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Marc My Words-24.10.04: When Green becomes Obscene

Marc My Words-24 September 2004

When Commonsense and Environmentalism collide
When Green becomes Obscene.

By Marc Alexander MP

Environmentalism is a critical issue that not only affects our quality of life today but just as important, the lives of generations to come. It can also be highly emotive and as a consequence, logic often gets left by the wayside. Whether we like it or not we simply cannot plunder our resources, pollute our natural world, and disregard our responsibility to our planet with impunity, if for no other reason than we depend on it for our own survival. No sane person would sanction the destruction of their life support. To do so would be more than an abdication of commonsense, it would be suicidal.

The dilemma then, is not that we are unable to identify the problems as they arise but that most of the broader issues of caring for our environment have been hijacked by radical extremists who do not see human involvement on our planet as desirable. Nutters like David Foreman from the Earth First organization have said things like "We advocate biodiversity for biodiversity's sake. It may take our extinction to make things right." Or how about this little gem from Stewart Brand from the Whole Earth Catalogue who chipped in with "We have wished, we eco freaks, for a disaster or for a social change to come and bomb us into the Stone Age."

Most who have a genuine concern for the health of our natural world are far removed from these eco-fascists and are guided instead by reasonableness, rationality, and a sense of balance. The snag is that those expressing their legitimate desire to 'do the right thing' have their trepidations hijacked by those less well meaning. Organizations that have started out to alert the public of the dangers of rampant environmental abuse now seem more intent on justifying their own existence. Where they once opposed environmental damage they now oppose much needed economic development. In short, the Green cause has morphed into a religious crusade that has more in common with the multi-nationals it used to oppose. Greenpeace for example has an annual income of over $US120 million while some of their top executives have been reported to receive salaries of up to $300,000!

Worse.some of the campaigns these organizations embark on end up doing more harm than the harm caused by the activities and practices they were campaigning against. One example of this has been eloquently reported by Lance Kennedy in Ecomyth, concerning the production of 'golden rice'. About 250,000 to 500,000 children lose their sight as a result of vitamin A deficiency. This condition is found predominantly in Asia and Africa and is attributed to poverty and a diet dominated by rice. In addition millions more live with visual defects from the same cause.

Golden rice is a cheap answer to this problem. It contains beta carotene which the body uses to manufacture vitamin A. Two hundred grams of this rice will supply about half a day's requirement of vitamin A and this alone can halt the onset of blindness. Considering that, according to UNICEF, up to 124 million children suffer from this vitamin deficiency, and that the Rockefeller Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization, wants to 'give' the rice to those who need it, you'd think everyone would be happy wouldn't you? Well.not exactly. Greenpeace opposes the production and distribution of 'golden rice' because it is genetically modified. Isabel Meister of Greenpeace Zurich has said "We will try to prevent it from being released."

This is the point at which you have to consider if these organizations, which are seemingly so willing to condemn millions of children to blindness and visual impairment, have completely lost their marbles, along with their compassion. Who really is blind here?

What galls is that in the fifteen odd years in which there have been trial plantings of the genetically modified crops, not one person has died as a result. These zealots need to go one step further than just posing the risks of GE crops, and study the implications of the risks in not using GE crops. In the above example the overwhelming benefit of golden rice is so obvious it's hard to give any credibility to these environmental doomsayers.

Now I am certainly not suggesting that we plunge headlong into these new technologies without careful consideration but clearly, there is a certain amount of hysteria surrounding these issues that makes it all but impossible to have a rational debate. We should ask whose interests are really being served through the mindless rejection of advantageous technologies.

The real point is that these organizations and their acolytes, who purport to care so much for all the living organisms on our planet, have summarily dismissed one of its Commonsense and reason have been thrown into their recycling dustbin and forgotten, replaced with a flat earth Luddite view based on twaddle. They're entitled to their views of course, but they shouldn't foist their baloney on the rest of us who actually do care about the plight of our fellow men and women..

No one can put all this into perspective better than Dr. Patrick Moore who co-founded Greenpeace back in 1971. He left after 15 years, recognizing the deterioration of the organisation into being part of the problem rather than the solution. It has become anti-science, anti-progress and anti-humanity. And for me, that says it all.


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