May 24, 2006

Nordhaus and Shellenberger are not environmentalists (2)

[Click here for part 1]

Excerpts, part 2, "The Enemy Within," by Mike Roselle, Lowbagger:

What really irks me is not just that it has become fashionable among consultants to argue against using boycotts, legislation, litigation and other confrontational and coercive approaches to going after polluter and despoilers. But that you must also differentiate yourself from those who do. This is accomplished by demeaning the efforts of those very environmental activists who have been out there on the front lines doing the heavy lifting over the last few decades. And we can't just be wrong in our approach; we are also selfish, ignorant, irrational, rich, elite or even worse, we are radical.

There are two problems with this thinking, and the first is that the only reason those corporations are sitting down with Breakthrough or any environmental groups is because they don't want to see those sign-waving hippie scum on their doorsteps. Would The Home Depot be talking to any of us if the Rainforest Action Network hadn't picketed hundreds of their most profitable outlets?

And the second problem is that this attitude by the well heeled, well paid professional environmental consultants serves to de-legitimize those very front line soldiers that we are going to need when the going gets rough. What happens when a company refuses to work with the new compliant environmental movement? We have the carrot, but where is the stick? The public may not identify with environmental or animal rights activists, but companies live in fear of being the target of a well coordinated campaign. It is very easy to make fun of the activists, but without them where would we be? ...

I think it should be quite clear by now that Nordhaus and Shellenberger are not, and never were, environmental activists. They have cast their lot with the promoters, developers and opportunists who have taken up residence under the banner of the environment. It is far easier to sit down with big business and cut deals and to give away more wildlife habitat than it is to stick to your guns on principle. You don't have to fight anybody. You don't have to go out into the community to organize the opposition; you don't have to risk being portrayed by these same corporations as unreasonable and confrontational. Indeed, you look out from your conference room table and agree with these bastards, that yes, these scruffy activists are a well-meaning bunch, but they are not realistic. They don't represent anybody, and we represent the voice of reason.

This is horseshit. The conservation movement is a modern, global, political force with historic roots and a clearly defined mission to protect nature. We understand that the survival of humanity depends on the survival of wilderness and natural diversity. We recognize that far too much of the Earth has been sacrificed for industrial and agricultural development, and this has led us to the brink of a mass extinction event and the onslaught of global warming. Without challenging the dominate paradigm of growth for the sake of growth, and getting serious about protecting habitat, a few more windmills and a new $30,000 car with double the gas mileage is not going to make much difference. By rejecting a government role in addressing the global warming crisis with stronger laws in favor of playing patty-cake with developers and alternative energy hucksters, they are abandoning the most powerful tools for achieving corporate responsibility -- the courthouse and the jailhouse. ...

If we cannot get coal mining and oil drilling under control soon, no amount of wind energy is going to affect global warming. We need to continue to question the rapid growth of the human population, and the loss of bio-diversity. If the Breakthrough Institute were doing more to address these problems rather than just play cheerleader for private sector voluntary acts of environmental sanity, maybe I would believe them. But: I don't.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, anarchism, ecoanarchism, animal rights