Over the years of this blog I’ve rarely addressed the area of environmentalism. Although I may have commented as an aside somewhere, the only post specifically dedicated to this topic is this one. This lack of coverage isn’t due to a lack of interest or attention on my part. Rather, I simply always had higher priority topics to address. However, now that there is a Democrat majority in the U.S. House of Representatives it appears that radical environmentalism will become a major political issue. Therefore, it’s time to comment at some length.
I will eventually directly address the “death cult” issue. But, if you will grant me your patience I’d like to begin a couple of steps back.
Scientific / Technical Ignorance in Advanced Western Society (1)
We live at a time when the wondrous benefits (not a universally accepted description) of science and technology have been made available to mass-market consumers. One of the most visible and utilized is wireless communication technology.
I’m focusing here because it is an area in which I am highly knowledgable. I have had an almost four-decade career in technical and business areas of the wireless industry. I worked for 27 years at what was then a dominant U.S. based wireless systems company, starting as an engineer and eventually becoming a senior technical leader. I was a primary technical contributor (with a dozen issued U.S. patents) to the first fully digital wireless system (virtually all current wireless systems are digital) designed by that company, which became a highly successful, long running product line. I have represented this company at national and international forums, communicating technical information on cutting-edge wireless system research. I’m not sharing this to brag, but rather to explain that I actually do know a tremendous amount about this area.
Therefore, prior to discussing environmental science (an area in which I am certainly not an expert), I will comment on the general situation in the area where I certainly am. I trust that this discussion will be useful for illuminating some of the key issues associated with the general public’s understanding of and policy prescriptions for environmentalism.
Uninformed Emotional Responses
People who don’t know anything about a given technology but who have become paranoid about their health can respond irrationally. I came across this response at least twice in my career.
In one case, a group in Scandinavia opposed installation of a cellular site in their neighborhood. Their concern wasn’t aesthetic, but rather that since the antenna “looked big” it was a cancer concern. Little did they know that the electro-magnetic field strength caused by the site was tiny compared to that of a cell phone operating near their body. But they felt otherwise due to an uninformed emotional response. Note that cell phones have been shown by a multitude of substantial medical experiments to pose no risk of cancer.
In a second case I was presenting to a regional director of the Department of Transportation on ad-hoc wireless technology. We used a color temperature chart to plot electro-magnetic field strength on a road grid. It is normal practice to plot the highest strength signals in red (the “hot” color) and lowest in blue (the “cool” color). When I put up the chart the director said something to the effect of “So you’re saying that I’d get cancer on the red streets?” Of course, this was utterly ridiculous. However, due to their powerful emotional response the entire presentation became useless.
If you take all the false claims of cancer risk from cellular systems and multiply them by one-million then you may get close to the level of emotion-directed fear mongering that has been applied to “global warming” / “climate change” theory. The resulting emotional chaos in the general public is thus not surprising.