Environmentalist’s War On Poor People

The site WUWT has a posting by Willard Eschenbach titled “How Environmental Organizations Are Destroying The Environment”.  Eschenbach relates some of his experiences living on the volcanic island of Vella Lovella in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands where he worked with the islanders to save their natural resources.

He says this:

Let me start with the two most important facts in the discussion about the global environment. First, half the people on the planet live on less than $2 and change per day.   People living on $2 per day don’t have house mortgages—most of them don’t own houses, or much of anything beyond a few rags of clothing.

Second, only developed countries have ever cleaned up their own environment. Only when a country’s inhabitants are adequately fed and clothed and sheltered from the storms can they afford to think about the environment. And far from cleaning up the environment as wealthy countries can afford to do, people in poor countries are very destructive to the environment. Folks in poor countries will burn every tree if they have to, and you would too if your kids were crying. They will eat every monkey and consume the chimpanzees as the final course, and you would too if your family were starving. They will bemoan the necessity, they don’t like doing it any more than you or I would … but they will do it.

Here’s the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic:


Figure 1. Border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Guess which country contains eco-criminals that can afford to use fossil fuels, and which country contains nature-lovers who are dependent on natural renewable organic biomass for energy …

Now, given that poverty is the greatest threat to the global environment, the inescapable conclusion is that the only way the global environment stands a chance is if poor countries can develop economically.

And that is why the anti-development, pro-expensive energy stance of the large environmental NGOs is one of the great environmental tragedies of our times.

Here’s the chain of causality:

1. Climate alarmists, with the strong support of the major environmental NGOs like Greenpeace and WWF, declared war on CO2.

2. The method that they chose to fight CO2 was to discourage fossil fuel use by making energy more expensive, using a combination of taxation, legislation, international pressure, and expensive subsidies to achieve that end. Obama’s War on Coal, announced today, is just one of hundreds of examples of the wealthy NGOs and the rich governments working to increase the price of energy.

3. Since energy is development, expensive energy keeps poor countries in poverty. When the World Bank denies loans for coal fired plants in India, the poor suffer … but the environment suffers more. Until they can afford to use coal and gas, they’ll run the country on wood … I refer you back to Figure 1 for how well that works out.

4. Expensive energy slows a country’s economic development, and as President Obama pointed out, people worried about money don’t pay attention to the environment.

This ends up in a bizarre position—the actions of the major environmental NGOs are ensuring continued environmental destruction in the developing world.

In his posting, he tells of some of his experiences trying to save the native forests.

I like just about anything that Eschenbach writes and I suggest you read the entire posting which can be accessed by clicking on the title in first sentence in this posting.


3 responses to “Environmentalist’s War On Poor People

  1. good analogy, it is easy to be enviromentalist when your wealthy and live in a wealthy country but try to be so when your starving and can’t even afford a place to sleep let alone medical care or education or even having any kind of equity or capital to invest to even build wealth. when these nature lovers move to places like africa to save animals maybe they should spend the time and money on helping those people develope wealth instead nad let them take care of their own animals/plants/water/air they don’t like pollution any more then anyone else somehow some people become self rightous or something and think those in poverty are selfish or something, and think they just don’t care when in fact they care more than the enviromentalists.

  2. Almost all environmental groups advocate for equality and helping other countries through the demographic transition. Also, most environmentalists advocate for halting population growth (and some such as myself advocate for a reversal) in order to ensure better living standards across the board. Groups pick and choose their battles. Saying it’s a war on poor people is ignorant.

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