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Voice: Kofford right, but more to environmentalism than bounding with nature

May 18, 2002

In response to the pro-environment stance in your "Life Out Here" by Bret Kofford, I must say congratulations.

I must add, however, that I am disconcerted by your lack of justification for why anyone besides those who seek a spiritual bond with nature should care about the environment in the first place.

Logic certainly must outweigh the most eloquent practice of rhetoric. Having opted for such an approach, I advocate the preservation of the environment for one simple reason: survival.

As a product of western society, I am egocentric, see myself as important and wish for an enduring human species. I do not care for trees (much less hugging them), I think that insects are the most revolting organisms ever evolved and I generally find that most non-human organisms are best kept at bay.

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However, I do realize that my survival depends on the environment. By this I mean that biodiversity is essential to the balance of ecosystems, which are our life supporrt units, if you will.

Motor vehicles contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer. Beef is a terribly expensive source of food. Meat demands 70 percent of our water, contributing to the U.S. water deficits we are currently running, contaminates groundwater with fecal matter, and pollutes our atmosphere. For every pound of beef you eat, you swallow 7,000 pounds of water. Meat at this rate is not economically sustainable in the long-run.

Our entire Western society caters to this economic principle that growth is good. Any nation that grows at a rate of 1 percent demonstrates a stagnating economy. A business that does not grow is a failure from an economist's perspective. Economic success is obviously tied to consumption, so it comes as no surprise that Americans produce one-fourth of the global gross product even when they constitute a less than 5 percent of the world population.

For those economists out there, the fundamental principle of Economics 101, which states that growth is good, is flawed. Think of China as a "flourishing" economy, think disaster. You do the math. I assure you the result is quite logical.

OCTAVIO VELARDE

Paris

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