In the late ’80s the only thing bigger than the hair being frequently sprayed by aerosol-based hairspray was the hole in the ozone layer. At least that's what we were all being told was happening. Back then, the discovery and understanding of the ozone layer and its hole were in their infancy. The climate alarmists were there and had been attempting to make noise since the ’60s but they were still on the periphery of being taken seriously by society. As it turned out that was wise given that every prediction made by climate alarmists during the ’60s and ’70s was wrong. Nevertheless, the ozone layer thing took hold, stronger than the hairspray and had every big-haired girl of the 80s thinking they were contributing to the hole.
Now as it turned out, CFCs weren’t good for the environment but they sure weren’t the prominent reason for the hole. From 1987 through 2000 the use of CFCs continued to increase worldwide, even as the hair became much smaller and pump sprays replaced aerosol cans. But a funny thing happened. The ozone layer’s hole became smaller. And today, the word from NASA is that the ozone layer’s hole is the smallest on record.
Here we are with climate change alarmists convinced that if Miami Beach doesn’t pass a climate change resolution the world will end. Much like the misunderstood ozone layer hysteria of thirty years ago. The difference this time is the buy-in by society. The lack of pragmatism has gone mainstream. Just as CFCs weren’t the driving force behind the ozone layer’s hole, nature played a much larger role, the same is true today. Can we negatively impact the environment? Yes. Should we be good stewards of our environment and strike a balance of good environmental policy and economic progress? Yes. Are we the driving force behind climate change. No. Nature’s far more powerful. It’s why we’ve had multiple mass extinction events well before we existed.
But thirty years from now when South Florida isn’t underwater because the alarmists are wrong once again, I’m sure they’ll be another crisis people latch onto. It’s what people who are desperate to feel important tend to do. Real environmentalists get in the field and do the work. Actual environmental work doesn’t take place with politicians and protest signs and ironically, it’s industry through technology and efficiencies that hold the keys to environmentalism. If activists supported business innovation, over government intervention, they might be shocked to see what real progress looks like.
Photo by: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images for World of WearableArt