The plow is worse than the drill head--but you can't outlaw agriculture. Modern farming methods need less land, but folks hate GMO and love organics--but due to pests, they need more land--and so it goes.
I do think we have to be careful of the dea that anything artificial is bad. The long run-out landslide/flank eruption of St. Helens and the Henderson Mountain Tornado of the mid 1990s in GA dwarfed weeks of Weyerhausers cutting practices. La Brea was never capped like Deepwater horizon, and most of the worlds oil has already leaked to the surface before engines were made: http://discovermagazine.com/2008/jul...know-about-oil
There is this anti-oil footage I saw with an evil looking metal pipe vomiting slurry in the tar sands I think it was.
And yet, there was some recent footage (NOVA I think) showing different flood control practices that looked similar. The face of progressive New Deal liberalism that made the Ninth Ward possible was "chop this down, dig that up, dredge this river, drain this swamp." New practices need both soft and hard flood control, so a pipe, large and ugly looking, was vomiting all this sludge to fill in some of the lost wetland.
Both looked unsightly, but one was deemed "green" and the other wasn't. A refinery with biodiesel or corn ethanol still looks as ugly as any other refinery--and all are hydrocarbons still.
But the hard flood controls allowed New Orleans to be a major player in WWII, which was not a green act. Not only did we lose a lot of oil and other chemicals to u-boats in torpedo junction, but drilling for oil in Louisiana also caused subsidence, and a loss of wetlands for those reasons. In many respects, the green act would be to allow the axis powers to win, for you know they would have greatly depopulated the planet if those villains had their way.
But we fought on, because the human cost would be too high
. We flooded the UK with lend lease for we knew that, without oil, Britain dies. We bombed Ploesti oil fields and made quite a mess of them, with a lot of spillage, second only to Saddam dynamiting well heads in Kuwait. But we had to do it. The Germans were actually making more planes at the end of the war than there were at the beginning--even after the pants were wrecked by the 8th Air Force. Many low shops like furniture stores that didn't stand out in the Norden bombsight were missed. But all was naught, for there was no avgas to fuel them. And aviation fuel--to this day--is still leaded.
I remember Rachel Maddow lamenting how America doesn't do great things anymore, standing near Hoover Dam, that many greens would love to destroy--hating dams and flood control even though beavers made an even larger dam--and they did no environmental impact study to see if some cave microclimate was affected.
President Bush was (rightfully) bashed about letting our infrastructure go to pot. Recently an oil pipeline burst in Arkansas, and Greens were (rightfull)y angry about pipes being let go.
But what goes into asphault in our roads? Tar. So Republicans were demonized for putting too much tar onto the surface--and yet at the same time, not enough. Not that we haven't seen this in nature anyway: http://www.whoi.edu/cms/files/O483_Asphalt_105724.pdf
Even if we had fusion tomorrow, we still need chemical foodstocks. helium comes from natural gas wells--exploration for which allowed us to find the Chixulub crater in the Yucatan. The dinos being wiped out because they didn't
have industry, or a space program.
This may be controversial, but technodiversity must be more important than biodiversity. Wipe out a triceratops, nature fill the niche with a rhino--essentially the same animal. When the last satellite falls, it cannot re-evolve, for it really is a case of intel design, and without spaceflight, all life is doomed to extinction.
What separates us from other animals is not tools or language--it is this. Rather than being pssively shaped by our surroundings, we reshape them. So the very thing Greens hate is actually what defines us as an emerging member of Homo Techicus. But that IS our niche. We are not destroying the environment--we ARE the environment.
We are a stressor no different than erosion.
Can we do things smarter and less destructive? Certainly. But are we a virus destroying the planet? No. We condemn Leni Riefenstahl for films about this or that group being a virus upon the volk (i.e. planet)
, and yet in many nature documentaries, I see a chilling parallel. They tell us all about a piping plover, and reduce all of human endeavour to a picture of a smokestack and a dump.
But if I were to film any other animal only eating and defecating, I could probably make it look pretty wasteful too.
At least folks on the religous right only want to takes us back to the Dark Age and libertarians, the age of powdered wigs--not the stone age.
I don't always agree with Libertarian thought, but here are a few pro-future books that folks need to read: