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Entry 687, on 2008-02-03 at 20:38:44 (Rating 3, Politics)

I recently read an opinion piece called "The Top Ten Things Environmentalists Need to Learn" which was on a rather right-wing web site. First, let me say that I think its important to read opinions which are opposite to your own political affiliations (I am definitely to the left politically) and I sometimes I even change my mind as a result.

I didn't change my mind much after reading this article, but I already have major reservations about many environmentalists. I have voted for the Green Party in the last two elections but there's a fair number of their policies I disagree with. So why do I vote for them? Because I want more of their political ideas in the mix of whatever government we get.

Anyway, getting back to the article... I think a lot of the criticism in the article was in the form of a straw man argument. The author took some extreme environmental views and portrayed them as if they were mainstream. This is no more fair than taking the most corrupt corporate leaders and suggesting they show that capitalism doesn't work.

There was one point I liked though. It said: "natural, organic and bio do not mean good." This is one of my little pet peeves, especially in relation to natural medicine which I think is about 90% nonsense. Many environmentalists are also tied up with what they call natural foods and medicines as well as crazy new-age spirituality. Well, maybe I'm being unfair now too. I guess the only way to know for sure would be to survey opinions on these subjects and actually get some facts and statistics - something the article noticeably lacked.

I do know that the NZ Green Party is against genetic modification and nuclear power. From a marketing point of view they probably have a point because New Zealand is often portrayed as clean and green. But I don't think that's the reason the Greens reject these technologies. Both of them, when properly implemented, could enhance the environment, but I think they are rejected for purely philosophical reasons.

So I think this is a good illustration of why no one should join a political party. No party can represent the ideas of a single voter and a party's policies are likely to change form one election to another anyway. And even if they don't change, the appropriate response to a problem at one time might be totally different from another. So flexibility is the key. I think environmentalism is very relevant and while its important to be critical of any political movement its also important to be very skeptical of people (with their own political agendas) criticising political movements.


Comment 1 (1169) by Jim on 2008-02-19 at 18:24:56:

OJB I'm not sure what you believe now. Sometimes you seem to be a real environmentalist and then you throw it all away. What gives?


Comment 2 (1172) by OJB on 2008-02-19 at 20:50:57:

Basically I don't like having labels applied to me. I'm not an environmentalist in the sense that I go along with the standard environmental agenda. I don't think any other label can be applied to me either, because there's no political position, philosophy, or belief system I follow completely. I try to figure out what is true and what makes sense and if that fits with a pre-defined position, like environmentalism then that's fine. Of course, my ideas fit better with left wing, liberal, environmentalist ideals more than right wing, conservative ones but I accept there is good and bad in every idea.


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