"Everyone should be a vegetarian."


"We should stop all fishing."


"All mining and drilling should be phased out in the next couple of years."

What do all these comments have in common? They're all seemingly good ideas that are completely crazy and that don't stand a snowballs chance in hell of ever happening.

There can be danger on the extreme wings of an issue and it's no different in green- people who want everyone in the world to be a vegetarian or vegan do just as much damage to our cause as the steak eating, SUV driving eco-haters howling for Al Gore's head. Every time someone says that we should stop cutting down trees, our momentum towards a truly green world falters just a little.

Chris Baskind, a noted green blogger and newest edition to the MNN team, found what he called "hysterical, opportunistic, overly broad nonsense" over at Change.org in a petition calling for the phasing out of all mining activity because of concerns that they cause earthquakes.

It's one of those pieces that's so badly put together that you feel bad for the writer- you know that chill of embarrassment that you get for someone else (you'd think that Germans would have a word for that) that shivers up your spine? Petition originator Lee Ang opens with:

Recent earthquake activities has made some researchers pondering the cause. Maybe mother earth just don’t like to be drilled or pinched!

A good sized community has linked the quakes  to mining activities for energy and metals. There has been quite  a bit of avail. research  on the web- see links below.

Farther down Ang writes
Some may still argue that the statistical evidence is not significant enough to link the cause. However, why should we take that risk of letting it happen?  If we are already shouldering the responsibility of global warming, shouldn’t we be more urgently concern with this danger,- which seems to show strong evidence, and is more urgent and imminent?
As well meaning as Ang seems to be, this petition, and the idea behind it, is stupid and dangerous- it's idealistic, impractical, and only serves to make greenies look like raving mad luddites trying to force everyone back into the caves.

Last week I wrote about a writer at ESPN who created a storm of controversy when he invented the idea that the Obama administration was planning on banning all fishing in U.S. waters in his column. The right wing media brigade jumped all over the idea, using it as an example of how crazy greenies were trying to take over the country and stealing all our freedom.

That concern was manufactured- President Obama is not going to ban fishing, but the petition at Change.org is very real. Lee Ang and 96 other people (the count as I type) who signed it think it's a good and practical idea to stop ALL mining and drilling in the next few years. They sent off letters to the White House and to congressional office, each one calling for the end of mining and each one making our movement look a complete joke.

We can't waste our time on dumb green ideas.

A green idea is dumb if it has no chance of really happening and just stands to turn off a lot of people to the cause when they hear it. An idea can have the best of intentions and ideals behind it and still be a dumb one, a lot of the times it's the ones with the best of intentions and ideals that end up being the dumbest.

Chris Baskind got into a debate over the issue on Twitter with Meg (@Mmmeg) a "compassionate, green-minded, health-conscious, animal-loving, tree-hugging, frugal, wild plant eating, vegan foodie" from Florida after Chris referenced my post about Obama's fictional ban on fishing.

It was a good debate and while I sympathize with Meg's sentiment that the world should stop killing and eating fish, I don't find it be a practical one. If we all of sudden stopped fishing, billions would die. As of yet there is no practical vegetarian replacement for the scores of people around the world who rely on the sea to eat and live and I just think that any energy spent arguing that it's any other way is wasted energy.

We can't argue the world vegetarian any more than climate change deniers can argue global warming away. Let's work on what we can change and leave the hysterics to the other side.

What do you think?

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Shea Gunther is a podcaster, writer, and entrepreneur living in Portland, Maine. He hosts the popular podcast "Marijuana Today Daily" and was a founder of Renewable Choice Energy, the country's leading provider of wind credits and Green Options. He plays a lot of ultimate frisbee and loves bad jokes.

The danger of being hysterically green
We need to be careful in calling for huge sweeping green changes. Too much too fast can derail the whole thing.