By Tom DeWeese
After fighting the radical environmental movement for more than 20 years, I have come to one basic conclusion: the people who understand and care for the environment the least are environmentalists. My experience has shown that the leaders of this once-popular and still powerful force simply use the environment as an excuse to impose a radical, socialist agenda. Meanwhile, the faithful rank and file of the movement believe anything if it is attached to the label “green,” rarely questioning if the statement is true or not.
For example, it is an accepted fact in environmental circles that man is not part of the ecology, only its destroyer. Say the Greens, man’s every action results in damage to the environment and to the plants and animals which are forced to co-exist with him.
Based on that premise, the entire economy of the United States has been transformed to reduce man’s earthbound “footprint,” as human civilization recedes back to that of cave dwellers freezing in the dark. The result is not only a new dark ages for the community of man, but also for the environment.
The anti-human policy says forests must be left alone, never cared for by man. This leaves dead trees to lie on the floor of the forest to rot. Say the environmentalists, this is the natural way. For centuries man has taken care of the forests, clearing out dead wood, improving their ecologic health. No more. The National Forest Service demands that the dead trees stay on the floor, rotting away – in a “natural” habitat.
The fact is, such policy is actually more destructive to the environment. That’s because leaving the dead trees to rot builds up tinder on the floor of the forest. When a forest fire breaks out the fires burn so hot it is nearly impossible to put them out. We’ve all read about how much hotter the fires seem to be today. This is the reason. Moreover, in some cases the floor of the forest is so full of dead and rotting wood that the kindling reaches as high as ten feet, making it nearly impossible for animals to move through it. But that, say the Greens, is the natural, and therefore the right way.
One more thing: the rotting trees bring disease and termites to the other trees, causing more trees to die. In addition, the termites produce about one fourth of the methane that the Greens so fear as a cause of global warming. So, the correct course is clear – clean out the dead trees and make a termite homeless – for the environment. But the Greens refuse to budge to logic.
Environmentalists loath the concept of private property. Only man, they say, can come up with the concept of buying and selling land that is not his. Only man can conceive of fencing in the wilderness. The rest of the natural world lives in harmony, they say, taking only what they need. The idea of ownership of private property is inconceivable to the natural world, say the environmentalists.
Here’s a question I’ve always wanted to ask an environmentalist. Have you ever stuck your hand in a bee hive? If so, do you have any doubt that the bees have a concept of private property, ready to defend it to the death? Other animals move about the land, marking their territory as a warning to others to stay away. Why? Because it’s HIS land. Is there any difference between marking your territory with urine and building fences (other than the obvious sanitary issue)? Bears have territory. Lions have territory. And anyone truly in tune with the environment understands that fact. Only self-appointed environmental experts fail to grasp the massive natural property rights claims that exist throughout the animal world. Apparently, if they can’t see a physical fence as man tends to build, then it doesn’t exist, according to the myopic view of the Greens.
The worst environmental lies come in the policies of endangered species and reintroduction of dangerous predators. For several hundred years our ancestors worked diligently to remove predators from the land so they could live in peace, without fear for their children and live stock. Over the past 20 years, environmentalists have forced government policy to bring back the wolves and Grizzly bears that the ranchers and farmers fought so hard to get rid of. We need to replace the natural environment that man has destroyed, say the Greens. Nature demands it, they claim. Disaster will befall us if we don’t, goes the mantra.
When the people protested, saying the wolves and Grizzles would destroy their lives and lively hood, the Greens said it wasn’t so. Man could live in harmony with these predators, they claimed. In one classic community meeting, when residents expressed their fear of Grizzlies living next door and the possible results that could have on the safety for their children, they were comforted by the local Fish and Wildlife agent who said, just put bells on your children. If there is a “bad” bear out there, the bells will scare them away. Such comforting words caused one wise resident to respond, “seems to me the only way to tell a good bear from a bad bear is if it has bells in its poop.” Such is the lunacy of “going Green.” It has nothing to do with true conservation of the environment.
But the government, following the Green demands, brought in the wolves and the bears. Residents were assured that wolves never attacked humans, instead they stay away from man; that wolves are good for Elk populations; that they only kill what they eat; that man and the wolves will live in a harmonious utopia, right out of a Disney movie.
Say’s the Green’s Public Relations tune: “Our success ensures a future where our children, from coast to coast, Alaska to Mexico, know their wild neighbors — ancient redwoods to long leaf pines, backyard songbirds to elusive wolves — and thrive in the life-giving company they provide.”
But that’s not quite the reality for the folks who actually live in this nightmare. Take a close look at the photos on these pages. This is the reality of growing wolf packs. Pets destroyed. Elk herd being decimated. Since, 2000, wolves have caused 45% of known deaths of radio-collared female elk on the northern range of Montana. Since wolf reintroduction, Elk populations have decreased significantly, from 16,791 in 1995 to 8,335 in 2004. Wolf kills of Elk are double the rate predicted in the Endangered Species Act (ESA). And wolves are not efficient killers, as the Greens claim. Wolves will eat their prey alive, or worse, eat a portion of the animal and leave it to suffer.
Wolves have been sold to the American public as noble animals, wrongly destroyed by humans. In fact, they are treacherous and not to be trusted. They reproduce at a rapid rate, often ten or more pups per litter. They are destroying farms and endangering both domestic and wild life in their path.
In Montana and Idaho, residents are now living in fear of reintroduced, protected, thriving wolf packs. Hunters have reported being surrounded by packs of wolves, cleverly hunted like a scene out of Jurassic Park.
One resident in Idaho reported a pack of wolves sitting in her yard as she walked down her driveway. As she tried to call a neighbor for help, they surrounded her, closing in, almost upon her before help finally arrived. In May, 2007, two Catron County, New Mexico, school children were followed home from the bus stop by three wolves. In December, 2007, at the Glenwood elementary school in New Mexico, a wolf was seen on the playground after multiple reports of the animal being seen in the town. In January, 2008, a wolf kill was found within 70 yards of a school bus stop in Idaho. Yet the wolves are the ones our own government chooses to protect.
It’s another government-funded scheme to make living in your community dangerous, forcing many to leave. Each of these programs is designed to make it just a little harder to live on the land – a little more expensive – a little more hopeless. Of course, the ultimate goal is to remove man from the land, and “rewild” it back to the days before man stepped foot on the soil. Such is the Green dream of utopia.
Finally, there is the great lie hiding in the Green folklore. It’s the near worship of the Native American Indian as the great example of how all humans should live in the environment.
We are told that they lived off the land, taking only what they needed, leaving the range open, respecting every breathing thing, practicing stewardship of it. Of course, it’s not the Native Americans who are perpetrating this lie. They are just another pawn in the Green propaganda machine.
Again, the Green myths ignore reality. I have stood on a great cliff in Helena, Montana where one can clearly see the scars on the opposite wall. These scars were caused by the horns of the buffalo as local tribes ran the entire herd over the cliff in a common hunting practice called a buffalo jump. They killed them all and yet took only what they wanted, leaving much to go to waste. Good stewardship indeed.
Then there is my favorite story of the public meeting in which the government agents were informing the people of the new decision to protect the Spotted Owl. The decision meant that the timber industry was going to be severely damaged, perhaps destroying the town’s ability to survive financially. But this was to be important environmental policy to protect the ecology – just as the Native Americans would do, so went the mantra.
As the people protested, suddenly, one of the community’s Native American residents stood to speak. The government agents, sure they were about to hear some Indian wisdom about natural stewardship of the land, quickly gave him the floor. As all eyes turned to him he announced to the gathering, “in my religion the Spotted Owl is a symbol of evil and I will kill any one that I see.” Oops.
But the Indian myths of perfection march on in the Green movement. Their favorite example of the perfect Indian is that of Chief Seattle. A real Indian chief who lived on the Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest. Take a look in nearly any National Park Service gift shop, or Al Gore’s book, Earth in the Balance, and you will find the great speech given by Chief Seattle in 1854, in which he tells in stirring words how the Indian reveres the land and the white man has no connection to nature.
Says Chief Seattle, “How can you buy and sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. Every part of the Earth is sacred to my people….This shining water that moves the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors… The rivers are our brothers they quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes and feed our children. …The air is precious to the red man, for all things share the same breath… What is man without the beasts? …This we know – the Earth does not belong to man – man belongs to the Earth… we do not understand when the buffalo are slaughtered, the wild horses tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires. Where is the thicket? Gone. Where is the Eagle? Gone. The end of living is the beginning of survival.”
And there you have it. One incredible Indian saying in one speech everything the Green movement advocates. How fortunate for that movement that they have such a role- model to lead us all to the path of Green righteousness. There’s just one problem. Chief Seattle never said a word of this. All of it was written by a movie screenwriter named Ted Perry in 1971, about one hundred years after the chief died.
The Green movement is based on wrong policy, perpetrated by deceit and promoted by myth. Its true purpose is the destruction of modern human society. If you don’t want to end up living in a cave, shivering by the camp fire, or being lunch for a wolf, then stop feeling guilty about your existence and stand up for your own species for a change.
Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence. Go to americanpolicy.org for more information.