Environmentalism was a new and and necessary paradigm that appeared in the 20th century. Of course we need to care for and protect the Earth. Distressingly, the idea was grabbed by a few people and used to push a political agenda. They distorted, exaggerated, misdirected and deceived the people in the guise of saving the planet. As H L Mencken said over 60 years ago,
“The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.”
Environmentalists have used environmentalism and environmental science for a political agenda. They blame humans for all the changes, particularly those they decide are “harmful” and argue for curtailment of the number of humans and their activities. This is espcially directed at the developed and industrialized western nations and summarized by the Club of Rome (COR):
“The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.“
The Canadian Example
In 1995 Elaine Dewar published a stunning book titled Cloak of Green that revealed the activites of prominent Canadian environmentalists. It is classic investigative jornalism. Dewar began with a plan to praise them, but research revealed something very different. The book cover notes
“Most concerned citizens trust environmental groups to fight on behalf of the public for sensible solutions to the world’s environmental problems. That was what Elaine Dewar believed when she started work on this story. But she discovered that our trust can sometimes be misplaced, as you will see in this revealing and disturbing book.”
These comments are applied to Canadian environmentalists, but fit environmental groups worldwide. It is time these people were held to account for the damage they have inflicted. I asked Dewar to consider updating the book. She wanted nothing to do with it because attacks were the most vicious for anything she ever wrote.
How many people have lost their jobs, businesses, or suffered from higher taxes, or higher living costs, especially for energy and food because of the activites of these environmentalist? How many people have suffered personal attacks because they dared to ask questions or point out errors? There are multiple examples of all the damage, but one will suffice. Two people identified by Dewar, David Suzuki and Maurice Strong, were instrumental in creating the current energy crisis faced by the Province of Ontario. Strong was Chairman of Ontario Hydro, the public utility, when all the ‘green’ decisons that now leave them short of energy were made. Suzuki had to resign from his Foundation because he was actively campaigning for these energy and other policies promoted by Premier Dalton McGuinty, in contradiction to its legislated controls. Strong had a very large role in transferring the ideals of the COR to the UN. He set up the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Agenda 21. As Dewar explained on page 330,
“Strong was using the U.N. as a platform to sell a global environment crisis and the Global Governance Agenda.”
David Suzuki actively promoted the objectives of the UNEP. Indeed, his teenage daughter was a keynote presenter at the founding conference known as Rio 1992. There is a history of claims of human impact that are too often misleading or incorrect, especially about climate. The practice involves claiming or inferring natural events are unnatural. He overlooks how nature and climate change rapidly, dramatically and in very short time periods. Gradually, however, additional information and context is provided by other scientists and it almost all contradicts the claims or inferences.
Claims and errors are still going on, even increasing as evidence contradicting Suzuki’s positions accumulate. His responses to people who he deems ‘enemies‘ are consistently arrogant and confrontational. In February 2007 he stormed out of a Toronto radio station when interviewer, John Oakley observed that global warming is not a “totally settled issue.” Oakley experienced the personal attacks of any who don’t agree with Suzuki’s environmentalism. Suzuki’s behavior was unacceptable, but his claim that the science of climate is settled is worse because it is one that no real scientists would ever make.
Spin was raised to a professional level when he teamed up with James Hoggan of Hoggan and Associates, one of the largest public relations companies in Canada. Hoggan, has had the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF) as a client over the last 15 years. It is reported that other major clients include alternate energy companies. At the same time he served on the Board and provided ongoing support to the DSF Nature Challenge and its Capital Contribution Campaign. He has been a Director since 1996 and currently sits on the Executive. More recently he replaced Suzuki as Chair of the Foundation after serving on the Board for at least 11 years. Suzuki’s much-lauded career is about spin, selective use of information, exploitation of fear especially with children, personal attacks on those who dare to disagree, and an underlying political agenda. Most personal attacks are orchestrated through a web site Hoggan founded and partly funded by John Lefebrve, who in a multimillion dollar financial case in the US. It appears difficult to believe Suzuki is unaware of these activities. The Web site Desmogblog is the brainchild of James Hoggan, Board Chairman of the David Suzuki Foundation. He brags about his role in its formation and operation in his book The Climate Cover-Up. In a December 2011 email to Michael Mann, Desmogblog writer Richard Littlemore said,
“(as I am sure you have noticed: we”re all about PR here, not much about science).”
Suzuki’s bypass of the facts and science are breathtaking. For example, he wrote an article on his web site that is now apparently removed claiming
“It’s been estimated that as many as three species go extinct every hour.”
He travelled across Canada pushing this false claim without naming one species. His claim of 3 per hour was derived from the work of biologist E.O Wilson, an honorary Board member of the Suzuki Foundation 2003 Annual Report.
Wilson’s idea of extinction is based on false assumptions and simplistic mathematical estimates.
“A good proxy for the rate of extinction is the rate of growth in energy used by the human population. In other words, extinction rates are increasing in step with the product of population growth times the growth in affluence.”
It is not “a good proxy” because there is no correlation between human energy use and extinctions because we don’t know how many species exist. Wilson’s extinction claim was 27,000 per year, or 3 per hour. He also predicted 22 percent of all species will be extinct by 2022. In fact the number of known species is more likely to increase by then.
During the last few years over a million new species were discovered and that’s only part of what remains. Here’s why.
“Furthermore, the study, published by PLoS Biology, says a staggering 86% of all species on land and 91% of those in the seas have yet to be discovered, described and catalogued.” As National Geographic report, “To date, taxonomists have identified less than two million distinct species, mostly mammals and birds. But it”s estimated that the number of undiscovered species—primarily fish, fungi, insects, and microbes—ranges from ten million to more than one hundred million. Even at the low estimate, it”s an enormous number.”
Culpability and Accountability
It appears Suzuki is entirely culpable and must be held accountable for social irresponsibility at the very least. If he knows the information is incorrect then he deliberately misleads. If he doesn’t know then he is not entitled to the credibility he claims. What he is doing is tantamount to shouting fire in a theatre. Hints that he is aware of his culpability include an increasing unwillingness to answer questions, an avoidance of debates on issues and personal attacks either directly or through Desmogblog.
At the 1999 International Forum on Globalization in Seattle he told the audience,
“In the 1980s I deliberately left research. I gave up my government grant at the very time genetics was taking off. At the very time that biotechnology was emerging as not only an exciting area, but one that was very lucrative financially.”
He saw his role as a crusade to counteract evil.
“I felt that there was a need for a group of people who could give credible, knowledgeable critiques of what the implications of this new area might be.”
What was the evil? He generalized about his fellow geneticists
“I knew from personal experience what most geneticists either don’t acknowledge or don’t even know about. And that is the dark side of this very young science.”
His “personal experience” was the internment camps for Japanese Canadians – unquestionably an unacceptable event and traumatic for all involved. But surely if you are concerned that modern genetics could go astray you can achieve more by remaining within the genetic community. His credibility has already been attacked because he has not ‘practiced’ for over 30 years. If you are concerned about your profession it seems more logical to remain active and fight the problems.
“This is not a denigration of science. It is the very way that science progresses. You get a set of observations: you try to make sense of them by constructing an hypothesis. You test the hypothesis and chances are, you go, “Oh man was that ever wrong. We better do something else” Or you modify it and change it around. That is how science progresses, but we forget that.”
True, but Suzuki has forgotten this in almost ever issue he has pursued and used to scare the public. He ignored the fact the global warming hypothesis was never tested, then ridiculed those who tried to practice the science he once advocated.
But there are other problems besides denigrating fellow geneticists and forgetting the scientific method. In the speech he claimed Canada has already gone too far with GMOs, but where are those concerns today? They are part of the long list of threatened disasters he has perpetrated to stop progress and force people to live the way he wants. How many have been hurt by his attacks? How many billions have been misspent because of his exploitation of fear and lack knowledge for a political end? I look at the energy problems in Ontario, the $6 billion questionably spent on climate change by Environment Canada according to the Auditor General, the pressuring of the Prime Minister to sign Kyoto, the stress created in the salmon, forestry, farming and many other industries not to mention the communities destroyed or seriously compromised by the activities of David Suzuki and his Foundation.
Perspectives and Distortions
Do we have problems? Of course, but they are rarely ones Suzuki identifies. Because of the diversion other issues are ignored or under funded. Good clear decisions are seriously compromised because of the hysteria Suzuki’s attacks engendered. Many people are afraid to speak out because of fear of attack by this eco-bullying. Suzuki has created a poisonous climate for his own prejudices and political ends. How sad.
Environmentalists cry wolf and effectively undermine environmentalism, the need to live within the confines of a finite planet. They misled, exaggerated and made a multitude of false predictions to the detriment of the environment and people’s willingness to be aware and concerned. Aaron Cohl wrote a book about this pattern
in his 1997 book “Are We Scaring Ourselves to Death.” Aaron Wildavsky examined the evidence behind most of the major claims of impending doom in his book “But is it True” and found them unsupportable. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was a major starting point that incorrectly blamed DDT for many things including thinner eggshells; none of which proved correct.
Thousands of false stories made headlines over the last 40 years almost all promoted by Suzuki. All are conditional with words like, ‘could’ and ‘maybe’, but the headlines are unconditional. Almost all were subsequently proved incorrect, but that never made the headlines. A few examples include;
Each week some natural phenomenon is presented as unnatural and by implication due to human activity. A book is needed to list all the claims and threats made that have not occurred, have proved false or are unfounded.
It is reported that
“David Suzuki has called for political leaders to be thrown in jail for ignoring the science behind climate change.”
The charge is more properly applied to him. He, unlike most politicians, is a scientist who should understand scientific method and the problems of failed predictions. He should know that failed predictions indicate the science is wrong and the IPCC predictions have all failed.
The science behind climate change he speaks about is that of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Here is an assessment of their work by German physicist and meteorologist Klaus-Eckart Plus.
“Ten years ago I simply parroted what the IPCC told us. One day I started checking the facts and data – first I started with a sense of doubt but then I became outraged when I discovered that much of what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements. To this day I still feel shame that as a scientist I made presentations of their science without first checking it.” “Scientifically, it is sheer absurdity to think we can get a nice climate by turning a CO2 adjustment knob.”
Environmentalists took over environmentalism and preached to everyone how they knew best and only they cared. How dare they? We are all environmentalists. With blind faith they deceived, misdirected, threatened, destroyed jobs, careers, opportunities and advancement of the human condition. They used environmentalism and science for a political agenda and as Michael Crichton said,
“When we allow science to become political then we are lost. We will enter the internet version of the Dark Ages, an era of stifling fears and wild prejudices, transmitted to people who don’t know any better.”
Now, people will be less willing to listen or support genuine environmental concerns.