Supporting the Brethren on the environment

As I pointed out in this post, it is easy to support the Brethren when they take positions that agree with your ideology. But a faithful Latter-day Saint should support the Brethren even when it is difficult.

The Church has made several statements about the environment in the last few years. The most important is this:

All humankind are stewards over the earth and should gratefully use what God has given, avoid wasting life and resources and use the bounty of the earth to care for the poor and the needy.

God created the earth to provide a place for the human family to learn, progress and improve. God first created the earth and all living things spiritually, and all living things have great worth in His eyes.

The earth and all things on it should be used responsibly to sustain the human family. However, all are stewards — not owners — over this earth and its bounty and will be accountable before God for what they do with His creations.

Approaches to the environment must be prudent, realistic, balanced and consistent with the needs of the earth and of current and future generations, rather than pursuing the immediate vindication of personal desires or avowed rights. The earth and all life upon it are much more than items to be consumed or conserved. God intends His creations to be aesthetically pleasing to enliven the mind and spirit, and some portions are to be preserved. Making the earth ugly offends Him.

I would like to ask readers to read the above statement at least twice before proceeding. My experience is that most people read all kinds of things into that statement that simply are not there.

OK, have you read and re-read that statement? Yes? Then let’s keep on going.

There is a fatal conceit among many people, especially those in urban areas, that the only people who truly care about the environment are those who call themselves “environmentalists.” But the reality is that for millennia people have worked the land and have learned that by using a “prudent, realistic, balanced and consistent” approach they are more likely to survive. Leviticus talks about the Sabbath of the land, i.e., giving the land a rest every seventh year so it can recover and produce more crops over time. Farmers know they must rotate their crops to use the Earth more efficiently.

Ranchers know that if you over-graze your fields the grass will not recover and will be taken over by weeds. Loggers know that you must plant new trees after you cut the older trees down. Men have spent centuries figuring out ways to deal with the “tragedy of the commons,” which is an economic term for the over-use of land or water held in common (think of cattle grazing in a commonly owned field or fish in a publicly owned stream). Most modern-day hunters — who often spend weeks in the wild — are very aware that animals should be hunted for food and that killing too many animals destroys herds for future years.

Man’s struggle throughout time has been to use the Earth’s resources in a way that a)allows for survival and prosperity and b)does not over-use or waste resources. But I think it is essential to point out that just because a person attends a protest rally with a sign saying “save the Earth,” it does not mean that this person actually favors policies that will make the Earth a better place.

It is a basic fact of history that as societies become more prosperous people are more likely to maintain their environments in ways that are “aesthetically pleasing.” Prosperous West Germany was infinitely more clean than poorer and Communist-run East Germany (even though East Germany claimed it was western capitalism that destroyed the environment). The same applies to North and South Korea. Despite the rhetoric of many modern-day environmentalists, the Earth is significantly cleaner today than it was 150 years ago, when coal smoke filled the air throughout the cities and horse manure filled the streets. 150 years ago, running water was scarce and sewage systems rare. Farmers constantly burned the forests to create fields to grow crops, and smoke filled the air. Today, there are more trees than 100 years ago, and there is significant evidence that the world as a whole is actually getting greener as it gets more prosperous.

Technological progress is the single greatest contributor to making the Earth less ugly, which, as the above statement says, offends God.

And here we must all face a reality that contradicts modern-day political correctness: fossil fuels have done infinitely more to clean the environment than they have to destroy it. None of the world we see today — a world that is significantly cleaner, with more trees, less coal and wood smoke, more running water and better sewage systems, would be possible without a portable, easy to use energy source. And fossil fuels provide that energy source. And, contrary to what you may be hearing, the world will not run out of fossil fuels anytime soon. In fact, the sharp decline in gas prices recently has been caused by all of the new oil discoveries.

(I realize that claiming that fossil fuels have done more to clean the environment is a controversial statement, but I stand by it. If you want to object to that claim, I would encourage you to visit this web page and read the first chapter (for free) of the book “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.”).

Now, having written some controversial (but nevertheless true) things, I would like to point out that there is nothing wrong with developing new sources of energy. And in fact I think it is fair to say that 100 years from now we will probably look back at our use of fossil fuels as quaint. What will those energy sources be? Nobody knows for sure, but the more we allow for technological innovation the quicker we will get to the next generation of solutions.

So, let’s return to this part of the Church’s statement:

Approaches to the environment must be prudent, realistic, balanced and consistent with the needs of the earth and of current and future generations, rather than pursuing the immediate vindication of personal desires or avowed rights. The earth and all life upon it are much more than items to be consumed or conserved. God intends His creations to be aesthetically pleasing to enliven the mind and spirit, and some portions are to be preserved. Making the earth ugly offends Him.

We face the following realities:

1)The Earth is less ugly and more “aesthetically pleasing” today than any time in recent history, and this has taken place while the Earth has become more prosperous and has been using fossil fuels as the primary source of energy.
2)We are growing more food than ever on the Earth, and this trend has been taking place for hundreds of years. We are taking care of the Earth in ways that sustains future generations by providing them with food that is easier to access and less expensive (as a percentage of income) than ever. This is an obvious way of helping us take care of the “poor and the needy.”
3)Many people who want “the immediate vindication of personal desires or avowed rights” ignore the realities of a cleaner, more prosperous Earth that is producing more food than ever. These people cling to an ideology that claims “man is destroying the Earth.” This ideology has replaced religion for many people in the West. Many of the proponents of this new religion say that population should be limited and that man is the primary enemy of the Earth. This religion, which is extremely common among elites in the United States and Europe, is directly opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 1 Nephi 17:36: “Behold, the Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited; and he hath created his children that they should possess it.”
4)Materialism — which leads to overconsumption — is evil and against God’s plan. But notice that the statement also says that “Earth and all life upon it are much more than items to be consumed or conserved.” The Earth is to be used and enjoyed, not left behind a fence to please rich “conservationists.” Yes, “some portions are to be preserved,” but preservation does not mean men and women cannot ever visit.

So far this post has not addressed the issue of “climate change.” I accept that the Earth has been slightly warming recently and that man has had something to do with some of that warming. I accept that CO2 is increasing in the atmosphere. So far, none of the apocalyptic scenarios invented by the people wanting to vindicate “personal desires or avowed rights” (see point 3 above) has actually taken place. But I accept that it is theoretically possible that the increase in CO2 could eventually create an earth that is out of balance and an Earth that would be less pleasing to God. But here is the problem: none of the “solutions” proposed would actually solve this problem, and all of them would make the Earth less prosperous. History has shown that societies in decline make the Earth uglier and less aesthetically pleasing. Notice the use of the words “prudent,” “realistic” and “balanced” in the Church’s statement. Adopting drastic solutions that will make the world poorer are not “prudent,” “realistic” or “balanced.”

The solution is obvious: encourage technological development of new energy sources that will eventually lead us away from fossil fuels. Public policy should be focused on creating an environment for entrepreneurs to flourish and bring to market new inventions. This has been the pattern for cleaning our environment in recent history, and it will be the successful pattern for the future.

In the meantime, latter-day Saints need to read and analyze the Church’s positions based on what they actually say, not on what we wish they would say based on our ideologies and preconceptions. That would end a lot of confusion on this issue and others.

Additional resources:

I would encourage readers to check out this address on the environment and LDS policy from Elder Nash.

The Church has also listed these scriptures and statements as being relevant.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

32 thoughts on “Supporting the Brethren on the environment

  1. Good post Geoff. “God intends His creations to be aesthetically pleasing to enliven the mind and spirit…making the earth ugly offends Him.” I’ve never heard the church get involved in questions of aesthetics before and was a bit surprised to read this. Keats said “beauty is truth” and the church’s statement seems to go along the same lines.

    “Materialism which leads to overconsumption is evil.” I think you should explore this point a bit more. Humans have voracious appetites and the minute resources are made available at an affordable price, humans will inevitably take as much as they can afford. The problem of “overconsumption” is a problem of “price point.” If the environmental costs are adequately factored into the price point, then overconsumption won’t be a problem. I think economists have pretty well proven that this is the case. Yet a purely market driven economy will not automatically incorporate environmental costs into the price of resources. Some companies MAY incorporate these costs, like a logging company who invests in future trees or the health of the forest, but many others aren’t investing far enough in the future for environmental costs to be a factor. This is where a non-market agent like shaming, boycotts, prophet followers (or maybe even the government) can get involved to try and incorporate real environmental costs into price points.

  2. Nate writes:

    ““Materialism which leads to overconsumption is evil.” I think you should explore this point a bit more. Humans have voracious appetites and the minute resources are made available at an affordable price, humans will inevitably take as much as they can afford. The problem of “overconsumption” is a problem of “price point.” If the environmental costs are adequately factored into the price point, then overconsumption won’t be a problem. ”

    The issue of materialism leading to overconsumption has been written about, by my rough estimate, 783,567,876 times in the last week alone. So, I don’t think there is much new ground I could cover there. You are correct that overconsumption is an issue of prices. Let’s give a classic example: when gas is relatively cheap, people will drive more. So, they may drive rather than take public transportation. The solution for people who believe in government-based solutions is: let’s build light rail so people will stop driving so much. The solution of people who believe in markets is: Uber and pro-profit bus and van companies that take people on popular routes.

    The former, (i.e., light rail) is extremely expensive and in the long run does very little to decrease the carbon footprint because almost all of light rails in the U.S. lose money and have problems attracting riders to justify their investment. Whereas the latter (Uber and bus and van companies) only cost money for the people using the services and do actually decrease the carbon footprint.

    Primary lesson: allow the market to function.

  3. I think you are suggesting that the free market will naturally factor in environmental costs into the the price points of resources by providing competitive alternatives (like Uber?) with lower environmental costs. I’m not sure I agree with this, but I do agree that light rail is less effective. The rail is trying to lower demand for high-environmental-cost resources, and this is very tricky to do in a culture like the the US. It probably does little to reduce demand, and at too great a cost as you suggest. But what about actually going directly after the price point, (for example carbon tax)? That would seem to me to be the simplest, most productive way to raise environmental costs and reduce overconsumption.

  4. Carbon taxes are exactly the wrong approach. Increasing taxes impoverishes a country and its citizens and gives them less money to create a more aesthetically pleasing Earth. In addition, carbon taxes are regressive and will hurt the poor and needy more than anybody else.

    Prices must be set by the market. Any interference by government favors one group over the other and creates opportunities for crony capitalism and rent seeking.

  5. I appreciate this thoughtful post, even if I am not 100% in agreement with all your points. However, I am grateful that the statement took into account the Lord’s word (D&C 59:16-20) on how the earth should be managed/cared for. I love the words of the Lord as to how we are to use the earth’s resources given specifically for our benefit as His children: “unto this end were they made to be used, WITH JUDGMENT, NOT TO EXCESS, NEITHER BY EXTORTION.” (emphasis added). When I begin to think of extortion, or taking by force, I am put in mind of a number of practices that are not in harmony with God’s word on this: fracking, chemical fertilizers and herbicides, GMO seeds and crops, and hormones/steroids/antibiotics given to animals to force them to fatten or produce more milk/eggs/etc. We as humans have a great responsibility, and I believe that while the earth is full, and there is plenty for all, we have a long way to go before our current practices meet God’s standards. As to global warming, I know that I have little impact overall, but I can do what the Lord has commanded, and use the resources I have been given stewardship over with “judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.” Following this counsel, along with a willing obedience to the full Word of Wisdom (D&C 89) including eating animal flesh only in times of “winter, or of cold, or of famine,” and hunting or eating wild game only in “times of excess of hunger or of famine” allows me to be guided by the Spirit. It also allows me to know that when I am held to account for my stewardship of the earth that God so lovingly planned and created for my use while in mortality and for my eternal home one day, I will be able to answer that I did all I could to obey the Lord’s desires for me and the earth.

  6. In wealthy countries forestation is increasing. That’s both because of urbanization, changes in economic bases, but also because fossil fuels meant less wood was needed for burning as energy. So compared to burning wood fossil fuels are a big win.

    That said there are big areas where the environment is getting worse with extinctions getting worse. It’s hard to look at the Amazon, for instance, and say it’s better today than the 1960’s for instance let alone the 1920’s.

    I do agree that with climate change the press tends to focus on the worst case scenarios which just haven’t come to past. I think it’s an issue and favor carbon taxes. However I also don’t think predictions have exactly had a great record.

    The big issue on carbon is the moral tradeoff between protecting the environment and improving the conditions of people in poorer nations like rural China.

  7. I should also add that while at best fossil fuels are a necessary evil, they have pretty obvious costs. Chinese pollution is tied to that and here in Utah January isn’t exactly good breathing time when an inversion takes place.

    However new technologies are coming online. Solar power is still on track to become cheaper than fossil fuels before 2020 even with the large drop in oil prices. They’ve finally discovered an alternative catalyst for hydrogen fuel cells to platinum. So we should start seeing movement in hydrogen power soon. And the technologies keep improving. Better yet technology also makes most of our uses far more efficient. A new gas driven water heater uses far less gas than a few decades ago. The US uses less water per capita now than in the 1970’s due to improved efficiencies.

    So things are getting better.

    BTW – regarding prophetic counsel Pres. Kimball’s The False Gods We Worship is still a must read.

  8. The market will price resources effectively as they start to become scarce or when speculators recognize (or bet on) scarcity on the horizon.

    So the market will create and underprice negative externalities (pollution, over use of resources, groundwater etc) right up until the point of it being too late.

    I say this as someone who is fully supportive of this concept. We will keep breathing right up until the point we die. The fact that something well eventually end, doesn’t mean we should go to irrational lengths to avoid using it up now.

    Here is where the wisdom comes in — once people recognize a problem is being created, they ought to persuade, even invest resources into solutions.

    But forcing others into immediate poverty, unemployment and misery in order to conserve a finite resource that will eventually run out anyway is a fools errand.

    We recognized the problem of overlogging, and fixed it (environmentalists still seek to ban logging). Farmers long ago recognized the problems of overuse in their fields and have fixed it. Of course, other industrial farming overuse issues have occurred and where practical we should work to fix them.

  9. Stewardship is our privilege and duty and I believe we will be asked to account for our personal contribution to bringing balance, function and beauty to the earth. We seem to forget that Adam was instructed to be a gardener in Eden.
    Recently Lego announced that they would no longer make their popular toys with petroleum products. The only realistic alternative is using plants. For the sake of making marketing points with environmentalists who see oil as the great Satan, they will likely be using cropland that could raise food to make toys.
    Ruminant animals such as cattle are a source of carbon dioxide, but they also are able to make food from land that cannot otherwise be cropped. Some avid environmentalist seem ignorant of the fact that plants require carbon dioxide to thrive. The earth itself regularly creates tons of carbon dioxide through geologic processes.
    Most environmental damage seems to be caused by ignorance or poverty. Slash and burn agriculture functions well in a sparsely populated jungle but it creates the environmental catastrophe we see in a highly populated area like Indonesia.
    There is a problem with identifying petroleum products as ‘fossil’ fuel. This term creates the impression that they are rare and limited. When I was in high school more than 50 years ago we were warned that fossil fuels would run out within the decade. We now know of more reserves than we could ever anticipate. For example methane clythrate fields at the bottom of the oceans exceed more energy potential than all the currently known petroleum and natural gas fields. It is not economically feasible to exploit this vast source of energy.
    Governments can have beneficial effects on how we exercise our stewardship of the earth, but far too often policies from the government are wrongheaded and poorly structured. I truly appreciate the way that missionaries from the Church, particularly senior couples, are effecting the way people grow their food and feed their families. It is one of the most potent humanitarian efforts we engage in.

  10. Winona, it sounds like you and I would disagree on many things (I think the dangers of fracking have been exaggerated, for example), but I really like your approach on focusing on yourself and what YOU can do to be in harmony with the Earth and the environment. That really is a wonderful thing to hear because, frankly, I am really tired of the busybodies who go around telling other people what to do with their lives. If you want to eat less meat and lower your own personal carbon footprint, I say more power to you.

  11. “When I begin to think of extortion, or taking by force, I am put in mind of a number of practices that are not in harmony with God’s word on this: fracking, chemical fertilizers and herbicides, GMO seeds and crops, and hormones/steroids/antibiotics given to animals to force them to fatten or produce more milk/eggs/etc.”

    There may or may not be good arguments for or against any of these practices.

    Declaring that they are not in harmony with God’s word seems a bit much.

  12. Geoff, I believe that the commandments and scriptural counsel REQUIRES me to do these things, and that if most of us as humans would recognize the precious gift we have been given, and treat our home and fellow-travelers with the love, reverence, and respect that they deserve, issues such as pollution, climate change, poverty, and so on would be solved. The prophets have told us that studying and living the gospel is the answer to ALL human problems. I am not attempting to “lower my carbon footprint.” I think that is human nonsense. What I am trying to do is follow the teachings the Lord provided on how to live on earth and treat His gift to us.

  13. Winona wrote: “The prophets have told us that studying and living the gospel is the answer to ALL human problems. I am not attempting to “lower my carbon footprint.” I think that is human nonsense. What I am trying to do is follow the teachings the Lord provided on how to live on earth and treat His gift to us.”

    I can agree with that.

  14. There are many, many good people whose lives and families depend upon the extraction industries, to say nothing of the standards of living that these technologies make possible.

    To suggest that fracking is a violation of God’s will isn’t merely “exaggeration”, it’s patently offensive, constitutes unrighteous judging, and belies a disturbing unseriousness. I wonder how many fractivists have ever been to a drill site, or are familiar with the actual science on which the practice is based.

  15. I think this exercise of demonstrating aspects where following the counsel of church leaders may cause some introspection for politically conservative members is very worthwhile; for my part, the Brethren’s statements on immigration and the refugee crisis, to cite but two examples, have caused me to reflect upon my own views and modify them as appropriate. The broader point is that all people, regardless of whether they view the world from the left, right or center, should be more willing to question and modify their opinions when they bump up against teachings of prophets, seers, and revelators.

    It must be said, though, that not all issues are created equal. The issue of immigration is less important that the issue of same-sex marriage or abortion, and our obligation to follow the prophets on the former is a lesser imperative than our obligations with respect to the latter. To analogize, for Catholics the church’s pronouncements on abortion are considered of much greater weight than those on capital punishment; Catholics who maintain support for the death penalty are not considered in error as they are if they oppose church teaching on abortion, although the church as an institution has a clear opinion on both.

    The broader point is that while it demonstrates, in my opinion, a deeper commitment to discipleship to be willing to follow the prophet even when it comes to issues of public policy, there is a continuum of seriousness – with apostasy on one end – when one’s views diverge from those of the Brethren.

  16. Observer, I live literally a few miles from dozens of fracking sites. One of the interesting things that happens is that there is a lot of initial activity on fracking sites — big towers are set up and there is lots of construction, including activity at night. But this initial phase lasts just a few months. The towers are taken down, and the site ends up looking like a small farm. There is a guy in my ward who is a professor in geology at a local university, and he has looked at all of the evidence and concluded that fracking is not harmful. So, yeah, there is a lot of ignorance regarding the realities out there.

  17. Geoff, if the Obama Administration’s EPA can’t even get worked up about fracking, what does it say about the extremism of fracktivists?

    That being said, there are a not-insignificant number of left wing individuals and groups who are making a significant amount of money on their anti-fracking alarmism. They should be thankful for capitalism.

  18. The objections I’ve seen to fracking are the potential impact on local water quality, sheer use of water, and geological instability. Rather that simple appeals to authority, I’d prefer to see detailed explanations of why these concerns are not valid.

    Regarding pesticides and herbicides, I think the water impact argument is one that is important, but regarding which most citizens are woefully underinformed.

  19. If people want an alternative view of fracking, I recommend the documentary “Frack Nation” … which dispels some of the lies presented in “Gasland” … for example the man who said his tap water can be lit on fire since fracking began. Truth is, his tap water was flammable before they began fracking.

    Having just gone thru my own battle with our local Sierra Club, I will tell you, there is a lot of misinformation that gets presented by the radical and committed environmentalists. One might say it’s like a religion for some. During the debates on saving or banning plastic shopping bags, many of the Sierra Club members accused me and my group of not being concerned about the earth, and only driven by corporate profits and so on …. the ad hominem attacks became comical after a while.

    The point I made at one public meeting was that just because I am conservative, does not mean I do not care about the earth. I do care about the earth. But I believe in the needs of people, before a tree, a squirrel or anything else. I believe in being a good steward and believe that people, when left to their own devices, will not intentionally mess up their surroundings. No one wants to damage where they live or where they work. I am also profoundly thankful for electricity, fossil fuels, the plastics industry and other things that make my modern life nice. I’m sure our ancestors would happily trade places with us to not have to chop wood for the whole winter and not sit and boil water to wash clothes.

    And a few months ago, I read a really good article (which, sadly, I cannot find right now) that talked about how our ancestors from 300 years ago would love our clean water, streets free of animal waste, low occurrence of deadly diseases, better health, better and continuously available food. Modern life is good!

    And imagine this, if we could really help the developing world develop with electricity, clean water, roads and the like? The human potential would be amazing.

  20. Back in the days when workers were stroking for better conditions, the companies asserted the best interest of the workers in mind.

    I suppose that’s why they locked people into their workplace.

    The tragedy of the fire at the shirt waist factory in New York, where all of the female workers were killed either by jumping from windows were being incinerated, was the culminating worth it lead to labor reform.

    But challenge of our monument our modern economy is that we don’t see the environmental cost of our choices. When most of the items consumed came from the local area, there was a deep, visceral understanding of the cost of an item. Not the cost in money, but the cost in labor and resources.

    People around the world have electricity. They have roads.

    This past week our family on the rise Moses 7:18:

    “And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind and they dwelt in righteousness and there was no poor among them.”

    If, as we make our choices, we can honestly say that we are righteous and that we do not require that others are poor so that we can enjoy our comforts, then I think that we can lift our heads up before God.

  21. …our family ponderized Moses 7:18:

    I guess voice recognition doesn’t understand that word yet.

  22. Margaret Barker is one of of those people who I scratch my head and wonder, “Why *isn’t* she a Mormon?”

  23. I recently watched the PBS series ‘How we got to Now’ based on the book by Stephen Johnson, free on Amazon Prime video and also available on Netflix. Two of the episodes ‘Clean’ and ‘Cold’ are particularly relevant to this discussion. We really have no idea of how comfortable, well nourished, and healthy we are compared to our recent ancestors. I believe that the Restoration of the Gospel corresponded to a surge of knowledge and enlightenment that improved our material existence. Most if not all of the discoveries that led to clean water, ample, healthy food and simple comfort were made during the decades surrounding the Restoration. Most of us forget that one of the primary uses of electricity in our homes goes to refrigeration and cooling. A map of population in the United States a hundred years ago compared to the middle of the 20th century shows the dramatic rise in population in the southwest and southeast after the development of air conditioning. I completely endorse wise use of our resources but death, malnutrition, and streets and common areas made filthy with manure and other fecal matter were common a hundred and fifty years ago.

  24. Meg, many of us do not recognize the term “ponderize”, as the Elder’s talk became environmentally unfriendly when his son used it to make a profit (a form of Mormon extortion?). Perhaps if we return to the term used in scripture: “ponder”, we will find our spell checkers will be happy, as well.

    As for me, I think it very important that we teach our children about the environment and how to do our part to preserve it. Taking them to clean a highway side or a river bank can be a good start. I live close to many parks, with a large creek that runs through them. In the last decade, I’ve found kids dumping shopping carts, broken bikes and other junk into the creek. When I confronted some kids about tossing a bike, and explained to them the importance of preserving nature, some listened, while a couple said they simply didn’t care about the environment.

    I think that even in the Church, we do not discuss the term “stewardship” enough when it comes to our possessions, our livelihood, and how we live from day to day.

    My biggest concern with global warming has to do with the solutions. The only solutions they propound do not really solve anything, but creates vast new government entities that can control more of life. At the same time, there is little the individual can do to prevent climate change. When I grew up, environmental protection was everyone’s job everywhere, and was enhanced by Earth Day projects in our schools and communities. We do not see that happening as much anymore, as climate change initiatives are well above the individual and family to do anything that can truly make a visual difference.

  25. Geoff, taxing externalities is a pretty standard treatment. Conservatives who favor carbon taxes typically want it offset by cuts in other taxes. So for instance I’d favor raising carbon taxes offset by cuts in corporate taxes.

    The usual problem is free rider problems where people can destroy or rob common goods with no real costs to them. Taxes are the usual solution to this when private property approaches don’t work. (Which is difficult with say moving air)

  26. Clark, I am aware of all of the arguments in favor of carbon taxes. I am also aware that there are conservatives who favor such taxes and claim that other taxes could be cut to offset. If you are a Bernie Sanders socialist, such arguments will make sense to you. However, if you have even a cursory knowledge of the history of taxes in the United States, and are not a Bernie Sanders socialist, you would have to be insane or a masochist to favor carbon taxes.

    Taxes are always introduced with the idea that they would be limited. The first income tax was intended only for the very rich and was supposedly limited to a few percentage points of income. So, now carbon taxes are introduced with the claim that other taxes will be offset. (For example, corporate taxes would be cut to compensate). If you believe that corporate taxes would never been raised again you are incredibly naive.

    So, then we would have a job-killing carbon tax in addition to our job-killing corporate tax.

    I could, in theory, support carbon taxes after we passed a constitutional amendment to get rid of the corporate tax altogether. But of course this will never happen, so there is no way I would ever support a carbon tax and anybody who actually cares about the U.S. economy should oppose such a scheme.

  27. I love the church statements because, as I read them, the primary purpose of appreciating and utilizing nature is the development of our own souls and aiding humanity. It points to our eternal future on this very planet. It recognizes that humans have physical, emotional and spiritual needs to be in nature, to aesthetically appreciate it.

    The earth is better today than it was 50 years ago. But its destiny is to be celestial home for its inhabitants. And has the material wealth derived from the earth been primarily used to create prosperity for ALL of her inhabitants? No, it has been used to wage war, satiate greed and gain power and influence over the souls of men, a most unfortunate situation that exists when the ideals of the Master Mahan dominate.

    We are growing more food than ever, but malnutrition and starvation are the circumstances in too many of the world’s regions. Our work is hardly completed! And remember the Lord has commanded how the poor and the needy will be cared for: “that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low” (D&C 104:17… also read vs. 18). Socialism is certainly not the answer, but neither is an upper class of economic elites conspicuous in their consumption and oblivious to their duty to their fellow human beings.

    I agree with Geoff that the radical environmental movement is philosophically far, far removed from the Gospel plan. Both rich and poor look with greed and avarice upon our planet. They look at the earth as limited in its potential. They do identify humankind as the ultimate danger to nature. The LDS perspective is that nature and humankind are products of God’s creation and that both are full of eternal potential and promise. And that the temporal and eternal future of God’s children is linked to all of material creation.

  28. I have waited years for the church to start addressing some of these issues that have been forgotten from Joseph Smith’s day.

    I have a simple, home made hot tub. We were trying to figure out the best way to warm the water and keep it warm. After we got that right we discovered everyone in the family had different temperature tolerance levels.
    I was amazed how One Degree made a difference in how the water felt. We do not notice temperature change so much with outside air temperature, Not much difference between 98 and 99, feels the same. But being in water the temperature change is very, very noticeable. So one or two degrees increase in temperature worldwide can have a huge impact. It has been documented with some species who can’t adapt fast enough to environmental changes.

    Global warming being responsible for terrorism is an out right lie. Don’t understand that stupidity and what the politicians are trying to pull by saying this. There has been terrorism since the dawn of man. The elites and politicians (mainly liberals who are crying about global warming) who are spouting this nonsense leave the largest carbon footprints and consume the most, and are the most greedy. Wealth privilege. I know many wealthy Christians, including Mormons, with a glutinous lifestyle.

    I believe the climate is changing. Weather patterns are changing and it is obvious. Hurricanes and tornadoes are stronger. I am not sure why. I do believe Heavenly Father is responsible for some of it….He is in ultimate control.
    But people are also responsible for destroying the environment which alters weather… denuding, clear cutting, open pit mining. These activities also destroy water sheds, increases erosion, hurts wildlife and plants and trees.

    Water and air pollution continues to be a huge problem. Companies still pollute our drinking water. Illegal dumping by all pollutes ground water and kills wildlife. We are battling this where I live.
    Acid rain is slowly increasing in this country, and world wide. Acid rain ruins drinking and irrigation water, harms the environment and wildlife, corrodes structures. I work with acid rain on a limited level, but I have seen it increase.
    Over pumping ground water is a huge problem.

    He who needs less is the richest. Something like that.

    Good post.

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