First, let's define the word "environmentalism." To be fair, four dictionaries were consulted. One was published in 1947, another in 1975, another in 1988, and one in 2002. The word first appeared in the 1988 dictionary. So it must have come into our lexicon sometime between 1975 and 1988.

In Webster's Universal Encyclopedic Dictionary, 2002, the definition is as follows: "1: A theory that views environment rather than heredity as the important factor in the development and especially the cultural and intellectual development of an individual or group 2: The advocacy of the preservation or improvement of the natural environment; especially: The movement to control pollution." Operative words are "theory" and "advocacy." That's good enough for government work and the Sierra Club.

Now let's define the word "conservation." It was in all four dictionaries. Therefore, it's been around for awhile. In 1975, The Reader's Digest Encyclopedic Dictionary defined it as: "1. The act of keeping or protecting from loss or injury. 2. The preservation of natural resources, as forests, fisheries, etc. for economic or recreational use; also, an area so preserved." Webster's Universal defined it this way: 1: A careful preservation and protection of something; especially planned management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction or neglect 2: The preservation of a physical quantity during transformations or reactions." There are some subtle differences between the two. One is an act while the other is a theory, which has morphed into an ideology.

Environmentalism has brought us cleaner air and cleaner water among other things. A+ on the air and the water. But, at what cost?

Stay with me one this. A full-sized Ford four-door sedan cost $564 in 1946. Today, you can buy a Ford Focus for about $15,000. How times have changed! Why? Government mandated price increases? Impossible, you say! Increased prices ... inflation ... economic chaos - all at the hand of our elected officials? Awww, come on. They're our best and brightest citizens, educated in our public schools.

In 1946, the price of a gallon of gasoline was 25 cents. Today the average price is approaching $4 per gallon. More government price increases? Wonder why?

One of the answers is religious hysterical environmentalism. Some say the world is being destroyed by CO2 emissions caused by mankind.

So, how do we minimize our CO2 output? Stop breathing? CO2 is a natural by product of all living creatures. Therefore, that would be fatal for most of us. Stop manufacturing? Not practical for the world economy.

We could go on and on with examples of the temerity of the delirious environmentalists who have succeeded in convincing our legislators and our educationists of their well-meaning but impractical plan.

Hey! I know, stop waging war! It's a major cause of pollution. But, Islam, and others, probably wouldn't buy that one. Get the point?

• Don Kennedy is a graduate of Dartmouth College with a degree in sociology. He has been a resident of Ahwatukee Foothills since 2002.

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