Environmentalists Are The Main Cause Of What David Suzuki Claims Is The Failure Of Environmentalism by Tim Ball

The cover story for the November 25, 2013 Canadian weekly Macleans showed Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki with the caption “Environmentalism Has Failed” subtitled, “David Suzuki loses faith in the cause of his lifetime.” What he doesn’t realize is that he is likely the main reason for the failure because people like him exploited the concept for a political agenda. He also doesn’t realize it is not a failure, but simply a natural step in the evolution of understanding by the most successful animal on the planet. His misunderstanding is a function of believing we are not supposed to be here and certainly not doing what we are doing.

Environmentalism was a paradigm shift, which Thomas Kuhn defines as “a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.” They infrequently occur in all societies and usually bring about necessary changes. Environmentalism was a necessary new paradigm. Everybody accepts the general notion that it is foolish to dirty your own nest and most were prepared to participate. However, most, as is always the case, were not sure what it entailed or how far it should go. Besides, people are leery of change because they know there are winners and losers, and they might be the losers.

As happens with all paradigms a few extremists grab the idea and use it for their agendas, usually political, financial or both. Environmental groups grabbed the concept of environmentalism and quickly took the moral high ground preaching that only they cared about the Earth. Worse, it took on a religious fervor as young people were drifting morally, and society abandoned traditional religions.

Gaia was the new goddess. It was a perfect fit as her description explains.
“The Greeks believed she was the personification of the Earth and one of the Greek primordial deities. Gaia was the great mother of all: the primal Greek Mother Goddess; creator and giver of birth to the Earth and all the Universe.”

The perfect candidate, feminine, green, planet saving, while encompassing all the myths of primitivism, she provided a morality by which the young could live. The problem is it incorporates the myth that things were better for humans in the past. Now the limitations of the new paradigm are being experienced, and people are becoming aware. Proponents don’t see that the ideas contradict the basic theory that underpins their faith in Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory, survival of the fittest. Now people are starting to ask questions as things are not as they predicted. Suzuki sees this as a failure, but it is the natural evolution of any paradigm.

Consider feminism, the other great new paradigm of the 20th century. It was an essential shift to a fairer and more equal society. A few grabbed the idea for their agendas, while the majority of women were unsure of the impact and how far it should go. Gradually it started to take hold and two things happened. A few resisted vehemently, simply being totally opposed to change. The few who exploited the idea saw their advantage for political, financial and social gain slipping away. As a result both groups became extreme and in doing so defined the limits of the paradigm for the majority.

I had long struggled with explaining the role of extremists, now I know it is to define the limits of new paradigms. For example, attempts at elimination of the brassiere became a symbol for female entrapment, but the majority of women preferred the comfort, security, control and health benefits they provide. They also realized that if you choose not to wear one that is your choice. What they object to is the proselytizing that extremists bring to any religion. You must do what I say, think like I do, and if you are not with me you must be against me.

What Suzuki doesn’t realize is that he and fellow extremists awoke people to the limits of environmentalism by their extremism. If you don’t think it has reached extreme levels, consider these quotes from environmentalists. They put any plant or animal ahead of any human activity or need. This occurs despite their belief in Darwin’s evolutionary idea of survival of the fittest. Somehow that doesn’t apply to humans.

Extreme environmentalists profess an anti-humanity, and anti-evolution philosophy that is hard to grasp. They believe humans are an aberration as Ron Arnold, Executive Vice-President of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise explains. “Environmentalism intends to transform government, economy, and society in order to liberate nature from human exploitation.” David Graber, a research biologist with the National Park Service claims Darwin’s evolution theory doesn’t apply to humans. “Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. I know social scientists who remind me that people are part of nature, but it isn’t true. Somewhere along the line – at about a billion years ago – we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth. It is cosmically unlikely that the developed world will choose to end its orgy of fossil energy consumption, and the Third World its suicidal consumption of landscape. Until such time as Homo Sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.”

Suzuki added to these views when he wrote; Economics is a very species–chauvinistic idea. No other species on earth – and there may be 30 million of them – has had the nerve to put forth a concept called economics, in which one species, us, declares the right to put value on everything else on earth, in the living and non-living world. He is wrong because there are millions more than 30 million. Also, all animals put a value on everything, “Can I eat it or not” doesn’t get more basic than that. The very statement disproves his argument. No other species could think it or write it.

The good news is that thanks to the illogic and extremism of those like Suzuki people are starting to understand and question what is going. They realize as did the majority of women that feminism was good thing, but there is a point at which you lose more than you gain. Environmentalism has reached that point, and Suzuki doesn’t like it. He is losing the bully pulpit of the moral high ground from which he could berate people, claiming that only he cared about the planet and the future of our children. People are less suppressed and intimated by the religious fanaticism of the Eco-bullies.

As always occurs the good parts of the new paradigm, that is those that are necessary, benefit society, and work, is being defined. The extreme environmentalists bewail the situation as they interpret the loss of power and persuasion as a failure. I could thank Suzuki for his extremism, but too many people lost their jobs, their land and control of their lives as he persuaded politicians. Consider his role in the election and energy plans of the Ontario government under McGuinty. These political actions forced his resignation from his Foundation. It is just one more step in the evolution of practicality and improvement of the human condition. Thank God.