Moore ecopragmatism

posted in: Syndicated | 43

Confessions of a Greenpeace founder
New book describes environmental group’s descent into extremism, author’s conversion to reason
By Patrick Moore, Special To The Sun January 7, 2011, Vancouver

The main purpose of my new book is to establish a new approach to environmentalism and to define sustainability as the key to achieving environmental goals. This requires embracing humans as a positive element in evolution rather than viewing us as some kind of mistake. I believe we should celebrate our existence and constantly put our minds toward making the world a better place for people and all  the other species we share it with.

A lot of environmentalists are stuck in the 1970s and continue to promote a strain of leftish romanticism about idyllic rural  village life powered by windmills and solar panels. They idealize poverty, seeing it as a noble way of life, and oppose all  large developments. James Cameron, the multimillionaire producer of the most lucrative movie in history, Avatar, paints his face and joins the disaffected to protest a hydroelectric dam in
the Amazon.
I believe:
– We should be growing more trees and using more wood, not cutting fewer trees and using less wood as Greenpeace and its allies contend. Wood is the most important renewable material and energy resource.
– Those countries that have reserves of potential hydroelectric energy should build the dams required to deliver that energy. There is nothing wrong with creating more lakes in this world.
– Nuclear energy is essential for our future energy supply, especially if we wish to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. It has proven to be clean safe, reliable,  and cost-effective.
– Geothermal heat pumps, which too few people know about, are far more important and cost-effective than either solar panels or wind mills as a source of renewable energy. They should be required in all  new
buildings unless there is a good reason to use some other technology for heating, cooling, and making hot water.
– The most effective way to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels is to encourage the development of technologies that require less or no fossil fuels to operate. Electric cars, heat pumps, nuclear and hydroelectric
energy, and biofuels are the answer,  not cumbersome regulatory systems that stifle economic activity.
– Genetic science, including genetic engineering, will improve nutrition and end malnutrition, improve crop yields, reduce the environmental impact of farming, and make people and the environment healthier.
– Many activist campaigns designed to make us fear useful chemicals are based on misinformation and unwarranted fear.
– Aquaculture, including salmon and shrimp farming, will be one of our most important future sources of healthy food. It will also take pressure off depleted wild fish stocks and will employ millions of people
– There is no cause for alarm about climate change. The climate is always changing. Some of the proposed “solutions” would be far worse than any imaginable consequence of global warming, which will likely be
mostly positive. Cooling is what we should fear.
– Poverty is the worst environmental problem. Wealth and urbanization will stabilize the human population. Agriculture should be mechanized throughout the developing world. Disease and malnutrition can be largely
eliminated by the application of modern technology. Health care, sanitation, literacy and electrification should be provided to everyone.
– No whale or dolphin should be killed or captured anywhere, ever. This is one of my few religious beliefs. They are the only species on earth whose brains are larger than ours and it is impossible to kill or capture
them humanely.

Dr. Patrick Moore is a co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace and chair and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies Ltd. in Vancouver. His new book, Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist, is available at

Update From the comments at Biofortified
Occasionally, stating the obvious can nonetheless be astounding, such as this tidbit from Moore’s article:

“When a majority of people decide they agree with all your reasonable ideas the only way you can remain confrontational and antiestablishment is to adopt ever more extreme positions, eventually abandoning science and logic altogether in favour of zero-tolerance policies.”

Follow David Tribe:

David Tribe is an applied geneticist, teaching graduate/undergrad courses in food science, food safety, biotechnology and microbiology at the University of Melbourne.