Sunday, February 4, 2007


I suppose being called a right-wing, lunatic, extremist, racist is a rite of passage for anyone posting anti-immigration views on a blog. It was quite predictable. A guy called Steve from most probably the London, Ontario area apparently thinks that name-calling suffices for constructive criticism. A self-proclaimed environmentalist, he just makes a hit-and-run attack without telling us how he plans to protect his beloved environment from the appetites of the 20 million new consumers from Bangledesh that he wants to admit to Canada as climate change refugees. It’s just easier to call somebody a racist than to face up to his own contradictions.

Then there is Dr. William Rees, an eminent ecologist at UBC. He too disputes my position on climate change refugees. But his is not the knee-jerk, emotive reaction of the politically correct. His approach is reasoned, not vituperative. He thinks migration is bad for the global environment and immigration not so good for ours. So, unlike the Steves of the environmental movement, Dr. Rees appreciates that population levels impact the environment. His issue with me is this: The people displaced by rising sea levels will have lost their homes because of our excessive consumption, so we are morally culpable. We did a number on them, so we owe it to them to give them a new home. My answer?

It’s analogous to what politicians once said a decade or so ago about the cod fishery. “The economy of Newfoundland requires that cod fisherman be able to make a living catching cod so let them go out there and continue fishing.” Well, what the economy requires, or what we want, is irrelevant. It’s what the environment will sustain. And in this case it couldn’t sustain any more cod fishing. Case closed. Similarly, when someone says that we have a moral responsibility to admit 10 or 20 million climate change refugees—or any other kind of refugees, it is irrelevant. It may very well BE our moral responsibility---I would disagree---but let’s assume so. The point, however, is that a healthy biodiversity in Canada, as proven by Millenium Assessment studies, cannot tolerate these numbers or even sustain the population we currently have at current consumption rates. It’s not what we may want or have a moral responsibility to do, it’s the biophysical limits we must obey. And I would argue that our real moral responsibility is to abide by those limits. Because if we don’t, habitat dies and the ecosystem services which support human population in Canada dies. And any refugees who made it here die along with us. This is the Hard Truth I am trying to tell. Calling me a “right-wing lunatic extremist” with a “racist” agenda will not change that Truth. There are limits to economic and population growth in Canada and the United States because there is a such thing called “carrying capacity”---and we’ve already exceeded it.

And now, Steve, back to you, who ever you are. Let me tell you about this particular “right-wing racist extremist”:

I have worked for, donated to, voted for, and been a member of the NDP for 39 years. I supported the infamous radical Waffle Manifesto in 69 and an initiative which put immigration and population control recommendations in the 1972 BC NDP Policy book. My “extremism” was always on the left and found a home on the left. I read the complete works of Karl Marx and his books are still on my shelves. One of my favourite environmentalists is Fidel Castro who has done wonders in creating a model of agrarian self-sufficiency for the world.

Four people in my family are Asian, one Vietnamese, one Chinese, two mixed and I love them all. I have Asian friends too. Kind of blew your stereotype didn’t I Steve? Not quite what you imagined in an “extreme right-wing lunatic racist”, eh? I have no racist agenda Steve. I have an environmental agenda. I have a Green agenda, not a White one. My attitude is exactly that of Paul Watson when he was asked if he opposed Mexican migration to California because he didn’t like Mexicans. He replied that he didn’t care if 100% of California was Mexican, as it once was, because ethnic composition was not the issue. The runaway population growth of California was the issue. The environment trumps any human rights concern.

And Paul Watson a racist? Then he would have to hate his own kid, who is a product of mixed parentage. The race card is always played by the politically correct when they can’t answer your questions with reasoned debate. The ruling clique of the Sierra Club couldn’t contest Paul Watson’s arguments that unless there was a moratorium on immigration, population levels in America would bury habitat and destroy the environment. So they called his supporters racists and beat back his challenge. The same tactics work just as well, or better in Canada. As was once said of patriotism can also be said of anti-racism, it’s “the last refuge of scoundrels.”

Steve, you and your like, are pathetic. The Canada your trendy soft-green feel-good policies will bring us will be one on the brink of collapse from unchecked growth. If you position me alongside the corporate establishment you claim to fight, then I position you alongside the CEO of Exon-Mobil. You are both equally dangerous, but morally you stand even more condemned than the captains of industry because draped in a green cloak you and your ilk side-track people who want to protect the environment down an ineffectual road.

1 comment:

Richard Embleton said...

On one of the Yahoo groups I am involved with, Energy Resources, there is a frequent contributor by the name of Virginia Dean Abernethy who is consistently and, IMO, wrongly accused of being racist for her stand on limiting immigration for sustainability reasons. In time people will, I hope, understand that you can't solve the problem of overshoot by moving the excess to areas not in overshoot and eventually pushing them into overshoot as well. We are hugely above the earth's carrying capacity today, especially when you take away the artificial carrying capacity that we have achieved through the use of fossil fuels. Continuing to shift population around to disguise this fact only worsens the problem.
Richard Embleton,
Richmond Hill, ON