Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Portrait of a Compassionate Environmentalist



One of the most striking features of the environmentalist movement leadership is its callous and psychopathic disregard for human suffering. Consider the following:

We have wished, we ecofreaks, for a disaster or for a social change to come and bomb us into Stone Age, where we might live like Indians in our valley, with our localism, our appropriate technology, our gardens, our homemade religion—guilt-free at last!

—Stewart Brand (writing in the Whole Earth Catalogue).

Free Enterprise really means rich people get richer. They have the freedom to exploit and psychologically rape their fellow human beings in the process…. Capitalism is destroying the earth.

—Helen Caldicott, Union of Concerned Scientists

We must make this an insecure and inhospitable place for capitalists and their projects…. We must reclaim the roads and plowed land, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams, free shackled rivers and return to wilderness millions of tens of millions of acres of presently settled land.

—David Foreman, Earth First!

If you ask me, it’d be a little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it. We ought to be looking for energy sources that are adequate for our needs, but that won’t give us the excesses of concentrated energy with which we could do mischief to the earth or to each other.

—Amory Lovins in The Mother Earth–Plowboy Interview, Nov/Dec 1977, p.2

The only real good technology is no technology at all. Technology is taxation without representation, imposed by our elitist species (man) upon the rest of the natural world.

—John Shuttleworth

I suspect that eradicating smallpox was wrong. It played an important part in balancing ecosystems.

—John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal

Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs.

—John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal

The extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable but a good thing....This is not to say that the rise of human civilization is insignificant, but there is no way of showing that it will be much help to the world in the long run.

—Economist editorial

Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental.

—Dave Forman, Founder of Earth First!

If radical environmentalists were to invent a disease to bring human populations back to sanity, it would probably be something like AIDS

—Earth First! Newsletter

Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, is not as important as a wild and healthy planet…Some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.

—David Graber, biologist, National Park Service

The collective needs of non-human species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans.

—Dr. Reed F. Noss, The Wildlands Project

If I were reincarnated, I would wish to be returned to Earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.

—Prince Phillip, World Wildlife Fund

Cannibalism is a “radical but realistic solution to the problem of overpopulation.”

—Lyall Watson, The Financial Times, 15 July 1995

We, in the green movement, aspire to a cultural model in which killing a forest will be considered more contemptible and more criminal than the sale of 6-year-old children to Asian brothels.

—Carl Amery

To feed a starving child is to exacerbate the world population problem.

—Lamont Cole

The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States: We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization, we have in the U.S. We have to stop these Third World countries right where they are. And it is important to the rest of the world to make sure that they don’t suffer economically by virtue of our stopping them.

—Michael Oppenheimer, Environmental Defense Fund

It is important to distinguish between people who have warm and fuzzy feelings about the biosphere and are concerned about the effects of human activity and those whose principle occupation and source of income are derived from environmental activism. Buying biodegradable laundry detergent does not an environmentalist make. Taking at face value the bogus claims of the World Wildlife Federation, Green Peace and the Environmental Defense Fund does not make you an environmentalist any more than reading the Wall Street Journal makes you a capitalist. Those sitting in the stands cheering their team are quite distinct from the players struggling to move the ball down the field. The environmentalist team, on the whole, regards humanity as a malignant infestation that should either be eradicated completely or reduced to insignificant and inconsequential numbers. The more infant mortality the better. The more poverty the better. The more disease the better. Famine and pestilence? Bring them on!

Savoring the notion of human extinction may be a loathesome, antihuman fantasy but engaging in mass murder is another thing altogether. If you pass the following multiple choice test you will understand this distinction.

The greatest mass murderer of the 20th century was:

a. Joseph Stalin
b. Adolph Hitler
c. Pol Pot
d. Saddam Hussein
e. Mao Zedong
f. William Ruckelhaus
The correct answer is f, William Ruckelhaus. Acting on behalf of the environmental movement he is directly responsible for the majority of 89 million avoidable deaths from disease. Hitler and Stalin together accomplished less in terms of mass murder and inflicting human suffering. In order to understand who died, why they needlessly died, how those deaths could have been prevented and the spectacular butcher's bill of the environmentalist movement you should thoroughly study the arguments made here: malaria facts. Make sure javascript is on so you can envision people dying while you browse.

While you can kill tens of millions of impoverished Africans by denying them an effective means to control malaria you can kill many more by denying them clean water and continue to starve them by denying them the irrigation that would make their subsistence farm plots more productive. In this regard the environmentalist movement has been extraordinarily successful. It has in some measure delayed or defeated countless dam projects that would have provided clean water, irrigation and electrical power to millions of third world subsistence farmers who face starvation in lean years and don't do all that well in good ones. The monumental and inhuman cruelty of it all is staggering.

There is however, one leader in the environmental movement who truly and deeply cares about both the environment and the most needy and impoverished people in the world and who strives to find a practical balance in dealing with both. His name is Bjorn Lomborg and he is the author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist" -- a book everyone with an open mind and a concern about the environment should read. While the rigorous and well-documented critique of environmentalist claims found in this book are rightfully open to honest and well-reasoned debate it should be clear to every reader that Lomborg is no less sensitive to needless human suffering than he is to environmental concerns. His exquisite sense of balancing human environmental wants and needs with basic human wants and needs is admirable. He has been vilified and physically assaulted by mainstream environmentalists but nevertheless stands his ground. Throwing food and screaming insults are, to radicals and fanatics, forms of intelligent discourse.

While "The Skeptical Environmentalist" was a much needed antidote to hysterical environmentalist propaganda, Lomborg may, in time, achieve more good for humanity by advancing what he calls the "Copenhagen Consensus". That consensus is the product of bringing together a goodly number of first-class minds that worked together to find ways in which rich countries could best spend the money they were willing to spend in order to alleviate human suffering in impoverished and developing countries.

You don't have to be a genocidal monster to be a leader in the environmentalist movement although that is more often than not helpful. In that regard, Bjorn Lomborg demonstrates how to be a humane, rational and decent environmentalist. He is a Green while I am not. He is a European social democrat and I am far from that. But he remains one of my personal heroes. He should be one of yours as well.

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