Our 2019 Children’s Books of the Year stand out from an increasingly troubling crowd
Humans are destroying the planet. The world is overpopulated. We’re about to run out of oil, and technological progress has come at the expense of a clean environment.
BLUE, a new documentary from Jeffrey “JD” King, tackles extreme environmentalist talking points like these in 58 minutes. Director and narrator King visits researchers and activists who have dedicated their lives to combating the “green” movement, like E. Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance and Lord Christopher Monckton, a leading global warming “skeptic.”
The interviews reveal nuggets that aren’t so much new as rare: Few in mainstream media (or mainstream science) are eager to admit that carbon dioxide emissions are making the Earth greener, that humans are assets to the environment, and that respiratory disease rates in American cities have declined from a century ago.
In one scene, aerospace engineer Robert Zubrin points to a graph showing how global average income has increased proportionally with carbon use. “This is humanity’s escape from poverty,” Zubrin says, with a wild jet of hair shooting off his forehead and anger in his voice. “And now you have people come along and say, ‘We have to stop this.’”
Zubrin and others explain why environmentalists who fret about overpopulation and the end of oil are misguided: Every mouth comes with two hands and a brain, and history shows that human ingenuity finds cheaper, cleaner ways of making products and energy. Oil reserves are higher than ever, but as they decrease, the price of oil will rise, encouraging businesses to invent alternative energy solutions.
King also visits regular citizens and business owners affected by environmental activism. In the Pacific Northwest, a campaign to save the northern spotted owl has halted logging and depressed communities dependent on the industry.
BLUE is King’s second documentary about environmental issues. (The first, Crying Wolf, examined fraud and corruption connected to the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park.) He’s a 23-year-old homeschool graduate, and created the film with the help of other homeschooled filmmakers and $60,000 in Kickstarter funds from nearly 500 donors.
King told me BLUE (an acronym for beautify, liberate, utilize, enjoy) is a positive vision for the Earth and environment: “The Bible says that we bear God’s image, and one of the best ways we reflect His image is by exercising wise, godly dominion over creation. This means beautifying the Earth. But this also means cultivating it.” Cultivation of the Earth’s resources creates jobs for people, who can then afford pollution controls. King concludes the film saying, “We can have a good environment, but we can’t have one without freedom and prosperity.”
Rock from water
A pea-sized diamond discovered in a Brazilian mine is evidence of an ocean-sized amount of water beneath our feet. Scientists studying the diamond reported in Nature in March that the tiny gemstone, formed under high pressure 325 miles or more below the Earth’s surface, contains ringwoodite, a mineral only previously seen in meteorites. The ringwoodite, by weight, is about 1 percent water, lending support to geologic models suggesting a massive amount of water is mixed within the Earth’s mantle. —D.J.D.