Sunday, July 26, 2009

Environmental NGO Silence

North American environmental NGOs are not constrained so much by the conditions imposed by their charitable status, but my their corporate donor base. For the American experience, just review the history of the David Gelbaum affair and the corruption of the Sierra Club. Or read Christine MacDonald's "Green Inc" about how the most prominent and high profile environmental orgs not only accept money from energy and logging corporations but allow the directors of these companies to sit on their boards.

In Canada the Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy and the David Suzuki Foundation are beneficiaries of serious corporate donations. Suzuki of course, poses as a Great Crusader against climate change, playing to the Green yuppie gallery by his demand that MPs who deny anthropogenic global warming should be jailed---hardly the action of someone inhibited by possible government retaliation from the tax department. Yet he receives donations from EnCana Corporation, a world leader in natural gas production and oil sands development, ATCO Gas, Alberta's principle distributor of natural gas, and a number of pension funds including OPG (Ontario Power Generation) Employees' and Pensioners' Charity Trust. OPG is one of the largest suppliers of electricity in the world, operating 5 fossil fuel-burning generation plants and 3 nuclear plants. The Suzuki Foundation's 2005/06 financial report also lists 52 corporate donors including Bell Canada, Toyota, IBM, Microsoft, Scotia Capital, the Royal Bank of Canada and the Bank of Montreal. The latter three benefactors explain Suzuki's silence on the obviously negative environmental impact of mass immigration. The financial industry is fueled by mortgages to home-buyers---70 to 85% of whom are foreign-born.

The Sierra Club of Canada employs the second "solution" offered in this article to circumvent the intention of the law. They set up a dummy organization which they call the "Sierra Club Foundation" as a purely educational group and entice membership to it. Then they use the membership fees in a transparently discreet way to fund their political arm, the Sierra "Club" of Canada, which is blatantly partisan, even to the point of assigning "grades" to the political parties who contest an upcoming federal election. They assigned an "F" to the Conservative Harper government, even though the opposition parties did not actually promise to terminate the Tar Sands project and promised to hike immigration levels by 38% which, in practice, would mean that they would raise GHG emissions by 38%. I gave the Sierra Club an "F" on two counts. One, for their appalling blindness to the relationship of population growth to climate change and immigration to carbon emissions. And two, for tax fraud. There is no "Chinese Wall" between the Sierra Club Foundation and the Sierra Club. Money went from one hand to the other. Meanwhile, over 700 legitimate charity groups were disqualified for doing legitimate charity work in 2007. Groups that provided food banks, hospice care, trauma counselling etc. Many people who gave money to the Sierra Club Foundation believed that it was not to be used for partisan purposes. They were Conservatives, Liberals or New Democratic Party supporters who woke up to read the morning newspaper and found that the organization they donated to was endorsing the party of hyper mass immigration, the Green Party of Elizabeth May. How would you feel if you learned that the SPCA or the animal protection agency you donated to had forwarded your money to the Howard or Rudd government or to any of your political opponents along with their endorsement?

North American environmental NGOs are doing the work that corporations pay them to do. The job of Pied Pipers to green yuppie dupes, decoying them down inconsequential pathways away from the root cause of environmental degradation---mass immigration and rising fertility rates. Best to let them exhaust their members by using them as a fire brigade to put out the brush fires that constantly pop up everywhere. Save this forest, or that river, or this endangered species of the month. Fight symptoms, not causes. After all, corporations can suffer the odd environmental victory. Dedicated parkland can later be ravished with the stroke of a parliamentary pen. What is really important is that environmentalists stay silent while the nation is being flooded with more consumers and cheap labour.

Well, it looks like the environmental NGOs have kept their end of the bargain. Barking dogs that yap at the mailman, but ignore the crook who is robbing the house.

Tim Murray
July 1/09

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