Wednesday, 19 July 2006

Pedersen slams religious environmentalism

NZPA: Fed Farmers chief slams environmentalists
Federated Farmers' president Charlie Pedersen today launched an extraordinary attack on environmentalists. "I say shame on the people who elevate environmentalism to a religious status, shame on you for your arrogance, shame on all of us for allowing the environmentalists' war against the human race to begin, and take hold," Mr Pedersen said yesterday...

Mr Pedersen claimed that environmentalism had taken on a religious status that competed with the formerly common practice of Christian public worship and young folk performing Christian missionary work.

Good on Charlie Pederson for attacking the environmentalists who put trees, rocks, sand dunes, snails and mud puddles ahead of human beings. A shame he later tempered some of his attack on 'Campbell Live' last night. A shame too he still thinks the RMA can be "improved"; and disappointing too he didn't mention how strong property rights protect both human liberty and the natural environment, and demonstrate that environmental values and human values need not be in conflict and show how harmoniously man and nature can co-exist.

But what he did say took some balls. As Liberty Scott says in response to Pedersen's speech:
The key difference between many ecologists and the likes of Pedersen (and myself) is that we don’t believe that preserving nature is, by itself, of inherently greater value than any other activity. After all, New Zealand would be a third world nature park if much of its land hadn’t been cleared for agricultural use. This is not a “pave the world” argument, it is moving from the extremism that says that (to borrow from Monty Python):

every tree is sacred,
every bird is great,
if a dune is built on,
Greens get quite irate.
every bush is wanted,
every swamp is good,
every bug is needed,
in your neighbourhood.
Are there really environmentalists that don't put humans first, I hear you ask, that put bugs, rocks and mud puddles ahead of human beings? Well, yes there are. As you might recall, we had a fairly fierce debate here some months ago about that subject, on the back of a post in which I argued for the importance of an environmental ethic that does put humans first. I later pointed out in an answer to a questioner the many environmentalists at the 'deep ecology' end of the spectrum who support statements such as those of David Graber, a US Parks Service biologist who declared on behalf of whom:
We are not interested in the utility of a particular species, or free-flowing river, or ecosystem to mankind. They have... more value - to me - than another human body, or a billion of them... Until such time as Homo Sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.
Dont't doubt that Graber meant what he said. Don't doubt it -- just read some of those other environmentalists who support that view whom I quoted in that comment. [Scroll down to the post starting "Den, you said..." I promise you it's worth the effort.]

As I say here, I'm sure we can all embrace an "environmentalism ... that...eschews any idea of 'intrinsic values' or deep ecology, and embraces instead the idea of seeking and advancing those environmental values that support and enhance human life." A property-rights based environmentalism is such a beast.

Good reading on this important subject here:
LINKS: Charlie Pedersen: Full text of speech - Scoop
'Hysterical Greens' says Fed Farmers president - Liberty Scott
Quotes from deep ecologists - Comment in post:
Eaten by Absurdity, Not PC (Peter Cresswell) A new environmentalism: Putting humans first - Not PC (Peter Cresswell)

Environment, Ethics, Conservation, Politics-NZ, Objectivism


  1. Why does one have to be "put ahead" of the other at all?

    Humans are of course an evolutionary step forward from nature, but as we are co-dependent on nature for our survival, we include nature.

    Would you agree that;

    A) nature should be respected and harmonised with

    B) that, where possible, we should allow a degree of reserve when choosing which parts of nature we take for ourselves - both for the sake of caution and to improve our resistance to unforseen situations by supporting biodiversity.

    Ecology and environmentalism should then be a no-brainer: reducing toxic emmissions is useful in preserving harmonious ecological systems and promoting biodiversity. And you didn't need to get fundamentalist about the reasons.

  2. Sam....just read the damm links.Every other species on the planet uses and abuses the enviroment as it sees fit due to its nature and the requirements thereof.Just because thet are limited in how much of an impact they can have doesn't change this fact although some species do have a global impact if you look at grazing animals eating areas bare and so forth...

    Im very happy for human beings being "put ahead" of any other species,I don't want to be on level pegging with sharks,disease carring mosquitos and the ebola virus thanks very much!


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