In the past I have had the job of being the first to announce the end of the Cold War and the end
of the Population Explosion. Now I have the dubious honor of announcing the death of the Environmental Movement.
I am saddened by this loss because I do value clean air, clean water and vast expanses of protected landscape.
The three signs that confirm the death of the environmental movement are:
(1) the long term failure of the Green party to win converts. No growth of the Greens in Europe, Japan and certainly not in America.
(2) The complete failure of the Environmental Movement to improve miles-per-gallon in American automobiles over the last two decades. This single easily understood, environmental issue, has been a notable failure.
(3) The complete dearth of new issues over the past ten years, to energize the public, fill grass-roots coffers or generate political excitement.
The certificate of death gives the cause as ideological rigor mortis. Prominent leaders including Garrett Hardin, Paul Erlich and Barry Commoner all trumpted a Chicken Little the-sky-is-falling escatology. After the sky has failed to fall, the ideology becomes boring.
First we heard Erlich and the Club of Rome raging that resources were nearly exhausted, then the population explosion would destroy life as we knew it, then an impending global climate ice age spelled the end, then the 10% loss of rainforests worldwide meant future horror, we were warned about the end of corral, the end of frogs, cancer from the ozone hole and finally we were told that global warming was imminent and terrifying.
No environmental leader, organization or spokesperson ever confessed to the series of monumental errors. Worse, the ideological priesthood keep blaming their opponents, Republicans and corporate pillagers, for the Environmental Movement's perennial failures.
Case in point: The Republican led American government's failure to ratify the Kyoto Accords is cited as an example of environmental enemies destroying vital lifesaving policy. However, the U.S. and the E.U. supported a Kyoto Accord during negotitations when the accord was to include CO2 trading agreements, a position endorsed by Environmental Defense. The Kyoto Accords would have worked with a CO2 trading provision but the ideologically rigid Environmental Movement decided it was better to loose on principal than win the battle.