Update 11-08-12: Latest interview with Patrick Moore here- he also quotes Hunter as calling for an ideology for environmentalism to succeed; Moore concludes (n climate change) “I fear the irrational policies of extreme environmentalists far more that a warmer climate on this relatively cold planet”.
Simple science made me a Greenpeace drop-out.
-Patrick Moore, Confessions of a Greenpeace Drop-out (2011).
Paul Kingsnorth wrote a piece for the Guardian’s Comment is Free a week or so ago called The new environmentalism: where men must act ‘as gods’ to save the planet
Kingsnorth is a “Dark Green” and he critiques the rise of what he calls the “neo-environmentalists”, who I wrote about about in April here.
After lamenting the failure of traditional greens “to prevent the global industrial machine from continuing to destroy wild nature and replace it with human culture” Kingsnorth goes onto compare the rise of the neo-environmentalists with the neo-liberals of the early 1970s:
Like the neoliberals, the neo-environmentalists are attempting to break through the lines of an old orthodoxy which is visibly exhausted and confused. Like the neoliberals, they speak the language of money and power. Like the neoliberals, they cluster around a few key thinktanks: then, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Cato Institute and the Adam Smith Institute; now, the Breakthrough Institute, the Long Now Foundation and the Copenhagen Consensus. Like the neoliberals, they think they have radical solutions.
Neo-environmentalism is a progressive, business-friendly, postmodern take on the environmental dilemma. It dismisses traditional green thinking, with its emphasis on limits and transforming societal values, as naive. New technologies, global capitalism and western-style development are not the problem but the solution. The future lies in enthusiastically embracing biotechnology, synthetic biology, nuclear power, nanotechnology, geo-engineering and anything else new and complex that annoys Greenpeace.
The emphasis on “limits” is naive: utilising natural resources is not a zero-sum game, where there is small, finite amount of stuff and a growing population leading to a smaller slice of the pie to go round- “resources” are indeed in effect created- the raw materials of the earth only become “resources” once we have devised technology to utilise them, and this technology continually improves, as can be seen with the impact of shale gas for example;
and the aspiration to ” transforming societal values” is nothing short of authoritarian: whose values are we supposed to adopt? why are they any preferable?
Meanwhile Kingsnorth fails completely to address the obvious reason why Kyoto and Copenhagen-style responses to climate change cannot work: if you are rich you might think GDP is negotiable; but try telling that to the rest of the world.
In mentioning Greenpeace, Kingsnorth would have done well to quote its co-founder Patrick Moore who left the deep-green organisation in 1986 on account of irreconcilable ideological divisions with the rest of the group. (more…)