A ringside seat at the end of the world: Call 'em economentalists



The presiding predicament of our time is that many of us know we need to confront climate change, but there is concern that doing so will “hurt the economy.”

Especially in draconian economic times like this, you hear it over and over again, from politicians, from business people, and from common folk, too, that they’d like to be more energy efficient, less pollutive, whatever, but now is not the time make any big shifts.

Let’s allow the economy to recover, and then let’s talk about the environment.

The philosophy is we can’t disrupt our oil or coal industry in lieu of renewable energy options. We can’t put people out of work at a time when so many already are jobless.

This is dangerous, even criminal thinking, because we can’t afford to not address our environmental problems, now.

The semantic problem, as I see it, is that in articles you read, the position is always “environmentalists say” versus what “politicians or business people or common folks say.”

So it’s always environmentalists under one giant umbrella; and the naysayers nay-saying under their own niche auspices.

I say let’s even the score. Let’s give the people who believe the economy is more important than the environment a name, a label.

Let’s call them economentalists.

This is not a negative term. It’s not even a term I made up. I thought I had, but when I went to Google, where neologists like me go to see their dreams of new words die, I found it numerous times, including a 2004 article in Time about Jeffrey Sachs.

But so what. Let’s not delay the healing of the habitat with worrying about nomenclature. Let’s call the people who think first about economy, economentalists, so we have a handy label, and thus an easy dichotomy to frame.

This was played out recently with Obama and solar panels. I wrote a ringside seat column a couple of weeks ago about his refusal to go forward with placing solar panels on the White House, and now the president has to decided to do so after all.

Score one for the environmentalists. So what if the economentalists cry out.

The belief system that all-growth-is-good is a flawed belief system. Look where it’s gotten us: on the fucking cusp of eco-collapse.

We here in profligate America are only doing what we’ve been taught over the past few generations: consume, discard, consume, discard, without thinking about the consequences.

We need to find more mindful ways grow, even discover creative ways to shrink, to find our proper size, given the finite resources we have available. We can re-learn our consumption behavior, and get on the side of nature, which is everyone’s side, after all, no matter what you call yourself.

Jim Poyser watches it all fall apart on


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