different people. The modern environmentalists originated in the late 1960's as part of the counter culture movement. Due the baby boom, a large percentage of the population was going through adolescent rebellion. These were the hippies of the late 60's. They rebelled against mainstream society in many different ways. They rebelled against social norms by engaging in drug use and promiscuity. They rebelled against political leaders. They rebelled against corporations. They rebelled against mainstream religion, by inventing alternative religion, which included New Age spirituality, eastern mysticism, phychics, astrology, etc. Their New Age religion involved worshiping the Mother Earth Goddess. It fit in perfectly with their politics, ideology, philosophy, and religion, to say that the evil corporations, in their evil pursuit of money, were raping the Mother Earth Goddess. That is the origin of modern environmentalism.
Part of New Age religion is believing that the Earth is in balance, and that modern man has upset the delicate balance of nature. They believe that any human change to the planet is intrinsically bad. This is why they believe that global warming will cause the End of the World. Underlying every discussion of global warming is the belief that humans somehow don't have the right to alter the planet. They believe that somehow we are breaking the rules by increasing the average temperature of the Earth. The End of the World predicted by environmentalists is supposed to be our punishment. This is all a religious belief. It assumes some supernatural being or higher power is making the rules and will punish us if we break the rules. You have to recognize that this religious belief is the reason why the environmentalists assume that it is intrinsically bad for humans to increase the average temperature of the Earth.
In addition to what I've said so far, there is also a long-standing ancient belief that there are things humans are allowed to do, and things gods are allowed to do, and if humans do a god-like thing, then we’re breaking the rules, and we’ll be punished for it. We'll be punished for hubris. We'll be struck down for our arrogance. Some bad thing will happen as a result. This is a reoccurring theme throughout the history of Western mythology, religion, philosophy, fiction, and history. Here are just a few examples.
1. Prometheus stole fire from the gods, and was chained to a cliff.
2. Phaethon drove his father Helios' chariot and set fire to the heavens.
3. Adams and Eve ate the apple, and were cast out of the garden.
4. God sent the biblical flood of Noah to punish humanity.
5. Xerxes built a pontoon bridge across the Hellespont, linking two continents which the gods intended to be separate, which Herodotus implies is part of the reason why the superior Persian force was defeated by a smaller inferior Greek force.
6. King Arthur was killed by his son Mordred, who was conceived in an unholy union with Arthur’s half-sister Morgana.
7. In Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein", Dr. Frankenstein creates a monster out of pieces of human corpses, and therefore playing god or violating the natural order, and so the monster is a murderer who kills several people including the doctor’s bride on their wedding night.
8. When the vaccine to smallpox was invented, some people had an irrational fear of it.
9. When Niel Armstrong walked on the Moon, a woman wrote a letter to the editor expressing surprise that God allowed it to take place.
10. When in vitro fertilization was invented, in 1972, which was recently awarded the Nobel Prize, the Catholic church, as well, as other people were vehemently opposed to it.
11. Today, people have an irrational opposition to human cloning, claiming that it is "playing god".
12. People thought the Y2K bug would cause the end of the world. In other words, they believed our arrogant over-reliance on computers would lead to our own destruction.
13. Many people claimed that attempting to recreate conditions similar to the Big Bang at particle accelerators would lead to the End of the World. Some people claimed that the Relativistic Heavy Ion collider would create strange matter that would destroy the world. Other people claimed that the Large Hadronic Collider would create black holes that would destroy the world.
14. Environmentalists claim that if humans modify the planet in any way, such as by causing acid rain, ozone depletion, or global warming, that would cause the end of the world. To modify the planet sounds god-like. If humans do a god-like thing, such as modify the planet, the real gods will punish is by causing the end of the world.
The belief that global warming is bad is just one more example in this long tradition of assuming that if humans do a supposedly god-like thing, we must be punished for it. That is a religious belief since it presumes some sort of god/gods/goddess that sets the rules and will punish us if we break the rules.
Of course, humans are increasing the average temperature of the Earth. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that is harmful to people. We have had man-made global warming since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution about 200 years ago. There has never been a single person harmed as a result. It's a very small increase in temperature. The average temperature of the Earth has only increased one degree over the last 200 years. The sea levels are only rising at a rate of three millimeters per year. It’s not harmful to people. Nobody is hurt by it. The belief that it’s bad is a religious belief.
Modern environmentalism originated with the counter culture of the late 1960's. They were rebelling against mainstream society in many ways, including rebelling against mainstream religion, which is why they inventing New Age religion. Part of that New Age religion is worshiping the Mother Earth Goddess, which includes believing in a mythical balance of nature, and that humans are not allowed to modify the Earth in any way.
Modern environmentalists originated with the New Age pagan Wicca hippies that worshiped the Mother Earth Goddess, and according to their New Age religion, humans somehow don’t have the moral right to increase the average temperature of the Earth, by any amount, regardless of how small, because according to their New Age religion, this would supposedly offend the Mother Earth Goddess.
The proof that the belief that global warming is bad is a religious belief is the fact that both the environmentalists and the Republicans believe that whether global warming is harmful is not determined by the size of the increase in temperature, and is determined by whether it's man-made or naturally occurring. From a scientific point of view, whether global warming is harmful to people is not determined by whether it's man-made or naturally occurring, and is determined by the size of the increase in temperature. If the increase in temperature is small enough, it would not be harmful to people. If a given increase in temperature was harmful if it was man-made, the same increase in temperature would also be harmful if it was naturally occurring. If a given increase in temperature was not harmful if it was naturally occurring, then the same increase in temperature would also not be harmful if it was man-made. Whether a given increase in temperature is harmful or not harmful has nothing to do with whether it's man-made or naturally occurring. However, environmentalists never talk about the magnitude of the increase in temperature. Instead both environmentalists and Republicans constantly harp incessantly about the irrelevant point about whether it's man-made or naturally occurring, as if that had something to do with whether it was harmful.
The explanation is that from their religious point of view, it would make a difference whether it was man-made or naturally occurring. Let's say you believed that the End of the World predicted by environmentalists was our punishment for breaking the rules, and doing something we are not allowed to do, in this case, increasing the average temperature of the Earth. If the increase in temperature of man-made, then we have broken the rules, we have done something for which we deserve to be punished, so then the gods will punish us by causing the End of the World. On the other hand, if it was naturally occurring, then we have not broken the rules, we have not done anything for which we deserve to be punished, so then the gods will not punish us by causing the End of the World. The fact that the Environmentalists and the Republicans keep talking about the question of man-made versus naturally occurring proves that they are motivated by their religious beliefs.
Environmentalists assumed that admitting that humans were increasing the average temperature of the Earth was synonymous with being "alarmed" by it. Well, let me give you another example of human modification of the planet which definitely exists. It is an undisputed fact that humans are decreasing the gravitational pull of the Earth. The force of gravity that you feel is determined by the distance between you and the center of the Earth, and the amount of matter between you and the center of the Earth. There is less matter between the soles of your shoes and the center of the Earth than there used to be because throughout history humans have been moving matter farther way from the center of the Earth than it was naturally. Think of the Egyptian pyramids, the pyramids in Mexico, the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, etc. If you told an environmentalist that humans are decreasing the gravitational pull of the Earth, they would start screaming that it will cause the End of the World.
Lastly, there is actually both man-made global warming and man-made global cooling. Humans release carbon dioxide which warms the planet. Humans also release sulfur dioxide which cools the planet. It creates persistent sulfuric acid clouds which are very effective at reflecting sunlight, and thereby cool the planet. There is more global warming than global cooling so we have net global warming. However, if the environmentalists believe that global warming will cause the End of the World, why don't they advocate increasing sulfur dioxide emissions? Well, of course the environmentalists would be the last people in the world who would ever suggest deliberately releasing any chemical into the atmosphere. Aside from that, the only reason environmentalists are against global warming is because according to their religion, humans don't have the moral right to change the temperature of the planet. According to their religion, man-made global cooling would be as morally reprehensible as man-made global warming, even if it was done for the purpose of counteracting global warming.
All religion is anti-science. The environmentalists are motivated entirely by religion, which in their case is worship of the Mother Earth Goddess. Therefore, environmentalists are anti-science. Assuming that global warming is bad is anti-science.