Grassroots Commentary

A Beautiful Lie

William Stoecker · Oct. 26, 2015

In 1973, when I was young, foolish and liberal, I joined the Sierra Club. It all seemed so bright, so beautiful, so innocent. Who could be against the preservation of wilderness? Who does not want clean air and water? And the Sierra Club, with its slick magazines and beautifully illustrated books, seemed to stand for the preservation of much that is true and beautiful in America and the rest of the world. Indeed, all the leading environmentalists seemed to be almost saintly: John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Edward Abbey, and all the rest. When the Sierra Club and other environmentalist organizations railed against logging, nuclear power and the building of more dams, at first it seemed to make sense. But, gradually, as I learned more and thought more carefully about the issues, I became disillusioned, and, eventually, I quit the club.

The Sierra Club was founded 5/28/1892 in San Francisco by the Scottish-American mountaineer and activist John Muir and modeled after the Appalachian Mountain Club. Another very early environmentalist group was the Audubon Society. On 4/4/1980 Dave Foreman and four others founded the more militant Earth First, inspired in part by Edward Abbey’s book The Monkey Wrench Gang. Its members blocked logging roads and sat in trees to prevent their being cut down, and its even more militant offshoot is the Earth Liberation Front. Note the standard Marxist terminology there. Dave Foreman later became disillusioned with Earth First’s increasingly leftist agenda and uncompromising extremism and left the group. Another environmentalist group that became increasingly radical was Greenpeace; one of its early members, Patrick Moore, left the organization because he felt that it had become too political and did not base its policies on good science.

The Sierra Club is more or less typical of all these groups. In its early years, it did some real good, helping to promote the founding of Yosemite National Park (though I would argue that the national parks should instead be state parks). But the club moved steadily leftward, opposing almost all dams and almost all logging, opposing coal, nuclear power, and the Keystone Pipeline, clamoring loudly about the dangers of “global warming,” and supporting exclusively leftist political candidates (including our King Hussein) and “progressive” causes. Some of its funding comes from such leftist foundations as George Soros’ Tides Foundation. And while advocating zero population growth, the Sierra Club, directly or indirectly, supports an open borders policy — and immigration plus the high birth rate of immigrants has caused virtually all of America’s population growth over the last few decades. In addition, illegal immigrants have set forest fires and littered pristine wilderness areas. But this is not the only example of what appears to be a lack of consistency (or a hidden agenda) on the part of the Sierra Club.

Their opposition to dams, plus the rapid growth of California’s population due to immigration, has contributed heavily to the water crisis the state faces now. Despite the fact that inherently safe nuclear reactor designs have existed for decades, and despite the fact that the world did not end after Three Mile Island, Chernobyl or Fukushima, the club continues to oppose all nuclear power plants, of any design, even in areas inland and safe from tsunamis and in areas where earthquakes are rare. This helps to rob us of a non-polluting power source (it doesn’t even produce that dreaded plant food, carbon dioxide) and forces us to rely on coal, which the club opposes because of the imaginary peril of global warming. Thus far, the only energy sources supported by most environmentalists are solar and wind, which, with the present state of technology, are unreliable and prohibitively expensive. Perhaps I am being overly cynical, but I suspect that if technological advances make wind and/or solar reliable and affordable, the environmental extremists will decide to oppose their development.

Their opposition to almost all logging here in the U.S. has led to the loss of thousands of jobs and damaged our balance of trade (already a disaster) by forcing the U.S. to import lumber. And that lumber, rather than being grown in U.S. forests with reasonable environmental regulation, comes increasingly from clear cutting abroad, often in sensitive tropical rainforests with poor soil. We may pretend that we have saved the spotted owl, a species that was never truly endangered, but what about sloths and orangutans? In addition, decades of fighting all forest fires led to an accumulation of fallen trees and brush in our parks, forests and wilderness areas, which meant that fires, when they occurred, could be truly catastrophic — like the Yellowstone fire some years ago. Controlled, selective logging (even in national parks and wilderness areas) could have prevented this, but that would have been too sane, too rational for the eco-Nazis.

And of course, all hard core environmental organizations believe in the myth of global warming, despite the lack of any measurable warming for nineteen years and counting, despite the fact that there were ice ages, little ice ages, and naturally warm periods (like the Holocene Optimum or the Medieval warm period) long before mankind produced significant quantities of CO2. Facts do not matter to these true believers in voodoo science; arrogant as always, they accuse us skeptics (or “deniers” as they prefer to call us) of being “anti-science.”

And always they are obsessed with suddenly and drastically reducing the human population of our planet to “save the ecosystem.” I confess some sympathy with them on this issue; we would all probably be better off if the world population were reduced, but birth rates are already declining (to below replacement rates in Russia, Japan, and much of Europe). Their saving of the planet is beginning to sound more and more like an excuse for more abortion, forced sterilization, or even democide on a planetary scale. Take a hard look at the UN’s Wildlands maps, never disavowed by any U.S. administration and supported enthusiastically by all the leading environmental groups. These maps would confine the human population of our world into urban areas that would effectively be concentration camps, leaving insufficient farmland and watershed.

More and more it appears that most environmentalists are indeed “watermelons,” green on the outside and red on the inside. They are a category of people I refer to as “againsters” who pretend to be for some noble cause but who really stand for nothing and against a great deal…in this case, they seem motivated by a real hatred of their own species.

Click here to show comments

It's Right. It's Free.