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The Green Contradiction: Fences Work, But Then Don't

How is this for a coherent ideology: We can protect farmland and wildlife habitat by building zoning fences around our cities which are bursting from the mass immigration which we support. But we cannot and should not build a fence around our nation to protect farmland and wildlife habitat from that same immigrant-driven population growth. We should also densify our cities to lower per capita energy costs, but disperse people to populate our hinterlands at the same time. And we must oppose the corporate agenda of lowering barriers to trans-national movement of goods, but support the corporate agenda of promoting the unfettered trans-national movement of cheap labour. Welcome to the world of the Green-Left. Watermelon Globalists who wear a green coat to disguise a misguided and antique vision of a borderless world. A perverse globalism that markets itself as international solidarity.

It is curious that in the immigration debate---whenever such a debate is permitted to occur------the Green-Left Globalists switch horses in mid-stream.

Within the confines of our national borders, they tell us that what is decisive is not how many people we can accommodate, but where they are situated. The classic mantra is "It is not whether we grow, but how we grow". We can double or triple or quadruple our numbers so long as we steer the population to urban centres, and pack them like sardines in a can to lower their per capita energy consumption and keep greenfield acreage untouched, along with ecologically significant nature reserves. Apart from the fallacy of low-energy urban living, and the political improbabilities of wresting land-use decisions from developer-controlled city councils and regional parliaments, this argument is incongruent with their stance on immigration. At that level of discussion, they tell us that it doesn't matter where people live on this planet, it is only their numbers which should be of concern. Moving people around from country to country, or excluding them from doing so does not address the problem. It is like the proverbial futility of moving deck chairs on the Titanic, they argue. Immigration policy, in their imagination, is not a population policy. Besides, building fences won't keep the global population tsunami from sweeping over us, nor will it keep out global warming. In other words, fences inside our borders are a solution to runaway population growth driven by hyper-immigration, but fences aroundour borders are no solution to runaway global population. Confusing, isn't it?

Now get ready to be more confused. Canadian Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who argues for an immigration quota 25% larger than the Harper government's (already rivalling Australia as the highest per capita intake in the world), has pushed the traditional green line that "smart growth" planning can confine our growing population within ecologically benign urban boundaries. But when faced with complaints that our major cities are already strained beyond liveability by incoming migrants--- the great majority from abroad--- she has called for their dispersal to rural localities, despite the fact that people have left these regions for compelling economic reasons. So now we have a Green Party that tells us that we should squeeze tighter in urban centres, and relocate to the empty hinterland at the same time.

The Green message is now clear. Fences work, but they don't work. Cram into the cities, but settle outside of them. And if you don't like our principles---just wait---we will find other ones for you.

If that is not enough contradiction for you, then along comes the climate-obsessed Eco-Marxists. They oppose the free and unfettered passage of goods across national borders because they oppose the corporate agenda. But they support the free and unfettered passage of people across national border because they support the corporate agenda of smashing the indigenous labour force with cheap imported slave labour. Except that they call their globalism "international solidarity" with migrant workers. Native-born workers and native culture are expendable. And their idea of fighting climate change is to shift people from nations with low GHG emissions to nations of very high GHG emissions, and then look for a technological fix. Go figure.

Tim Murray
October 09, 2010

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I've read a few article from those purporting to be from the green left, yet at the same time pleading for continued population growth. Some of their arguments are (from memory, I don't feel like tracking them all down):

  • Sure we'll have to stop growing our population soon. But for now we must keep growing. When is "soon" exactly? Well, it's soon.
  • We must relieve overpopulation in other countries by letting in many more people! Otherwise they might think that we're selfish. Here's an article from Crikey blog along this line.
  • The more people in Australia, the easier it will be to invest in green industries & our environmental impact will diminish. Economies of scale or something.
  • As our numbers increase we will become ever more energy efficient and everyone will willingly make sacrifices to ensure our environmental impact will grow ever smaller.
    Here's another article from Crikey which also seems to argue this.
    (Crikey seems to have stopped blogging about population lately though.)
  • We've been spoiled by our low population density. We need to learn sympathy with people living in crowded third world cities by increasing our population density to match. This will teach us to live in a simpler, lower energy way just like them too.

(Of course I think these arguments are all nonsense.)

Yes, these are the kinds of arguments that make you feel that the Greens must actually be fronts for the other parties and big business. I don't like the way they run real environmentalists as candidates from time to time, then muzzle them on population. Whoever benefits from this must be laughing all the way to the bank. When will humans stop being sucked in by brands?