Amazon.ca is now pushing Canadian Green Party Leader Elizabeth May's new book. "Global Warming for Dummies". She certainly is targeting the Green readership. Here in a nutshell is her prescription for fighting climate change: " You can fight global warming by hopping on a bike or painting your roof white" or so says the summary. No where is population growth cited as an agent of global temperature rise. Surprised? This is the kind of environmental leadership we have in Canada. We are led by intellectual lemmings who are running headlong toward the cliff. If that weren't enough, try this from our great Dr. David Suzuki, whom Tim Flannery calls "the world's greatest environmentalist" (Good God, we are in trouble). It is his "Green Guide" to good living habits, a personal road map on how to become a "Green citizen", Dr. Suzuki offered these recommendations:
"Smaller Footprint": No mention of reducing the number of footprints.
"Advocate Policies That Could Save the Planet" : You can bet that ending Canada's policy of foreign aid to developing countries that is not made conditional on family planning is not one of the them. Or closing the borders to migration and re-deploying the enormous money wasted on immigration to doubling conditional foreign aid is not among his recommendations. Even though immigrants to North America quadruple their GHG footprint and accelerate the timetable of our collective demise.
"Participate in Community Activities": He is infamous for non-involvement in local activities here. Especially the Official Community Plan consultations, which could have used a powerful voice to fight growth. But apparently his battle is with growth in the abstract.
"Donate" :To whom? A soft-green politically-correct organization that wants to manage growth instead of fight it, because it's "inevitable". That pretends that population growth can be nullified by land-use planning and nature reserves and ah yes, by Green Living guides like this one?
"Vote for the People Who Are Ecologically Literate" (ie. Myopic on population issues) Here is an environmentalist who, along with the rest of the Canadian environmental establishment, awarded the Green Party of Canada top marks for its policy on climate change, and the Liberals and New Democrats not far behind , simply because they promised to freeze expansion of the Alberta tar sands development and introduce a carbon tax. But he neglected to notice than neither the Greens nor the Liberals and NDP would actually dismantle the tar sands monster that was pouring out 40 million metric tonnes of GHG gasses each year. More troubling, all three opposition parties were advocating an immigration increase of 38% which would hike GHG emissions by the same amount when immigration was already contributing a quarter of all GHG emissions. All things considered, the ruling Conservatives were the greener choice. Which stands to reason, because the environmental NGOs all gave them an F.
No matter. On election night, the voters gave the opposition parties a resounding "No"!, and by extension, an even more emphatic 'No!" to the David Suzuki Foundation and its Green clones.
The fact that they only gave the winning Harper Conservatives only 37% was a testament to their wisdom. But the fact that the so-called "Green coalition" failed to make a breakthrough was proof that hypocrisy and fraud couched in sanctimonious Green bafflegab does not fly with the Canadian electorate. The environmentalism of David Suzuki and the Green Party is the environmentalism of the prosperous middle class. Of the tenured professor who can afford to retrofit his house, put solar panels on his roof and buy a hybrid car. The single mum who must drive a ten year old "beater" to pick up her kids after school on her way home from her minimum wage job cannot afford carbon taxes and doesn't not deserve to punished by them for the sins of Veblen's leisure class. But like my father's working class generation, who were lectured from Wall Street pulpits to "tighten your belts" because system could no longer suffer their profligacy, modern working blokes are told by celebrity Greenies that their world is crumbling because they are "over-consuming".
Different era, different words, same message. As my father said of the Depression, "the fat cats told us to tighten our belts, but it was always around our own necks, while they drove off in limos." And when Suzuki tells our loggers and fisherman from one of his two waterfront homes, that they can weather the coming storm by downsizing their lifestyles, he reprises the line Churchill gave to a working class crowd standing in the rubble of an East End London neighbourhood that had been pounded by Luftwaffe bombs on successive nights. "WE can take it", he told them. To which a woman told him in a broad East End accent. "Look, Mister, it's WE who are doing all the bloody taking around here, so don't tell us WHO can take it !". Suzuki and his Greens will not tell US to cut back only to make room for 330,000 official immigrants annually and increase child birth incentives to boot. It doesn't add up.
That is why the social-democratic NDP out-polled the Green Party of Canada almost three to one. The Greens fall between two stools. They are the worst of two worlds. They are represent an upper middle class environmentalism that, because of their population denial, does not have a comprehensive understanding of environmental degradation. And secondly, because they have this class bias, as would be reflected in their candidate selection, they are not plugged into the perspectives and needs of ordinary people. Loggers today are no more consulted for their ideas on forest management practices by Greens than they are or were by their puppeteers in New York , the directors of the multinational corporations that move loggers and their families around the chessboard. Just as they were regarded as stupid drones in the 1930s, they are typically dismissed as "rednecks" by most environmentalist today. The war in the woods between loggers and environmentalists is a match made in heaven for the companies. It exploits a cleavage driven as much by stereotype as by reality. The myth that only the leisured class cares about nature, while the brutish poor have only their snout in the gutter, willing to wreak havoc just to win the next meal. In fact the antecedents of nature-appreciation among working Canadians go back to their European parentage. My grandfather spoke of grim 19th century factory life in Yorkshire, and how people lived and dreamed for the moment they could leave the cities for a day in the country. He make detailed diaries of every important bird sighting he experienced, and of the lullabies he sang to me as a child, one stood out in my memory. "I am a rover, I am rover, from Manchester way, I take all my pleasure the hard moorland way….I may be a wage slave on Monday, but I am free man on Sunday." He came to Canada to consume more. Not less. To consume more space. To take in more pristine lakes, more virgin forests, more salmon streams, more wildlife. Not more things. More fresh air and freedom. A country where he wouldn't be judged by his class accent but his character and hard work.
And so many fisherman and loggers were like that too. Like the owner of the largest wood lot on my island, Dick Whittington, who had his whole logging crew down their tools for an hour to help me search for a wounded eagle at considerable cost to his budget. There are bridges to be built to the working class to win their cooperation and invite their advice and expertise on how to manage the resource. If the environmental NGOS did that, they would be the first to try. The CEOs never did. With the blue collar vote on board, they might be able to back the growthists into a corner. Malthusians too are here to impose limits. But our kind of environmentalism would impose limits at the airport and the maternity ward rather than on the pocket books of people with a third of the incomes of the Green bourgeoisie. The latter's environmental message is directed at a rich donor base that feels guilt about conspicuous consumption and guilt and denial about slamming the immigration door on third world migrants as a necessary ingredient in preventing more environmental ruin. Screwing in a few fluorescent bulbs and recycling your garbage is just trivial pursuit, middle class penance.
By telling the working class that they were not aiming to put the squeeze on THEM, but put the squeeze on population growth instead, then the efficiencies which environmentalists talk about might be better pursued. Until then, the Green Party agenda must look like the same old record: "Tighten your belt, because you need to go a diet, meanwhile, pass me the cheese cake."