How Environmental Organizations Are Destroying The Environment

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

The Washington Post reports:

During an April visit to the San Francisco home of billionaire and environmental activist Tom Steyer, who created a political action committee in March to target lawmakers supporting the Keystone pipeline, Obama noted that the issue of climate change “is near and dear” to Steyer and his wife, Kat Taylor.

“But — and I mentioned this to Tom and Kat and a few folks right before I came out here — the politics of this are tough,” Obama added, according to a White House transcript. “Because if you haven’t seen a raise in a decade; if your house is still $25,000, $30,000 underwater . . . you may be concerned about the temperature of the planet, but it’s probably not rising to your number one concern. And if people think, well, that’s shortsighted, that’s what happens when you’re struggling to get by.”

I loved Obama’s description of economic trouble, characterizing it as “if your house mortgage is underwater” … around my place, that’s what is affectionately known as a “First World Problem”. But it beautifully illustrates the close relationship between economic want and lack of concern for the environment, even among people with money.

In this post, I will discuss the link between CO2 alarmism and environmental destruction, and how the work of the big environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like Greenpeace and WWF is actively harming the environment.

Let me start with the two most important facts in the discussion about the global environment. First, half the people on the planet live on less than $2 and change per day. That’s why I said having your house mortgage underwater is a “First World Problem”. People living on $2 per day don’t have house mortgages—most of them don’t own houses, or much of anything beyond a few rags of clothing.

Second, only developed countries have ever cleaned up their own environment. Only when a country’s inhabitants are adequately fed and clothed and sheltered from the storms can they afford to think about the environment. And far from cleaning up the environment as wealthy countries can afford to do, people in poor countries are very destructive to the environment. Folks in poor countries will burn every tree if they have to, and you would too if your kids were crying. They will eat every monkey and consume the chimpanzees as the final course, and you would too if your family were starving. They will bemoan the necessity, they don’t like doing it any more than you or I would … but they will do it. Here’s the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic:

haiti and dr

Figure 1. Border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Guess which country contains eco-criminals that can afford to use fossil fuels, and which country contains nature-lovers who are dependent on natural renewable organic biomass for energy …

Now, given that poverty is the greatest threat to the global environment, the inescapable conclusion is that the only way the global environment stands a chance is if poor countries can develop economically.

And that is why the anti-development, pro-expensive energy stance of the large environmental NGOs is one of the great environmental tragedies of our times.

Here’s the chain of causality:

1. Climate alarmists, with the strong support of the major environmental NGOs like Greenpeace and WWF, declared war on CO2.

2. The method that they chose to fight CO2 was to discourage fossil fuel use by making energy more expensive, using a combination of taxation, legislation, international pressure, and expensive subsidies to achieve that end. Obama’s War on Coal, announced today, is just one of hundreds of examples of the wealthy NGOs and the rich governments working to increase the price of energy.

3. Since energy is development, expensive energy keeps poor countries in poverty. When the World Bank denies loans for coal fired plants in India, the poor suffer … but the environment suffers more. Until they can afford to use coal and gas, they’ll run the country on wood … I refer you back to Figure 1 for how well that works out.

4. Expensive energy slows a country’s economic development, and as President Obama pointed out, people worried about money don’t pay attention to the environment.

This ends up in a bizarre position—the actions of the major environmental NGOs are ensuring continued environmental destruction in the developing world.

I learned about the connection between poverty and environmental destruction in part through sad experience. I discussed my conversation with the indigent Costa Rican firewood seller, and how he was cutting his firewood in the National Forest, in my post on the parrotfish. Here’s the story of a longer and sadder interaction with poverty and the environment.

I live surrounded by forest now, as I did when I was a child. I draw strength from it. My stepdad was a logger, as was his father, and I’ve worked in the woods setting choker. I’ve seen good logging, bad logging, and downright criminal logging, and I’ve always been passionate about protecting the forest and about ethical logging practices. Here’s the view of the redwood forest from my deck earlier, still rainy today …

the trees at my house

For a couple years in the late 1980s, I was the Country Director of the Solomon Islands program of a development organization, something along the lines of “Save the Children” but with a more general focus. Among the projects I ran was the “Walkabout Sawmill” program. It was a winner. Instead of giving money for disaster relief after a cyclone, we bought some portable sawmills made next door in Papua New Guinea. We trained some teams of guys to use the sawmills, and sent them around to the villages to mill the trees that had been blown over by the cyclone. The villagers got wood, our guys learned to use the sawmills. Then when the project was over, we sold the sawmills on credit to the teams of guys, so that they could use them to log their own native lands.

Why was I glad to assist them in logging the forest? Because I knew that it was far preferable to the only other option, which was the rapacious Asian logging companies coming in and clear-cutting huge swaths of land. Because of their poverty, the Solomons were selling their patrimony, their incredibly valuable tropical hardwoods, for pennies.

And how did their poverty lead to the loss of their forests? I can give you the answer.

When a country is poor, you can buy anything.

For several years in the late 1980s I lived on a coral atoll near a large volcanic island with the most euphonious name of “Vella Lavella”, in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands. At that time the Solomons had extensive tropical forests full of very valuable hardwood. Overseas logging companies were coming in, paying pennies to the villagers for their logs, paying off the customs inspectors, and shipping away barge after barge of the treasure and the patrimony of the islands, their tropical trees. So I was happy to be able to offer the people the alternative of harvesting and tending their own forest.

So at that time, a Malaysian company made a move to get the rights to log all of Vella Lavella island. Some people said no, but there were some that wanted it. There’s a kind of local island council, with about five “Big Men”, local leaders, who make the decisions. People were passionate about the logging issue, as you might imagine. There was a meeting of the island council, and the logging company made their presentation. The big men, to their credit, voted the logging down.

So the company pulled out their wallets, and bought them off right there on the spot. After the folks had left, they declared the Council back in session, and voted the logging rights to the company. The only problem was, the results of the first meeting had already been entered in the official record.

Of course, it’s the Solomons, and these were local guys untutored in the criminal arts. So they just took some whiteout, and whited out where they had said “No logging”, and wrote the revised vote right over the old one.

When I heard that, I was both amused and outraged. So some of us got the Public Solicitor to take on the case, he was enthusiastic back then, it was before his illness. He ended up catching the disease that a lot of white guys catch in the tropics, it comes in a bottle and makes you feel terrible, but this was before he got sick. So he argued the case brilliantly and got the decision thrown out of court, we all cheered him on and felt like we’d won.

When the court decision was announced, the logging company did the obvious thing—this time they cheated according to the rules. They paid the island councilors off, but this time they paid them before the council meeting, so there was no need to change the official record … I was mondo bummed, as were my local friends.

So that inexpensive purchase of the island councilors, I heard it was ten grand US$ per man, gave the logging company the right to negotiate a contract with the locals if they wanted to sign. One afternoon, some of the young Vella Lavella guys made the trip over to the island where I lived to ask if I would help them. I bought the beers, and we talked about the logging company. They said that they’d been agitating to convince the people to keep the company out and take care of their own forests. But the sentiment among the people was against them. They wanted the easy money, just sit back and let the company do the work.

So they asked me, would I look at the contract and tell them what it was that logging company wanted them to sign? I said sure, and they gave me a copy of the accursed document.

My friends, I’ve seen some sly, crafty ways to cheat and cozen someone with a pen and a piece of paper, but this one fair reeked of sulfur. Inside it, black was white and white black. Outrageous things were proposed as though it would be of benefit to the local folks.

And the logging regulations themselves in the contract were abysmal. A 100-metre setback from streams and watercourses is considered the minimum to protect the waterways from sedimentation. They proposed a 10-metre setback and claimed they were doing it out of concern for the environment. Nor was there any limit to the gradient which they could log. Usually, steep slopes are protected from logging because the erosion and landslides are so damaging … they had no protection for them at all.

Then there were the penalties for felling a tree outside the designated area … ten dollars US per tree. At that time the Solomons hardwood, when milled and dried, was worth about US$1,400 per cubic meter, and some of the trees had three or more cubic metres. That meant if the loggers spied a valuable tree that was not on the land they were allowed to log, they could fell it, pay the locals $10 for it, and sell it for five thousand dollars

But we’re nowhere near done. Then there was the little matter of the price. This, the company said, was the best part of the deal. Elsewhere in the Solomons people were only getting three dollars a cubic metre, but this company, from the goodness of their hearts, was offering no less that $10 per cubic metre …

Then there were the roads. One huge benefit of a properly managed logging operation is that the local people end up with roads connecting the coastal villages with the interior lands.

Or it can be a huge curse, because if the roads are not properly designed and constructed, then they wash out in the tropical rains and the roadways erode into open cuts and the land takes years to recover.

Well, this document pointed all of that out. It talked about the various quality of roads, from the logging roads in the interior all the way up to paved roads along the coast. There were pages of road specifications, and lovely black-and-white pictures of asphalt highways running by tropical beaches, with only one small problem.

The document described the roads, and the places that they planned to use them, and how well made they would be … but nowhere in the whole document did they actually agree to build one single metre of road, paved or not. It was all just a smoke screen, they promised nothing.

So I went over the whole document and marked it up. Then I met up with the guys again, and we went over the whole thing, clause by clause. I’d re-written about two-thirds of the clauses, and I’d worked with my friend the Public Solicitor, and we’d put together a document that would be a good deal for the locals. The loggers would still make out, but like businessmen, not like highway robbers.

It was a long meeting, the guys had lots of questions, and we discussed each and every clause so they knew why I’d made the changes, and what the changes meant to them. After previous discussions with a couple of the guys, we’d also added a section setting up a trust for the majority of the money, so it wouldn’t all get spent on beer and outboards and be gone in six months. They were very much in favor of that, they’d seen money pissed away before.

Then they were ready to meet with the representatives of the loggers. They asked me if I’d come with them to the meeting. I said I couldn’t … another expatriate that I knew had gone mano-a-mano with the loggers a few months before, and within a week his work permit had been pulled, and he had to leave the country. I couldn’t risk losing my work permit, but I said I knew they could do it, they understood the issues.

They asked, could they meet in one of the guest houses that I rented out on the island? I said sure, no problem. They could have the meeting, and spend the night, go back to Vella the next day.

So the big night came for the meeting. Everyone showed up, loggers and islanders. I played the genial host, and left them to discuss the fate of the forest.

And in the morning? They all came out, shamefaced. I took one look, and my heart sank. I asked one of the old guys, one of the big men, what had happened. “Oh, the logger men were very nice! Can you imagine, they gave us a whole case of Black Label whiskey. They explained the contract, and it sounded wonderful, so we signed it” … oh, man, my blood was angrified mightily and I was in grave danger of waxing wroth … but I knew the old man, and he wasn’t a bad guy, just weak. So I curbed my tongue and shook my head, and I said that his sons might approve, but his grand children would wonder why he sold their birthright for pennies … then I went and talked to the young guys. They said they couldn’t stop it, once the big men were drunk they got combative and wouldn’t listen to anyone and they would have signed anything.

At first I was furious with the logging company, for being so sleazy and underhanded as to get them to sign drunk.

Then I thought, “Wait a minute …”. I thought, these Big Men are not American Indians who never tasted firewater in their life. They’ve all been drunk before, probably during that very same week. They know damned well what it does to your judgement. So then I was angry at them.

But then I thought no, they were just weak and overawed by lack of education and experience and money. The logging company sent in educated, smooth, charming guys wearing fine, expensive clothing and flashing lots of gold, big rings, chains. The big men were all dressed alike—shorts and t-shirts, brought in used or factory seconds in bundles from Australia. I realized that rather than get embarrassed by their predictable inability to negotiate with the loggers, they had taken the easy way out and gotten drunk.

Then I was angry at the young guys, for not standing up against the big men … that lasted about long enough to realize that under unbreakable tribal custom, they were expected and forced to defer to their elders, just as they would expect and demand that same deference when they got really, really old … like say fifty … life is short there.

It took a while, but I finally realized that unless and until the poor countries get to where people are adequately fed and clothed and housed, they would always be at the mercy of those kinds of greedy and amoral groups of men that have been with us forever …

And at the end of the day, I realized that I was on a fool’s errand. Oh, I’d fight the fight again, in a minute, but I’d lose again. It’s what happens when big money hits a poor country—the environment gets screwed, whether it’s logging, fishing, or mining. Until the country is wealthy enough to feed its citizens and to protect itself, its resources are always on sale to the lowest bidder … by which I mean the bidder with the lowest morals.

Now, I started this sad tale for a reason, to give substance to the damage that poverty does to the environment. When you can buy an island council for ten grand a man and there are literally millions of dollars at stake, that council will get bought no matter how hard I fight against it. Per capita GDP in the Solomons is about $600 annually, it’s classed as an “LDC”, a Least Developed Country … and in a country where ten thousand dollars is almost twenty years wages, you can buy many people for ten large …

That is one of the main reasons that I’ve spent a reasonable amount of time working overseas trying to alleviate global poverty. I do it for the people first, but I do it for the environment second.

And that is why I feel so personally betrayed by the current mindless push for expensive energy, a push led by the very organizations I’ve supported because back in the day, they actually used to be for the environment, not against it. Raising energy prices is the most regressive taxation I know of. The poorer you are, the harder you are hit by rising energy costs, and the more the poor suffer, the more the environment bears the brunt.

So this is where I came in, explaining about how people fighting against CO2 hurt the environment. Let me repeat the links in the chain:

1. Led in part by the environmental NGOs, many people and governments have declared war on CO2.

2. Their preferred method of warfare is to raise energy prices, through subsidies, bans, taxes, renewable energy requirements, pipeline refusals, and the like.

3. The rise in energy prices both impoverishes the poor and prevents the development of poor countries.

4. As Obama pointed out, even wealthy people with economic worries tend to ignore the environment … so stomping on the development possibilities of poor countries by raising energy prices is a guarantee of years of environmental damage and destruction.

I say that history will not look kindly on those people and organizations who are currently impoverishing the poor and damaging the environment in a futile fight against CO2, even if the perpetrators are wealthy and melanin-deficient and just running over with oodles of good intentions …

My regards to each of you, keep fighting the good fight. I’ve had a rat-free day, and so all’s well with the world,

w.

[UPDATE: For those who would like a bit more information on the connections between poverty and the environment that have lead to the photo shown in Figure 1, in 1960 Haiti and the Dominican Republic had the same per-capita real gross domestic product (GDP), They also had very similar physical conditions, as they share the same island.

By 2012, however, the per-capita GDP in the DR had about grown to about $9,600 per year (PPP) … and the per-capita GDP in Haiti had shrunk to about $1,200, less than it was in 1960. And as a result of the Haitians having almost no money at all, only an eighth of the GDP of the DR, both the people and the environment of Haiti have suffered badly.

As a benchmark for comparison, Norway has a per-capita GDP (PPP) of about $60,000, and the US, about $49,000. At the other end of the scale, the Solomon Islands, classed as one of the “Least Developed Countries” in the UN rankings, is also quite poor. It has a per-capita GDP about twice that of Haiti (and a quarter of that of the DR), at around $2,500. -w.]

UPDATE2: I wanted independent confirmation of the photo in Figure 1, because that could have been just one local patch given the small scale of the photo. So, I decided to check it out on Google Earth. While the entire border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic is not like Figure 1, there are large swaths in the northern part which are, for example:

Haiti_DomRepub_deforestation

– Anthony

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Some mechanism for highlighting to Government and NGOs the discrepancies in the IPCC climate models needs to be created.
Why do skeptics criticisms of discrepancies meet silence? Or do they?

Seconded Willis.
I once stood on the border of North Korea. The South Koreans were thumbing their noses at the North Koreans, by giving massive tax breaks to farmers willing to risk living right on the border, so all the starving North could see were fields full of food.
But the really startling thing about this experience was how desolate the North looked. Most of the forests had been cleared, there were no visible farms, it all looked overgrown, unkempt, with a scattering of bizarre objects, such as a gigantic flagpole, and a “village” of concrete blocks, with painted on windows (you could see the windows were painted on, because in many places the paint had peeled).
No animals either – I suspect anything large enough to see had all been eaten by the NK soldiers.
BTW I’ve changed the splash screen on my Climategate iPhone app, hope you approve… 🙂

Warren in New Zealand

Hi Willis, that would have to be the most cogent explanation of Solomon Island “politics” that I have ever seen
My Advisor and I would spend countless hours discussing how much it would take to get really good people elected, we got it down to SID $7,000, cartons of SolTuna, bags of SolRice etc
All delivered in the week before the election date
The forests on Rennel are now in the gun, my heart broke when that happened, it will not be till the reefs die, from lack of parrot fish, and the land dies from logging, and they have nothing, will they start to wake up
One of the most beautiful places I have ever lived in

intrepid_wanders

I am surprised that Eschenbach and Revkin have not had a tête–à–tête to set up a little chat session like the Revkin/Roberts interview where Roberts clearly through body language and interruptions disagreed with 90% of what Andrew had to say. I am sure that Willis and Andrew could agree on 90% of the topics that matter. Oh, yeah, that tribal religion thingy, Revkin could not survive…
Thanks again Willis, perspective is definitely your expertise.

Chad Wozniak

Willis, you must have read Vaclav Klaus’s and Paul Driessen’s books.
The hubris, effrontery, mean-spiritedness and just plain ignorance of the enviros is breathtaking. You have to wonder how they sleep at night – but then, of course these are people without a conscience as we know it.
The FACT is, renewables other than hydroelectric are both an economic and an environmental disaster. Wind and solar are both actually dirtier than any fossil fuel – they destroy landscapes, habitats and endangered birds, and require more fossil fuel to be burned to keep the grid energized and deliver power, than if there were no wind or solar. But of course they get a pass from that hate group and criminal syndicate known as the EPA. Let a duck drown in an oilwell sump, the fines are in the millions – but kill five California condors and reduce the whooping crane population by half (the toll so far this year), and the enviros get a pass.
Of course it all isn’t about the environment at all, but lust for power and the acting out of hatred of civilization. Funny how der Fuehrer speaks of a better word for our grandchildren, when his object is manifestly to impoverish our grandchildren, to the further enrichment of his crony capitalist buddies. The American dream has always been that the next generation should live better than our own, but der Fuehrer wants it to live worse – much worse.
I wonder how all those poor Africans who have to cook their foot by burning shit (oh, but isn’t that biomass! how environmentally responsible!) think of (1) der Fuehrer’s neat little $100 million vacation and (2) that crowd of eco-imperialist “investors” he’s bringing along to steal the land of poor subsistence farmers for “carbon sinks” (i.e., planting trees and making a killing from selling the lumber).

Chad, you remind me of P.J. O’Rourke’s All the Trouble in the World*, wherein he explained that environmentalism is a luxury good. One of the fellows he mentioned in his tour through central Europe was Vaclav Klaus.
*A work published, I might add, in 1995.

Chewer

Thank you Willis, your accounting is an eye opener.
Obama mentioned “the politics of this are tough”,but I’d say his position regarding the science is even tougher.
When a small group uses a “working hypothesis” instead of empirical evidence (“Scientific Theory”) to undertake a task that effects everyone while bypassing the-laws-of-the-land, then we all suffer.
As you know, the models delivering CAGW results do not incorporate naturally occurring inputs (because they are not all known) and the weighting applied to what they do use render them useless!

The agenda of the NWO wannabes is about human depopulation, environmental fear campaigns are the main selling points… ,

viejecita

Dear Mr Willis Eschenbach
You have done it again.
For people like me, charts full of colored lines are difficult to read and understand, and the huge amount of “culpability propaganda ” in favor of expensive and subsidized energy overwhelms us into silence.
This text of yours is great. Because it tells a tale that anyone can understand. And the photos are there for everyone to see, and to think a little, on his own.
I am going to try and get everyone I know to read this, and am going to begin a translation into Spanish, for the people at home who have trouble understanding English.
Again : Thank You very much
¡¡¡ Bravo y Enhorabuena !!!
Your old admirer from Spain ( one of many, I know )
María

Willis Eschenbach

Chad Wozniak says:
June 25, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Willis, you must have read Vaclav Klaus’s and Paul Driessen’s books.

I heard Klaus speak once, haven’t read him, and have no idea who Driessen is … being self-educated, there are many lacunae in the woodwork.
Also, I don’t read many books about the climate, for a couple of reasons.
One is that I value my beginners mind. I’ve discovered many interesting things about the climate because I haven’t been taught to ignore them. Buddhists call this “beginners mind” and strive to maintain it.
The other is that I simply don’t have time. I have a day job. I continue to pursue my music. Scientific research takes up a huge amount of time. I love to hang with the gorgeous ex-fiancee, and my daughter’s home from school for the summer. I go kayaking whenever I can break free. And of course, tending my blog posts swallows time without end.
As a result, lot’s of good books go unread …
w.

Great Read. Really very interesting

Obama: “Because if you haven’t seen a raise in a decade; if your house is still $25,000, $30,000 underwater . . .
Stands to reason. If your house is already underwater why would you worry about sea level rise in a hundred years time.
I thought it was a slip of the tongue when I first read, but it’s ironically approriate.

Gary Hladik

“I say that history will not look kindly on those people and organizations who are currently impoverishing the poor and damaging the environment in a futile fight against CO2…”
History is written by the victors, as the saying goes. With all the brainwashing of our children going on, “history” may simply attribute the inevitable disasters to insufficient application of these policies.
Excellent essay, Willis.

Peter Miller

It is sad to realise that the greatest threats to our planet’s environment are peasants and the environmental Establishment.
The first out of dire poverty, especially energy poverty.
The second because of the same problem shared by all socialist policies: Because of A, therefore B, but no thought is given to the consequences: Because of B, therefore B, C and D.
In socialist terms, an example would be A – Let’s tax the rich, B – Now we have money to spend on the poor. C – The rich say “To hell with this, I am leaving and no more investments here and I am taking my business with me”. D – Tax base decines, so there is less money for the poor. E – Unemployment rises as investment declines, and E – Unemployment rises as businesses relocate to a lower cost (i.e. tax) country. Socialists fail to realise the rich are almost always smarter than they are.
In envioronmental/greenie terms: A – Let’s build lots of wind and solar energy plants. B – Now, we:are saving the planet. C – The cost of energy goes up and the economy is badly damaged. D – New power sources are unreliable and inefficient, so expensive back up conventional fossil fuel power stations have to be built. E – New power sources are ugly and require much of the planet’s surface to be dug up for power lines; because of high cost and unreliability of energy, businesses relocate elsewhere and poorer consumers start to chop down trees and burn wood for fuel. In addition, the main type of new power source is noisy and known to kill wildlife. Environmentalists fail to realise that most of their efforts to ‘save the planet’ usually result in the exact opposite happening.
Environmentalists and socialists can only think in terms of trying to achieve B, and rarely of C, D and E, the consequences of B.
And there is no one as blinkered and short sighted as someone from a professional environmentalist activist organisation, such as Greenpeace.

Brilliantly put, Willis. You explained that very clearly. If only half the so-called environmentalists of today paid heed to that, we’d be on our way in the right direction. Cheers, mate.

Robert Christopher

WE: “I’ve had a rat-free day”
That is, apart from the tales you have related.
Deferred reward is what all successful countries have been built on. There are not many left.
It is not that different from Blair’s promises and Brown saving the world.
Britain is now waking up to what its grandchildren owe so, it’s world wide problem.

Agnostic

Willis,
I didn’t even have to finish your excellent article before agreeing with it 100%. The big take away point:
“poverty is the greatest threat to the global environment”
I agree completely. I read Matt Ridley’s “The Rational Optimist” recently in which he made the same points very persuasively. I believe this generally was the motivation for FOIA to release the UEA emails. Promote trade and the exchange of ideas, fight corruption, stop bio-fuel production, promote education especially for women, develop GM agriculture – just a few of the very persuasive and substantiated points he made in the book and which you underline here.
I care deeply about the beautiful world in which we live, as well as the humans which are an integral part of it. I don’t agree with arrogant assumption that we are somehow separate from nature and therefore have some moral imperative towards stewardship of it as some well-meaning but over-zealous activists are want to do. We should look after the world because it is in our interests to do so, as our well-being is intrinsically linked to our environment. It’s our well-being that should drive our decisions not a sense of moral duty.

Sad but typical story from Vella Lavella.
Didn’t someone once write “the love of money is the root of all evil” ?

Hoser

America under the rule of Baby Boomers is a mixed tale of selfishness and greed. These people believe they deserve what they have (given to them by the Greatest Generation), and now feel unashamed when they prevent others from having their shot. They use the law to grow their wealth at the expense of many others.
Having a house with a mortgage is false wealth. You don’t really own it. It isn’t yours. They say you do, but you don’t. Many of these smug people are still buying cars with second mortgages, or through a refi. I guess you should enjoy it while it lasts. The Baby Boomers take everything in sight, yet are never satisfied. They still don’t have enough for themselves. Constantly whining (no, I’m not whining – this is venting), and they are getting worse with age.
The only people I have sympathy for are those who never had a shot, and the young who are being told to believe in something that has already been taken away from them, or very few of them will ever have. The young people might be able to get back the Dream, but not as long as they listen to the old con artists like Obama, Bill Ayers, and Hillary. Or the überbureaucrat George W.
Somewhere deep inside young people, they know something is terribly wrong. They are not being educated to do anything useful. It is the result of decades of deliberate educational sabotage from the NEA and people like Professor of Education emeritus William Ayers. Our children are only taught to get along, and not be competitive. Wow, that works in the global economy. English, math, science and other useful subjects are corrupted and children are left almost completely dysfunctional.
The Socialists went after education first. That’s what we need to take back. We need local control over our own curriculum and textbook selection. End teacher tenure. Pay good teachers more.
It should have been easy to keep my house, but after the deliberate wrecking of our economy, it went bye-bye. I made the choice to never go into debt again. Now I only have a few small debts. I repair my old vehicles, paying cash. I live in an apartment, and somebody else maintains the grass and plumbing. I can even save some money now; it doesn’t all go to pay interest.
I’ll never voluntarily submit to Obamacare. I’ll pay cash if I need to visit a doctor. The good news is more doctors understand that concept now. More insurance “solutions” will just make the problems worse. Basic econ: When there is more money chasing a limited supply of goods and services, prices will go up.
The government rigged the medical insurance system to screw the middle class, and force us into single payer. CMS reimbursements were way too low, even to cover most expenses, and that caused healthcare providers to raise nominal fees way beyond what the average person could afford. When Medicare was set up, they knew what would happen, but they also knew the Boomers wanted their freebies. And here we are.
Make them dumb, make them dependent, and then you can do with them whatever you want.
Even if I don’t get sucked into the shredder, I’m not sure the kids will be able to avoid it. As much as you try, they still have heads filled full of mush from school and Hollywood.
The fact is, we are in a struggle for survival, and most people don’t realize it yet. Many are still trying to buy that big house and new cars. They are trying to hang onto the old ways, the old thinking. To make it, we need to build relationships with people. We will have to depend on each other, not bureaucrats. And “we” means all of us. We need to avoid falling into the trap of ethnic divide-and-conquer started once again under Bill Clinton.
We can’t fight, and we can’t just let it all go to pieces. We don’t have to happily follow our Dear Leader Zero. What can we do? At the very least, play dumb and don’t comply. Resist nonviolently. Are they going to arrest us all?
I’m glad I know what America was, and I hope we can bring it back. What we had should be the model for the rest of the world. Willis is right. We need to grow our economies to lift people out of poverty, and use more efficient methods to support them. I believe energy is the key to achieving that goal. Instead, the Left seem hell-bent on making us all suffer equally in third-world conditions. Meanwhile, the wannabe elites imagine themselves sitting in a private Redwoods National Park off limits to us, sipping champagne and eating beluga caviar on crackers.
A society with high per capita energy consumption means more freedom, more wealth, and an ability to do more to protect the environment. You can only afford to clean up the environment when you have substantial wealth above subsistence. We also know better living conditions lowers the birth rate with no coercion.
Some day, we will need to figure out how to maintain an economy based on innovation – that means competition – rather than mere growth. But now our kids don’t understand how to compete. They don’t know how to create, only to experience. And when China rises, we will be just another cheap labor market, learning from them how to do things we invented. And that’s if we are lucky.
It seems the only hope we have is our bloated government will collapse under its own weight. Promises unfulfilled. Fingers of blame pointing in all directions. Let’s just hope the last desperate acts of a failing regime don’t include war. With little manufacturing base left, we wouldn’t stand a chance.
The sad thing is, except for the deliberate steps taken by government seeking ever greater power, the current economic malaise would not be taking place. We should have a booming economy. There is really nothing except self-imposed regulatory restrictions and top-heavy bureaucracy holding us back. This Not-so-great Depression would have been over long ago without the steps taken by our representatives to save us.
We can do better. We need a plan (that’s not the hard part) and the will to follow it through. We need to cut the red tape and tell the black robes and bureaucrats to get out of the way. America can be better than ever. We can inspire the world once again. That is, if we don’t pretend nothing is wrong, or wait for someone else to fix things for us.

Lil Fella from OZ

Thanks Willis down to earth article. Real world.
I have watched all my life as people make decisions (on other people) which don’t directly affect them.
NGOs constantly do this. If you have nothing in your belly or freezing cold or both, then that is the real world, decisions are made to survive. While so many of the NGOs live in Utopia. Watch as food prices go higher and higher in the land of plenty down under. Why? Mainly because of foolish decisions. Where is thy common sense?

Olaf Koenders

As the greenies try desperately to leave coal and oil in the ground with much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I don’t hear much of their wailing when it comes to burning forests for fuel. They used to chain themselves to trees and spike them, but where are they now? Hypocrites and liars the lot of ’em..

Grey Lensman

To date none of those burning Sumatra and bringing South East Asia to its knees have been arrested let alone charged.
But there is good news.
The brave indomitable Indonesian Police have arrested two poor subsistence farmers for burning rubbish, just as they have done for thousands of years.

thingodonta

The person who biuld the forest lodge yesterday is a conservationist, the person who builds it tomorrow is a developer.
Guess one of these is trying to stop the other one from atttaining what they have? Apply this to countries and the developed ones are of course the conservationists.

Allan M

Greg Goodman says:
June 26, 2013 at 1:07 am
Sad but typical story from Vella Lavella.
Didn’t someone once write “the love of money is the root of all evil” ?
St. Paul (1 Timothy 6:10). But a better tranlation is: “the love of money is (at) the root of all kinds of evil.”
Samuel Butler (1835 – 1902) added, “but so is the lack of it.”

Another excellent article by Willis that gets to the root of the problem. The only difference between the Pacific Island headmen and Dem/Rep politicians is that ours have a weakness for campaign contributions and elective office, rather than booze.
Otherwise, same-same. The players have learned to game the system. And our future has been sold out for windmills.

How Environmental Organizations Are Destroying The Environment

Willis, this is one of the most important posts ever posted at WUWT if you ask me. And that photo of the Haiti/DR border is positively brilliant, and is more effective than a hundred charts because it cuts right to the hear of the matter. ( BTW wouldn’t it be poetic justice if the means of destruction of the AGW cult were supplied by Google Maps invented by that trio of Gore-loving environmentalist pretenders ).
This post and that image boils it right down. The essay about the logging negotiations and the inevitable outcome should even be understandable by the neo-Communist left that have infiltrated the environmentalist movement, and who would destroy almost all life if they had their way..
Eco-nuts have really developed an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder about oil and coal, just like children do over certain things. They cannot face the fact that since that first oil well was sunk around 1850 that great improvements to quality of life for humans and all other species have occurred. We drill these tiny little hypodermic needle holes ( and that probably still overstates the scale ) to draw out and recycle fossil fuels RATHER THAN kill and burn everything still alive on the surface. Were it not for this lucky advancement there wouldn’t be a tree, seal, whale or maybe even fish left alive. And every city would be burning because of the sheer amount of fires used for heat and light in every single house and apartment.
We all remember the North/South Korea night shot but your brilliant idea of that border photo takes the gold medal. Perhaps more can be found of other contrasting areas worldwide. We should crowd source this concept because a picture can truly be worth a thousand words!

The X Factor in all this discussion is how the puppet masters want the population of the world to be between 500 & 1,000 million and living in a limited number of super cities so leaving plenty of space for forests and animals (maybe)

cedarhill

The impoverished nations are simply doomed to their poverty – at least for our lifetimes. Consider the UK where, under the spreading screech of the renewabls windmill and the shuttering of power plants, the voters continue the pursuit of freezing in the winter, lowering their per capita income and not only pay more for everything due to high energy costs but give tax money to pay their politicians to manage their path to poverty. Oh, and they’re importing hydro-carbons to run power plants that fix their windmills. And still they debate. They’ve all (Solomons and Britgs) missed the point of the article: energy is life – cheap energy is properity and protection of the environment.

spangled drongo

Thanks Willis for that sad account of paradise lost.
The well reported smoke that is choking Singapore is another sad story of mad greenism gone wrong. The forests of Sumatra are likewise being cleared and burnt for green schemes such as palm oil, bio fuels etc that attract carbon funding and corruption.
Why can’t this so called “sustainable society” see what it is doing?
And why can’t the MSM tell the whole story?

Grey Lensman

Has nobody considered that windmills require land. Rented or purchased. Just how long will it take for those cost to escalate as market theory dictates? Nuff said.

Allan M says:
Greg Goodman says: Didn’t someone once write “the love of money is the root of all evil” ?
St. Paul (1 Timothy 6:10). But a better tranlation is: “the love of money is (at) the root of all kinds of evil.”
Samuel Butler (1835 – 1902) added, “but so is the lack of it.”
Butler’s retorque is to the often misquoted version: “money is the root of all evil”.
It is not money (wealth) itself which is the problem.
Lack of money can be the cause of many problems, however, I don’t think anyone ever said lack of the love of money was a problem.
The loggers and the “Big Men” found thier selfish common interest and sold away heritage of the island for pennies. Reminds me of Thatcher (aka St Margret of Finchley) flogging off UK gas reserves, and highly profitable British Telecom. She offered “everyone” the option to buy £1000 worth of shares at pretty much half price they’d be worth the next day. Now not everyone had £1000 sloshing around but it bought off a sufficient percentage of the population to avoid significant opposition to the policy. Like in the Solomans, the poorest did not even get a cut in the deal.
She did not get anyone drunk or hide it in the fine print. Simple greed and shortsightedness was enough.
Now the economy is screwed and someone else is getting the billions of pounds of profit from what was a national revenue resourse. We gave up our national resources for pennies.
This has little to do with poor countries except that cost of buying people off is lower.

Barry Sheridan

Thanks Willis for another fine article. It is beyond belief that organisations can follow policies that condemn so many to a life of continuing poverty. These people are warped.

Bill Illis

This is one of your best articles Willis.
I think people should spread this around because even the left and the environs will read it. It will hit home to them. They will understand it in the right way. If we want the environmental NGOs to start actually helping the environment rather than hurting it, we have to speak to them where they live – in the heart, not in logic and math and argument – this article does that and will have a real impact.

The Enviro groups and NGOs have no interest in saving the environment. It’s cover used to suck in the unsuspecting. It feels right and people are motivated to help. However those groups real goals are control. They are arms of the authoritarians.
What Willis has written about is no secret to anyone with eyes and half a mind to actually look past the feel good stories we are sold. Energy, cheap energy, raise people out of poverty, helps the environment, helps quality life, health and so much more but we are all told that energy is the enemy.
It is the enemy of authoritarians. Wealthy, healthy people also become better educated, have less need for government handouts and express themselves more freely and fight for what they have more powerfully. Authoritarianism and wealth/energy don’t mix well. One of the reasons I believe we see the US govt pushing hard to make energy in the US as expensive as possible as quickly as politically possible.

johnmarshall

Totally agree.
Malawi wished a loan from the World Bank for the building of coal fired power stations, Malawi has its own coal, but this was refused on environmental grounds. Malawi is still a yet to be developed country.

Otter

If you don’t mind this little interjection, Willis, I would like to suggest that Elizabeth’s Nickson’s book would be a good follow-up to your article.

DaveS

Ah yes, Greg Goodman, the good old BT – that wonderful company that took 3 or 4 weeks to instal a landline and gave you the choice of the bog-standard handset or, for the trendy, a Trimphone. Those spectacles you are wearing must have a pretty dark shade of rose.

cohenite

Great essay, as usual by Willis.
Green philosophy is a blight, a cause of degradation because it’s core principle of reverence for pristine nature works actively against prosperity. As well as being the best for humanity prosperity is also the best for nature as Bjorn Lomborg shows but there comes a point when it has to be said that the interests of humanity diverge from the idea of pristine nature. The idea of pristine nature is terribly elitist and decadent; only a person nurtured by an advanced, unnatural culture could develop a non-utilitarian aesthetic about nature which dominates survival exigencies; how could it be otherwise; if one was living the sustainable life based on natural dictates one would be too busy doing what had to be done to survive to bother about that tree or that koala. This aspect of green ideology is both hypocritical and unrealistic; it is also as good an example of cognitive dissonance as a human could produce.

Robin

In the area od Eastern Ontario in which I live (Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry) the forest cover in 2006 was 32%. To-day it has been reduced to 25%. Woodlots have literally been ripped up to save us from CO2, by planting corn for ethanol. Subsidies and environmental stupidity are prevalent, as solar farms rise where healthy woodlots once stood. Not only do we lose our trees, but the destruction of wildlife habitat and wetlands is equally critical. I really believe that the environmental groups live in green concrete towers

Ryan

The central premise of this post depends on the majority of climate scientists being mistaken. It also depends on a false dichotomy between prosperity and unlimited fossil fuel use. In both cases, the weight of experts in the field(who admittedly have had their beginner’s mind tainted with massive doses of reality) disagrees with your assessment. Does that concern you at all?

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

Obama and his ilk will continue to “fight climate change” while the glaciers are covering the countryside, since it’s a reason to tax to keep bureaucrats well fed and to creatively selectively enrich deserving companies and individuals (aka campaign donors).
At which point local governments will be fining homeowners for failing to keep their sidewalks and driveways free of snow and ice, before discovering they can also make it a crime to not clear it from your property by summer as this negatively impacts entire neighborhoods by reducing property values. Who’d want to buy next door to an encroaching glacier?

Txomin

Thanks for sharing, Willis.

cohenite

“Does that concern you at all?”
Only to the extent that your gullibility worries you.
“weight of experts in the field”
You must be joking; are you talking about Cook’s 97% consensus? The 97 was really his IQ.

Dave L

I can remember being at a higher elevation spot on the central plateau of Madagascar and not being able to see a single tree as far as the eye could see (circa 10-15 miles in every direction). Madagascar was once 85-90% covered in forest. Then when staying in the capital city of Antananarivo, the smog clouds would roll in from the east due to the burning of the rainforest to make charcoal.

Go Home

Ryan, unless you are living comfortably on $2 a day, not dependent on fossil fuels for your creature comforts, I would suggest you completely missed the point of the post and should just STFU.

beng

Don’t show pics like that Willis — some eco-nut’s head will explode.

Stacey

None so blind as those that see.
Well done Sir.

Go Home

Willis,
I appreciate your down to earth writing. Usually very powerful words. Posting on WUWT is fine, but some things need a wider audience (no disrespect to this great website), one that can reach more than those that are hard core skeptics. There is a Yahoo contributor network. My suggestion is to look to posting here and and on Yahoo CN. If the Yahoo article is read/liked enough (not sure how it gets moved up) it will be seen by far more people that are not searching for skeptic type articles. I have seen some contributor articles reach the top 100 yahoo articles, which I glance through every day for interesting articles. I am sure we at WUWT could help get you in that group quite easily. I think it could make a difference. Please consider.
Go Home

Willis, it sounds like you attended one of my lectures.
Environmentalists, in general, are an annoying distraction from the real problems in life, the two most important of which, are poverty (as you said) and IGNORANCE (sorry for shouting). Wealth cures the former, but you don’t get lasting wealth without curing the latter and providing a liberal application of the cheapest energy you can get.
The ‘distractions’ are legion. Rachel Carson started it all by getting just about everything wrong in what she said and implied about DDT: net result tens of millions of deaths. And then one can go on about PCBs, Dioxin, Insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, GM foods etc, ad nauseam, and everything done by the EPA. Most environmentalists are the most closed-minded and ignorant people I know. If you ask them what is the most environmentally destructive problems in any society, they can’t even get the first two right even if you give them 100 guesses. They are, of course, ignorance and poverty. Excellent article.
John K. Sutherland.