Pragmatic Environmentalist Principles

In order to describe my perception of a pragmatic environmentalist this page lists the principles that define that position. For my posts I am going to try to follow these Pragmatic Environmental Rules.  Eventually there will be posts on each principle.

Environmental Issues are Binary

In almost all environmental issues there are two sides. Pragmatic environmentalism is all about balancing the risks and benefits of the two sides of the issue. In order to do that you have to show your work.

Sound Bite Environmental Issue Descriptions

Sound bite descriptions necessarily only tell one side of the story. As a result they frequently are mis-leading, are not nuanced, or flat out wrong.

Baloney Asymmetry Principle

Alberto Brandolini: “The amount of energy necessary to refute BS is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.”

Iron law of climate

Roger Pielke, Jr: The “iron law” simply states that while people are often willing to pay some price for achieving environmental objectives, that willingness has its limits.

Golden Rule of Climate Extremes

Cliff Mass: The more extreme a climate or weather record is, the greater the contribution of natural variability.

Observation on Environmental Issue Stakeholders

The more vociferous/louder the claims made by a stakeholder the more likely that the stakeholder is guilty of the same thing. This observation was explained better by Gary:  My experience is that the things people complain about loudly are so very frequently the same things of which they also are guilty. The inability to see oneself realistically is a fascinating human trait.

Tradeoffs to Environmental Initiatives

Environmental initiatives often are presented simply as things we can do but do not consider that in order to implement those initiatives tradeoffs are required. Over at Climate Etc. the  Planning Engineer said that when his children asked “Can we do this?” he used to annoy his children with the answer “We can do almost anything we want, but we can’t do everything.”