Jun 4, 2012
Special to The Green Register by Kyle Crider, Manager – Environmental Operations, Ecotech Institute
“It is the mystery that lingers, and not the explanation,” ~Sacheverell Sitwell
Who doesn’t love a good mystery-thriller, especially one rife with intrigue and subterfuge? The more twists, the better. But a full explanation at the end? Huge let-down. That is why I was always disappointed when Scooby Doo and his gang of “meddling kids” unveiled the human face under the scary mask at the end of every original episode. I wanted there to really be a monster, ghost, or alien. The other-worldly mystery was far more fun than a mundane explanation.
Likewise, you just can’t keep a good conspiracy theory down. Welcome to World Conspiracy Day, er, make that World Environment Day. Brought to you by the United Nations—you know, the Illuminati organization behind Agenda 21 and New World Order. If you are unfamiliar with any of these terms, you owe yourself an afternoon’s Googling enjoyment—but please, finish this article first! There are conspiracy theories there to last a lifetime…
The United Nations Environmental Program explains, “World Environment Day is an annual event that is aimed at being the biggest and most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action. World Environment Day activities take place all year round but climax on 5 June every year, involving everyone from everywhere.” Uh-oh. Everyone, everywhere. That reeks of New World Order, and sounds ominous indeed!
But you know, sometime well before our teens we are supposed to gain the ability to separate fantasy from reality. True, we may still feel the forces of our animal instincts; as echoed by the words of Marquise du Deffand: “Do I believe in ghosts? No, but I'm afraid of them.” Reason may not eliminate our irrational fears, but it can and should guide and control them. And speaking of reason, science warns us that those who subscribe most avidly to conspiracy theories are the same folks most willing to engage in conspiracies.
Alabama has just passed a new law that would bar the state from taking over private property without due process. This certainly sounds reasonable, on the surface. However, the language of the law includes these words: “The State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not adopt or implement policy recommendations that deliberately or inadvertently infringe or restrict private property rights without due process, as may be required by policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to ‘Agenda 21.’”
I am reminded of Charles Babbage, who was trying to explain his early concept for a computing machine to English legislators: “On two occasions I have been asked, ‘Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?’ I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.” Personally, I am not rightly able to comprehend the kind of confusion that would lead Alabama legislators to pass this law based on such a conspiracy-theory premise.
This World Environment Day, we owe it to ourselves to separate fact from fiction. World Environment Day and Agenda 21 are about saving the planet—and ourselves with it. As I wrote in one of my first Green Register blogs, echoing the words of Marshall McLuhan, “There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.” But if the crew has lapsed into conspiracy theory paranoia, who is running the ship? In this case, a quote from Jack Foster comes to mind: “We are all passengers on the Titanic.”
In the Higher Education space, we’re supposed to teach students the art of critical thinking. My challenge to you is to impartially investigate all claims—my own included. That’s easier said than done, as I outlined in this Sustainable Industries article called Applying Knowledge. How do you know what you think you know?
“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.” ~Richard Feynman
Kyle Crider is Manager – Environmental Operations at Ecotech Institute and Education Corporation of America. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree with a double-emphasis in Urban Planning & Policy Analysis. He is also a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional, Neighborhood Development (LEED AP ND). He is currently in the Interdisciplinary Engineering Ph.D. Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and not necessarily those of Ecotech Institute or Education Corporation of America. Email Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org