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The Fake Environmentalists and their Pretend-Game

You might wonder why city staff in towns like Campbell River, Courtenay, and Nanaimo, BC or 500 other localities across the land are threatened with disciplinary action if they leak information about the hidden pro-growth agendas of their "employers"--the mayors and town councillors. Well, here is the context. Regional planners, under the direction of their political overlords---the proxies of developers----are trying to shove tens of thousands more people into the North Vancouver Island region. And they don't want people get wind of it, or at least to grasp the full implications of their devious plans. Sound familiar? It should. What is transpiring here is transpiring across Canada and the continent of North America--and elsewhere. New subdivisions are sprouting up all over the map in place of greenbelts, woodlands and marshes and the people have little say in the matter.

Fake environmentalists facilitate growth whilst pretending to 'manage' growth

The most frustrating thing about this development is that fake environmentalists are able to pose as the peoples' champions in resisting this imposition. But their issue is not with population growth, which they contend is inevitable, but with "sprawl"---even though at least half of sprawl is driven by population growth and not by poor land-use planning (cf. "Outsmarting Smart Growth" by Kolankiewicz, Beck and Camarotta). They want to 'manage' growth and steer it away from farmland, while packing the unending stream of newcomers into tighter and denser lots alongside existing residents, who are encouraged to surrender their living space in the interests of food security and the environment. Thus people are presented with a false antithesis. Either accept growth with sprawl or so-called 'smart' growth without it. The local NDP, Greens and environmentalists tell people that population growth is something not in their jurisdiction, that immigration (or child benefits) policy is a federal matter and that nothing can prevent inter-provincial migration as guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In other words, growth out of their hands. Yet which political parties receive top marks from the Sierra Club? The federal Greens and the federal NDP. And what is their immigration policy? To increase the absurdly high immigration intake quota of the Harper Government by 25%, while matching or besting its pro-natalist programs.

Guilt and the Outdoor Living Channel

This is the pretend-game that enviromental NGOs play. Either population growth is not controllable, or even if it is, they have nothing to do with it--- and in any case, it has little bearing on environmental degradation, whether farmland or species loss, or GHG emissions. "It's not whether we grow", they argue, "but how we grow". Sprawl can be cured by good planning. Just squeeze tighter in the sardine can so that incoming migrants can snuggle up to you. And above all, feel guilty about having extra space in the backyard for your son to play in or a nature trail at the end of your block to take your dog. If it is nature that you want, well, you can get that on the Outdoor Living Channel, can't you?

Fight growth, not the symptoms of growth

Let me confess that whether it is the white-flight "Freedom 55s" from Alberta or California, or people from across the world, I've never felt lonely enough to want them living under my nose, and neither do most of us who chose our 'low-density" lifestyle. Some may call that selfish, I call it a human right. Is it my demand for space that is unreasonable, or the demand that I accept as reasonable a human population level that is 250% higher now than when I was born? Why are we being forced to accept population growth? One principal reason. Population growth is thought to be a necessary agent of economic growth, our Great God. The myth that continued economic growth is necessary, desirable, inevitable or even possible remains our major stumbling block, the first domino of misconceptions that must fall before we can reclaim any semblance of the quality of life that we once enjoyed. We are in a foot race with Mother Nature. If we don't stop growth, she will stop us. Time is almost up. Don't let the Pied Pipers of Fake Environmentalism lead you down a futile path. Fight growth, not the symptoms of growth.

Tim Murray

Comments

Greens and environmentalists tell people that population growth is something not in their jurisdiction, that immigration (or child benefits) policy is a federal matter... Exactly the same sort of denial is heard here in Australia. Despite immigration being responsible for about two thirds of our growth -and considering their contribution to "natural" births as well, it would be even higher - our leaders accept it an inevitable, something beyond their control, something we just have to accept! Then we hear the other population myth, that we consume too much!
People have been intimidated into being being regarded as racist or xenophobic if they raised concerns about immigration levels, or for sustainable population policy.
According to population denier Fred Pearce, overpopulation in the developing countries is not the problem. Instead the increasing overconsumption among the planets 7% richest people and countries is to be blamed. He is not alone in claiming this. George Monbiot, Europe’s leading green commentator, also agrees with this viewpoint. Pearce gives the example:
Americans gobble up more than 120 kilograms of meat a year per person, compared to just 6 kilos in India, for instance. True, eating meat is a luxury that should be rationed out, and so should the use of private cars, but with population blowout, it will only buy time!
Over time every one will want to consume more. People don't want to stay living at austere levels.
World population would not be a problem if there were unlimited land, unlimited water, unlimited resources. Unfortunately, with overpopulation, there is the problem of sharing the same sized pie with smaller and smaller portions.
The costs of economic growth go largely unnoticed. Pollution is rising, ecosystems are degraded, and many of the poor shut out from the gains of economic growth.
Some thirty years ago the concept of "smart" growth represented cutting edge thinking among community planners. By concentrating growth in already developed areas and slowing human expansion into natural areas, smart growth can help minimize additional ecological impacts as some growth continues. However, ongoing population growth will eventually fill up designated areas. Our cities are not only spreading, but becoming increasingly higher. "Smart" growth too only "buys time".

Of course I heartily agree with your assessment Bandicoot. Reducing per capita consumption by half while doubling the number of consumers is a fool's errand. But I think we should be even less charitable about smart growth, consevation, recycling , or tech fixes than we are. Rather than be seen simply as "buying time" for the growth-economy, they can actually be seen as growth-enablers. They promote growth. By moving over and squeezing tighter we give corporations what they want----more consumers, and by temporarily blunting ecological impacts and making development tidy, neat and aesthetically pleasing, we allow more room for growth.

Think about it. Does recycling and garbage reduction really benefit the environment by reducing the growth of rubbish in the landfills? Or does it in fact, by doing so, permit the same pattern of consumption that we are addicted to? Planners and politicians can jam even more people into the metro area because disposing waste is not yet a critical problem Would not the wiser strategy be to stress the landfills? To waste water? To increase our footprint to the breaking point, to the point where governments will have stop importing more and more people and handing out birth incentives? Would it not be a better strategy to
to use land more inefficiently? Would it not be better to force the system to hit the wall sooner? And would not the mass adoption of more vegetarian diets free up more land to feed more people-breeders who will grow the population to the point of using up that freed-up land? In other words, is not vegetarianism one of those "efficiency paradoxes", which by making things more efficient and less costly actually provoke more consumption? Sounds counter-intuitive, doesn't it? But think of what the Russians did in 1941 to slow down the advancing German army. They burned their crops, slaughtered their livestock, and destroyed their out buildings. They increased waste.

Don't get me wrong. I conserve, recycle, burn only 11 litres of gas per week, and shop infrequently. All those good things. This might make me feel good, but should it? Am I not buying time for an economy that is killing 100 species a day and allowing humanity to add 214,000 more people each day? All these green living habits, the 'smart' land use planning, and meatless eating would make sense AFTER a steady state economy is in place. But before then it seems to me that it is just giving the system more rope.

The system will crash and then scarcity will be our fate rather than our choice. We will not need any moralizing or rationing to reduce our consumption. No more lectures from Monbiot about our greed. The only question is when, not if, and whether we should give the system a push toward the cliff and hasten its demise, or by being "responsible", prolong its life and allow it to rack up more damage.

"If we had the population we did in the 18th century, we could use any energy source we wanted to." James Lovelock

It seems to that, in recent decades, phoney dissident intellectuals have become as much a prop as the corporate newsmedia for the dictatorial imposition of the will of the ruling elites upon the rest of us. Phoney environmentalists are only one of a number of kinds of fashionable intellectuals who pose as an opposition to the misrule by the elites. As I see it, phoney dissidents serve the ruling elites, they would have us believe they were opposed to, in a number of ways:

  1. Upholding Big Lies used to justify decisions of the ruling elites. The two biggest, which, to many, may seem unrelated, are:
    1. That population growth is necessary for our prosperity or even to prevent economic collapse;
    2. That the United States was attacked on 11 September 2001 by Islamist extremists based in Afghanistan even though not one person with a proven link to 9/11 has been captured after almost 9 years of military occupation of Afghanistan by the United States.
  2. Making theoretical understanding of the state of the world more difficult for ordinary people with their supposed critiques of society which are nonsensical, confusing and long-winded.
  3. Gaining control of the important grass roots movements opposed to the goals of the ruling elites and using that control to ensure that they are not effective. Two examples which come to mind are the supposed campaign against the Queensland Government's $16 Billion fire sale and the supposed anti-war movement which refuses to challenge the principle justification for Australia's participation in the war in Afghanistan.

If we can rid grass roots political movements of the influence of these phoney dissidents, including the phoney environmentalists to which Tim has refered, then we stand a much better chance of winning.