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Middle ground on the environment is needed

Comments on Brendan O'Neill “Beware the greenies who think people are parasites”, 22/06/2009, http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25667725-7583,00.html

Human beings are not parasites on the earth. People who have the views to the contrary have their own big logic and mental problems.

Humans can, however, change the earth and have done so in a very significant scale following the industrial revolution, especially since the middle of the last century as world production was ever conituously increasing to an unprecedented and unrestrained scale.

As a result, human beings collectively have a responsibility to make sure that human beings can live on earth and with the nature harmoniously and sustainably, not just for the current generations, but also for future generations to come, and forever.

There are extremes among people in terms of the environment. Some are environmental alarmists who put the environment above human beings. There are also people who don’t care about the sustainability of human activities on earth and its impact on the environment. Both are wrong and should be recognised as such.

There are huge uncertainties about the impact of human activities on the environment. Normal logic, however, suggests that human production, in the form of its past century and its current state, is unlikely to be sustainable. Natural resources are limited. There are not too many unexploited regions on earth. And human activities are affecting the environment, not so much in terms of the environment itself, but in terms of sustaining human beings, their activities and the current species on the earth as we know.

So we don’t need to be environmental alarmists. We don’t need to sacrifice human beings quest for better lives and comfort. But we do need to take actions to make sure human activities don’t jeopardise its own future, broadly defined to including the pleasures human beings derive from the environment and its diversity.

We need a middle ground.

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