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Transfer of Guilt

Patrick Moore, an original founder of Greenpeace, quit the organization after 15 years. Recently he wrote the book Confessions of a Greenpeace Drop Out. He was recently quoted as saying:

“What the (activist) environmentalists have done is they’ve gotten all the city people thinking all the people out there in the environment growing all the food, cutting the trees, digging the minerals and damming the rivers are the enemy. When in actuality it is them (city people) who are demanding all that stuff be done to satisfy their needs for infrastructure, energy, food and materials in urban centers. And yet they are able to transfer whatever guilt they should be feeling onto those hard working people who are outdoors in the rain and snow and sun doing all the work to produce all the stuff the people in their condominiums and corner offices are enjoying.”

Environmentalist groups prey upon people’s sense of guilt about our use of the environment, but they don’t consider the long-term consequences of guilt-based campaigning.

“Only eat wild salmon” is a very easy philosophy to spout. The problem lies at the end of that line of thinking. If everyone who currently enjoys farmed salmon were to switch and only eat wild salmon, we would eat our wild salmon to extinction in a few years.

Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline is hotly debated and recent news of a report about a spill in the U.S. has brought it to the forefront in the last few days. Some will use this as an “I told you so” moment and point to the evils of “tar” sands and a need to stop all oil development in this country.

But even Thomas Mulcair, leader of the federal NDP party, makes the point in an interview on CBC radio that the NDP are against the B.C. pipeline but would be open to a pipeline heading east, or at least processing the oil in Canada before shipping it internationally. Stopping the production of oil is not practical, but perhaps there are ways to do it better.

The idea that all organically-grown food is better than conventionally grown seems reasonable (after all people have been trying to convince us of this for years), but there is little scientific evidence to support it. There is evidence that some food grows better under organic standards (such as soybeans) but when it comes to harvest yield and our ability to “feed the world” conventional methods are more efficient. If it takes more land to grow the same amount of food using organic standards. That means there will be less land for products that could reduce our use of oil, such as bio-diesel and plant-based plastics.

These are only a few examples of environmental activist positions that do not hold up in the real world. Holding a picket sign and shouting slogans is easy, finding practical solutions to the issues you are concerned about is much harder.

Putting the blame for environmental problems on the backs of those working hard to provide you with the essentials that you can’t produce for yourself is going to harm you in the long run.

As the old saying goes, don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Opinion

 

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