Walter Starck, writing in Quadrant, indicts Environmentalism as a pathology upon society.
. . . .A major contributor to our current societal malaise has been a tendency to moral crusades which have only exacerbated the problems they were intended to fix while generating an ongoing residue of collateral damage, unintended consequences, bureaucracy and repression. Over the past century major initiatives of this nature have included prohibition, the war on drugs, the war on terror and repeated efforts to impose or repress various political ideologies.
Although all these efforts have inflicted great suffering and socio-economic damage, probably none have resulted in such ongoing, widespread and ever increasing detriment as has environmentalism. While the benefits of cleaner air and water have been apparent and undeniable, the damage inflicted by misguided environmentalism has been largely unrecognised even though massively extensive and deleterious to human wellbeing.
Some Direct Damages of Misguided Environmentalism
- Tens of millions of deaths and debilitating infections by
malaria which could have been prevented by indoor use of DDT with
minimal environmental impact.
- Destruction of millions of Ha of rainforest to grow biofuels for an immeasurably trivial reduction in CO2 emissions.
- It has been estimated that as many as 20 million people
have been robbed of their lands and forced into poverty as
conservations refugees. After millennia of harmonious co-existence
with their natural environment they have been driven out to
- Even in developed countries multitudes of honest,
productive families of small farmers, stockmen and fishermen have
also been stripped of a long standing sustainable livelihood to
pander to the uninformed notions of green urbanites.
- In recent years significant increases in food prices have
resulted from large areas of land being removed from food
production in order to grow uneconomic subsidised biofuels. In
addition food production has suffered from reductions in water
rights, prohibition of native vegetation clearance, expansion of
parks along with myriad environmental restrictions and demands that
reduce productivity or increase cost with little or no actual
environmental benefit. A further direct consequence has been an increase
in malnutrition, especially in underdeveloped countries dependent
on staple food imports. This affects tens of millions of people and
the trend is getting worse not better.
- One of the more serious effects of misguided environmentalism has also been the corruption of science. This is resulting in a marked dulling of our most effective tool for informed decision making at a time when it is needed more than ever to deal with an increasingly complex world. In the environmental sciences repeated exposures of junk science and concerted scientific misconduct along with exaggerated predictions which fail their reality test have damaged public trust in all science. Lavish funding for agenda driven junk science has also resulted in a virtual abandonment of sound basic research in favour of research aimed at promoting the existence of purported threats.
- Ignorance and ill-founded fears about genetically modified
crops has prevented their introduction in many places. While
reasonable prudence is warranted in the adoption of this powerful
technology, its blanket prohibition is unwarranted by extensive
experience as well as our best scientific understanding. The
benefits of increased production, disease resistance, and nutritional
improvements as well as the reduced use of fertilisers, pesticides
and herbicides are huge. They amount to hundreds of billions of
dollars per year in addition to more and better food for billions
- Unbelievably the GMO hysteria has extended even to the
rejection of food aid in a famine in Africa because of concerns
about it possibly containing GM material. Apparently the eco-logic
is that it is better to starve than to risk an undefined
possibility of some unhealthy effect from eating GM food which is
consumed by hundreds of millions of people elsewhere with no adverse
- The energy from fossil fuels is the very foundation of modern society
and its rising cost is now having a damaging economic impact on
all developed economies. Despite its vital importance, however,
increasing imposts, restrictions and liabilities have become a major
impediment to production. It appears probable that we are headed
for a severe energy crisis including some nations with large
natural reserves such as the U.S. and Australia. Certainly the
increasing cost of energy is already having a significant negative
impact on the prosperity of millions of people even in the most
- Although aquaculture has been highly successful in producing affordable high quality animal protein with minimal environmental detriment it has also become subject to increasing restrictions, prohibitions and costs imposed on the basis of ill-founded environmental concerns. At the same time recent large scale clinical and epidemiological studies have found strong correlation between increased seafood consumption and significant health benefits. These encompass a broad spectrum of major disorders including cardiovascular diseases, a variety of immune related disorders and neurological development and functioning. There is strong indication that increased seafood consumption in most Western nations could save billions of dollars annually in health care costs along with a greatly improved quality of life for tens of millions of people. Although globally there is limited potential for further increasing production in wild caught fisheries, there is great potential for expanded aquaculture. The only real impediment is misguided environmentalism.
- Hunting, fishing and camping for recreational and food
supplementation purposes have long been healthy activities open to
people of all ages and social classes. Over the past few decades,
however, increasingly harsh, restrictive, complex and costly
regulations enacted under the banner of environmental management
have taken much of the fun as well as the affordability out of
- Strong property rights have been a core element of long
standing in the development of Western democracies. A person’s home
has been their castle and private property was indeed private.
However, that is now history. The new eco-fascism is busy imposing
myriad restrictions and demands regarding what one can, cannot and
must do on one’s own land. Land ownership is becoming more a matter
of onerous, ever increasing and arbitrary obligations than of any
secure rights. Land holding is effectually in the process of being
transformed into a new form of serfdom with the state as the true owner
and the liege lord to whom all obligations must be paid and
- For millennia fishermen were among the freest of people, the industry was open to anyone and the price of entry was only time and effort. The ideal of fisheries management was to maximise the sustainable yield. Then came the development of academically trained office based eco-management conducted by experts in theoretical ideas about things they have never seen and about which little is actually known. Management claims have expanded to include the entire marine ecosystem with a focus on the maintenance of species diversity and community resiliency while protecting from an endless array of possible threats, all with an eye to erring on the side of precaution. The favourite tool has become the computer model which can be readily adjusted to provide any desired result, lends an aura of high tech certainty and is safely inaccessible to independent examination. The freedom to fish has been transformed into privatised, corporatized, tradable rights accompanied by blizzards of paperwork. The result has been a declining industry with ageing participants and no new generation coming on to replace them. The rights to the most valuable fisheries are all becoming the private property of corporations and investors to be fished by struggling share croppers who bear all the risk and effort but enjoy only a minority of the profit.
This then brings us to the mother of all environmental threats, Anthropogenic Global Warming (a.k.a. Climate Change). AGW has been the eco-saviour’s ultimate wet dream. In the short term it has afforded healthy portions of fame, fortune, authority and great righteousness. Further along it promises to save the world, punish unbelievers and bring about a fair, harmonious, balanced, sustainable restoration of Eden. The fact that all such dreams of ideal societies have had a 100% track record of failure is not even a consideration. To the faithful every time, this time is always different and each time the believers are certain they “know” the truth and surely couldn’t be wrong because it is confirmed by all their fellow believers and politically correct as well. . . .
The climate change delusion is now in its terminal battle with reality. The proclamations of the alarmists are growing more and more unhinged from the actual climate in which we exist. Increasingly costly and restricted energy supplies are having growing impact on people’s lives. Green energy has failed miserably to deliver cheap, adequate and reliable power or to result in any meaningful reduction in CO2 emissions. It exists only because of subsidies which render it an indulgence we can no longer afford. Then, to top everything off, the science on which all the claims have been based has been repeatedly exposed as corrupted by incompetence, inappropriate methods, unexplained adjustments to data, cherry picking of evidence, exaggeration, suppressing or ignoring conflicting findings and even outright fraud. . . .
Moral crusades have a repeated history of imposing pain and ending in grief. There is nothing to indicate this one is any different. It’s time to recognise it for what it is, consign it to the rubbish bin of history and begin thinking about how to undo the damage.