Misanthropy and the green movement

The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

In something like the green movement, one can expect a certain amount of misanthropy. Humans have, after all, caused the extinction and extirpation of numerous species as of late. Add into this the seeming mutual exclusivity of anthropocentrism and ecocentrism and the green movement is the perfect place for those that hate their own species, to one degree or another.

At some point, probably everyone who holds the biosphere dear will go through a phase of misanthropy. Given time I hope that everyone grows out of it as I did. It seems foolish to me now to hate humans for doing what all species do…survive and multiply as best we can. I like to think now that I’m past the old “nature is better than humanity” and have moved on to a respect for all life…including humans.

The key word I think, should be respect. Respect for other humans, other species, even other places (if you will). This would be precisely why I’m against legislating things that are pro-environment but require me to force environmentalism down another’s throat. For example…I’m for legislation that requires an increase in fuel efficiency for new vehicles. I’m against legislation that would remove certain brands or makes of vehicle from the market. I may not like your Hummer, but I won’t let someone take away your right to drive it should you so choose.

The green movement gets a bad rap as being full of misanthropists and fringe nutjobs. Sadly, the most vocal members of the movement tend to be just that. They have no respect for another’s right to live as they choose. They wouldn’t like it if anti-environmental legislation was shoved down their throats, so who are we do to the same to them?

So while I understand the concern of those who wish to preserve, for example, the spotted owl, I also understand those who wish to preserve their livelihoods. I know a lot of other environmentalists feel the same. Unfortunately, the media much prefers the fringe “owls and jobs are mutually exclusive” nutjobs to sane people willing to compromise for everyone’s benefit.

Nor do I believe that humanity and nature are mutually exclusive…be it of the variety that says humanity is separate from and better than nature, or the kind that says humanity has gone rogue and forgotten its place. We are nature, but like it or not, not all of us is going to give a crap. We’re going to have to learn to live with and accommodate those no-crap-givers. I will tell you one thing, though…ramming boats into other boats isn’t going to help matters much. Then again, the green movement, too, is always going to have it’s fringe psycho nutjobs, so we might as well get used to that while we’re at it.

In the end it boils down to respect. Respect not just for other species, but for other humans and their lives, beliefs, opinions, and their little dog, too.

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