The fact is, in the last decade, mainstream environmental groups have been co-opted, again and again, from coast to coast, by wealthy entrpreneurial benefactors with agendas that have nothing to do with the cause for which they appear to be so devoted.
As always, it’s about money. Mainstream environmentalism has become a multi-billion dollar business. For many of the national organizations, their net assets are staggering.
However, they have accumulated this largesse at a price. Often the benefactor is able to leverage his massive donation into a seat on the group’s board of directors and it is there, where policy is set.
As the scientific community continues to warn us that human-caused climate change is pushing our planet toward a catastrophic” tipping point,” mainstream environmentalists insist that we can actually spend our way out of this impending disaster with “green technology.” Why?
Simply because they are funded and in many cases their boards of directors are dominated by America’s most successful capitalists — men and women, entrepreneurs all — worth hundreds of millions, even billions of dollars, whose core beliefs REQUIRE an ever-expanding free-market economy.
Even smaller regional groups, here on the Colorado Plateau, like the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) and the Grand Canyon Trust (GCT) are tapped into the wealthy benefactor pipeline.
And the hypocrisy is almost incomprehensible. In 2007, two of SUWA’s board members had to resign after pleading guilty and going to prison for securities fraud. In its most recent newsletter, the GCT’s executive director wrote, “Public opinion in America today seems divided on the consequences of shifting to an economy featuring green technologies, renewable energy, and restoration of the places that have been damaged during our collective orgy of fossil-fueled development.”
Yet one of the Trust’s most powerful contributors and a board member as well, private equity guru, David Bonderman, is currently overseeing the construction of one of the dirtiest coal-fired power plants in the United States. Somehow this particular “orgy” gets a pass from the Grand Canyon Trust.
In most cases, the conservation movement throws down the gauntlet daily against the exploitation of our lands for the production of energy products. Now it even appears willing to turn a blind eye to the biggest sell-out of public lands since the construction of the transcontinental railroad, as “green companies” scramble to acquire land for “alternative energy” developments. If allowed to proceed, these massive and environmentally destructive projects will transform the American landscape.
And yet, mainstream environmentalism rarely raises a finger to object to the consumption of those energy commodities, however they are created. They cling to the fantasy that we can simply find a more efficient way of maintaining our “American Dream,” It can’t be done.
Admitting that an expanding human population cannot sustain this gluttonous and ultimately disastrous Culture of Consumption is our only hope and they will not say it.
The idea that buying a Prius and using re-usable “green” grocery bags and building 100,000 wind mills can actually save us is worse than a joke...it is a lie. We are deluding ourselves and our “environmental leaders” are the most deluded of them all.
Finally, while the sell-out of environmentalism is the most dramatic and far-reaching environmental story in America today, with tragic global consequences, it is also the most under-reported by the mainstream media. Again...why?
(Jim Stiles is publisher of the “Canyon Country Zephyr -- Planet Earth Edition” now exclusively online. He is also the author of “Brave New West.” Both can be found at www.canyoncountryzephyr.com. Stiles lives in San Juan County and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)