The Obama administration promises to change America’s impact on the environment — but the environmentalist movement is a serious danger to mankind. Unfortunately, whenever I voice this concern, people act as if I’m committing a mortal sin. Their initial shock is quickly followed by an angry barrage of arguments: “Don’t you care about the earth?” “We need to leave an untouched planet for future generations — think about the children!”

Make no mistake, I value the environment. I value it as a tool to be used by man to enhance his existence. But frankly, I care more about people than I care about nature.

It seems to me that environmentalism’s ultimate aim is nothing more than the destruction of civilization and the reduction of mankind to a primitive, animal-like state. The majority of activities that the environmentalists oppose are life-enhancing for humans. For example, environmentalists have fought against logging in New Hampshire, which allows for job creation and provides raw materials for housing. They have opposed drilling for oil in Alaska and the mining of tar sands in Canada, both of which reduce energy prices and lower our dependence on oil from the Middle East. They also object to the use of sand on winter roads in Seattle, which helps to prevent traffic accidents and save lives.

The environmental movement’s contempt for man can be traced back to its philosophical underpinnings. Environmentalists subscribe to the idea that the environment has intrinsic value. In other words, they believe that nature is automatically valued, with or without the existence of man. This is precisely why environmentalists oppose mankind’s destruction of wetlands but not the natural destruction of wetlands. It’s also why they oppose the building of a manmade dam but not a dam built by a beaver. Mankind’s disturbance of the inherent “goodness” of nature is seen as wrong and, ultimately, as immoral.

I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s good to reduce your “environmental footprint.” Since man can only survive by changing nature to fit his needs, he must intrude on its inherent “goodness” in order to survive. This is precisely why man must have a “footprint” in order to live as a man. We must alter the environment in order to grow food, build a house, produce clothing and fulfill even the most basic of human needs. Given the requirement that man must alter nature to survive, the environmental movement’s demand that we keep nature pristine is anti-mankind.

Still in denial? You wouldn’t be the only one. Earth First! Journal editor John Davis says, “Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs.” Former Vice President and environmental movement leader Al Gore explains an ethical dilemma in his book Earth in the Balance: “The Pacific Yew can be cut down and processed to produce a potent chemical, taxol, which offers some promise of curing certain forms of lung, breast and ovarian cancer in patients who would otherwise quickly die. It seems an easy choice — sacrifice the tree for a human life — until one learns that three trees must be destroyed for each patient treated.” Only the twisted philosophy of environmentalism could make Mr. Gore think that killing three trees to save a human life is a difficult choice.

So what does President Obama think of such an evil philosophy? Unfortunately, he fully embraces it. Obama wants to force a cap-and-trade plan on Americans that will limit their energy usage at the expense of their standard of living. His plan will extort over $150 billion from energy companies over the next ten years. Once in possession of this money, he claims he will invest it into new “green energy” — something that has proved so unprofitable thus far that private investors won’t touch it without substantial government incentives. In fact, most “green energy” companies can’t survive without the taxpayer-funded subsidies required to keep them afloat. Obama has promised to double automotive fuel economy standards within 18 years, which will undoubtedly make cars more expensive to produce and thus more expensive to buy. It will also force manufacturers to make lighter, less crash-worthy vehicles, which have been shown to increase accidental deaths. How many more people will die in traffic accidents so that we can decrease our carbon footprint?

It’s time for students at the University of Michigan (and across the country) to realize the depravity of the environmentalist philosophy and its manifestation in American politics under the Obama administration. The philosophy that underlies environmentalism is inherently evil because it regards mankind as a problem and nature as good, apart from its value to man. So, when you think about attending “Earth Hour” on Mar. 28, make sure you understand that turning off your lights is symbolic of what environmentalists and apparently the Obama administration want: a return to the Stone Age.

Adam Gaglio is a member of Students of Objectivism.

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