Haiti and the Heights of Eco-Lunacy
From The Root, on the rebuilding of Haiti:
Yet many urban planners, architects and developers are seeing a silver lining in the near-total destruction of a major Haitian city. “It would be a small silver lining if in three years, we see a more sustainable Haiti, with energy efficient, healthy, disaster resistant buildings that makes the nation more resilient to future electricity shortages, public health crises and disasters,” says Matthew Peterson, CEO of Global Green, a sustainable development consulting firm with strong ties to the New Orleans recovery effort.
I really bow to very few in my green-ness. I’m a CFL’ed-out, recycling, locavore-when-possible Boulderite. But I’ve also worked overseas in 3rd world conditions and know that, in many ways, the Green movement, just like my vegetarianism, is the luxury of a 1st world citizen. Because we rarely have epidemics, droughts, famines, or civil wars, I can support local farmers and choose to forgo meat. I can’t expect that of the rest of the world: I can kvetch and moan as loud as I like, but the incontrovertible fact is that as a nation grows wealthier its diet turns to protein-heavy sources and carbon heavy lifestyles. It’s only after achieving a near-historical wealth that a country can turn to an eco-conscious ethic.
But many people in the eco-movement are near-goosestepping ideologues in their fanaticism. Oftentimes they will choose policy over people in their zeal. To suggest that we not pressure the poorer nations to conform to our environmental standards is blasphemous. All must fall in line with the accepted wisdom, circumstances be damned. In one of the best man-with-a-hammer-sees-only-nails moments in years, see the above-mentioned Mr. Peterson, who hopes for a “more sustainable Haiti”.
May I ask: what the hell is he talking about?
Some brief graph work to prove my point:
So, pre-earthquake, Haiti was emitting CO2 at 1/3 the rate of Papua New Guinea and 1/5 the rate of Zim-frickin-babwe. Yeah, that’s a pretty unsustainable environmental policy.
I had to start with those countries because the next chart will show just how unpolluting all 3 of those countries are compared to the USA and Denmark, one of the greenest Western countries:
So when a USA greenie asks for us to consider how to make Haiti more environmentally sustainable, I’m going to go with the standard “STFU, you insulated ass.”
Frankly, I think the people of Haiti would have benefited by a less green economy defending themselves from natural disasters. If the Google Maps images and news footage are any indicator, Haiti is the perfect example of a “leave-no-trace” country, and its citizens are suffering for it.