Punchline too brutal for work: Why it is that environmentalists are the real humanitarians (a necessary encore)

I wish it weren’t true.  I wish people didn’t appear to be getting stupider, less scientifically literate, and less knowledgeable of history (see Santayana‘s thoughts in the upper right-hand corner of the blog . . .).  My e-mail box is filling today with notes from people claiming environmentalists want to rid the Earth of humans, urging that we should oppose them and let poisoning of our air and water continue . . . oblivious to the irony of the claim coupled with their supposed opposition to the idea.  Here’s the truth, in large part, an encore post from several months ago (I apologize in advance for the necessary profanity):

The fictional but very popular memes that environmentalists hate humans, humanity and capitalism wouldn’t bother me so much if they didn’t blind their believers to larger truths and sensible policies on environmental protection.

One may argue the history of the environmental movement, how most of the originators were great capitalists and humanitarians — think Andrew Carnegie, Laurance Rockefeller, Theodore Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, and all the early medical doctors who warned of the dangers of pollution-caused diseases — but it falls on deaf ears on the other sides.

Here’s the 30-second response, from Humon, in cartoon form (or here, at Humon Comics):

Mother Gaia explains why environmental protection is important, from Humon at Deviant Art

Facts of life and environmental protection – from Humon at Deviant Art

Tip of the old scrub brush to P. Z. Myers, and Mia, whoever she is.  Myers noted, “Environmentalism is actually an act of self defense.”


Wall of Shame; sites that don’t get it, or intentionally tell the error:

1908 editorial cartoon of President Theodore Roosevelt as “A Practical Forester.”  Source: St. Paul Minnesota “Pioneer Press”. Via GPO's Government Book Talk blog.

1908 Rense editorial cartoon of President Theodore Roosevelt as “A Practical Forester.” Source: St. Paul Minnesota “Pioneer Press”. Via GPO’s Government Book Talk blog.

4 Responses to Punchline too brutal for work: Why it is that environmentalists are the real humanitarians (a necessary encore)

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    David Horsey, the Pulitzer-winning cartoonist with the Los Angeles Times, shortens it to one panel.


  2. […] (Yes, Fast Co.Exist is right — remember this cartoon?) […]


  3. More to the point, like most environmentalists I know, I support vaccination and taking steps to end hunger and decrease birth mortality and so on, all of which have a negative impact on the environment in the short run, in order to promote a more sustainable cultural, political and economic world in the long run. I dunno if it’s self-centered. If we create another permian-triassic boundary extinction, and take 99% of species with us, I’d call that killing the biosphere as we’ve known it to name it Nature to begin with – and we have no idea what if anything will replace it. You could define Nature as the lifeless moons of Pluto and say we won’t harm that enough to be “killing it” but that’s scarcely a useful definition. There are probably a handful of Zerzanites out there who do want more wars, plagues, and famines, anything to avoid “technotopian” solutions. But environmentalists are generally humanitarians and sometimes that’s a conflict. Animal rights dont’ always go hand in hand with conservation and environmentalism either. A lot depends on what you put first. Given that the human species is way over carrying capacity to the point where population increase, especially accompanied by overconsumption, is simply increasing the general misery, I put the environment first. And if there’s a key principle we’ve learned since the early years when conservation was sliding into environmentalism, it’s a conservative principle. That Nature adapts slowly and therefore the rapidity of change is even more important than the change itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love the comic! What scares me is that the people who keep ignoring the implications of global warming (I refuse to use climate change because it makes it sound more moderate, in my opinion) aren’t going to be the ones dealing with the great disasters that will arrive in the future. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I do believe a lot of young people have environmentalist views, which is a good thing, I guess. It’s funny that humans are constantly trying to live in their own world and man-made environment, when it is nature that we depend on to survive. Woo, went on a bit of a ramble there, but yes, I agree with your post.

    Liked by 1 person

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