Self-Defense & Violence Prevention Blog

news and commentary about security, self-defense, and topics like violent crime prevention and bullying

Defending Ourselves by Defending Our Environment

I would not want to make debatable environmental issues too frequent of a topic on this blog. I would not want to take the focus away from preventing more direct violence and victimization, such as rape, murder, sexual assault and battery. We can all agree on the horribleness of those more blatant and direct acts, so I use this blog to regularly try to encourage us to finally work-together to actually do what it takes to end those direct acts of violence and victimization, such as rape, murder, sexual assault and battery. I would not want to take away from that by talking too much about controversial and disagreeable issues regarding the environment.

Nonetheless, today I want to point out that we do also need to work-together to defend ourselves from people who would hurt us by polluting and damaging our enviornment.

Throughout the process of industrialization, certain profit-seeking groups of people have claimed ownership of much of the world and its natural resources. They profit by overusing resources, polluting the enviornment, and making commodities out of various parts of our world. For example, some of these people have profited by claiming control of vast forests, cutting down the trees, and causing massive damage to the long-term health of our enviornment.

For the most part, the few people committing any given act of environmental destruction profit while all of us have to pay the consequences. So, while the cost to us all is not worth the benefit to us all, human-caused environmental destruction happens because the profit to the specific people who do it is worth the cost to those specific people who do it because they do not have to pay most of the costs; The rest of us have to pay the costs! And by pay the costs, I mean suffer the consequences of environmental destruction.

While human-caused global warming infamously causes many problems, pollution and environmental destruction also cause many other problems. For example, pollution to the air, water and land damages our health and contaminates our food supply. Overusing natural resources can reduce the supply of them, such as hunting an animal so much that it goes extinct or destroying trees and plant-growth more than they regrow thereby destroying our supply of breathable air. From increased cancer to asthma, we frequently see the harmful effects of environmental degradation.

Some people may suggest making laws and advocating governmental policy change to stop people from destroying the environment. For example, the government could make it illegal for any person or group to pollute more than a certain amount. The government could require people and corporations to offset their emissions–just as we would make a vandal pay to for the repairs for the window he broke. The government could create protected areas, such as saying certain forests cannot be cut down, saying certain animals cannot be hunted, and so forth.

Though I support making the government as small as possible, I might support some of those laws in the same way I support laws that outlaw murder or battery. I see those laws as mostly declarations of our intention to defend ourselves, and I support self-defense. I support defending ourselves from murder and violence, and I support defending ourselves from people who hurt us by polluting and destroying our enviornment.

However, I view the lack of environmental-protection laws as a scapegoat. I think we tend to blame the lack of environmental-protection laws as a means of trying to support environmental protection without acknowledging our own blameworthiness.

I believe that we do not need more laws to stop the destruction of our enviornment. I believe we can more effectively protect our enviornment using non-governmental methods. I believe we can do more by taking direct action rather than asking the government to change its laws. Let me give some examples: We can each conserve energy in our own personal lives. We can buy less commodities that require destruction of the enviornment to produce. We can recycle. We can boycott corporations that pollute or harm the enviornment. We can live in smaller houses with bigger yards that have trees and plants which we can preserve. We can spread awareness about the harmful effects of environmental degradation. We can spread awareness about what activities and which corporations cause the most harm to the environment. And we can stop doing those activities and stop doing business with those corporations.

If we want to protect ourselves by protecting our enviornment, I believe we can do it. And we can do it without changing the government’s laws but by changing our own personal actions.

If you have any more ideas on how to protect our enviornment, please post them here as comments. Also, help raise awareness about the environmental problem by telling people you know about this blog post. Send them the URL.

What do you think?

By | April 9th, 2008 | SHOW COMMENTS (11)


I am the creator of this website, which I use to post about self-defense and violence prevention. I have two children who I love so much. I want them to be proud of me, and I hope what I do here contributes to that. Please let me know what you think about my posts by leaving a comment below. I throw my opinions around pretty openly here, but I am totally open to opposing viewpoints and a productive discussion. So please post a comment. And follow me on Twitter: @scottmhughes

11 Responses

  1. Danpa Nyee's Singing Bowls says

    It is very hard to talk these days about prisons, about educating criminals. In order to better understand things one should definitely practice self defense.

    Danpa Nyee Ma

  2. Bill Souza says

    I agree with what you say about people being let out of prison and they just commit the same crimes again. I think the prison system should pay the victims for the crimes committed aginst
    them and their familys.

    I also think we have to educate the people to protect themselves. Most people think that the crime victims are always the other person. I have always said “protect you and your family, if you don’t then who will?”.

  3. Sara Cowgill says

    LAWS don’t work, anyway, they just cahnge them so they can keep polluting- consider the Clean Water Act, for example, change the word waste to fill and now they fill all the streams with “overburden” which is fill laden with heavy metals but not exactly Waste- BS
    BUT IT IS DENIAL to think that by having a bigger yard, only using the dishwasher once a day and changing to florescent lightbulbs that the Mountain Top Removal of Coal in Appalachia is going to stop.
    You may be right- we may have to take matters into our own hands.
    I would pull the balls off a man trying to rape me. I would kill him if I had the chance– so what will I do to the comapnies that rape and ravage my land? I think violent thoughts, and I feel a hatred that I try to dispell with spiritual mantras, prayers and meditation, seeking guidance– how to wake America? How to take the sheep skin from the wolves? How to educate the ignorant overnight? How to tell a man not to go to work– he doesn’t want to trash his hunting ground, but he got to put meat on the table- easier from Walmart thatn going hunting???

    i can’t stand what they are doing. I Love my mountains. The whole state is a mountain, a big voluptuous, curvatious beautufl set of ridgelines, all covered in lush deciduous forests

    Help me defend myself! learn who to Boycott, learn who to write, learn what laws, if any ARE worth writing, and enforcing– Capitalism depends on Men of Honor and Integrity== these men have neither and I will be glad when they are dust and gone

  4. MyCul Nord says

    Too much water has been remove from nature’s control. When the Americas and Europe release most of their captured water back to its true owner (the Earth) global warming, the process by which the Earth replaces water (mistakenly removed from the planet’s control by some unauthorized activity, will no longer be necessary for the Earth to fully comply with rule number one. Global warming will be reversed and the planet will get back to full complience with rule number two.

  5. Francois Tremblay says

    I agree with your post, however I must warn you against making utilitarian comparisons. As you may know, value comparisons between individuals are actually impossible, and so any such statement is invalid. Let’s just keep out of utilitarianism.

  6. Matt says

    Very intersting. We have to change the way we think instead of forcing people do to do the right things by punishing them. Under the current situation I am not sure if we can really get away with continuing to make laws that much of the time are only put up so the government can take more money out of the pockets of those who need it. The world is something that is ours and something each of us has to treat as if it is our own little backyard and not something that is just there. It is to be respected and loved and not destroyed. But as the saying goes, “Laws and rules are meant to be broken.” Many times people are good but they hate laws so much and the feeling of being controlled by these laws so much they feel the urge to break them at any and every opportunity.

  7. Ashley Darby says

    Great blog, very well written, and I love what you say about trying to regulate corporations that are polluting our environment, and even more importantly regulation the government monitoring how much pollution they chuck out into the atmosphere – along with many other things! Everyone and anyone needs to get involved by showing people that the planet needs to be protected, and making sure that we can all stand up and do something against what is (or isn’t) being done right now.

  8. Andy Sheridan says

    I came across the following pdf the other day. It’s a summary of the international policy for global warming, as ermerged from the G8 development ministers meeting in Japan over the weekend. May be worth checking out to find out what the G8 are upto on the subject. I haven’t had chance to check through it fully myself yet, but will do once I get the time. From a quick glance it seems (unsurprisingly!) to be all about mantaining economic growth, whilst attempting to tackle climate change. Haven’t read the details of this though yet. Have to say though, I am, at present, one of those who thinks economic growth and environental disaster go hand in hand, like two sides of the same coin.

  9. Sarah says

    A lot of interesting points which are important to discuss. I also agree that laws will not help, with the current state of international governance and laws, just look at the many governments around the world that act above international law already, which in itself is almost a joke. Corporations are even worse, penalties for breaking such environmental laws are hefty fines, and as far as corporations are concerned it is merely a question of profit margins to them. If the fines are less than what they will gain by breaking them, then of course they will break them. As well as this we already have examples of nations buying and selling allocated carbon limits as if they are trade-able commodities themselves.
    On the issue of boycotting, it is kind of a grey area to me. I am not sure where I stand on boycotts, I suppose each case is different. My worry is that boycotts may be intended to harm a corporation but ultimately that harm will be passed down to the bottom. Workers will be laid off, have their wages cut or their working conditions worsened in order to preserve wealth further up the hierarchy. I am yet to be convinced on boycotts. Although of course we must do something, spreading awareness is vitally important. The sad truth is that we have a huge battle in protecting the environment under global capitalism, because it is so self-destructive due to it being structured around short-term goals and gains.
    I look forward to reading more.

  10. Elaine O'Hehir says

    This is a great read you have put a lot of effort into it. The article on Bullies I found particularly interesting as it happened to my children and was quite hard to deal with. Keep up the great work I look forward to reading more.

  11. John Sarsman says

    I agree with the central theme of this post, that laws will not solve environmental problems. Once people generally care and are willing to sacrifice just a little for environmental preservation it won’t matter what laws are on the books or what government is in power. Excellent post.


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