Take a look at this classical example of green myopia re. sprawl:
The first sentence in the second paragraph says it all:
"Sprawl results from poorly planned, low-density, automobile dependent development that
threatens environmental health and quality of life through habitat loss and increased pollution."
One wonders, if a neutron bomb was dropped over every American city, killing all human inhabitants but leaving all physical structures (buildings, houses and roads etc) intact, would there be any sprawl? Apparently there would be, without proper planning. Put another way, have the growing number of people anything to do with the construction of more homes and the operation of more automobiles? To the average soft-green environmentalist, I guess not.
Under the heading "Causes of sprawl", the author fails to give even a passing reference to population growth The fact that America has added more 96 million people to its population since Nixon left office apparently has absolutely nothing to do with the loss of farmland, wetland and wilderness areas to housing development. The cure for sprawl is not stopping growth but channelling it. Compressing more and more people behind tighter and tighter boundaries. Bruce Cox of Greenpeace Canada articulates the green party line well. "Urban sprawl is little to do with population as it is to the fact that we are building a car economy, we're building highways and we're deciding to forego really good density." (TVO, May 5/08) To save the planet we have to corral people into big cities. Cities that rely on fossil fuel to import their food and export their waste products. Cities where highrise dwellers use more than twice the energy that rural residents do. Cities that, according to the former Chairman of the Vancouver Planning Commission, architect and planner Rick Belfour, will not able to be fed or energized in our imminent post-carbon future. The author continues:
"Smart growth is a way for environmental organizations to take a strategic and
proactive approach to conserve land, as every urban infill or brownfield redevelopment project
saves another greenfield". Notice the roll call of environmental NGOs who subscribe to the smart growth palliative:
Defenders of Wildlife (DOW), Environmental Defense (ED), National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Sierra Club (SC), Trust for Public Land (TPL), American Rivers (AR), the National Audubon Society (NAS), the Nature Conservancy (TNC), Friends of the Earth (FOE), and the Wilderness Society (TWS).
Now guess what? These are some of the very environmental organizations that receive corporate funding, funding from institutions who profit from growth, whose very purpose is fostering growth. (See Christine MacDonald's "Green Inc") .Get the picture?
Several questions come to mind:
Why don't the supporters of these environmental organizations do their homework and read the financial reports of their beloved green crusaders?
Why don't they connect the dots? When a commercial enterprise gives you money for nothing, prudent recipients would suspect that in fact, it is money for something. They would ask the $64,000 question, "What do these corporate donors want in return?" What did David Gelbaum want of the Sierra Club for his $100 million donaton? What does the Royal Bank of Canada want of Nature Conservancy Canada and the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF)? What is it that green organizations do or not do, say or not say in return for filthy corporate lucre? Why isn't the Canadian media asking these questions? Questions that the Washington Post has asked again and again. Where the hell is Canadian investigative reporting on this? Why are green orgs getting a free pass from the Canadian media? I have persistently submitted these questions, together with the documentation, to the Ottawa Citizen and several local community papers and still, no takers. Why?
Why aren't the American supporters of environmental organizations troubled by media revelations about their organizations accepting corporate funding? Troubled enough to quit? Is the lack of integrity a requirement for supporting these counterfeit environmental organizations? Or is it wilful ignorance? Hear no evil, see no evil? Remember, these are the hypocrites who vilify climate change skeptics as shills for the oil companies.
When backed into a corner, some of them will say, as has Nature Conservancy in the United States, that corporate donations account for "only" 10% of their intake. David Suzuki has made the same argument, after being caught with the claim that the DSF only takes money from ordinary grassroots supporters In other words, they are only "a little pregnant". Look folks, a cop who only accepts twenty bucks a night for looking the other way during an illegal crap game on his beat is still a bent copper, even if he makes $60,000 a year in salary.
The irony is, many of these green orgs in Canada are disproportionately staffed by supporters of the social-democratic "New Democratic Party" (NDP). The BC Sierra Club, in fact, is now lead by the former President of the BC NDP, George Heyman. NDP conventions are famous for the debates they have had on any proposal that would change party policy to allow acceptance of corporate donations. In every case, dozens and dozens of speakers have lined up behind the mics to speak in eloquent condemnation of the very idea of such a thing. In their guise as New Democrats, Sierrans and Suzuki cultists quite rightly understand that eventually, in some way, he who pays the piper calls the tune. But miraculously, when they don a green cloak and join the Sierra Club or David Suzuki Foundation, accepting corporate money is quite kosher. Suddenly, someone like Rob Martineau of the BC Sierra Club is able to tell me that "the connection between immigration and the environment is spurious". In other words, population growth has little to do with environmental degradation. The IPAT equation? They never heard of it. In fact, they never heard of the Jevons Paradox, Boulding's Three Theorems, Hopfenberg's law, Liebig's Law, Abernethy's Axiom , Hardin's 3 laws of ecology or any of Albert Bartlett's 18 laws of sustainability. These fake environmentalists are like a music teacher who can't read music or a blind man presuming to give you a photography course. Amazing what a little corporate money can do to your eye sight.
For a more sensible take on smart growth, try this:
June 17, 2010