Eco Ethics: Screw Humans, the Icebergs are Bleeding

February 25, 2013 at 9:54 am

 If climate change is a reason to oppose immigration, where else does this logic take us? 

A few weeks ago, a jaw-dropping column appeared in the Denver Post. It was written by Philip Cafaro, who thinks that allowing people to immigrate to the United States is a bad idea. Why? Because it will cause more climate change.

The column is aimed squarely at a particular person, a Democratic US Senator named Michael Bennet. Titled Has Sen. Bennet really thought about immigration? it says things like:

the U.S. is on track for huge population increases during the 21st century…It is not clear how such increases can be accommodated in an ecologically sustainable manner.

…make no mistake: Immigrants are not coming to the United States to remain poor. Those hundreds of millions of new citizens will want to live as well and consume energy at the same rates as other Americans.

…What climate change mitigation measures does Sen. Bennet plan to put forward that could possibly equal the increased greenhouse gas emissions we would lock in by adding 145 million more new citizens to our population?

…why should Coloradans put solar panels on our houses…or do any of the 1,001 things environmentalists typically advocate to deal with climate change, if our elected officials are just going to negate those efforts by importing hundreds of millions more people into our country? [bold added; backup link]

Robert Zubrin critiques these disturbing ideas here, pointing out that Cafaro is saying, in essence, that “the wretched of the Earth must be kept poor wherever they reside, because otherwise they will ruin the weather for the rest of us.”

This kind of logic takes us to some scary places. If poor people improving their lives is bad for the environment what’s stopping governments around the world from actively striving to keep people poor? And how can we argue against government policy that deliberately impoverishes us all?

If too many human beings are the problem why do we bring anyone to hospital rather than allowing them to perish? Why do we send aid to nations devastated by natural disasters? Indeed, why aren’t governments adding something to drinking water here and abroad, thereby rendering entire populations sterile?

The Denver Post informed readers, at the bottom of this column, that:

Philip Cafaro (philip.cafaro@colostate.edu) is a professor of philosophy at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

But he’s isn’t just an obscure professor. Rather, he is president of a decidedly political organization called Progressives for Immigration Reform. The front page of its slick website currently includes this graphic:

immgration_climate_change

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Consumption is bad news. Growth is bad news. More people is bad news. So donate and take action now.

But wait, it gets worse. It turns out that Cafaro is also president of the International Society for Environmental Ethics. I am not making this up.

environmental-ethics

click to go to the website

As the above image demonstrates, this society’s website prominently displays a photograph of ice. Except that it has been manipulated, so that part of it is blood red.

Well I have a message for Professor Cafaro: I’ve never seen an iceberg bleed. But I know that humans do.

Is this what high-priced education amounts to these days? Convincing us that icebergs are more important than human suffering? Dressing up morally repugnant ideas as ethical?

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