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Date:

April 13, 2000

Subject:

Patrick Moore On Activists, And A Question

 

- http://www.agbioworld.org, http://agbioview.listbot.com

Dear Colleagues:

An article written by Patrick Moore, one of the founders of
Greenpeace, appeared in the March 2000 edition of the Oregon
Wheat magazine. Moore, who remains connected to the
environmental movement but who is now exiled from its
mainstream because of his criticism of its new extremist,
unscientific tendencies, offered in that article a number of
insights which could be valuable to those who wish to
understand, or even confront the activists and their various
movements.

I offer several excerpts here.

“Collaboration versus Confrontation
It was no coincidence that the round-table, consensus-based
negotiation process was [originally] adopted by thousands of
environmental leaders. It is the logical tool for working in
the new spirit of green cooperation. It may not be a perfect
system for decision-making, but like Churchill said about
democracy, “It’s the worst form of government except for all
the others”. A collaborative approach promises to give
environmental issues their fair consideration in relation to
the traditional economic and social priorities.”

“The traditional sharp division between left and right was
[back then] rendered meaningless by the common desire to
protect our life support systems. Violence against people
and property were the only taboos. Nonviolent direct action
and peaceful civil disobedience were the hallmarks of the
movement. Truth mattered and science was respected for the
knowledge it brought to the debate.”

“Now this broad-based vision is challenged by a new
philosophy of radical environmentalism. In the name of “deep
ecology” many environmentalists have taken a sharp turn to
the ultra-left, ushering in a mood of extremism and
intolerance. As a clear signal of this new agenda, in 1990
Greenpeace called for a “grassroots revolution against
pragmatism and compromise”.

“Two profound events triggered the split between those
advocating a pragmatic or “liberal” approach to ecology and
the new “zero-tolerance” attitude of the extremists. The
first event ... was the widespread adoption of the
environmental agenda by the mainstream of business and
government. This left environmentalists with the choice of
either being drawn into collaboration with their former
“enemies” or of taking ever more extreme positions. Many
environmentalists chose the latter route. They rejected the
concept of “sustainable development” and took a strong
“anti-development” stance.
Surprisingly enough the second event that caused the
environmental movement to veer to the left was the fall of
the Berlin Wall. Suddenly the international peace movement
had a lot less to do. Pro-Soviet groups in the West were
discredited. Many of their members moved into the
environmental movement bringing with them their eco-Marxism
and pro-Sandinista sentiments.
These factors have contributed to a new variant of the
environmental movement that is so extreme that many people,
including myself, believe its agenda is a greater threat to
the global environment than that posed by mainstream
society.”

“Some of the features of eco-extremism are:
It is antihuman. The human species is characterized as a
“cancer” on the face of the earth.”

“It is antitechnology and anti-science. Eco-extremists dream
of returning to some kind of technologically primitive
society.”

“It is anti-organization. Environmental extremists tend to
expect the whole world to adopt anarchism as the model for
individual behavior. This is expressed in their dislike of
national governments, multinational corporations, and large
institutions of all kinds. It would seem that this critique
applies to all organizations except the environmental
movement itself. Corporations are criticized for taking
profits made in one country and investing them in other
countries, this being proof that they have no “allegiance”
to local communities. Where is the international
environmental movements allegiance to local communities? How
much of the money raised in the name of aboriginal peoples
has been distributed to them? How much is dedicated to
helping loggers thrown out of work by environmental
campaigns? How much to research silvicultural systems that
are environmentally and economically superior?”

“It is anti-trade. Eco-extremists are not only opposed to
“free trade” but to international trade in general. This is
based on the belief that each “bioregion” should be
self-sufficient in all its material needs. * * * In its
extreme version, bioregionalism is just another form of
ultranationalism and gives rise to the same excesses of
intolerance and xenophobia.”

“It is anti-free enterprise. Despite the fact that communism
and state socialism has failed, eco-extremists are basically
antibusiness. They dislike “competition” and are definitely
opposed to profits. Anyone engaging in private business,
particularly if they are successful, is characterized as
greedy and lacking in morality.”

“It is antidemocratic. This is perhaps the most dangerous
aspect of radical environmentalism. The very foundation of
our society, liberal representative democracy, is rejected
as being too ‘human-centered’. In the name of “speaking for
the trees and other species” we are faced with a movement
that would usher in an era of eco-fascism. The “planetary
police” would “answer to no one but Mother Earth herself”.

“It is basically anti-civilization. In its essence,
eco-extremism rejects virtually everything about modern
life. We are told that nothing short of returning to
primitive tribal society can save the earth from ecological
collapse. * * * It’s almost as if the person or group that
makes the most outrageous accusations and demands is
automatically called “the environmentalist” in the news
story. Industry, no matter how sincere in its efforts to
satisfy legitimate environmental concerns, is branded “the
threat to the environment”.

“Perhaps the most cynical aspect of the Greenpeace campaign
is their assertion that forests are clear-cut in British
Columbia to make tissue paper and toilet paper for
Europeans. They use the slogan “When you blow your nose in
Europe you are blowing away the ancient forests of Canada”
to imply that Europeans could save Canadian forests if they
would stop buying tissue made from Canadian pulp. Everyone
who has studied Canadian forestry, including Greenpeace,
knows that the pulp and paper industry in British Columbia
is based entirely on the waste products of the sawmilling
industry. The forests are harvested to supply high value
solid wood for furniture, interior woodwork and
construction. Only the wastes from making lumber and those
logs that are unsuitable for sawmilling are made into pulp.
If we did not make pulp from these wastes they would have to
be burned or left to rot as was the case in the past.”

“It is not reasonable to expect the environmental movement
to drop its extremist agenda overnight. The rise of
extremism is a major feature of the movement’s evolution and
is now deeply embedded in its political structure. We can
hope that as time passes the movement will be retaken by
more politically centrist, science-based leaders and that
the extreme wing will be marginalized. At the same time, we
must remember that most of the larger environmental groups
such as the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, the Sierra
Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council etc. do have
many members and campaign teams that are reasonable and
based on good science. It’s just that for the time being,
major elements of their organizations have been hijacked by
people who are politically motivated, lack science, and are
often using the rhetoric of environmentalism to promote
other causes such as class struggle and anti-corporatism.

“The only way industry can successfully help to promote a
more pragmatic and reasonable environmental movement is to
prove that it is willing and able to avoid future damage to
the environment and to correct past abuses. In other words,
if your house is in order, there will be little or nothing
for extremists to use as a reason for taking an essentially
“anti-industry” position.”

“We must think and act both globally and locally, always
cognizant of impacts at one level caused by actions at
another. Extremism that rejects this approach will only
bring disaster to all species, including humans.”

Moore has a web site at: http://www.greenspirit.com.

My question (not Moore’s) is: If consumers, even European
consumers, discovered that activist groups, some of them
proto-Marxist, had intentionally fed them lies,
misinformation and propaganda regarding food and
environmental safety, in order to advance a hidden agenda,
which is against democracy, free enterprise, international
trade, government, progress and science, and in some cases,
against humans themselves, would they be quite as
hysterical, and remain quite so gullible as they are now?