Environmentalists lack compassion for poor: author

Media Appearances, Environment, Frontier Centre

ENVIRONMENTAL groups are operating in a moral vacuum with no regard for the lives and welfare of people in developing countries, says a man who once took up the cause of environmentalism.

Paul Driessen is on a crusade against environmental crusaders.

The author of the controversial book Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death spoke in Winnipeg, yesterday at a luncheon hosted by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

Driessen is a former member of the Sierra Club who has turned against the fold.

Among some of the more eyebrow-raising claims that Driessen makes: DDT was a boon to North American society, and should never have been banned; organizations like UNICEF and the World Health Organization are contributing to the deaths of millions in Africa; and the environmental movement operates on the premise that lives in the Third World are not as valuable as those in developed nations.

At the heart of Driessen’s argument is the belief that the Third World is footing the bill for the developed world’s preoccupation with what he calls “environmental purity.” People starve, he says, while activists campaign against the “far-fetched, hypothetical” threats of genetically-modified food, which could feed the world’s hungry. Millions die of malaria while Western nations enforce a ban on DDT, a chemical that could wipe out the disease.

“I don’t understand why we aren’t doing anything to help people in these countries to solve problems that are killing their children,” he said.

Driessen questioned global warming, slammed the Kyoto protocol, and took shots at everything from wind power to Jacques Cousteau.

He said that pollution is on the decline, and claims to the contrary by organizations like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club are “based on a litany of half-truths and contradictions.

“Much of today’s environmental movement has lost its moral compass and veered far off course,” he said.

Flanked by banners advertising the luncheon’s sponsors — Dow Agrosciences, du Pont, Syngenta, and BASF — Driessen said it’s time for the environmental movement to get back to its roots. “They just don’t care enough about these lives (of people in the Third World) that modern technology and medicine could improve so much.”