“Some extremely rosy assumptions about humanity’s long-term chances are baked into the late-20th century environmental movement: just consider the obsession with plastic and styrofoam’s inability to biodegrade. Worrying about the amount of plastic on the planet thousands of year from now –what a luxury! Environmentalists back then held a degree of optimism that seems almost painfully naive in the world today — and the motive for saving one or another species from extinction is deeply tied up in this implicit optimism. Unfortunately, these assumptions don’t make sense in the present. At their worst, they diminish the credibility of the environmental movement in general, wasting activists’ time, energy and finances, focusing these limited resources on short-term, feel-good goals (like saving one species) in place of longer-term objectives (like preventing the kind of warming that will lead to mass species extinction regardless of whether other initiatives are enacted).”

Read the rest at Salon. “Cliven Bundy’s lesson to environmentalists: Our grim, demented climate politics