Saturday, March 8, 2008


(And Can’t Get To The Doctor)

So you think you might have come down with the disease but you don’t know exactly what a “soft green” is?

A soft green is a dupe of the corporate agenda who sincerely believes that he is on the side of the angels. A noble, selfless crusader for the “environment” whose real priority however is human, not animal or environmental rights. He thinks of himself as an internationalist. But he can more accurately be described as a globalist, for he promotes, in the name of immigrant and refugee rights, the shifting of cheap labour from countries of low consumption to countries of high consumption. In so doing, he kills two birds with one stone. He undercuts the wages of local labour while he greatly multiplies the ecological footprint of the newcomers at the same time, damaging both the global environment and the domestic one which seems to trouble him least. Opposition to his open borders mentality is met with cries of racism.

Are you infected with this variant of hypocrisy? Then take this test.


1. You think that population growth plays no role whatsoever in environmental degradation. Even though America has doubled its population since 1950 and will go from 301 million to 438 million by 2050 if immigration and birth rates are unchanged, and Canada will double its population in 70 years, you don’t care.

2. You don’t care because technological efficiencies and improvements will lessen our ecological footprint. Trouble is you never heard of the Jevons Paradox or the concept that the number of ecological “feet” might increase to wipe out those efficiency gains.

3. You don’t care because however many more people there are, all we need to do is consume less. Live “greener lifestyles” to make room for more immigrants and newborns. Problem here is that you have to be dead or unborn to have a zero footprint.

4. You don’t care because with “smart growth” we can shoe-horn half the world’s population into this country without ecological impact. Just confine them behind tightly defined urban boundaries in very, very, dense housing developments and all greenbelts, farmland, and wetlands will be safe from human intrusion. The difficulty here is that “smart growth” has failed in Portland, Oregon and other localities. And the folks confined in those sheep pens and high rises still consume and still generate wastes and emit GHG. No matter where they are settled, it is the number, not the distribution of people, that is ecologically decisive.

5. You don’t care because you believe that by working to set aside nature reserves and parks wildlife can be conserved alongside economic and population growth. Wrong again.There is no sanctuary from growth. Even Yosemite was violated when Congress decided to yield to mining interests. But if reserves could be guaranteed safety from development and incursion, it would not slow the intensity of the development of lands outside the reserves. In fact, population growth increases overall loss of biodiversity even as park dedication increases.

6. You don’t care because if population growth does indeed play a role in environmental degradation, it is a subsidiary role, as Monbiot claims, and it plays that role in distant undeveloped countries. Because you see, overpopulation is a GLOBAL PROBLEM, demanding GLOBAL solutions. Meaning that it is not anything we should do anything about here. Garrett Hardin had two ripostes to those tired clichés. One was that to say overpopulation was a Global problem demanding a Global solution implies that we have a Global government to apply such a solution. Since we don’t, we must act locally. Secondly he said that overpopulation was NOT a global problem, but the sum total of 194 national ones. We solve ours and set an example for the rest of the world.

7. You don’t care because you have never given a thought to how many people this country can sustain, or whether there is a certain number of people beyond which healthy biodiversity cannot subsist. You accuse others of being nativist, racist, or xenophobic, but when challenged, you won’t answer a simple question: “How many people do you ultimately want to see live in this country?”

8. You don’t care because the rights of immigrants and refugees are more important to you than the rights of the people and the wildlife who already call this country home.

9. You don’t care about wildlife when their survival conflicts with the “cultural” rights of indigenous peoples. Again, scratch your green veneer, and you are a bleeding heart human rights advocate.

You know that you are a Soft Green when, in spite of all of this, you still think you are an environmentalist. That is when you should seek help.

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