Environmentalism has grown in public consciousness exponentially in the last two decades. We are not a fringe group any longer, and we can’t be dismissed as hirsute tree-huggers with poor hygiene. So those whose interests run counter to ours need a new tactic. If you’ve been reading or keeping an eye on key battlegrounds over the last few years, you might have noticed a subtle and insidious shift in the language used to describe us, from the dismissive to the cautionary. We’re now, in no uncertain terms, the enemy. We’re a roadblock to progress, we’re a danger and, to quote an imbecile, we’re the ‘Green Blob’.
So far so predictable. But such language is hardly likely to be very persuasive when the progress we are so recklessly opposing are the interests of big business and ‘money’. That’s hardly going to sway Occupy and Russell Brand and the generation (in the eyes of some at least) that they represent. The nuance that has recently emerged has sought to pit environmentalists against the very people it would normally draw support from. It relies on the (not entirely misplaced) supposition that environmentalists are all lefty, liberal peaceniks and then systematically attempts to pit environmental interests against other issues that might tug at bleeding-heart-strings.
Environmentalists versus The Poor
Everyone cares about the poor, of course. Everyone except Environmentalists, that is. As you may or may not be aware, environmentalists hate the poor. You just have to look at all the things we keep trying to do to realise how much we truly despise them. Opposing fracking? It’s the poor who will suffer. We don’t want houses built all over an important wildlife site? Then we’re pretty much putting people out on the street. All that climate change nonsense? Well, implementing any of the measures to reduce it will affect the poor most of all. Basically if we want to cut carbon emissions, it means we’re happy to see old people freeze to death in the winter as it will jeopardise our energy supply.
“We have to remember too that the people who suffer most from a lack of decent energy are the poor,” – Owen Paterson in a speech on climate change mitigation (apparently channelling the spirit of Gladstone).
And this is one of the reasons why climate change deniers keep getting airspace. They repeat arguments about how meeting climate change targets etc will have the biggest detrimental effect on the poor (while ignoring that it is those in the poorest countries, who coincidentally are not registered to vote in the UK, who will suffer the most from our inaction).
Our general distaste for the poor can, of course, by extension, mean that we hate that most mythical of figures ‘the common man’ too (see most recently the ‘You Forgot the Birds’ campaign that talked about hard working farmers before losing the run of itself and reverting to referring to landowners instead). We’re forever preventing him from ‘getting on’ in life with our half-baked theories and crack-pot ideas. We have basically been cast as the bourgeois middle-class, and we’re out to inflict our value system on you, whether you like it or not.
Environmentalists versus Immigrants
As I’ve already written about, whenever the issue of invasive species (the second biggest cause of species loss, lets not forget) is raised there is a worrying conflation with the social issue and bete noir (I don’t know how to do those little hat things above the ‘e’ on this keyboard) of the day, immigration. Is this just another subtle means of turning our traditional ‘fan-base’ against us? Summing up (In a tired and can’t really be bothered way), the argument now seems to run that by being against invasive species, you are saying you hate immigrants. Us conservationists are pretty much just UKIP in disguise.
Environmentalists versus our brave boys
This, perhaps, is where it all started. ‘Eco-terrorism’ has for sometime been used as a brush to tar us all with. And, yes, maybe it was once, and potentially still is, a legitimate concern. But if you can somehow inveigle the notion that a few represent the whole into the minds of voters then where’s the distinction between hard-line environmentalists and ISIS? Ok, that’s certainly a stretch; no one is attempting to make that connection (no one sane at least) and the range of eco-terrorism over the last decade has been pretty negligible. But you only have to look at how the police reacted to the Ratcliffe-on-Soar protest for one to see that the measures being used to address environmental protests are being talked of in similar terms to those used for dealing with terrorists.
Finally, if you want to give yourself a little chuckle (seriously, it should make me angry, but it doesn’t) then watch this marvellous video that opens with images of Stalin and Hitler before going on to talk about us pesky environmentalists:
The Conspiracy of the Green Blob
One of the general gist’s of anti-environmental propaganda is that our very core beliefs are anti-people. Anti-society, in fact, and therefore anti-socialist. If some are to be believed, Malthus is our founding father. It’s a lazy attack though and the basic motive relies on the notion that the Environmental movement and all those it contains can be summed up and pigeonholed as having similar political thought. Next time you hear an imbecile like Owen Patterson* talking about the ‘Green Blob’ or how we are blocking progress or stamping on the poor, just consider the motives at play.
*(seriously, when can we have a government where positions like the Secretary for the Environment is filled by someone with a background (or at least an understanding of) environmental science? Likewise education, health etc. Why the constant stream of Oxbridge PPE-ers? Still, that’s another article for someone with a bigger brain than me.)