by Augusto Zimmerman
The modern environmentalist movement is often compared to a religion. Indeed, a great number of environmentalists are Gaia worshippers who perceive ‘Mother Earth’ as a living entity. These individuals possess an apocalyptic view of the world, and their approach to the ‘environment’ is intimately associated with the worship of nature. More about this later.
We are constantly told by the believers in “global warming” that the temperature is increasing, the seas are rising, the ice is shrinking, and the polar bears are vanishing. These claims are not supported by conclusive evidence; indeed, the opposite appears to be the case, considering predictions usually fail. However, the unshakable belief that carbon dioxide emissions are heating up the Earth’s atmosphere to a catastrophic degree has been afforded the status of religious dogma.
Naturally, a reasonable concern to avoid pollution and preserve our natural resources in a responsible manner is a commendable ethical position. However, ‘environmentalist’ efforts to cut carbon emissions make energy less affordable and accessible, which drives up the costs of consumer products, stifles economic growth, costs jobs, and imposes harmful effects on the Earth’s poorest people.
By contrast, allocating monetary resources to help build sewage treatment plants, enhance sanitation, and provide clean water for poor people would have a greater immediate impact on their plight than would the battle over alleged ‘global warming’.
It should come as no surprise that Australian governments across all jurisdictions have embraced the idea that global warming is happening, humans are to blame, and that doing something drastic about it is in the country’s best interest. Australia has even created a government Minister for ‘Climate Change’, suggesting that politicians can save us by appeasing the ‘gods of the weather’!
Arguably, our politicians are assisting in the fabrication of a “climate crisis” so as to sell their own solution, namely big government. So, the government, previously viewed as a ‘necessary evil’ and potential violator of basic rights and freedoms, now becomes our ultimate “saviour”. Call this a form of idolatry if you wish.
Global warming theory rests on the belief that rising carbon dioxide levels drive up the temperature of the atmosphere. Despite this degree of terrifying environmental alarmism and crippling government spending to curb ‘carbon emissions’, historically, temperature increases have often preceded high carbon dioxide levels, destroying this theory of cause and effect. The fact is that the world has always warmed and cooled, and the theory of anthropomorphic global warming contradicts what we know historically to be the case.
Nonetheless, according to Senator James Paterson,
The public shaming and bullying of any scientist who differs from climate change orthodoxy is eerily reminiscent of a latter-day Salem Witch-trial or Spanish Inquisition, with public floggings meted out – metaphorically speaking – for their thought crimes. Indeed, ‘dissenters’, as they have also been labelled, suffer ritual humiliation at the hands of their colleagues and the media, with their every motivation questioned and views pilloried.
Global warming is subject to empirical refutation with accumulated evidence of cooling. So, when the temperature rises, we hear, “Wow, that’s clear evidence of climate change”. But when climate takes a rapid cooling turn, we hear, “Wow, that’s more proof of climate change”. This is obviously a tautology – anything that happens, no matter what it is, can be attributed to a single theory. And if anything happens, no matter what it is, that can be attributed to a single theory, is quintessentially a totalitarian theory, such as global warming.
According to Jonah Goldberg, the founding editor of National Review Online, “the beauty about global warming is that it touches everything we do – what we eat, what we wear, where we go. Our “carbon footprint’ is the measure of man”. In other words, the idea of “climate change” is essentially irrefutable, because somewhere, in some way, the climate is always changing. And any theory that is not refutable is not scientific; it is religion.
We have come to the point that even a new human life is seen as a threat to “Mother Earth”, where some candidly contend that new babies represent an undesirable source of greenhouse emissions and consumers of natural resources. Forgoing children and even having an abortion is thereby promoted in Australia as environmentally friendly, while childless women are doing their bit to reduce the carbon footprint of civilisation.
For example, an adjunct professor of medicine at the University of Notre Dame Australia and clinical associate professor in medicine at the University of Western Australia, believes that childbearing is a “greenhouse unfriendly behaviour”. He seriously wants the Australian government to consider population control measures like China’s, with its one-child-per-family policy backed by draconian penalties, sterilisation and forced abortions.
This type of thinking is reminiscent of the ancient pagan religions. History teaches us that some ancient civilisations killed their children to change the weather. They used to practice child sacrifice to appease their gods in an attempt to court their good graces. Those primitive peoples believed that through human sacrifice, the forces of nature could be coerced in their favour. For example, the ancient Aztecs honoured their gods by killing people in a field with arrows so that their blood might fertilise the land.
Tragically, not only are the young generations being fooled into forgoing children due to the fear of endangering the planet, but they are also terminating their healthy pregnancy, with some going so far as to openly claim that it was done in service of climate goals. A married woman once told a newspaper that “not having a child is the most environmentally friendly thing she could do.” The same article reports another woman who terminated her pregnancy in the firm belief that:
Having children is selfish… Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of overpopulation.
Of course, concerns about overpopulation growth are not new. In 1968, ecologist Paul Ehrlich echoed 18th-century economist Thomas Malthus when he predicted worldwide famine due to overpopulation and advocated immediate action to limit population growth. Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb was one of the most influential books of the last century. “Sometime in the next 15 years, the end will come,” he said in a prophetic tone, more than 50 years ago.
Needless to say, these apocalyptical predictions never came true. Despite all the worry, access to food and resources increased as the global population rose.
Obviously, this has not stopped some environmental activists from continuing to make similarly bizarre statements about humanity and the future of our planet. Prince Philip, the late Duke of Edinburgh, commented in 1988: “In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation”. Clearly, he felt so strongly about this that he later would say the following: “I must confess that I am tempted to ask for reincarnation as a particularly deadly virus”.
We should be deeply suspicious of any argument that employs language that refers to humans as an “invasive virus”, a “plague”, or even a “problem” that needs to be resolved. Some environmentalists even lament that neither war nor famine are capable of reducing the population enough and prefer the arrival of a deadly virus to prey on the innocent. This type of argument betrays an apocalyptic desire to bring death and destruction at a large scale. It is a type of religious thinking that reveals a sinister desire to eliminate human beings in search of some utopian small number of sustainable survivors.
Augusto Zimmermann is Professor and Head of Law at Sheridan Institute of Higher Education. He is also a former Associate Law Dean (Research) at Murdoch University and a former Commissioner with the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia and the lead author of ‘Foundations of the Australian Legal System: History, Theory and Practice’ (LexisNexis, 2023).
Originally published at Mercator. Photo by Markus Spiske.