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the environmentalists will win in the end
environment )
by stephen van esch
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Much hay is made over the fate of the planet. Global warming, habitat destruction, and species extinction are consistently in the news these days. The doomsayers, and naysayers, all get to speak their piece to support their point of view.

Environmentalists see the rapid decline of the planet's resources, wildlife, and environment as good reason to sound the alarm bells. They proclaim loudly that water is becoming scarce, that the air is becoming un-breathable and that the atmosphere is eroding. A massive extinction is in progress and if we don't move now, everything will be lost. It's happening and we must do everything we can to prevent it.

The "other" side does not agree. Economic progress is the ultimate standard that measures success. Economic progress is good for everyone and should be as widespread as possible. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), and various other "globalization" initiatives help spread the gospel and share the wealth. The big question () is ignored.

Many people think that the battle is hopeless. The corporate giants will likely steamroller any opposition to their push for global markets, aided by the governments that want a cut of the take. You can't blame an environmentalist for feeling a little down. It always seems to be one step forward, two steps back.

I once felt that way. While I'm not a card-carrying activist, I try to minimize the impact I have on the earth. I take public transit. I own the most fuel-efficient car on the market. I have an electric bicycle for errands around town. I occasionally write about environmental problems. I understand the feeling of hopelessness that environmentalists feel when, for example, something like the Lincoln Navigator is introduced.

That's all changed, though. I am now certain that environmentalists will prevail. It's pretty clear that they just can't lose.

Look at it this way. Resources on this planet are finite. No matter how you look at it, there is a limited amount of land, trees, oil, water, atmosphere and air. There are also a limited number of plants, mammals, fish, amphibians and birds. At the rate we're going, there is no doubt in my mind that we will completely exhaust some of these resources eventually. Even if we lose just one, it's likely that the entire system will collapse.

And where will that leave the human race? Dead most likely. Or, at the very least, severely depleted. And after that event? Well, things will just build back up again, without us.

It's clear--courtesy of the gray matter between our ears--that we've managed to upset the natural balance. Unfortunately (for us), the balance will eventually right itself, whether we help it along or not. Of course, we should try to do as much as we can to prevent an environmental calamity from happening but we should also take comfort in the fact that we just can't lose.

So, environmentalists rejoice! The battle will be won! The losses may be huge but things will get back on track.

Copyright © Stephen Van Esch 2000 All Rights Reserved

Stephen Van Esch is a writer and instructional designer living near Toronto, Canada. He is the owner and CEO of the Text Pound.

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