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Fie on Fido
Want to Go Green? Lose the Pet

Greens are always on the lookout for new ways to tell people how to live sustainably, and now they’ve recently alighted on a new bit of officious instruction: get rid of your resource-hogging pets. As an op-ed in the Guardian argues, man’s best friend is mother earth’s enemy:

Two German Shepherds use more resources just for their annual food needs than the average Bangladeshi uses each year in total. And while pet owners may disagree that Bangladeshis have more right to exist than their precious Schnookums, the truth is that pets serve little more societal purpose than keeping us company in an increasingly individualistic and socially isolated consumer society. […]

[O]ur pet population consumes a huge amount of resources which, in our climate constrained reality, are no longer available. With a human population of 7.2 billion and a dog and cat population now in the hundreds of millions (it’s estimated at 179m in the US alone), the Earth cannot sustain these populations – especially as a growing percentage of pets live their lives as ravenous consumers.

The author of that article writes that, in a world with more social capital, many wouldn’t feel the need for pets in the first place. He goes so far as to suggest that there’s an opportunity cost in spending time with one’s pets, namely that you spend less time with your fellow man, and your community therefore suffers. Cue the inevitable noisy outcry from devoted pet owners. Sure, it’s silly, but this kind of advice points to a stubborn flaw in the modern green movement.

Telling people not to own pets is like telling people not to eat meat: it riles the layperson up, and triggers a knee-jerk reaction not just against the specific issue the environmentalist may be advocating for, but for the green movement in general. Sure, our collective impact on the environment would be a lot less if we all went herbivore, or gave up our pet dogs for pet rocks, but that’s never going to happenAnd this is worse than a lost cause—it backfires on greens, undermining both their credibility as policy advocates and as rational observers of the human condition. It wastes political capital at a time when the movement’s reservoirs are running dangerously low. We need—and the world deserves—much smarter green thinking than what we’ve got.

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  • Corlyss

    Telling people not to have pets is like telling people not to have children . . . Oh, wait! They’ve been doing that for decades!

  • Gene

    I think greens who take this attitude should be shamed for their chickens**t policy approach and encouraged to live up to their convictions. Instead of advocating for new laws to require people to give up their pets (their likely recommendation, and a cowardly one as it will then be up to other people – agents of the state – to enforce), they should organize themselves into neighborhood cadres to go door-to-door, personally forcing people to give up their pets. In fact, I think this is an excellent idea, and I sincerely hope they try it.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    The real objective of the environmentalists is to exterminate mankind, only then would their precious Gaia be suitably dressed in their opinion. I and many like me hold the opposite opinion, we believe that mankind is Mother Nature’s finest achievement and she is justly proud of us and all our works.

  • S.C. Schwarz

    And yet they are winning. See Obama’s latest climate policy statement and John Podesta’s statement that they wouldn’t let Congress interfere. If the main stream press would report on stuff like this maybe ordinary people would how crazy these green’s are, but of course they telling everyone that conservatives are flat earthers.

  • LarryD

    For some, it’s about status. For others, environmentalism is about self-validation and a justification for self-rightousness. Some seek power, and some just lothe industrial society and would like to turn the clock back to before the industrial revolution. And they’re fine with 90% die-off of humanity.

    None of these are about rational pursut of the agenda they claim.

  • Breif2

    If their analysis is correct, I am willing to take in a Bangladeshi and give my two German Shepherds a one-way ticket to a testing lab. However, we will first need to revise our laws to make it explicitly legal to put down Bangladeshis when they have outlived their usefulness.

  • Fat_Man

    You got to admit that greenies are often amusing. Give them enough rope and they will hang themselves.

  • Dan

    They can have my dog when they pry me from his cold wet nose

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