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silvermousesilvermouse Posts: 18,871 ✭✭✭✭✭

It’s My Right

by Andrew Gottlieb, Executive Director

We are fortunate to live in a country with a broad and commonly accepted set of rights that protect us all from government overreach and oppression. The rights to free speech, free association, and freedom of religion, among others, are fundamental underpinnings of individual liberty. Along with the innate ability to exercise individual rights comes a responsibility to behave responsibly as a member of society. That largely self-regulated balance has served us all well over the years. Of late, though, it strikes me that the individual's willingness to balance judicious exercise of individual rights in balance with the needs of others is diminishing.

I hear it all the time: “It’s my right to do that!” with the “that” in this case being fertilizing a lawn down to the water's edge, using a leaf blower, or spraying pesticides all over the landscape. Just because something falls within your right to do it doesn’t mean you are compelled to do it. Your rights are not commandments passed down from on high. Nowhere is it written that thou must use Styrofoam packages, gas powered leaf blowers, Roundup, and maintain a putting green for a lawn right to the water's edge. Exercising a right, and to what extent, involves a choice and a balancing of needs of the individual with the needs of others. We all accept that one is not allowed to yell “fire” in a crowded theater; that is one example of the concept I am trying to convey.

What seems to be losing ground is the idea of the individual moderating their behavior toward a common interest. Maybe you are within your right to not recycle, but other than proving some point, what good does that do? The answer is none, but well heck, you exercised your rights. The same can be said about a myriad of other environmental issues. You can deal with weeds on your path by living with them, hand pulling them, using soap, salt, and vinegar or by spraying Roundup. Even though spraying poison in your yard is your right, it’s a bad thing to do.

How is it that becoming educated and making a better choice has become to be seen as a bad thing that erodes rather than strengthens your right to make a choice? I don’t have an answer, but know that the path we are on will lead us to more ecological and societal destruction. Look back the Tragedy of the Commons, written in 1833, for early guidance on what happens when the individual fails to limit resource consumption to preserve the resource for shared uses. Don’t feel like reading 19th century economic essays? Fair enough. Instead, go look for herring on their spring runs this week. Maybe you will find some, but probably not. Or go brave the winds and try to catch cod. Maybe you will get one, but not many. These two fish species are almost gone because, among other things, too many people exercised their rights in ways that depleted the stocks and damaged critical habitats. It is an old story with which we are very familiar and apparently not yet inclined to change as a society.

We have a lot of problems in society that require collective action to solve. I still think we can rise to the occasion, but to do so we need to make a commitment to both educating ourselves on better stewardship practices and making the choice to implement them. A little less exertion of individual rights to their fullest extent to prove a point will go a long way to making it better for us all, you included.

Comments

  • Amos_UmwhatAmos_Umwhat Posts: 8,360 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @silvermouse said:
    It’s My Right

    by Andrew Gottlieb, Executive Director

    Some of us are old enough to have lived in a country with a broad and commonly accepted set of rights that protect us all from government overreach and oppression. The rights to free speech, free association, and freedom of religion, among others, are fundamental underpinnings of individual liberty. Along with the innate ability to exercise individual rights comes a responsibility to behave responsibly as a member of society. That largely self-regulated balance has served us all well over the years. Of late, though, it strikes me that the individual's willingness to balance judicious exercise of individual rights in balance with the needs of others is diminishing.

    Some dumbasses think: “It’s my right to do that!” with the “that” in this case being fertilizing a lawn down to the water's edge, using a leaf blower, or spraying pesticides all over the landscape. Just because something falls within your right to do it doesn’t mean you are compelled to do it. Your rights are not commandments passed down from on high. Nowhere is it written that thou must use Styrofoam packages, gas powered leaf blowers, Roundup, and maintain a putting green for a lawn right to the water's edge. Exercising a right, and to what extent, involves a choice and a balancing of needs of the individual with the needs of others. We all accept that one is not allowed to yell “fire” in a crowded theater; that is one example of the concept I am trying to convey.

    What seems to be losing ground is the idea of the individual moderating their behavior toward a common interest. Maybe you are within your right to not recycle, but other than proving some point, what good does that do? The answer is none, but well heck, you exercised your rights. The same can be said about a myriad of other environmental issues. You can deal with weeds on your path by living with them, hand pulling them, using soap, salt, and vinegar or by spraying Roundup. Even though spraying poison in your yard is your right, it’s a bad thing to do.

    How is it that becoming educated and making a better choice has become to be seen as a bad thing that erodes rather than strengthens your right to make a choice? I don’t have an answer, but know that the path we are on will lead us to more ecological and societal destruction. Look back the Tragedy of the Commons, written in 1833, for early guidance on what happens when the individual fails to limit resource consumption to preserve the resource for shared uses. Don’t feel like reading 19th century economic essays? Fair enough. Instead, go look for herring on their spring runs this week. Maybe you will find some, but probably not. Or go brave the winds and try to catch cod. Maybe you will get one, but not many. These two fish species are almost gone because, among other things, too many people exercised their rights in ways that depleted the stocks and damaged critical habitats. It is an old story with which we are very familiar and apparently not yet inclined to change as a society.

    We have a lot of problems in society that require collective action to solve. I still think we can rise to the occasion, but to do so we need to make a commitment to both educating ourselves on better stewardship practices and making the choice to implement them. A little less exertion of individual rights to their fullest extent to prove a point will go a long way to making it better for us all, you included.

    FIFY, otherwise totally agree.

    WARNING:  The above post may contain thoughts or ideas known to the State of Caliphornia to cause seething rage, confusion, distemper, nausea, perspiration, sphincter release, or cranial implosion to persons who implicitly trust only one news source, or find themselves at either the left or right political extreme.  Proceed at your own risk.  

    "If you do not read the newspapers you're uninformed.  If you do read the newspapers, you're misinformed." --  Mark Twain
  • webmostwebmost Posts: 7,713 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The fundamental problem remains population.

    “It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)


  • Rdp77Rdp77 Posts: 5,997 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Vision, @VegasFrank, and I had a conversation some time ago on the vherf regarding the same subject.

    Just because something is your right…doesn’t make it right. I don’t feel the fundamental problem is population. I firmly believe it is THE population. A population that generally has no bearing of a moral compass. When people are governed by a small immoral group that sets more and more guidelines every day, said people will tirelessly find loopholes to exploit simply to exploit them tossing morality aside.

    The more society governs itself the more morality becomes law.

  • webmostwebmost Posts: 7,713 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2022

    THIRTEEN PREDICTIONS FROM THE FIRST EARTH DAY 1970

    1. “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” — Harvard biologist George Wald
    2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.” — Washington University biologist Barry Commoner
    3. “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.” — New York Times editorial
    4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich
    5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” — Paul Ehrlich
    6. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” — Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day
    7. “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” — North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter
    8. “In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” — Life magazine
    9. “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt
    10. “Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” — Paul Ehrlich
    11. “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate… that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt
    12. “[One] theory assumes that the earth’s cloud cover will continue to thicken as more dust, fumes, and water vapor are belched into the atmosphere by industrial smokestacks and jet planes. Screened from the sun’s heat, the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born.” — Newsweek magazine
    13. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” — Kenneth Watt
    “It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)


  • ShawnOLShawnOL Posts: 8,172 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The professional environmentalists have been predicting doom and gloom for as long as it has been profitable to do so, and will continue to do so until people stop listening to them or giving them money and/or power.

  • First_WarriorFirst_Warrior Posts: 3,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Reminds me of the story of the boy who called Wolf. He called it again and again and was finally ignored. Then the Wolf came.

  • deadmandeadman Posts: 8,797 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I like #13 and the coming ice age.

    Test

  • webmostwebmost Posts: 7,713 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @First_Warrior said:
    Reminds me of the story of the boy who called Wolf. He called it again and again and was finally ignored. Then the Wolf came.

    There may not be a wolf in the game...

    “It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)


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