Is our freedom to consume what we want whenever we want worth the cost (i.e. environmental, social, economic, etc.)?

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I will be the first, then, to suggest that this is our only planet. We simply cannot sustain life elsewhere. Since it's only been around for 6,000 years, I believe we cannot state for certain the extent of life on other planets, but that it is extremely unlikely. God chose us for this planet and created the environment to sustain life. It is our duty, therefore, to respect His wishes and maintain it as best we can, even if that means cutting back on our own consumption and becoming conscious of the effects of this consumption. ColinS 22:50, 16 May 2010 (EDT)

Your point is well taken, and you're welcome to it. But do you think in environmentalism there is an implicit message that there will be a long future to Earth? Much debate occurs about how old Earth is, but there is also an implicit theme to environmentalism that God cannot end things soon.--Andy Schlafly 23:06, 16 May 2010 (EDT)
I am thoroughly not an environmentalist, however I am ecologically conscious, and I would argue a difference. That said, I do think God would appreciate our caring of the planet more than our endless need for consumption. I would rather the planet exist for longer, even if God has the power to cut it short instantly. ColinS 17:49, 17 May 2010 (EDT)
"Consumption" runs the gamut from life-promoting energy use to unjustifiable destruction of the environment. Since virtually everyone opposes senseless waste, the real debate is about energy use, and I favor it because it extends lives and saves lives. I suggest those opposed to energy consumption and use try living in some of the nations that have less per-capita energy, and seeing how life is shorter there.--Andy Schlafly 18:05, 17 May 2010 (EDT)
I'm new here, but I happened to notice this debate. I suggest you check out this webpage, Professor Schlafly. The statistical correlation of per capita energy use doesn't really support your statement. My home country of Switzerland has a slightly better life expectancy as the USA (compare with the life expectancy data here), but half the per capita energy. And the countries with the highest energy use are in the Middle East, where life expectancy isn't as good as in the USA and Europe. HenryClerval 18:15, 17 May 2010 (EDT)
I have looked at the statistics and found that life expectancy does not correlate to energy consumption. Japan's life expectancy is the highest in the world — about 4 years longer than the USA's — and consumes about half the energy per capita. The UK, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Spain and other predominantly European countries consume far less energy than the United States, yet have significantly longer life expectancies. Furthermore, countries which consume more energy per capita than the USA (UAE, Qatar and Bahrain, to name a few) do not have longer life expectancy. I have excluded countries such as those in third-world Africa because their energy consumption is among the least of their worries (I'd suspect lack of availability of medicine and sterile hospitals rank as greater indicators of life expectancy). Source ColinS 18:24, 17 May 2010 (EDT)
It seems we were writing at the same time, user ColinS! HenryClerval 18:29, 17 May 2010 (EDT)

I believe that we need to protect our planet, because we don't really know how much time we have here. The end of the world could come tomorrow, or it could come 2,000 years from now. We need to act on the things we know, and try to protect the world for our children and their children in case they spend the entirety of their lives here. That means reducing our oil use, trying to find alternative energy sources, and doing whatever we can to preserve our planet. CobaltFusion 08:38, 29 June 2010 (EDT)


The benefits of energy production and consumption exceed the costs. There is a close correlation between average lifespan and energy use, for example. Are the extra years in life worth the cost? Yes.--Andy Schlafly 15:25, 16 May 2010 (EDT)

The extra years in life are only worth the cost when lived fruitfully. For example, if someone is being painfully kept alive by radiation and chemotherapy, then no, those extra years are not worth the cost, monetarily and physically. -MPC, 21:27, 16 May 2010

Could you please further explain your stance on this issue? -MPC, 12:00, 16 May 2010

Reply to new comment (comment above was changed after thread below formed). Many would disagree with your statement, but it is beside the point. More energy means a longer healthy lifespan for the people.--Andy Schlafly 01:22, 17 May 2010 (EDT)
It's simple: the more energy a nation produces and consumes, the longer its average lifespan. Why? Because energy production creates wealth that can then improve health-related facilities like hospitals, and energy use provides comfort.--Andy Schlafly 15:39, 16 May 2010 (EDT)
This is incorrect.
World per capita energy consumption (in million BTU's per year) (Source: U.S Energy Information Administration ):
1 Gibraltar 2,065.8
2 Virgin Islands, U.S. 1,851.4
3 Qatar 1,023.3
4 Trinidad and Tobago 769.9
5 Bahrain 695.4
6 Netherlands Antilles 695.0
7 United Arab Emirates 577.6
8 Iceland 568.6
9 Brunei 482.1
10 Singapore 476.8
Life expectancy (Source: Wolfram Alpha):
1 | Macau | 84.36
2 | Andorra | 82.51
3 | Japan | 82.12
4 | Singapore | 81.98
5 | San Marino | 81.97
6 | Hong Kong | 81.86
7 | Australia | 81.63
8 | Canada | 81.23
9 | France | 80.98
10 | Sweden | 80.86
Sorry, this claim doesn't hold up. Energy use and production does create wealth, but wealth doesn't always improve health care.--JLewis 11:28, 16 July 2010 (EDT)

Nations with such freedom have less poverty and starvation, so yes, it's certainly worth it. DMorris 16:21, 16 May 2010 (EDT)

We can be good stewards of the Earth and consume whatever is necessary. Some will argue we are destroying the planet. I say America has spent more than all other nations combined on the environment. Some will argue that the planet will not sustain the increasing population. Yet God said be fruitful and multiply. God never said stop at 12 billion or the planet will be in peril. Can we effect the environment? sure. Is the Earth in dire straits? No.--Jpatt 23:37, 16 May 2010 (EDT)


Correlation does not imply causation. This is, however, a very interesting theory and has given me something to think about. Perhaps more evidence is required? Maybe countries in the Middle East could be closely compared, considering the overall similarities between those countries and the fact that some have oil, while others don't. JimFullerton 16:27, 16 May 2010 (EDT)

Correlation does suggest possible causation, and where, as here, there are reasons to expect causation, then the close correlation is persuasive. The Luddites opposed to energy production and consumption are not building hospitals to extend lifespan. The short lifespan in energy-deficient nations in Africa could be alleviated quickly with more energy.--Andy Schlafly 16:55, 16 May 2010 (EDT)

Yet, how will they create any energy if they have no money to begin with? -MPC, 21:12, 16 May 2010

Oh, of course I agree that there is a possible correlation, I only meant we can't conclude causation from correlation alone. If I remember correctly from a history class, Iraq could be an excellent example of this. When Iraq nationalized the oil industry (previously owned by British companies) it was able to use that oil and extra revenue to modernize and provide social services to its citizens that raised the quality of life, infant mortality rates, calorie intake, etc. There's no doubt that the effect would have been far greater if they had chosen to privatize the industry instead, but that certainly indicates a causation. I might have to do some more research on this. JimFullerton 17:08, 16 May 2010 (EDT)
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