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Is the environmental movement based on false logic?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/13/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 720 times Debate No: 65094
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




1. Objective value of anti-environmentalism

The modern world's industrial economy allows for more than 7 billion people (and counting) to exist on this planet. Capitalist progress had proven wrong the environmentalists of the late 19th century who claimed that the population would die out after 2 billion people because it is not possible to produce food and shelter for a large amount of people. You live in a house made of wood, with heat from natural gas, you use electricity made from coal, gas, oil, and nuclear. You use paper, pencils, pens; all manufactured, packaged, and shipped to you using environmentally unfriendly methods. You use paper and plastic products made from wood and oil. You drive a car made from metal, oil, and chemicals; it burns gasoline to get you places. You drink water from reservoirs that environmentalists despise and eat food from intensively agricultural land that environmentalists hate. On top of it all, everything you use is transported via truck, train, ship, or plane (sometimes across the planet).

According to research I have done on the subject during my college years, you probably wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the anti-environmental industrial economy. The land used for agriculture in 1900 couldn't feed the 7 billion people of today. There would be famine and destruction. The problem was solved not by environmental groups pleading for government control of the economy and of birthrates, but by industry. The haber-bosch process of converting nitrogen into ammonia for industrial and agricultural purposes has lead to a great expansion of the population. In 1913 it was first used and every since then the world population has risen from 76,094,000 in 1900 to 319,214,000 in 2014.

So industry, left to it's own devices, will produce products that people want. And if people want quality products at affordable prices and are willing to trade it for a little bit of carbon dioxide in the air, then they should. After all, it's polluting products that make our lives as comfortable as they are.

The natural environment was made to be utilized by those who inhabit it. Should we sacrifice ourselves for the sake of a desktop photo of a green field? Land is used for a purpose and so artificial and natural are arbitrary terms used to further the self-interested motives of environmental groups and government agencies.

2. Humans and their relationship with the environment

Human beings, are of course, apart of nature. So as every animal uses his talents and abilities to his full advantage, humans should (and do) to. Our talent and ability is that of the mind, it is what sets us apart from other animals, yet we are still animals no matter how capable. It would be wrong to hinder our abilities (or our use of our abilities) for the sake of our external environment. Objectively, our environment has no value or purpose other than that of serving us. The word environment literally means: one's external surroundings in which he lives and acts.

So conservation measures and wildlife protections as well as other environmental policies are nonsensical. Wildlife has no value to us other than it's role in our life (such as food or pets). Conservation does nothing other than sacrifice material usage in the present for material usage in the future, adding no net value to our economy. Environmentalists foolishly add "intrinsic value" to the environment as though trees and land were of value to us without our ultimate need for them. Thus, the environmental movement is falsely based on the theory that people are not apart of this planet, and that we are more of a cancer on Earth than a distinctly intelligent species. The strangest part of this idea is that the theory was formulated by members of our own race.


"Capitalist progress had proven wrong the environmentalists of the late 19th century who claimed that the population would die out after 2 billion people..."

Its hard to compare environmentalists in the past to the present environmentalists since have had no where near the technology the environmentalists have today. Arguing that since environmentalists of the past were wrong they are now wrong on everything now is na"ve. It is estimated today that the global population will rise to around 10 billion before flattening out around that number. Right now, no one knows for sure how many people this planet can sustain.

"You live in a house made of wood, with heat from natural gas, you use electricity made from coal, gas, oil, and nuclear. You..."

A large majority of 1st and 2nd world country's people do use these products but, slowly but surely, people are turning to more environmentally friendly choices. Pencils and paper and other wood products come from a renewable resource, trees. These trees are usually harvested on tree farms, which are cut and grown back again. No huge problems there. Companies don't just decide "Lets go into the forest and chop down all the tree's we can find! Then we'll turn them into pencils!" They set aside land they'll use then use it efficiently.

It is true that we still do rely on coal energy right now. However, we are also turning to renewable resources. Such as hydro electricity, solar panels, biomass, and wind power. All of which may one day replace "dirty power". You also generalize by continuously using "we". You know their are people out there who drive electric and hybrid cars? Where did you get environmentalists HATE the reservoirs and HATE agricultural land. Hell, if the reservoir is contaminated you wouldn't want to drink from it. Farms can produce food in a sustainable way without damaging the environment.

"The natural environment was made to be utilized by those who inhabit it. Should we sacrifice ourselves for the sake of a desktop photo of a green field?"

Unless you're religious, the land wasn't made to be utilized. It exists because of tectonic land shifts and the evolution of organisms. It doesn't exist FOR a certain purpose. That last sentence really gets to me. Have you got a basic education? Do you understand that trees produce the oxygen that we so desperately need? Trees also help to suck up the excess Co2 we produce. We don't preserve forests and jungles because they look pretty. We don't even know some of the ramifications that could happen if we ost large portion of our tree's. Increases in co2 emition has already
started to increase the power of tropical storms and hurricanes.

You argument that the protection of wildlife is nonsensical is arrogant and short sighted. Not only would careless destruction of animals serve no purpose other then greed but also have effects on the environment that would be devastating. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. Anyways, we are one of the few species on earth to demonstrate morals. You know that massacring wildlife only for personal gain is wrong. If you don't then something is internally wrong.

Bottom line. The environment matters. This is our earth. Our only home. If we don't take care of it we'll kill ourselves.
Debate Round No. 1


My opponent does not seem to understand that, as individuals (and even more so, as a species) we shall act objectively. When I said that the land was "made to be utilized" I meant that -as far as humans are concerned- the land exists to be used. Land and energy and resources should be used, for there is no other OBJECTIVE purpose for them.

1. What drives conservation of resources?

You also stated that "Pencils and paper and other wood products come from a renewable resource, trees. These trees are usually harvested on tree farms, which are cut and grown back again." That admits that capitalism is the efficient system to serve humanity in the long run- as it is private incentive that drives conservation of private resources. In the mid- to late- 19th century there was a deforestation problem. That problem stemmed from the lack of property rights as the government had gained control of the majority of the newly founded west. The companies that worked the forests for wood had no reason to consider efficiency and replant trees because the land was not there's and they would not necessarily reap the benefits.

Conservation, contrary to environmentalists, should occur on a private level. People conserve their money, their property, their resources. When capitalism is infringed upon, the incentive for not wasting is destroyed. Why should I care about wasting resource when it is not coming from my pocket? We must admit that, on a human scale, we are largely cynical.

2. Following what works

I have proved that it is capitalism and industry that preserves what HELPS us, and eradicates what DOESN'T. "Dirty" energy happens to be the choice for energy worldwide. In fact, the small amount of "clean" energy that is used around the world is due to government interference in the economy which deny the right of the market to determine energy sources. Take Europe for example, the EU government is widely environmentalist. Green energy is the primary aim for the nations there. The economy is now plunging as the costly and inefficient energy sources are becoming more popular, the only country with a growing economy is Germany- and it is only growing at a measly 1%.

If green energy is so economical -as environmentalists protest- then why is it that the government must constantly implement measures that artificially restrict "dirty" energy and boost "clean" energy? If, left up to the market, coal and oil comes out first, then wouldn't it be safe to say that it is better for us to use dirty, filthy, disgusting energy (exaggeration for humor purposes)?

It is industry that provides the efficient and cheap ways of production that help the majority of the first world thrive. The pattern is, after all, that the more you use the environmentalists' agenda (consume less, preserve nature) the more you are alike the starving third-world people of Africa. The impoverished, diseased, starving, nomads of the third world are, of course, eco-friendly. They do not consume non-biodegradable products, they live in small houses with little fertile land. They do not "waste" natural resources such as gas, oil, coal, water, wood, etc. They do not contribute to light pollution and they don't drive to work. The list goes on but, the world is full of people who fit the environmentalists' agenda, yet I do not want to be one of those people.

3. The end is near!!!!!

My opponent, as well as the entire environmental community, has much of the population under the assumption that the end of the world is near if we do not quit our ways of prosperity. The fact is that the vast progress of humanity, the amazing force of industry that has lifted the poor from poverty and has helped create a better living for near-everyone has happened without the carbon dioxide level reaching 0.4%. I think that's a good deal. We are not in danger of running out of oxygen. Nor are we in danger of running out of trees, as I said in the first paragraph. Humanity is able to enjoy the delicacies of life for centuries without making a big impact on the planet at large. Anyone who wishes toe head back to the middle ages before industry began pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere can move to the third world.

Somehow, people have gotten the assumption that humans are largely responsible for global warming, as if the climate is not always changing. In reality, however, the planet has been warming since the last ice age and will continue for at least 100 more years. Unfortunately, it is beyond our reach to change this. The results will not be as disastrous as environmentalists' claim but they will effect us. Nature changes all the time, and it is up to the species that inhabit it to adapt. Humans have a far greater advantage than other species so don't start boo-hooing yet. Whether it be an increase in air-conditioning, dams, floodgates, or infrastructure investment, believe that humans can adapt to natural events. I doubt that a single species could have more than a tiny effect on the global climate.

Therefore, my opponent has not provided proof to justify the "war on carbon" that environmentalists' proclaim will save humanity. If you are a human being, I am sure you will agree with me.


I apologize to my opponent, something came up and I nearly forgot about this debate. So now I'm in a time crunch.

I'm also glad you clarified your point about land utilization was clarified, I better understand your reasoning now.

At the moment, China is leading the world in renewable energy. Why? Partially because of some the huge environmental problems it faced and still faces. People have to wear masks in parts of China because of the air pollution. However, it is also because of the stability of renewable energy. Fossil fuels are finite. Renewable energy is, in all practicality, infinite. It is reliable and does not produce the emissions that fossil fuels do. The cost of renewable energy is also constantly decreasing. It is decreasing because scientist can always improve, advance in the ability and efficiency of the wind turbine or solar panel etc. There will be a point one day when renewable energies may be able to produce more power then conventional fossil fuels.

You also do not have to be a impoverished African to be able to preserve and protect the environment. You know you can live a relatively comfortable life and also do your part for the environment.

I would also like to hear your thoughts on the increase of Co2 to the increase of storm power.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent made a seemingly good point, that people in China must wear gas masks in order to shield from soot. This problem occurred in 19th century England as well. However, the cause is not fossil fuels, the United States leads the world in energy consumption and yet no one here must wear a gas mask. The problem is a lack of efficiency in engineering. The United States has power plants and factories located far away from cities and suburbs if they are a threat to air quality. Also, China typically gain less energy from the same lump of coal because the processes they use are outdated and inefficient. Once again, it is a problem that only a capitalist economy can solve.

The cost of "renewable" energy IS decreasing, however slowly. So one day when "green, clean" energy sources are less expensive and more energy intensive than fossil fuels and nuclear energy, we should use them. Also, technically everything is finite in volume, even solar energy. And while coal, oil, and gas are more finite than solar energy, they have an enormously lower cost. This reflects the laws of supply and demand.

Environmentalists preach that the world will run out of oil and gas and coal soon but they ignore the fact that more oil and gas and coal are being found all the time, they ignore the fact that gasoline prices are not going up due to decreased supply but because of government controls (at this moment gasoline prices are actually going DOWN because of INCREASED supply). Environmentalists ignore the fact that energy companies choose fossil fuels over "green" energy, which means they are more economical for producers and consumers. To combat the truth of fossil fuel supplies, they enact controls that keep production down and keep prices up, then they tell befuddled consumers that it is their OWN fault because THEY are depleting natural resources.

What environmentalists consider "eco-friendly" is almost always a zero-sum game; that means that where human beings win the environment loses, and vice versa. So if reducing consumption of energy, paper, food, wood, aluminum, steel, and everything else is necessary to fulfill the eco agenda then this whole "environmental" thing isn't going to work for me. The myth that we will run out of everything we use is a flat out lie, the whole planet is made of things we use. Fossil fuels get their energy from the sun and so does wood. Metals and rock aren't going anywhere, except for ones we launch into space. The fact of the matter is that the only way we could run out of metals and rocks and everything else is if we at some point managed to extract everything underground and place on the surface of the planet in the form of buildings, cars, trains, etc.

Going along with the environmental agenda would mean to sacrifice everything we have for the sake natural landscapes.


My opponent seems to not understand the predicament china has been in. As of 2009 China has produced a total of 2,096,295 metric tons of Co2 emissions. Compare this to the 1,445,204 metric tons the US produced. China's air pollution is linked to hundreds of thousands of deaths. The sooner china can get rid of fossil fuels the better for the Chinese people having to deal with the smog, the acid rain, and the in general polluted air they have to breathe every day.

Fossil fuels are also susceptible to price shocks. Renewable energy sources are able, for the most part, to produce a steady supply of energy that does not put at risk the well being of people or the environment.

"Going along with the environmental agenda would mean to sacrifice everything we have for the sake natural landscapes."

Your blowing environmentalism completely out of proportion. If I've said it once I've said it a thousand billion times, your quality of life will not worsen if we began to rely on renewable energy sources. The world will be a better place when we no longer have to deal with fossil fuels and the pollutants they produce. Also, these "natural landscapes" are what are keeping us alive. They produce half the worlds oxygen. They also produce the fruit we eat and protect us from the huge dust storms that would occur if they were not there.

There is a scientific consensus that we are causing global warming. To continue to dismiss that we can effect this plant is to continue to be ignorant.

The environmental movement is not based in false logic. If we don't care about what we put into the earth's air, water, and land then were only sealing our own fate. We need to treat earth the best we can. It's the only one we have.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by MainhattanMaus 2 years ago
Both sides made some pretty valid arguments however I ultimately decided con was making better points, the most important being that A: Going green does not mean the same thing as living like we are in the middle ages, and B: that pollution is dangerous to not only animals and trees but to humans as well. I have to agree with pro about global warming and that there isn't enough evidence for that, but who say we need to go greener just because of climate change? If anything the danger that pollution poses to our health is reason enough for investing in cleaner energies. That environmentalists "hate humanity" and see us as a "cancer" on the planet rather than a part of it is an absurd assumption. It is exactly BECAUSE environmentalists want to protect humanity, and understand that we are a PART of the planet, that they support clean energy. I could go on about this for another 10 pages but I've run out of charachters. Nooooooooooo!! You get the basic idea at least. :P
Posted by itsmagyk 2 years ago
Just to clarify, I'm talking about the scientific correlation between higher Co2 emissions and more destructive storms.
Posted by FuzzyCatPotato 2 years ago
I'd argue that climate change trumps all impacts, causing potentially existential-level threats, and is the primary goal of the broadest form of environmentalism today, which makes it very logical.

I'd also argue that the concept of sustainability is key to maintaining capitalism forever and thus maximizing its benefits. If we caused enough resource degradation to destabilize the world economy, it would harm capitalism.
Posted by Mike_10-4 2 years ago
Us humans, and all life, is a way for nature to see and experience itself. That is life"s "environmental " logic!"

As for some environmental movement dogma found throughout many government controlled educational institutions, is only a tool for wealth redistribution exploited by the ruling-class as they become rich, managing such wealth transfers, using climate change is a facade.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Overall it was a good debate. I give arguments to Pro because Con overlooked some of his.arguments, and I thought his arguments concerning renewable resources compelling.