“What the Green Movement got wrong” and where they still think they are right…
Channel 4’s promo blurb for the controversial documentary said
“A group of environmentalists across the world believe that, in order to save the planet, humanity must embrace the very science and technology they once so stridently opposed.
In this film, these life-long diehard greens advocate radical solutions to climate change, which include GM crops and nuclear energy. They argue that by clinging to an ideology formed more than 40 years ago, the traditional green lobby has failed in its aims and is ultimately harming its own environmental cause.”
I was rather looking forward to watching it, but had missed those crucial words “in order to save the planet”. Yup, it was a case of ‘well we’ve got to compromise on some things to adapt to climate change’. Activists who have changed their opinions of technology – Adam Werbach (former President of the Sierra Club), Tim Flannery, Mark Lynas, Stewart Brand, and Patrick Moore (one of the founders of Greenpeace) – said some very surprising things (surprising for environmental activists that is):
- We have got time to do something
- Expecting people in western society to reduce their lifestyles to the ecological footprint of a subsistence farmer in Africa is “just nuts”
- To adapt we must put aside much of the environmentalist ideology (for a while)
- We can’t restrict growth and demand for energy in the Third World; we shouldn’t deny them their aspiration to increased wealth and technological improvement
- Nuclear energy is nowhere near as risky as we’ve made it out to be in the past, and now we need the energy (and we consider it ‘clean’ because it doesn’t spew CO2)
- GM foods have a role in improving nutrition in the developing world
- DDT is a valuable weapon in the control of malaria
Verdict? Some of what was said was sound and it was refreshing to hear it from such sources, but it still pushed a clear global warming agenda. The biggest impression I came away with was that a lot of it was about compromise because their current stance is not getting enough support. It is a clear case of ‘we changed because we realised most people are not willing to go as far as we want and they are getting fed up with listening to us, so we have to find other ways to get them on our side’. Friends commented they switched off after about 20 minutes; I stayed with it but could stand no more than five minutes of the subsequent debate.
Mark Lynas’ associated article in The Telegraph sums it up, with the ending:
“In this age of rising global temperatures, declining biodiversity, accumulating toxins, fractured ecosystems and rapidly-increasing economic growth and global population, we need a strong and successful environmental movement more than ever.”