“Environmental lobbies need to work with industry and encourage sustainable practices. Hysteria, dogma and hypocrisy will not save the planet. Neither will thousands of retweets. Balanced approaches separating real green from pretend, crony green is the true pathway to ecological progress.“
Environmentalism is now firmly entrenched in our daily lives. It is part of pop-culture. It is even a marker of identity for some people.
Yet is the widespread support given to the environmental movement anything more than supercilious tokenism? Is being ‘green’ just another fashion statement, rather than any laudable drive to protect fragile ecosystems? Are we now at a point where the word ‘Green’ has wrongly become synonymous with ‘Good’?
That’s the topic of this new video: “Environmentalism: Why Green Isn’t Always Good.”
Obviously, there are elements of the environmental movement which are committed purely to protecting our precious environments. They are vital and they should be supported. However, it seems that we often forget that the green economy is an economy like any other; there are parts of it which are focused purely on making money.
Patrick Moore is one of the original founders of Greenpeace. He defected when Greenpeace lurched away from it’s the original eco-centric intentions of ending the threat of global nuclear war and thus the destruction of human civilization. He laments the drift of the environmental movement to where it now “characterizes people as the enemies of the earth.”
Moore has a point. Now it seems that many environmentalists approach environmental issues from an anti-science, anti-business and even anti-human perspective, rather than a pro-environment one.
As touched upon in the video, green campaigns have become more about planet-saving than anything else. We, as the general public, often adhere too dogmatically to their messages. That’s what happens when you pay a celebrity or some other icon of pop-culture to back a campaign or provide some sort of ‘sexy’ yet scaremongering catastrophe theory to prompt action.
Yet while they may garner thousands of ‘likes’, ‘retweets’ and shares, these types only serve to demonise any form of industry which is seen to impact the environment, despite those industries often being the ones who fund the environmental controls and pay to reduce their environmental impacts.
As the video suggests, much of the modern environmental movement panders to what we want to believe. It makes it ‘cool’ to be perceived as an environmentalist. It makes it a fashion statement. Such a view has been quietly creeping into the debate in recent years. Even noted green activist and former UK Green Party Chair Jonathon Porrit agreed that environmentalism has spent 30 years going in and out of fashion.
Yet do we live up to our own planet-saving hype? What if environmentalism really required us to make serious lifestyle changes and give up our comforts? Would we really be so green then?
For many of us, the answer would be a resounding ‘NO’. Reusable shopping bags, recyclable cans and hybrid cars are one thing, but we are all addicted to our computers, tablets and wireless devices. The world runs on them. They are also not very environmentally friendly. The same goes for air-conditioning systems, fluorescent lightbulbs and most other home comforts. We are never going to limit our water use or take cold showers. The list is endless. The point is that the laudable intentions that the green movement espouses will never be backed up with concrete action if it requires the general public to move outside of their consumption comfort zone.
That’s why environmentalist agendas must be reconfigured. We can no longer dogmatically adhere to the one-sided propaganda peddled by the green lobby.
Yes, there are certain industries that produce negative impacts for the environment, but it is counter-productive to demonise and excoriate them. We must remember that they are the stewards of the environment as much as anyone else. They are also the ones who generally fund and manage any mechanism which reduces negative environmental impacts.
Environmental lobbies need to work with industry and encourage sustainable practices. Hysteria, dogma and hypocrisy will not save the planet. Neither will thousands of retweets. Balanced approaches separating real green from pretend, crony green is the true pathway to ecological progress.
Ben Acheson, a Parliamentary Assistant to Struan Stevenson (Member, European Parliament) in Brussels, specializes in energy and environment issues. His previous post at MasterResource was Believe or Know? Modern Environmentalism Reconsidered.