Sunday, May 02, 2004

Footprints and Brainwaves

I suppose it is possible to link education and affluence with a secular view and to link the latter with a weakness for environemtalist hokum. How else to explain Santa Monicans spending a pleasant Saturday afternoon at a public event that touts "The Ecological Footprint"? Visitors are taught how to calculate the amount of earthly space their consumption habits account for, multiply that by a growing population and contrast the product with the available space on earth. Any thought of subsitutions (in consumption or in production), especially those prompted by scarcity signals (or any thought of the role of technological change), is just not there. In fact, beyond multiplication, there is little discernable thinking at all in play.

The newspaper coverage goes along and reports that, "the 8.3-square-mile city has a footprint of 2,747 square miles, ... a swath that would take in most of California ... but the city announced last month that it had shrunk its footprint by 5.7% between 1990 and 2000."