Environmental Groups are Flirting with Extinction

By Keith Kloor | March 7, 2014 2:46 pm

This April 22, Earth Day turns 44. The green movement is not aging well. Like today’s U.S. Republican Party, it has a diversity problem and speaks primarily to a narrow, graying demographic slice of the United States.

In 2009, Francis Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said to the New York Times:

Our groups are not as diverse as we’d like, but every one of the major groups has diversity as a top priority.There’s great commitment to making the environmental movement representative of what the country is.

That’s debatable. Still, if such a commitment doesn’t pan out, environmentalists will surely become an endangered species. As Barry Yeoman wrote in a 2011 article for Audubon magazine:

For the environmental movement to survive, it must cultivate new leaders who mirror the demographics of a nation that’s now 36 percent minority.

In the Audubon piece, Beinecke says:

If we’re going to have a constituency 20 or 30 years from now, or even 10, it’s critical that we be more inclusive. If we fail to do that, the movement will erode–erode in numbers and erode in political weight.

This diminishing of political influence is already well underway, as Nicholas Lemann observed last year in the New Yorker, in large part because the big green groups operating inside the beltway have “concentrated on the inside game, at the expense of efforts at broad-based organizing.”

But even if Big Green did change its tactics and also add more black and brown faces in its ranks, its future would still look bleak. Part of the problem is that some of the long established groups like Audubon have an identity crisis that they can’t shake. Audubon flirted with diversifying its conservation mission in the 2000s, but has recently pulled back from that effort. (Disclosure: I was an editor at Audubon magazine from 2000-2008, where I had a front seat to the organization’s fitful existential crisis.)

Audubon isn’t the only venerable green group struggling to stay relevant. The Nature Conservancy, one of the most successful conservation organizations, does not appear to have a sustainable membership. As Paul Voosen noted in this article:

The average age of a conservancy member is 65. The average age of a new member is 62. Each year, those numbers creep upward. Only 5 percent of the group’s 1 million members are younger than 40. Among the “conservation minded” — basically, Americans who have tried recycling — only 8 percent recognize the group. Inspiration doesn’t cut it anymore. Love of nature is receding. The ’60s aren’t coming back.

This is a hard pill for traditional greens to swallow. Nor do they like it when some suggest that environmentalism’s core philosophy is outdated. Perhaps the latest results from a Pew survey will move greens to focus on their predicament. Pew found that those born after 1980–known as Millennials–are much less likely to identify with environmentalism than other age groups. The Washington Post’s Wonkblog has a nice overview and graphic (below) of the Pew Survey.

Millennial generation least likely to call themselves environmentalists

Are environmental groups on the verge of extinction? Not exactly. But unless they do something to broaden their appeal, their days are numbered as a meaningful presence in American culture and politics.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Audubon, environmentalism, nature
  • Robert Wilson

    I would be interested to see how broad this problem is globally. It is certainly the case in the UK, where the upper echelons of the environmental movement is dominated by privileged white people educated at the top public schools in Britain. (Note to the layman: the British refer to private schools as “public”.)

    And the Millenial point is very true. It’s worth thinking about which young writer or journalist covers the environment. Are there any? Environmentalism is essentially a boring echo chamber. It doesn’t seem to me to be a welcome place for old fashioned intellectuals, writers or journalists. It’s worth considering why there are no public intellectuals involved in the climate debate. Humanity possibly faces an existential crisis with climate change, yet no-one of the ranking of a Steven Pinker or Richard Dawkins has emerged.

    Without new people coming in to shake things up and tell the old style types things they don’t want to hear then nothing will change soon.

    • Thomas Fuller

      I would mention as counterpoint that Freeman Dyson and James Lovelock in my opinion are of equal heft as Steven Pinker and Richard Dawkins. But they hold opinions that are not welcome by the climaterati, so I guess they don’t count.

  • Thomas Fuller

    Have we left the environmentalist movement or did the Movement leave us?

    In the developed world, some of the problems that gave rise to the growth of environmentalism have been successfully addressed–air and water pollution, the prevalence of lead, and the successful demonization of DDT and nuclear power–’fought the fight, the battle won…Hallelujah!’

    But instead of turning their attention to addressing similar problems in the developing world, some of the largest organizations turned their attention to combating global warming. The nebulous nature of this issue clearly did not draw the same level of support, especially from younger people, and their earlier disavowal of nuclear power made it impossible to offer a rational solution.

    I’m writing this from Shanghai, a city that suffers greatly from conventional pollution. Pollution is one of the top public concerns in poll after poll. But I don’t see any of the large environmental agencies here at all, let alone doing the same work as they successfully did in the countries I have lived in before–the US, UK and to a lesser extent in Italy. All I see is generic communications about AGW.

    If they don’t talk to our concerns, how can they expect us to join them?

    • http://BluePlanetAlmanac.com Michael D. Austin

      Mr Fuller, I liked everything you wrote until you got to nuclear power. I should think that the results from Fukushima, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl would convince anyone that no government or corporation will ever be sane enough or have the slightest hint of a conscience to handle such a massively-destructive force as nuclear power. And, even as I write this, there are news articles appearing about the second arrival of Fukushima’s plume on the west coast of the United States. Watch carefully the statistics about cancer and other subtle diseases related to radiation sickness in the next few years for real facts.

      • bobito

        Ummm… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/07/coal-use-germany-nuclear_n_4554166.html

        Getting rid of nuclear is just picking your poison. Nuclear and hydro are a the only viable sources of clean energy for baseline power. Something has to provide power when there is no wind or sun…

        Note, I’m defining “clean energy” as not using coal.

      • Thomas Fuller

        Well, Mr. Austin, we’re fated to disagree on nuclear power. I hope we can agree on other things.

      • Tom Scharf

        Ummmm….I recommend everyone independently fact check this paragraph and decide if this is the type of organization you would like to be a part of.

        Google is your friend.

      • David Skurnick

        I wish we could quickly develop new and cleaner sources of energy. Unfortunately, the available cleaner sources are only capable of replacing a small percentage of the world’s energy needs.

      • Michael Phillips

        “…the second arrival of Fukushima’s water plume on the west coast…”

        Be careful you’re not being duped by the scare-journalism that reported those scary pictures of wave heights and reported them as radiation. You ended that paragraph with something about watching for real facts, right?

        http://kfolta.blogspot.com.es/2014/01/fukushima-radioactivity-making-waves.html

    • http://www.vivalaevolucion.com/ Michael Fons

      I totally agree that the issue of “climate change” / “Global warming” isn’t as attractive to younger people as issues like “clean air” and “clean water”. I would like to see more environmental agencies getting back to their roots rallying support for these “conventional pollution” problems instead of the growing focus on carbon pollution, as I believe it would be more effective in combating global dirty air/dirty water and ultimately climate change.

      • marque2

        Well except the west is pretty much cleaned up. Now they are making up issues about BPA and such which really are not issues. What they really need to do to get pollution further under control is to go to China and India and clean them up.

        Of course there is little money in going after these real polluters. You got to pay for those free vacations in luxury resorts where you can have fun while making a few token speeches about climate change.

        • http://www.vivalaevolucion.com/ Michael Fons

          I wouldn’t go as far as to say the west is pretty much cleaned up, but I do agree China and India are in worse environmental shape. Nevertheless, there are still legit environmental issues in the USA, like agricultural runoff, fracking juice, and flame retardants in our waterways, just to name a few.

          • marque2

            I grant you agricultural runoff – but that has been much improved as farmers have used free market modern technogy to do no till farming and reduce fertilizer and pesticide use.

            The other two are totaly bogus but off repeated by green groups trying to scare people. Really the only way to go is to go to China and make them clean up. They have 100 mile pools with toxic tailings and waste water from rare earth metal mining and processing. Whole towns are dying from it. And we worry about some common chemicals with insignificant and marginally supported “negative effects” cited in a junk science article.

          • http://www.vivalaevolucion.com/ Michael Fons

            I agree that the problems you mentioned are in need of imitate attention, but I don’t believe the science showing the persistence and accumulation of flame retardants in the environment to be junk science. And, while I am not against fracking, I think it should be done in accordance with the Clean Water act. Nevertheless, I do agree with your major point that more attention should be put on the major pollution problems like China’s air quality, and metal mining pollution, etc, and less attention on carbon pollution, as I believe it it more effective at rallying support.

  • aeroguy48

    The young have already been indoctrinated into the ‘green’ movement, so there will be no growth. One day the young might find another cause, that is after they might find a job.

  • JH

    In the 1960s when the green movement took shape, most people expected to make a decent living. They could afford to be green.

    Today that’s not the case. Relatively few people feel certain that they’ll make a good living. The economy is horrible. The environment is a secondary concern at best.

    The big problem facing the Green movement is that its strangling the prosperity that allows it to exist. There is no way out of this conundrum for the Greens.

    • http://BluePlanetAlmanac.com Michael D. Austin

      “The big problem facing the Green movement is that its strangling the prosperity that allows it to exist.” Nope. Completely and fully inaccurate is that observation. *Anyone* always has choices on who they want to work for. To think otherwise is what disaster capitalists would love for you to believe. When people feel their choices are few, they become much more compliant employees and consumers. “Green” economics and politics are driven mainly by cash or an absence of willpower.

      But nature bats last. In 200 years when our great, great, great, great grandchildren look at our massive, toxic legacy of carbon energy, many of them will be very glad that we’re dead before we perpetuated even more damage via anthropogenic Earth change. It would be like if Western doctors still practiced bleeding their patients. It was an ignorant, completely unsupported, destructive approach. The Earth doesn’t care the slightest about politics. It cares about results, and whether or not we resist compassionate, life-affirming change.

      • Rod Herman

        Do you realize that one of the most common genetic diseases is still treated by “bleeding” patients? I agree that we must have the prosperity to protect the environment. Unfortunately, misinformation being pushed by some activist organizations is thwarting technologies that both increase prosperity and help the environment. An example is Bt crops which reduce insecticide use and decrease unwanted effects on beneficial insects and wildlife. Anti-science stances are not helpful.

        • http://BluePlanetAlmanac.com Michael D. Austin

          Bt crops do *not* reduce insecticide use over the long term. Like any other insecticide, insects have changed to become resistant to it. It’s in their nature and I find that axiomatic.

          All one has to do is look around and find the good science that shows the only people benefiting in the short term from GM organisms are massive corporations which will never, ever want to have a conscience.

          The usual suspects like Monsanto, Bayer and Syngenta are in it for cash and are simply selling slick propaganda and heavily-massaged quarterly earnings reports. But anyone is welcome to line their pockets while: crop yields actually decline, insects become inevitably resistant and farmers in India commit suicide over their inability to create subsistence lives because companies like Monsanto are selling them products which completely backfire. America’s said to be a free country.

          • Rod Herman

            You provide a great example of the anti-science constituency (that denies the massive scientific literature which conflicts with your beliefs) which is contributing to the slow demise of activist organizations that pander to this type of individual. Thank you for the classic example!

          • Michael Phillips

            Crazy talk. Corporate conspiracies, Indian farmer suicides, insect resistance to Bt, all in one post. Chemtrails and alien mind control would fit in nicely with your statements. And your citations? If you don’t intend to substantiate any of these wild claims with evidence, may I suggest you are simply not helping this discussion?

      • JH

        “*Anyone* always has choices on who they want to work for.”

        Millions of Americans are trying to raise families on minimum wage because they don’t have a choice.

        “To think otherwise is what disaster capitalists would love for you to believe. “

        I came “to think otherwise” quite on my own, and from a background of environmental sympathies. Put me in the camp with Stuart Brand and other greens that have divorced themselves from the anti-human strain of the environmental movement.

        “even more damage via anthropogenic Earth change.”

        You remind me of a person from NYC that I took hiking in the Adirondacks. We came across an extensive beaver complex, with several levels of lakes and dams bordered by fields of tree stumps and beaver channels. She exclaimed “OMG! The beavers are ruining the environment!!”

      • hyperzombie

        “But nature bats last. In 200 years when our great, great, great, great grandchildren look at our massive, toxic legacy of carbon energy, many of them will be very glad that we’re dead before we perpetuated even more damage via anthropogenic Earth change. It would be like if Western doctors still practiced bleeding their patients. It was an ignorant, completely unsupported, destructive approach. The Earth doesn’t care the slightest about politics. It cares about results, and whether or not we resist compassionate, life-affirming change.”

        It is this kind of crap that is losing you support, people are just tired of all the guilt and Doom mongering. Young people are sick and tired of being guilted every time they enjoy themselves.

      • Tom Scharf

        If you want to know what turns off many potential environmentalists, it is speeches just like this.

  • David Skurnick

    My wife and I have long donated to various environmental groups. We stopped giving to WWF, because of their role in writing misleading IPCC reports. However, I have no idea of the race or gender of the people working for the groups we continue to give to. Changing ethnicities would have no impact on our donation decisions.

    • http://BluePlanetAlmanac.com Michael D. Austin

      Mr Skurnick – might you have a hyperlink or two exemplifying your comment about the WWF. I’d be very interested in seeing them. I had interviewed Tom Lovejoy on my radio show. Tom was supremely knowledgeable and intelligent, and represented one of WWF’s early and most thoughtful voices. He also knows the people at IPCC. So I’m very interested in the real facts underpinning their efforts.

      • David Skurnick

        This is covered in the book, “The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert” by Donna Laframboise. It analyzed an earlier IPCC report (#3 IIRC.) A lot of good science was done by IPCC scientists, but the WWF was particularly influential in producing a Summary for Policymakers that went beyond the science. I can’t link to the book but you can see some mention in various Amazon reviews, such as:

        “the high percentage of IPCC scientist who had been closely associated with and many times employed by the powerful and monied environmental activist groups, such as the World Wildlife Fund, The Environmental Defense Fund, and others”

        “This book is a brilliant expose of how the IPCC doesn’t follow its own guidelines while mandating that everyone else must. It shows how the IPCC is virtually a Science-Free Zone. It reveals the intimate relationship of the WWF and the IPCC almost none of this relationship being based on Science, settled or not.”

        “Many of its “leading scientists” turn out to be activist grad students with Greenpeace of WWF affiliations and no previously published scientific work.”

        “the sheer number of Greenpeace, WWF and other activists that parade through its pages as IPCC authors and high officials. “The best climate science assessment – performed by a slew of Greenpeace activists” – that is not the IPCC is sold to us, is it?”

        The book documents these charges, by checking all the references in the IPCC report and by looking at the backgrounds of all the authors. The quoted reviews are at http://www.amazon.com/Delinquent-Teenager-Mistaken-Worlds-Climate/product-reviews/1466453486/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?showViewpoints=1

        • http://BluePlanetAlmanac.com Michael D. Austin

          Mr Skunick: Thank you. And, “Ouch!” I’ll look into this.

      • Tom Scharf

        Whether true or not, the WWF is the brand name for misleading “grey literature” that got accepted into the IPCC reports.

        The IPCC gave the impression it was all peer reviewed literature, and many were a bit surprised to find out how much was coming from NGO studies. This was a bigger problem for WG2, WG3 than WG1.

        I’d have a hard time qualifying the WWF as anything but an activist organization.

        Just because an NGO said it, doesn’t make it untrue (same with Rush Limbaugh, ha ha), but it does make it suspect.

  • J M

    In Europe there is voter information of the Green parties.
    In Scandinavia, young educated urban women are the core supporters of the Greens.They are usually anti-nuclear, anti-GMO, anti-military, vegetarian, for animal rights and gay rights.
    Typically, Green vote comes from affluent large cities with large numbers of well-educated women. Support is weakest in rural areas.
    I’m not sure about the rest of Europe, there is regional variation on the issues but I think all Green parties promote the above-mentioned issues, with varying degrees.

    • Michael Phillips

      The knee-jerk acceptance of all those issues at once certainly seems part of the Greens’ sphere of influence in western Europe, and sadly so. The requirement to embrace anti-GMO views just because a person wants to support gay rights, for example, makes the Greens much less attractive to a person with a scientific world view.

  • J M

    I should probably also point out that European demographics are different from the US. The share of old people (>65) is rapidly rising. Birth rates are going down. In Scandinavia, Germany and France 15-29 year olds’ share of total population is about 18 %. Voting age young womens’ (18-29) share is probably around 5-8% of the total population in the countries above.
    In the US immigration and high birth rates among certain groups raise the share of young people of the total population.

  • http://BluePlanetAlmanac.com/ Michael D. Austin

    An excellent, short article, Kloor. Thanks. Yes, I absolutely agree that help is needed. In September 2013 my business partner and I stood with one of the co-founders of an early, well-loved enviro group. My partner asked the co-founder what they were doing to bring young’uns into the fold. The problem of a skimpy demographic of lower ages was both known and understood, yet and there was more silence to the reply than we anticipated. There *are* some of us working on the problem. You might be interested in Tim Shields’ TEDxBerkeley presentation, available at http://HardshellLabs.com. I’d surmise any readers of your work will instantly grok our approach.

  • Rod Herman

    I hate to see the Nature Conservancy lumped in with many other extremist organizations. The Nature Conservancy is willing to pay for its conservation efforts with cooperation from volunteer landowners, rather than forcing landowners to comply with imposed restrictions that require landowners to foot the bill for societal benefits. This is a very different model from most other groups. As a landowner who is voluntarily developing wildlife habitat on our land with our own funds, I greatly value native wildlife habitat. but as a landowner, I want to make that decision myself. I hope that the model, on which the Nature Conservancy is built, is sustainable. Disclaimer: I have never received funding from the Nature Conservancy.

    • mem_somerville

      Yeah, agree on Nature Conservancy. They are considered heretics on a number of fronts, which is probably why I like them. And I remember Peter Kareiva (their chief scientist) talking about how kids see enviros:

      Teenagers, when asked whom they pictured as a “conservationist,” described a blond woman who was “preachy” and “not much fun.”

      Last week I attended the monthly meeting of our local watershed association. It was on a college campus. I think the average age in the room must have been 55. The only youngster there was a guy at the end of a physics PhD program, late 20s. Then a big jump to AARP-eligible folks.

      I’ve done the local trash clean-ups. The invasive plant removal. They are not full of eager youngsters. I don’t know what’s keeping them from turning out, but they aren’t showing up. Too busy at the farmer’s market and making their kale chips, I guess.

      • Rod Herman

        My hypothesis is that the younger folks today are far more aware of how to sift through propaganda and find facts due to their familiarity with the web. If not, they could never figure anything out. This may make them much more skeptical of those that profess to be environmentalists giving the whole movement a bad name.

        • mem_somerville

          I wonder–are they finding good information, or are they just dismissing it all? I really don’t know, honestly. They’ve come along when faith in pretty much everything has been undermined. Churches, government, corporations–and sadly even science–is all a racket from their perspective.

          Sometimes I also wonder if the über-doom makes everything so bleak that nothing is worth doing. It’s too big, too far gone. And if they have any energy left after the crushing amounts of student debt and crappy unpaid internships.

          I really feel bad for them, actually. I think things are stacked against them in a number of ways.

          • Rod Herman
          • mem_somerville

            Ha! I hadn’t read that, but that fits the theory I pulled out of my a&& about govt, religion, and this all being part of a set. Enviros shouldn’t take this personally. (That said, I’m not sure I’d be entirely sorry if some organizations went the way of the dodo.)

            But I guess I’m wrong on them curled up in a fetal position, unable to bother. Their optimism is high it says. Why isn’t that translating to organizations? Or maybe it’s because of that optimism the doom is a bad fit. Hmm.

          • Rod Herman

            I think they will form pro-environmental organizations, rather than anti-technology organizations.

          • mem_somerville

            This morning I turned to my Boston Globe to find they are “wary” of the stock market. http://b.globe.com/1lKgo4c

            The survey also found high levels of mistrust among millennials for financial institutions and a greater reliance on the Internet, social media, and personal networks for financial advice.

            They don’t seem to trust anything that has a whiff of “institution”. Seems a theme.

            But that should translate to more local action, with people they can see in their neighborhoods. I’m not seeing that here.

      • marque2

        I used to like Nature uconservancy but I have issues with them as well. First off they exaggerate the importance of their purchases and play on people being gullible about nature – such as when they asked me to donate to save the last of California’s oak groves. Oaks grow like weeds all over California. They leaves don’t look like traditional eastern oaks so folks assume NC is right.

        Second – is it really good policy to lock up this land from being used by people. I am not sure I would agree that is the best use of land.

        Finally – the only reason they can get away with locking up land forever is that they are non profit and don’t pay taxes on the land. The effect is states and towns loose out on the taxes and end up subsidizing the NG land because services like fire protection and road access still need to be provided.

        But after saying all that – I think NC is the best of a bad bunch that almost all lost their way.

  • dljvjbsl

    I wonder if the “denier” and “anti-science” label has something to do with the public’s aversion to environmentalism. Question any of the environmental movement’s memes and one is denounced as “anti-science”. Roger Pielke Jr. had the temerity to inform the US congress of the IPCC consensus finding on extreme weather and is denounced as a “denier” for the trouble. Sometimes to be in favor of the “science” behind environmentalism one has to ignore science.

  • Tom Scharf

    I don’t know that the age distinction is that important, it’s probably more reflective of people’s priorities as they get older.

    What I think would help is being a bit of a more kinder gentler organization. Does the phrase “angry sanctimonious green” seem fitting to anyone? The Eco-Warrior meme has about run its course and has gotten tiring. For God’s sake, is there anyone out there with a sense of humor? There are way too many VSP’s keeping the tribes in line (very serious people).

    Also (and you knew this was coming) give the climate change mantra a rest. Who wants to hang out with the gloom and doomers all day long? Is this the one and only cause they support? It sure seems so. Do the world a favor and start worrying about China’s air pollution or some other worthy cause.

    And just like on queue, Keith shows that the movement is only welcome to Democrats unless you want to put up with these type of pot shots all day long. That sounds like fun. Funny that diversification efforts would not include Republicans, who are the enemy as we all know. It’s going to be hard to do anything except through the EPA when you intentionally alienate the people you want votes from on regular and continuing basis. This is simply foolhardy and pointless.

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Keith Kloor

      Tom,
      There is no denying the (odd) parallels between the Republican Party and environmentalism–in terms of their narrow appeal to aging white people.

      The GOP may pick up seats in the mid-terms this year, but it is destined to lose the presidency again and again, unless it broadens its appeal. See this recent story for, example:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/08/us/politics/for-republicans-a-hard-line-on-immigration-comes-at-a-cost.html?_r=0

      • Tom Scharf

        There is no doubt that the “right is mostly white”, ha ha. You can reverse this and ask why the left has problems attracting white people.

        Democrats Try Wooing Ones Who Got Away: White Men
        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/03/us/politics/democrats-try-wooing-ones-who-got-away-white-men.html

        This is the inevitable result of successful identity politics.

        It wasn’t but just a few years ago that the left was crowing about a permanent Democrat majority, which didn’t quite pan out. You can examine the governorships and majority holdings by the right in state governments and conclude the death of the Republicans is a bit of an exaggeration. When either party puts up a weak candidate (Romney, Kerry) they can lose in spite of favorable headwinds.

        There are many on the left who believe that demography is destiny. I doubt it. Both parties will adjust their tactics as society changes around them.

        One trend is clear, once either party attains power and is forced to govern, then their popularity sinks immediately. Hope and change?

        Will be interesting to see how Blasio works out in NYC. Activists don’t always make good managers.

        • JH

          “Will be interesting to see how Blasio works out in NYC.”

          He’s already a disaster.

        • Buddy199

          Ask the poor, minority parents of the poor, minority charter school kids.

          • JH

            We can’t have charter schools that work. Gotta get a handle on that before those poor people get uppity.

      • JH

        The parallels between the Greens and the Republicans simply show that both groups are wildly out of touch with the bulk of the population. That’s not surprising since both Congress’ and the President’s approval ratings are at all-time lows.

        Demographics are fine, but a wide margin of the population supports Keystone, a Republican position. A wide margin of the population views environmental issues as not very important, another factor that favors Republicans.

        The “Demographics = Destiny” view is a model with mistaken assumptions. One charismatic Repub candidate could flip the D=D model on its head in a heartbeat.

      • Buddy199

        Keith,

        The ONLY reason Obama was re-elected was because he lied through his teeth about Obamacare. If voters knew in 2012 what they know now he would have been thrown out on his rear, along with the swing state democrats who voted for it. Winning elections based on pure, bald-faced subterfuge followed up by monumental administrative incompetence is no long term strategy either, no matter how much you preen about diversity.

  • CarbonFooledYa

    Why do environmentalists still celebrate Lenin’s birthday as Earth Day? Wikipedia explains it’s just a coincidence, well that’s a relief. One might think environmentalism was just about Socialism. Oh wait, it is:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/06/not-even-climate-change-will-kill-off-capitalism

  • http://orach24463.wordpress.com/ CJ

    The “historic fact: it has been much warmer and much colder than today on Earth. And during some of those periods, there has been TEN TIMES HIGHER CO2 than today! That means managing CO2 will do NOTHING to warm or cool the planet.

    These two facts – scientifically based and not seriously challenged in terms of what happened in Earth’s geologic past – obliterate the entire argument about Global Warming induced by us meager humans via our CO2 emmisions. Ergo CO2 induced Climate Change Theory is “Vaporized as a logical conclusion.” for Climate Change
    http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/20271

    The US has vast fossil fuel reserves on Federal Land that, if developed, would make the US energy independent, spur the economy and create millions of jobs.

    Given the fact the historical record (which completely negates the CO2 Catastrophic Climate Change Theory) and the drums of war beating around the world it borders on insanity not to go forward with developing these resources.

    Moreover, so called renewable energy is destructive to our environment
    http://youtu.be/RnbaIF6gJY0

    Provides Zero Power for Trillions that go into the pockets of crony green capitalists
    http://shar.es/Rq9is

    and high cost which harms the poor the most.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/15/james-hansens-policies-are-shafting-the-poor/

    So given all of the above reasons to go forward with fossil fuel development why are green activists so dead set against doing what would be in America’s and the Worlds best self interests? Why do they want energy costs to “skyrocket” that will hurt the pocket book of the poor and middle class the most? Is it mainly about white rich elitist like Tom Styer (a big Democrat contributor), Tim Cook and other Hollywood elites like Jared Leto who contribute loads of money to the Democrats or are the Democrats essentially against “uppity” peasants who want a better life? http://www.martindurkin.com/bl

  • jaxbeachfl

    Environmentalist benefactors are generally rich, white, elitists whose agenda creates a war on the poor; anti-job, pro high energy prices. Good riddance.

  • cwon1

    It’s always curious who actually meets the closed minded sterotype of never wanting anything to change, liberals like “environmentalists” or conservatives the media always defames as such?

    The modern left is stuck in any number of orthodox religious political views; Green, Keynes, WW2 central planning etc. etc. Since it was never based on logic or reason there is little to keep it going.

  • Gus

    The “Greens” are a fascist, racist movement of well-to-do, contemptuous of working class and developing nations. Their sentiment for “Nature” always comes at a high cost to ordinary people who end up with the rough end of the stick, with no jobs, no opportunities and no money, relegated to servitude if they’re lucky enough to be tolerated at all.

    • Michael Phillips

      I agree many of their ideas are illogical, but fascist and racist? Shouldn’t we save those terms for when people really are guilty of such things?

  • http://www.vivalaevolucion.com/ Michael Fons

    Maybe it would be a good idea to start teaching environmental studies to grade school students, as that may get more young kids interested in environmental issues.

    By the way, the mention of Audubon reminded me of the Scotts recall of bird-seed a couple years ago, which was contaminated with bird-killing pesticides. For anyone who didn’t heard about it, Scotts-Miracle Gro plead guilty to knowingly selling the contaminated bird seed. I was surprised that I didn’t hear more of a fuss about it in the news at the time.

  • katewerk

    Most stopped being environmental groups a long time ago and are little more than another elitist wing of the political left, trading in moral superiority and in bed wtih rentseeking corporate cronies.

  • s_c_f

    It’s massive frauds like so-called “climate change” and the not-so-disappearing polar bears that are causing the problem.

  • MikeSr

    The problem is not an environmental group problem is isolation. Mind you the control of vested interests in all groups leads to over reach and the desire to reach for taxpayer funding instead of the much harder work of gathering members and fundraising and the environmental activity is well down this road.
    It is however a problem for all organizations which started as volunteer supported groups and became subverted by reaching into the political arena to expand their influence. Just check with any of the organizations which provide guidance to youth or check the average age of the people helping the aged or infirm.
    One additional comment is the drive by smear about the Republicans in the opening sentence. I am a Canadian and not affiliated with any political party in Canada or the U.S.A., However I do recognize the dissension in the Republican Party for the good it represents.
    Canada experienced a similar situation during the 1990′s as a dedicated group effectively eliminated the vested leadership interests of the conservative oriented voting public. This change from having two political brokerage parties using taxpayer money, the long standing Liberal Party and the copycat Progressive-Conservative Party, to only the longstanding Liberal Party.
    Changing the dynamics of Canadian politics to only one brokerage party opened the window on corruption and the Liberals were voted out of power. Hopefully the changes underway to eliminate the vested interest leadership of the Republican Party will provide an opportunity to expose the corruption of both parties and the least corrupt will emerge. Cheers’

  • mikekelley10

    “Our groups are not as diverse as we’d like, but every one of the major groups has diversity as a top priority.There’s great commitment to making the environmental movement representative of what the country is.”

    Oh please. The only way the Sierra Clubbers will “increase diversity” is if they start sharing their trust funds with minorities. As if.

  • antimarx

    When the environmental community went “all in” on the global warming scam they sealed their (well deserved) fate. The group(s) that are bold enough to renounce the scam and once again seize the moral high ground focusing on real issues like actual pollution and clean water…etc. will survive and prosper. The rest will become a well deserved punchline (and a warning) for generations to come.

  • John

    Its the crooked studies, the dishonesty.. The 1960s are long gone and these old fossils have no fuel left in them.. So its balls to the walls BS while there is still time.. I for one will be glad when they are all dead and gone so we can bring environmentalism back down to earth and really protect the environment..

  • alpha2actual

    It is a misconception that the Environmental Movement is benign, well intentioned, and monolithic– it is not. In reality the movement is extremely factionalized and schizophrenic. Unfortunately the legitimate players are the Rent Seekers, Grant Chasers, and Politicans pandering to a constituency, the Green Lobby.

    The True Believers are the Transnational Progressives, Luddites, Malthusians, Narcissistic Xenophobes, Gaia cultists, Margaret Sanger Eugenics disciples, Eco Socialists, and Pathological Altruists to name but a few. Review your “Silent Spring” and the attending banning and restrictions on the use of DDT. The carnage visited on the inhabitants of the Sub Sahara, South America, and Asia is unconscionable. Read Erlich’s “Population Bomb” and the Club of Rome literature “carrying capacity” is code for disdain of inhabitants of Third World countries.. Science is intended to drive policy not the other way around. Policy driven Science misallocates capital but more importantly takes lives.

    These modern environmentalists, and I’m including the Global Warming Alarmists, are immoral and inhuman and have racked up a body count that surpasses 80 million and counting, 80% children under five and pregnant women. The 40% US corn production diverted to the Ethanol boondoggle price increase effect on the global market has moved 20 to 30 million inhabitants of developing countries from food insecurity to starvation.

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Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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