Regular readers know that I routinely “take to task” some of the more extreme environmentalism that appears in the media. All of the predictions of environmental Armageddon for years and even decades can make one rather cynical and annoyed. One name that has appeared in the blog fairly often is Al Gore. I have never met the man but I have criticized the way he lives and some of the policies he promotes. If we met face-to-face, he might want to punch me in the face, maybe, you never know. Maybe he would turn out to be much more reasonable in private discussion than how he is portrayed in the media.
My main beef is with the hypocrisy that surrounds Al Gore. Many people would point to his environmental activism, promotion of and investment in alternative energy, and negotiations of climate treaties as evidence of his great character. I am not so impressed. I see the huge mansion, the private jet flights to exotic locations all around the world, and the out-sized profits from investing in “green” companies, and ask if he is making a REAL sacrifice in any of it. Al Gore is very wealthy and getting wealthier. I have nothing against wealth. I am not jealous of Al Gore because he is rich. I am frustrated that he pushes for policies that will very much prevent most of the rest of us from gaining wealth. From $10 a gallon gas, to new regulations, to high electricity bills from climate treaties, Al Gore is trying to put huge impediments in the way of average people gaining wealth, whether it is intentional or not.
Another person that might be even more hypocritical is Doug Tompkins. I apologize to all the Doug Tompkins fans out there. He was the founder of The North Face and Espirit clothing companies. He got super rich using the fossil fuel economy. With his wealth he bought a huge chunk of Chile and moved there to have his own environmental paradise. Nothing is wrong with that. In fact, I would love to do the same thing. Unfortunately, Mr. Tompkins is now a reformed wealth/product creator. He rejects the use of fossil fuels, industrial agriculture, and other modern economic policies. He actively funds many environmental organizations that are trying to shut down most new development or infrastructure in developing countries.
Heck, I even agree with him on many of these points and I argue often against the further sprawl of mega cities here in the U.S . and abroad. I argue and persuade but I do not try to get in the way of other people’s rise out of poverty. Some of the infrastructure going up around the world is critical to helping the poor raise their standard of living. Paradoxically, technological progress and the use of fossil fuels has brought us to the precipice of a green/clean revolution. I wish Tompkins and Al Gore would fund more high-tech industries, or at the very least promote population control (not state-sponsored violent control, just argue in favor of having less kids). They should be teaching and helping people become wealthy because it is well known that wealthier societies freely choose to live in a cleaner environment. Poor societies are so focused on where the next meal is coming from that the environment is an after thought.
Instead of promoting wealth, Tompkins, Gore, and other wealthy environmentalists seem, at times, hell bent on regressing. As if the only solution was (for everyone else but them) to stop using fossil fuels cold turkey and start living in caves and trees. That is what it seems like. I get the fact that Tompkins has rejected all of his past “transgressions” (getting wealthy and living the high life), that he lives more simply now, and that he is pitching a more eco-friendly type of living, I just can’t get behind policies that obviously get in the way of more people gaining wealth, security, and prosperity.
At least Tompkins has used some of his vast wealth to aquire property in different places of the world and set these places aside as nature preserves. I applaud that method of protecting the environment. Private property rights are extremely important for any functioning society and can be used to preserve nature as well. In that regard, if some of these wealthy environmentalists wanted to impress me, they would be purchasing solar panels (or other green energy technologies) and giving them away to places that need dependable electricity. That way more people might become wealthy while they became poor. That would be real traditional charity and sacrifice.
Drought Monitor Update. Nothing exciting to note here in Wisconsin during the past week. About a quarter of the state is experiencing abnormally dry conditions. Some of the rain and snow this weekend might help out in that regard since the heaviest should fall in the northwestern corner of the state. Some bits of good news continue in the south. Both Texas and Oklahoma have seen small improvements in the extreme drought they have been experiencing all year and it looks like they will have another good shot at some significant rain next week.
Speaking of the chance of precipitation this weekend, how about an all important update on the hunting forecast. The projected path of the storm expected to hit the area this weekend has shifted a few miles further south. It also looks like it might slow down by a few hours. Both of these trends are generally good for hunting. It still looks like most of our area and most of the state will be dry Saturday morning.
The rain and snow will not begin until the afternoon and in a few spots in east and south of Marathon county, it might sty relatively dry until almost sunset. It is in the northwoods that we will see the higher chance of rain, sleet, and snow during the afternoon. The highest probability of accumulating snow will be north and northwest of Marathon county Saturday afternoon and evening. As of now I am projecting a slushy inch or so of sleet and snow around Tomahawk, Kennan, Gilman, Medford, and Wabeno. Around highway 8 and further north snow accumulations could range from 2 to 4 inches, accumulating mostly during the late afternoon and evening. In Wausau and much of central Wisconsin, it looks like rain amount could be a tenth of an inch or two. As it stands now, the better day for hunting might turn out to be Saturday because the precipitation will hold off until later in the day and temps will be relatively mild. Morning low temps will be in the upper 20s to around 30 and the high temps will be in the upper 30s to low 40s. The wind should be out of the south or southeast at 5-10 mph during the morning and then become more variable in direction as the low pressure system moves into the area during the afternoon.
The storm will move quickly out of the area late Saturday night leaving us with blustery and cold conditions Sunday morning. The wind should die down Sunday afternoon but high temps will only be in the low to mid 30s.
Have a pleasant Thursday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.
This post was written by jloew on November 17, 2011