5) Anything Released into the Environment Is Pollution
The marvels of the industrial revolution which enabled tens of millions to rise from the rut of subsistence farming to a quality of life their fathers could have scarcely imagined would have remained impossible under today’s green regime. Never mind that technological advances enabled less land to support more people in a cleaner human environment than at any other time in history. The carbon dioxide produced by the burning of carbon fuels is a “pollution” of greater concern than whether people can eat or keep warm.
The popular concept of pollution has grown cartoonishly absurd. Just as wilderness has taken on an inherent subjective value, any release of any byproduct of human activity counts as “pollution” regardless of the context in which human life vastly improves.
Consider President Barack Obama’s now famous admission that “under [his] plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” As we have since seen during the president’s administration, soaring energy prices have a tangible effect upon the quality of life available to each and every human being. The ability to live where you want to live, work for whomever will employ you, and generally pursue your happiness ties inexorably to the freedom to travel and produce efficiently. Yet that freedom is artificially limited by intrusive government regulations meant to reduce so-called pollution as arbitrarily defined.
Whether a byproduct of human activity may be rightly regarded as pollution depends upon the context of both its production and disposal. Smoke can certainly be a pollutant. However, in a context where it is the byproduct of a controlled fire providing heat necessary to preserve or improve human life, it is not a pollutant. Likewise, the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from modern industrial processes must be considered within the context of how those processes improve the quality of human life. For the most part, the green movement does not consider this context or tries to manufacture a false context where quality of life is supposedly threatened (more on that later).
It is worth emphasizing that efforts to curb “pollution” which is actually just the byproduct of productive human activity affects the poorest of the poor most profoundly. Raising gas prices may inconvenience the affluent, requiring some tightening of budgets, fewer nights out, or perhaps a skipped vacation. For the poorest of the poor, increased prices can mean the difference between maintaining a job, feeding children, and heating a home. How compassionate is it to douse a freezing man’s fire on account of the smoke?