Thursday, February 5, 2009

AN ECONOMIC CRISIS IS A TERRIBLE THING TO SQUANDER Environmentalists Blow Opportunity To Teach The Ecological Facts of Life

Once again when they are needed most, when important lessons could be drawn and taught about the subsidiary importance of the market meltdown, environmentalists are found missing in action, pissing around addressing symptoms and putting out brush fires while failing to deal with the root cause of our crisis---growth. They are hacking at the branches of evil while neo-Malthusians unilaterally try with no offer of assistance to pull up its roots.

For Canadians of my father’s generation, the farce of the last five months is too reminiscent of 1939. Think about it. Two different American presidents in concert with Congress have spent or will soon have spent over a trillion and a half dollars on bailing out the perpetrators of the stock market crash and credit crisis when no money could be found for environmental problems just the day before. Just like the politicians of the 1930s who insisted that government did not have the money to counteract mass unemployment with public works, then suddenly found that money in spades when Hitler invaded Poland. In one parliamentary sitting in the Canadian House of Commons, they voted for massive military expenditures, and eventually employed 10% of the population as members of the armed forces. Some of the same people that that same government would not employ to work on infrastructure projects during the depression that led up to the onset of war.

Now we have witnessed the sudden and mind-boggling dump of hundreds and hundreds of billion dollars down the rat-hole of market bail-outs after years of being told that there was no money available to make the adjustments called for by Kyoto, or for conservation management or for many other environmental projects. As one conservationist friend put it,

“The world has been told that the well being of human civilization is based entirely on consumption and the only way to get out of this downturn is to consume more.

In the blink of an eye we have been able to mobilize hundreds of billions of dollars to throw into the void of a virtual and abstract "economy" whereas all arguments for cleaning up the planet met with the refrain that it would cripple the economy. Can you imagine what we could do with just $1 billion. If the soft greens cannot now articulate the point that our consumption-and growth-based economies are a based on a lie, then they are even more pathetic than I thought.”

One can only conclude that, once again, the Environmental movement has dropped the ball. In fact, they haven’t even been in the game. They continue to be absent-without-leave when their critical voice was needed during this recession-cum-depression. Just as it was silent in March of 2007 when the Canadian census announced, to media applause, that Canada’s had suffered the largest immigrant-driven population growth rate of all G8 countries, with all of the attendant environmental consequences inherent in that trend. And when a Romanian-born couple gave birth to their 18th child, they countered media celebration with silence, as they do every New Year when television, radio and newspapers turn January 1st into a derby as to who shall be feted as parents of the first newborn of the year. Apparently population growth is of no account to their crusade to fight climate change, save farmland or wildlife habitat. It is all about green living tips to reduce our per capita consumption, renewable technology fantasies and smart growth nostrums to manage growth and protect nature reserves from the tidal wave of growth that will nullify all those measures.

Now the media features an another grotesque spectacle of a single mother of six children giving birth to octuplets thanks to fertility drugs. Bet on the Sierra Club and its green clones being mum about that incident too.

Mutliple births to demographic litterbugs, stratospheric immigration levels and the colossal waste involved in trying to prop up an unsustainable artificial economy all presented environmental NGOs with an unparalled opportunity to educate the masses, beginning with their own supporters and dupes. But how can a teacher who assigns failing grades to government for failing to address symptoms be qualified to educate us when he himself rates an F for ignorance, hypocrisy, cowardice and corruption?

In reviewing their conduct in just the last two years, never mind the last two decades, I am moved to address the environmental NGO’s in the same words that MP Leo Amery denounced his friend, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in the British House of Commons after the debacle in Norway:

“You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go !”

They haven’t led, so they must either follow or get the hell out of the way. To save the environment, we must be rid of these so-called “environmentalists.”

1 comment:

Dave Gardner said...

You have a way with words, Tim. I think a lot about this phenomenon, especially as I get an e-mail a day from the Sierra Club, urging me to phone my senators and insist they pass the U.S. stimulus bill (because it will "create green jobs" and fund some pro-environment programs.

My take on it is the mainstream environmental movement sets the bar very low because they are so accustomed to getting nowhere. They relish and celebrate each bone tossed their way by the consumption capitalists in power.

I have to admire them because they have the patience to wait, and wait, and make forward progress at a snail's pace or - in many cases - backslide a little more slowly.

And I hate to castigate them because we need them. We need them to step up, raise the bar, and make a stand for our children and our planet. But they are convinced if we push too hard we will get nothing.

The consumption capitalists have them right where they want them.

Dave Gardner
Hooked on Growth: Our Misguided Quest for Prosperity