Editorial view: Environmentalism for dummies

B;ack Press legislative reporter Tom Fletcher talks about resignation of Davis Suzuki

David Suzuki has resigned as a director of his namesake foundation so it won’t be the target of federal government “attacks.”

This news is conveyed to me in a Globe and Mail report that is typically tilted in deference to “Canada’s most famous environmentalist.”

The usual assumptions are woven in: Suzuki is a saint. His every utterance is treated as scientific fact, even when it’s a left-wing political rant. The Conservative government is a front for Big Oil that has “attacked” environmental groups by reminding them that political activities are not eligible for charitable tax exemptions.

In recent years, the David Suzuki Foundation’s campaign focus has been noticeably in step with the large U.S. foundations that fund most of B.C.’s enviro-scare industry: first salmon farming and now the Alberta “tar sands” in all its exaggerated horror.

Suzuki’s personal activities aren’t easily distinguished from those of his foundation, as was illustrated with his recent CBC documentary that demonized the “tar sands.”

Diseased fish were displayed, but natural contamination of the Athabasca River was glossed over. Aboriginal objections were highlighted, while local support and economic benefits were overlooked.

This isn’t science or charity. It’s tabloid journalism. Sensationalize, ignore facts that weaken the drama, play to people’s emotions. And he expects to be subsidized by the CBC and charitable tax exemptions as well?

This news comes as I finish reading Patrick Moore’s book, Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout. I was one of many young fans who cheered as Moore, Bob Hunter and the other 1970s Greenpeace pioneers set out from Vancouver to disrupt Soviet nuclear testing, and then turned to the regime’s slaughter of whales.

In 1986, Moore split with Greenpeace and worked to set up a family chinook salmon farm. He said Greenpeace opposed aquaculture because it destroys tropical mangrove swamps. Tropical prawn farms have no rational connection with B.C., but a global organization needs simple ideas that sell.

This approach was seen in an earlier 1980s campaign against chlorine in pulp mills. Greenpeace protests against dioxins and the herbicide 2,4,5-T were eventually dumbed down to opposing the use of chlorine in all industries, including production of PVC plastic.

Pulp mills developed a way to eliminate trace dioxins from their production, but that didn’t matter once Greenpeace had a global campaign going. They still used chlorine, so they’re bad.

Speaking of chlorine, PCBs are polychlorinated biphenyls, a persistent background toxin. Tests found levels three to five times higher in some wild salmon compared to farmed. But the wild salmon results were ignored in a 2004 study, used by Suzuki to depict farmed salmon as poisonous. His foundation’s salmon farm campaign quietly disappeared down the memory hole after its PCB claims were debunked.

Moore highlighted another bit of greenwashing in a visit to Victoria last year. The vaunted “LEED” certification for green building standards gives you points if your concrete is locally sourced, but no points for using wood instead. That’s because the long campaign by major environmental groups has devolved to “logging is bad.”

Here’s the latest example. Greenpeace, ForestEthics and the Sierra Club were bankrolled by U.S. foundations to negotiate with the B.C. government, aboriginal people and forest companies for the 2006 “Great Bear Rainforest” agreement on the B.C. coast. Economic opportunity was delicately balanced against preservation, and First Nations gained new control of forests.

Now the big enviros have begun campaigning against their own deal. As much as 50 per cent could still be logged, they say. It seems this particular green peace is bad for their business.

 

Tom Fletcher is legislative reporter and columnist for Black Press and BCLocalnews.com

tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Just Posted

Victoria wins crucial WHL contest over Giants in Langley

Royals take over second in B.C. Division ahead of Vancouver

Cordova Bay group against plaza redevelopment

Cordova Bay shopping centre has three, four-storey buildings

Man hospitalized after early morning Sooke Road crash

Police say injuries are non life-threatening

Premier John Horgan announces improvements to Highway 14

Construction on the $10 million project is set to begin immediately

WATCH: Giant waves smash Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point

Folks made their way to Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on Thursday, Jan.… Continue reading

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

RCMP nail alleged sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

Most Read