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Wanted: Ethics for activists

environmental pressure groups adamantly oppose fossil fuel, nuclear and hydroelectric power plants. Renewable energy – from wind turbines, or little solar panels on huts – is the future for Third World countries, they insist.

Their prescription is totally inadequate for any modern society, India’s Barun Mitra points out. It would also mean sacrificing hundreds of thousands of acres of scenic and wildlife lands to gargantuan windmills that slice and dice birds and bats by the thousands.

They rail about energy shortages and high fuel costs, but oppose onshore and offshore oil drilling. Bemoan over-fishing of wild stocks, but oppose aquaculture. Worry about the loss of wildlife habitats, but promote organic farming methods that require much more land than conventional or biotech methods. Condemn industry for all manner of “sins,” but engage in practices that would get corporate executives fired or even jailed.
Canadians are becoming familiar with such inconsistencies by Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network and similar groups. Of course, they’re not alone in facing activists who stoke public anxieties, fault every proposed solution – yet offer no viable alternatives.

Indeed, while demanding ethics and social responsibility from corporations, these activists perpetuate poverty, misery, disease and premature death in the world’s most destitute communities. Supposed concern about human health, the bulwark of campaigns against pesticides and other chemicals, becomes callous disregard for lives harmed or lost in the name of preventing pollution, global warming and species extinction.

Over 2 billion people in Africa, Asia and Latin America still don’t have electricity – for lights, refrigerators,... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

They rail about energy shortages and high fuel costs, but oppose onshore and offshore oil drilling. Bemoan over-fishing of wild stocks, but oppose aquaculture. Worry about the loss of wildlife habitats, but promote organic farming methods that require much more land than conventional or biotech methods. Condemn industry for all manner of “sins,” but engage in practices that would get corporate executives fired or even jailed.
Canadians are becoming familiar with such inconsistencies by Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network and similar groups. Of course, they’re not alone in facing activists who stoke public anxieties, fault every proposed solution – yet offer no viable alternatives.

Indeed, while demanding ethics and social responsibility from corporations, these activists perpetuate poverty, misery, disease and premature death in the world’s most destitute communities. Supposed concern about human health, the bulwark of campaigns against pesticides and other chemicals, becomes callous disregard for lives harmed or lost in the name of preventing pollution, global warming and species extinction. 

Over 2 billion people in Africa, Asia and Latin America still don’t have electricity – for lights, refrigerators, clinics, water purification, and other benefits we take for granted. Mothers and children spend hours every day gathering wood or animal dung for cooking and heating fires. Four million die annually from lung infections caused by breathing polluted smoke – millions more from dysentery and other diseases due to unsafe water and spoiled food.

And still, environmental pressure groups adamantly oppose fossil fuel, nuclear and hydroelectric power plants. Renewable energy – from wind turbines, or little solar panels on huts – is the future for Third World countries, they insist.
Their prescription is totally inadequate for any modern society, India’s Barun Mitra points out. It would also mean sacrificing hundreds of thousands of acres of scenic and wildlife lands to gargantuan windmills that slice and dice birds and bats by the thousands.

Meanwhile, malaria infects 300,000,000 people every year in developing countries – ten times the population of Canada. It kills up to 2,000,000 every year – another father, mother or child every 15 seconds. Nearly 90 percent of these victims are in sub-Saharan Africa, and the vast majority are children and pregnant women. How is this possible?

A major reason is that eco-activists pressure health and donor agencies not to fund the use of pesticides like DDT, which scientific studies have proven are safe for people and the environment, when properly used. Instead, they insist, agencies must only employ partial solutions like bed nets and drugs. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people die every year who would live, if their countries could also use DDT – spraying it in tiny quantities on the inside walls of homes, just once or twice a year, to repel and exterminate mosquitoes.
Worldwide, 800,000,000 people are chronically undernourished, and 200,000,000 children suffer from Vitamin A Deficiency. Up to 500,000 of them go blind from VAD every year – and 2,000,000 die each year from AIDS, malaria, dysentery and other diseases they might survive, if they weren’t so malnourished.
Biotechnology could help end this tragedy. Genetically engineered (GE) Golden Rice is rich in beta-carotene, which humans can convert to vitamin A, to prevent blindness and save lives. Just two ounces a day will suffice – not 4 pounds a day, as Greenpeace claims, as part of a $45-million-a-year campaign of lies and fear-mongering by anti-biotech radicals to banish GE crops and keep them from reaching the world’s poor. 
“Telling destitute people that they must never aspire to living standards much better than they have now – because it wouldn’t be ‘sustainable’ – is just one example of the hypocrisy we have had thrust in our faces, in an era when we can and should grow fast enough to become fully developed in a single generation,” says South Africa’s Leon Louw. “We’re fed up with it.”

“The environmental movement has lost its objectivity, morality and humanity,” says Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore. Few environmental activists have ever known starvation, had to live without electricity, had to watch their children die of malaria or dysentery.

Yet, they constantly impose their agendas and anxieties about distant, theoretical risks on people who desperately want to improve their lives, and safeguard their families from real, immediate, life-threatening risks. Instead of recognizing the hard reality that confronts billions of people far less fortunate than themselves, the activists engage in a near-constant drumbeat of ecological catastrophe. What inspires it?

“What you get in your mailbox,” admits National Audubon Society chief operating officer Dan Beard, “is a never-ending stream of crisis-related shrill material designed to evoke emotions, so that you will sit down and write a check.” Concedes Sierra Club conservation director Bruce Hamilton: “I’m somewhat offended by it myself, both intellectually and from an environmental standpoint. And yet, it is what works. It is what builds the Sierra Club.”

Their “true confessions” underscore the need for balanced, fact-based environmental policies. And for laws requiring that environmental activist groups abide by the same rules they demand of everyone else: honesty, ethics, humanity, transparency and accountability. Is it really too much to ask?

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Paul Driessen is senior fellow with the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, senior policy advisor for the Congress of Racial Equality, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power · Black Death (www.Eco-Imperialism.com). He is a former member of Zero Population Growth and the Sierra Club.


Source: http://www.Eco-Imperialism.com

JAN 1 1970
http://www.windaction.org/posts/349-wanted-ethics-for-activists
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