The New American
18 October 2014
It’s a question that could be the title of a detective novel: Who killed the spotted owl? In the storehouse of commonly shared opinion known as conventional wisdom, it’s no mystery at all. “Everybody knows” it was the greedy, rapacious logging industry, from its lumberjacks to its corporate profiteers who denuded the great forests of the American Northwest and destroyed the habitat of the stately northern spotted owl that perched in the trees of our once great forests and graced the cover of Time magazine.
Anyone who spends an hour watching Jeffrey King’s documentary is apt to get a different picture of the woods, the general environment, and the environmentalist’s iconic owl. In fact, the entire environmental movement gets a thorough re-examination from King, with the help of the many people he interviewed on camera, from a geologist and an aero-physicist to a forester to people who have seen their communities devastated through jobs lost, property rights violated, and economic development thwarted by environmental mandates and regulations. The logging industry in the Northwest is but one example of jobs and commerce destroyed through an effort to save a species that was wrongheaded from the start.
Dams are another target of the environmentalists, despite their usefulness in hydroelectric production and in maintaining a supply of water that is especially crucial in the West, where droughts are a common occurrence. But dams kill fish and destroy their habitations, environmentalists protest, despite the construction of fish ladders and bypasses that allow the fish to swim over or around the dams.
But it’s not just activity in the great outdoors that is threatening the environment, according to environmentalists and the politicians who do their bidding. Carbon dioxide emissions from energy plants and other manufacturing facilities are increasingly blamed for global warming and are the target of proposed legislation and regulations to cap such emissions, regardless of the increased cost in energy production and the negative impact on economic development. Robert Zorbin, an aero-physicist and author, deplores the campaign against the increase of carbon in the atmosphere, which he insists is good for the environment as well as the economy.
“Everything we use is either made of carbon or made with carbon,” said Zorbin, who sees carbon consumption as vital to economic growth in the underdeveloped world, as well as in the industrialized nations. World per capita income is $9,000 a year in U.S. dollars, he said, about one-fifth of what it is in the United States. Yet a goal of the environmentalist movement is to reduce global carbon emissions to the 1990 level, when world per capita income was $5,000 a year. That would increase poverty and starvation in the Third World, Zorbin said.
“This is the most reactionary, cruel, brutal, heartless policy that anyone could possibly propose,” he said. “The moral imperative of our generation is to continue this march forward.” The world’s economic progress in recent decades “is a miracle,” he said. “And this is what the ‘greens’ want to stop.”
The agenda of the “greens” is what gave King the idea for calling his documentary and the movement he hopes it will inspire, “Blue.” That is, after all, the color of the sky and the water that covers most of the Earth. His film, from beginning to end, promotes the idea that a free and prosperous people are better able and more willing to protect the environment than those who are kept in poverty by a collectivist agenda, hostile to economic growth.
The philosophic view animating the environmentalist movement is essentially anti-human, argues Calvin Beisner, founder of the Cornwell Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. “If you have a basically misanthropic world view, if you see human beings as basically consumers and polluters as a cancer, as a virus, as people pollution,” said Beisner, “if that’s your view of people, you want to see fewer people and you want to see them not thriving, but just barely subsisting, because you think their number and their prosperity are a harm to the planet.”
For some prominent organizations within the worldwide environmentalist movement, Beisner’s words may be an understatement rather than hyperbole. King put on screen for all to read the following statement of the influential Club of Rome: “The earth has cancer and the cancer is man.”
“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized nations collapse?” asked Maurice Strong, president of the University of Peace. “Isn’t it our duty to bring that about?”
“The environmentalists have it backwards,” said Beisner. “It thinks that people are better off when they’re poor. In fact, they’re better off when they’re wealthy. And so is the environment.” People have neither the means nor the inclination to preserve or improve environmental standards when it is all they can do to put food on the table and a roof over their heads, he said.
“A clean, healthy, beautiful environment is a costly good,” and wealthy societies are better able to afford costly goods than poorer ones, Beisner said. He and others interviewed by King suggested a trip to any undeveloped nation will confirm that observation. And the environment has suffered most, Beisner said, under totalitarian governments such as the Soviet Union.
A warming climate extends the growing season, increases annual rainfall, and spurs plant growth, said Zorbin, making “a more fertile world.” Geologist Leighton Stewart, founder of an organization called Plants Need CO2, agrees.
“Carbon dioxide is the staff of life,” said Stewart. “We learned in the third grade that’s what plants eat.” Stewart also noted the warming period of the Middle Ages, followed by 500 years of cooling, all occurring long before the creation of electric power plants and the internal combustion engine. The environmentalists’ arguments might have held up better in the 1970s, Zorbin said, when the environmental warnings that filled the air were about global cooling. That, he said, would have produced scarcity, and the bogus predictions of a coming “ice age” led to calls for population control, since a frozen planet would be able to sustain fewer people.
“The problems change, but the solution is always the same,” said Zorbin. “Give them the control.”
Control is what the environmentalist movement is all about, said Lord Christopher Monckton, a British conservative and former science advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
“None of it makes any sense,” he told King, “unless you realize what they’re trying to do is first of all, is wreck the West in a way the communism of the Soviet Union could not do. They have clambered onto this global-warming bandwagon just at the moment the wheels are all falling off. And those who like to see themselves as part of a wiser governing class that knows better than we do how we ought to live our lives, find the cheerful chaos of democracy produces extraordinary prosperity. They hate it, they resent it bitterly, they want to stop it. They have discovered the environment as the way to stop it.”
Back at the time of the first Earth Day (April 22 [Lenin’s birthday], 1970), a movement called Zero Population Growth emerged, and a prophet of scarcity and overpopulation of the late 18th century was rediscovered and widely celebrated in academic circles. The Englishman Thomas Malthus predicted famine and world chaos, based on patterns of population growth. Had the world heeded Malthus and his proposals for population control, the economic progress of the 19th and 20th centuries would not have happened, and the world might have lost either “Thomas Edison or Louis Pasteur, take your pick,” said Zorbin.
In fact, Malthus put forward an interesting recommendation for reducing the human population in a statement shown in King’s documentary:
There is no doubt that environmentalists’ want humans to be, at most, a basically inert part of the ecosystem and that the successful campaign against the logging industry out West has left thousands who were dependent on that industry without jobs and without the ability to provide the lumber needed for homes, wood stoves, fireplaces, desks, chairs, etc. And if man and his enterprises are entitled to a place in this world, along with the beavers, snail darters, and spotted owls, that leaves the environmentalists with a lot to answer for.
Jeffrey King has also done a documentary entitled “Crying Wolf” about how another great environmentalist crusade, the bringing back of wolves into areas where they attack and devour livestock, has posed another threat to the livelihood of farmers and ranchers who, being apparently beyond the pale of government protection would like to be able to defend themselves and their way of life against the environmentalists’ and the government’s favored and protected creatures.
Perhaps Jeffrey King’s absorbing and refreshing documentary will help awaken people to a political, ideological, and economic plague of late 20th and early 21st centuries. It spreads its noxious doctrines under the banner of “environmentalism.”
To order the DVD Blue, click here.