March 4, 2002
Patrick Moore, founder of Greenpeace, has become a passionate critic of environmental activists.
An "Eco-Judas" Comes to BrandonBack in January during Manitoba Ag Days in Brandon the Canola Growers sponsored a visit by Dr. Patrick Moore, one of the founders of Greenpeace. Now you might ask what the Canola Growers and Greenpeace would have in common but Dr. Moore was there to deliver a very powerful message. His audience of over 500 people was enthralled when he discussed the early days of Greenpeace and showed some dramatic and funny pictures of a young Patrick Moore chasing Russian whaling boats, hugging baby seals, and fighting against nuclear testing.
Dr. Moore then described his intellectual transformation from the "politics of confrontation to the politics of solutions and consensus." During that journey he became more appreciative of his family's logging heritage, the need for a sound economy, and concluded that human ingenuity can solve problems and provide society with the material goods that we all need to survive.
This intellectual change, of course, was dimly received by environmental activists, especially when he started to speak out. "Eco-Judas" was one of the more mild insults flung at Dr. Moore and he is listed in Greenpeace's "Guide to Anti-Environmental Organizations." The Forest Action Network, not to be outdone, says on their website in bold letters "Patrick Moore is a Big Fat Liar."
Dr Moore is quite critical of environmental activists. He notes on his website (www.greenspirit.com): "I now find that many environmental groups have drifted into self-serving cliques with narrow vision and rigid ideology. At the same time that business and governments are embracing public participation and inclusiveness, many environmentalists are showing signs of elitism, left-wingism and downright eco-fascism. The once politically-centrist, science-based vision of environmentalism has been largely replaced with extremist rhetoric. Science and logic have been abandoned and the movement is often used to promote other causes such as class struggle and anti-corporatism."
He supports these statements with real evidence. For example, he described Greenpeace's dishonesty in the "Brent Spar" campaign in which that organization's solution ended up creating more environmental damage. Dr. Moore told us about his challenge to the current endangered species dogma that states we are losing about 50,000 species per year due to human activity. His challenge to "name one" has received no replies as of yet.
His talk ended with a plea for all of us to use wood and wood products whenever we can. Wood is the most sustainable and renewable resource that we have and using more wood means, according to Dr. Moore, that we will have more forests. He says that buying a wooden two-by-four is essentially an order to someone "out there" to plant more trees. This is why 80% of the wood supply for the United States is from private land. Landowners have a real incentive to grow trees, profit from their sale, and grow even more, to the benefit of us all.
Patrick Moore's commitment to the truth is a manifestation of an encouraging trend. Credible people are challenging the politically correct forces of the world that, incidentally, have done so much to damage our rural economies. Real problems do exist but they require real answers, good science, and above all common sense.
Thank you, Patrick Moore.
Robert Sopuck, Senior Fellow
is a modern environmentalst whose interests include solving environmental problems without reducing human freedom. He is a natural resource policy consultant with a special interest in rural issues who lives and works at Lake Audy, Manitoba. He received his B.Sc. from the University of Manitoba and Masters from Cornell University. His first career was in fisheries management. He later coordinated the sustainable development initiative for the province of Manitoba and was on the Canadian delegation to the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. He was Manitoba's observer on the Board of the International Institute for Sustainable Development. In October 2007 he was appointed to the federal government's National Round Table on the Environment and Economy.