Debatable Environmental Issues

Those who hate environmentalism try, in the spirit of throwing everything they can at it, to associate it with violent tendencies. These attempts are generally desperate. For example, a persistent fable, spread across hundreds of climate change denial sites, is that I would like to drown the executives of the airline companies.

in 2006:

"There was one proposal in Sir Rod Eddington's report to the Treasury with which, when I first read it, I wholeheartedly agreed. He insists that "the transport sector, including aviation, should meet its full environmental costs". Quite right too: every time someone dies as a result of floods in Bangladesh, an airline executive should be dragged out of his office and drowned. Reading on, I realised that this is not exactly what he had in mind."

As anyone who isn't being wilfully stupid can see, this comment was ironic. My point, as I went on to explain, is that the costs of global warming are not simply financial, and that spending money doesn't buy back human lives. My article was prompted by a concern for human life, rather than a desire to end it.

But the opposition is so short of genuine examples of greens advocating violence that this is repeatedly cited as evidence that we're advocating mass murder. It plays well because it reinforces another story: that environmentalists are anti-human - they love the natural world and hate the people who infest it.

There are a few like that, but only a few. The great majority of greens are powerfully motivated by a concern for social justice, and recognise that if we don't defend our life-support systems, humanity will suffer grievously. It seems to me that it's the other side, which refuses to recognise that humans need certain resources and that those resources need to be sustained, which is anti-human. Its philosophy presents a far greater threat to people than anything the greens advocate.

But the most obvious example of the inhumanity of many anti-environmentalists is their willingness to advocate violence in support of their cause. While they desperately scramble for genuine examples of the greens' murderous tendencies, theirs are displayed on a daily basis. I'm painfully aware of this, as scarcely a month goes by in which I don't receive a death threat.

I've never taken them seriously. Most appear to come from the other side of the Atlantic and generally involve hastening my demise by inserting some oversized hardware into a secluded part of my anatomy. Why this should be I don't know, but psychologists would probably find it interesting.

But now I do have a concern. This is partly because the threats originate in the UK, and partly because they are linked to a series of public events I'm running, where I will be engaging freely with the audience.

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