Are environmentalists bad for the planet?

Blog, Environment, Les Routledge

Last year, the BBC broadcast a documentary that takes the listener into the green watermelon mindset.  A printed transcript is also available.

I find the topic is enlightening for how it illuminates underlying values within the green movement.  The discussion also helps one to understand why facts and rational discussion a futile tactics when dealing with a true believer.

The following are some illustrations.

Townsend…imagine [that] I am the carbon fairy and I wave a magic  wand. We can get rid of all the carbon in the atmosphere, take it down to two hundred fifty parts per million and I will ensure with my little magic wand that we do not go above two degrees of global warming. However, by waving my magic wand I will be interfering with the laws of physics not with people – they will be as selfish, they will be as desiring of status. The cars will get bigger, the houses will get bigger, the planes will fly all over the place but there will be no climate change. And I asked them, would you ask the fairy to wave its magic wand? And about 2 people of the 200 raised their hands.


ROWLATT:….nevertheless talking to some environmentalists you get the sense that even if we could suddenly switch to a world where growth without increased emissions were possible, they’d still have a problem with our urge to consume.


PALMER: In the 70s and 80s the environmental movement believed that if it put the scientific facts – the data – in front of us, we would all wake up and we would reform ourselves and create a utopian, happy world. What then happened is the classic collapse of that utopian hope and you move into stage two and stage two is the apocalyptic. So for example, the world is going to be swamped by floods, struck by fire, destroyed by plague, everything will collapse, society will fall apart. it’s that use of fear that is the main indicator of this.


The discussion has echoes of the movement to eliminate poverty through the tools of socialism and collectivism.  Over the last thirty years, the global trend towards the adoption of market-based economies and liberalized trade policies has lifted billions out of abject poverty, poverty that was arguably caused by the imposition of collectivist ideologies and social systems.  None the less, we still hear how the problems of the world are caused by market economies and liberalized trade.