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Is the green movement bad for the environment?

Justin Rowlatt | 19:32 UK time, Monday, 25 January 2010

Is the green movement bad for the environment?

It is a bombastic question - deliberately so. I set out to answer it for Radio 4's Analysis programme.

We explore how climate change challenges some of the the attidudes and ideology of the green movement and whether some green campaigning actually undermines the attempt to tackle the problem.

Tune into Radio 4 tonight at 8.30pm or on Sunday night at 9.30pm or just click here and listen to the programme right now .

The producer Helen Grady has written a fascinating article about it here here.

Do please tell me what you think and, as always, feel free to be absolutely frank!

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Just listened to the show and found it interesting how you didn't get any anthropologists to comment on the issue. There is a wide body of published work on the whole issue that would provide, what I believe to be, insightful thoughts on identity and our "Western" perception of our environment (i.e. nature). For the next show, you might want to look into what anthropologists have to say about "modernity" as a discourse, personhood, nature, development and politics ;)

  • Comment number 2.

    I was really pleased to have heard your programme as I've felt similarly for many years that there has been little critique of the green movement. I need to mull over much of what was discussed but I was struck by the view of Solitaire's that WWF's identity work was 'social engineering' whilst advertising and brand work was not. Whether its overt or not, there both trying to change people's identities to fit your goals. I remember when doing my degree we discussed public engagement with science and scientists fear of people playing with science. Is this not the same issue and we just need to get people to play, free of any ideologies (consumer and non-consumer) and then create their own

  • Comment number 3.

    Justin,

    Is a self styled 'Ethical Man' bad for ethics (or Essex for that matter!)

    Looking at Helen Grady's piece:

    "If the case for tackling climate change is backed by science, why do so many green campaigners rely on the language of religion?"

    Ms Grady answers her own question in he first paragraph - which I always understood you should avoid when writing as a journalist unless you already knew your argument is weak!

    Of course the answer that she dare not speak is that climate change is indeed not supported by science but by economics (through gambling in Carbon Credits) and is indeed also a religion. (I will not mention the other economic influences on the subject such as false claims that are retracted and highly questionable financial structures, or at least opaque structures, behind some of the so called research organisations.)

    Ms Grady deliberately uses religious idiom and implies reference to the rapture and the end of the world.

    The fact is that the non scientist perception of scientific fact being absolute provides the onlooking journalists like Ms Grady with confusion and her writing shows the confusion at the heart of the media and politics about the nature of the science.

    Environmentalists (aka greens - but they are not the same!) have to simplify messages. CO2 is a convenient simplification (that is not supported by subsequent science). However getting off of the bandwagon is not easy without a loss of credibility, but they will have to if the planet is to benefit from their care and concern. They need to detach themselves from CO2 and learn to love it but to hate pollution. Copenhagen was a disaster. (I speak as a confirmed CO2 rejectionist, based on sound science.) I hate the result as much as the pro CO2 lobby as its result allows the politicians not to do anything. My belief is that the moral and ethical duty is to ameliorate the effects of a turbulent climate as best we can. We need to tackle overpopulation we need to tackle the anti-contraceptionists head on. (You know who I mean.)

    We need to ensure a more equal distribution of the scarce planetary resources - that also means taking money from the uber rich drastically curtail flying etc.... I will not go on here, but I am sure you get the drift of my argument - not too dissimilar to the anti-CO2 greens, but of course I would advocate the use of fossil fuels after removing the pollutants (but not CO2 as that could be diverted into greenhouses to boost plant growth along with the spare heat - Isn't that better than disfiguring the countryside and the coastal shelf with wind turbines or building Nuclear power stations. But when you 'love' CO2 there are more options!

    We urgently need pro CO2 Greens that will stand up for the non-polluting use of coal (that is removing the sulphur from the emissions, etc., but NOT the CO2 as it is vital to the environment). We must all go out and hug a coal miner!

  • Comment number 4.

    The examination of the science of global warming that is taking place at present,is what should have taken place when the greens first embraced climate change. This didn't happen as the theory fitted so well with the agenda. Uncertainty was brushed to one side to usher a in localised carbon free self sustainable good life (similar to mid wales). What we will get is nuclear power, the west burning food / biodiesal in their cars while people starve and big business buying up rights to emit carbon and then profiting by adding it to our bills.
    The greens backed themselves into a corner . They told us of a great problem and provided a prognosis. Goverments and the powerful have heeded their warning but found "non green" soloutions. Will green activists delay the building of nuclear power stations / market soloutions?
    I have recently adjusted my previous certainty regarding climate change. I have gone from one extreme to the other and then back and forth. My trust for the ipcc etc has evaporated, being backed by peer reviewed science dosn't have the same weight behind it anymore. On the other hand there is four fingers and a thumb. Seriously on the other hand catastrophic climate change, feedback loops, gulf stream switching off all sounds pretty bad. There seems to be so much information and no one to trust everyone on both sides of the argument have incentives to say what they maintain is the truth.

  • Comment number 5.

    Helen Grady wrote "If the case for tackling climate change is backed by science, why do so many green campaigners rely on the language of religion?"

    I have yet to see one single piece of empirical evidence that CO2 can cause global warming. There is plenty of evidence that the climate is changing but none at all that I am aware of that CO2 causes it. We all know that CO2 can trap heat but extra heat in the lower atmosphere leads to greater convection thus restoring the balance. The ONLY evidence to support the AGW claim comes from computer models and that means nothing at all unless back up by empirical evidence.

    The global climate has been changing constantly for millions of years, temperatures have been higher in the past when CO2 levels were lower and, conversely, global temperatures have been lower in the past at a time when CO2 levels were ten time higher.

    I predict that in a couple of years time that the only scientists still studying the global warming phenomena will be psychologists and sociologists

  • Comment number 6.

    I agree with commenters 3 and 5. Until we see some evidence for AGW (which we won't because there isn't any, it's just an unsupported hypothesis) then it is just another religion. The BBC are fully paid up members of this religion. People who subscribe to religions ignore all evidence counter to their religious beliefs and doctrine. They are dogmatic in their belief system.

  • Comment number 7.

    The truly dreadful result of all the money and intellectual effort that is going into "tackling climate change" (aka global warming) is that it ignores the real concerns and dangers that we face. That is the impending global cooling that is certain to occur as the Holocene inter-glacial period comes to its natural end and the earth returns into the next glacial period.

    Warming is good; people, crops and animals thrive and flourish. Increased CO2 in the atmosphere helps plants to flourish. Cooling is bad; crops die, followed by animals and people; diseases increase.

    We should all be prerparing for global cooling.

    Where is the ethics in wilfully ignoring the real dangers that threaten all of humanity?

  • Comment number 8.

    I cannot believe that the BBC is still using the context of an 'Ethical Man' to offer an opposition-free platform for the religion of green deniers. Green deniers are those pseudo-intellectuals with NO evironmental qualification who pontificate about the planet's basic life force called Carbon Dioxide and wish to rid us of it.
    Just look at who were rolled out in this programme. It was almost as comical and blatant as when Rowlatt rolled out David King into is kitchen during his last failed attempt to prove a point about carbon dioxide.
    Well, learn that Climate Change has always happened and we have to adapt ourselves to it and not vice versa.
    Without carbon dioxide and warmth, how do you intend to feed and water the planet's burgeoning population? Can they all eat cake?
    The green religious route is one which signs the death warrant of our planet and has already fixed several nails into its coffin.
    I will remind you that 95-96% of global warming/climate change is created by the water cycle and will go back to the 50s/60s when the same ilk green protagonists, to overcome the threat of an imminent Ice Age, advocated seeding the atmosphere to INCREASE the carbon dioxide level to warm up the planet!!!! The religion was drivel then, just as it is drivel now.
    Perhaps giving 'greens' real jobs where they have to get their hands dirty for the true benefit of mankind might lead us to a better world.

  • Comment number 9.

    Well, Justin, you asked for comment and I guess you got some.

    A first comment, perhaps less relevant to your radio programme itself, is simply one of frustration that the BBC blog pages are so often hi-jacked by the self-righteous trolls of ignorance. If it isn't the mindless nonsense, masquerading as science, that comes from the deniers of anthropogenic climate change, it is the related hijacking of political and economic blogs little Englanders and their hatred of Europe.

    OK... back to your programme, which I thoroughly enjoyed. My own experience of several decades as an environmental scientist and consultant is fully consistent with the general tenor of what you presented. Values are fundamentally important in policy and decision making, but decisions must also be informed by evidence. Too often to we see proponents of a development, or course of action, being told that their underlying motives need to be exposed. That can only be a good thing, but in practice what typically happens is that the underlying motives of their opponents, basking in their portrayal as David against the Goliath of industry or government, are not similarly exposed to scrutiny. The end result is that the whole process, and the evidence that is brought to the table, is contaminated. No wonder the general public is confused about which "expert" to believe.

    I believe your programme drew attention to an important aspect of the wider environmental debate - even if your focus was on climate change. I don't believe there is anything intrinsically "wrong" about having a set of beliefs, whether they be religious, political or environmental. What is contentious is the exercise of power and control in relation to belief systems, and the consequent exploitation of individual concerns and ideals to achieve much broader - and typically hidden - agendas. Just as political and economic motives need to be revealed by the proponents of technological change, so should the political and economic motives that hide behind the more easy-to-digest displays of "precaution" and "care for the environment". I'm not saying that goals relating to sustainability and limits to growth are wrong or undemocratic, per se, only that they should be evident and transparent as motives behind decision making. A convenient truth, indeed.

  • Comment number 10.

    Definitions do matter. Especially in a hotly-debated area.

    Which makes it odd how loose, inexplicable or plain contradictory they can be.

    Take just two headlines from reading around here.

    Is the green movement bad for the environment?

    Analysis: Are environmentalists bad for the planet?


    Beyond being very unsure still what individual words such as 'green' mean, whilst appreciating how media do love pigeon-holes, what is meant by these terms? How are they the same? Or different? And what does one have to do, or be, or pay, or whatever, to qualify or be 'allowed'...'in'. It's all so tribal. And more than a little 'we know what's good for you' elitist.

    But it is good to hear from the piece that there is a growing sense of disconnect between certain avowed aims in mitigation that seem more keen on restriction, and not as concerned as one might have imagined with, for instance, GHG reductions, should these be proven to be driving extreme, negative, 'climate change' (another awesomely vague generic term, IMHO).

    However, the majority of debate seems to have settled very quickly to a quaint notion of the world depending on the favoured hobby-horses of a predominantly inner-London, very incestuous pol/activist/meedja set who have vested interests in specific niches that are of end-benefit to what they do as much as what they believe in.

    With inconvenient aspects airbrushed out. I didn't hear a word on population, for instance. Meanwhile nuclear was sold, baldly, as 'low carbon'. Beyond still having concerns on what is proposed to deal with the waste that goes beyond 'we'll have it figured out when we really need to address it', is that last claim factually accurate? While I have questions of the numbers of many renewable projects, their advocates have raised some pretty compelling counters to the GHGs of building, running and decommissioning these things on top of acquiring and disposing of the fuel.

    So, often, the blinkered selectivity on display, if not rank hypocrisy, is breathtaking. Depending on who is pushing what, and has access to the mic and edit suite. Hardly reassuring to retain any faith in what is shared for accuracy or editorial inclusion, or not, to enhance certain favoured narratives.

    Beyond some rather horrific breaches of trust on Mr. Miliband's settled science of late, it wasn't as if most from the current cabal have been the best messengers so far, at least in swaying the vast majority who really matter.

    I could care less about Prius person, but am passionately fascinated in Fiesta family, nowhere near a decent public transport system and through time and money demands looking more at a Friday night shop down a Tesco Savers aisle than popping local produce in the basket of the Raleigh 3-speed kept at the Devon weekend farmstay.

    And I have met many who are highly 'green', environmental or whatever, but just have a few other things on their plates which, unlike too many non income generators and their consultancy buds, don't offer nice little earners bothering over some stuff to the extent some rather selfishly, and from within, expect, demand and probably moan about together at the next Brecon blue skies seminar.

    These folk do care about the planet, and about their kids, and their futures on it.

    But I'd suggest they are also not terribly interested in being talked at all the time, whilst being more than interested in where the behavioural changes being bandied about will be, and how they are supposed to work. Including from whom, to where, with what result.

    It's easy being anti-something, especially if is one niche thing, especially if not tasked too hard on other consequences. Which is why I do not envy the current crop of pols trying to juggle claims of improved GHG reductions with economic growth forecasts. Which may be why few are convincing here, either:

    In just a few weeks, we go from...

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8382014.stm

    ...to:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/25/climate-aid-uk-funding

    Now, with everyone and his dog and pony show flying around the world and then telling me what I can't do and what I need to hand over to them to play with on pet projects, the level of trust and faith in competence such as the above inspires is hardly surprising, really.

    In as much as the environment is best served by all of us understanding it, and empathising with it and working with it, no, perhaps it is not being best served by the current efforts of a mostly unelected, often highly dogmatic bunch who have taken it upon themselves to dictate what they think is best in ways that, especially of late, seem to have backfired spectacularly, from Copenhagen to very dodgy demos (tabletop or outside a security fence).

  • Comment number 11.

    Sick_of_trolls:

    I didn't have to get far (I got past your "self-righteous trolls of ignorance", which seems to fit you accurately) to see your bias. You are an environmental scientist! That may say it all. Environmental science is not science. It is belief dressed up as science - it is pseudo-science.

    "mindless nonsense, masquerading as science, that comes from the deniers of anthropogenic climate change" sums you up precisely. You are the one masqerading as a scientist. Real scientists, who understand that science is evidence based, can see that the whole edifice of climate change is false and is based on belief, not evidence. Climategate has revealed the corruptness of climate science and it will never be the same again.

  • Comment number 12.

    Human beings are a stupid lot and always doing things against their own self-interest. The wealthy throw the middle class crumbs and they defend the wealthy for doing so. If you don't understand that the banks and government allowed the reduction in your retirement accounts and investments with no one being held accountable, than you are simply a deluded person with a future filled with governmental and big business abuse. Because human beings are so stupid (position supported by any history of mankind one would like to read) they perfer symbols to concepts, familiar symbols work best. Lower your expectations and things will become clearer for you. Your only power is in what you buy, that is it so change can come if you select wisely and as things become popular banking and big business will buy these companies, reduce the quality and raise the price. Such is the way of the world....5 thousand years of civilization and this is what you get.....half-step out of the cave.

  • Comment number 13.

    Specifically to 'Sick_of_trolls'.
    Why not climb back under your bridge and replace your blinkers?
    There are those of us who are religiously non-green and believe in the truth which proper discerning peer-reviewed science can reveal for us - we base our experienced decisions on that.
    If you are, as you so righteously claim to be, an "environmental scientist and consultant with decades of experience", where is the peer-reviewed evidence you cite? By peer-reviewed, I don't mean courtesy of the global warming cabal but courtesy of the independent scientists whose works are peer-reviewed independently by other independent scientists.
    Such transparency is certainly not broadcast by the IPCC or Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth or WWF or BBC or, indeed, by government ministries or Quangos.
    As a common or garden Chartered Electrical Engineer with decades of hands-on experience providing services you environmentalists would stop, my deep searches have unearthed no peer-reviewed evidence to support AGW and my mathematical grasp has allowed me to follow Lord Monckton of Brenchley's CO2 proofs. But then my only vested interest is to leave a planet on which my children and their families can safely inhabit and thrive, if that means being 'green'.
    So, what was your contribution to stopping the destruction of the planet's rain-forests or advising against hydro-schemes which create methane....? Or something as mundane as stoppng production of all the wasted advertising paperwork that comes through our doors via post and newspapers?
    Please inform us how you would feed and water the whole planet.

  • Comment number 14.

    You introduced Tom Crompton as advocating among other things limiting advertising Your response to this was "But I can't help but feeling the identity campaigning he champions carries a whiff of social engineering about it" and makes you feel "rather uncomfortable".

    To me it seems Tom is suggesting that we limit the social engineering that has been carried out on the public in the west by big business for over half a century or since Edward Bernays came up with the phrase 'Public Relations' because he thought the word propaganda had been associated with German war machine. Before that business leaders were more open as with 'National Propaganda' a PR firm setup in 1919 by a group of business leaders in Westminster, later to be renamed 'Economic League'

    You then introduce Solitaire Townsend the PR and marketing woman who said "Do you want your identity changed I'm not sure that I do" that was a laugh out loud moment for me.
    A piece about her from PR week magazine '33-year-old Townsend is an active player in the burgeoning field of environmental communications, with government departments and major blue-chip companies among her clients' including shell! though she does draw the line at tobacco firms.
    I wonder if she is part of the burgeoning field of 'Cause Related Marketing' linking themselves and their products to a cause.

    Frank Mankiewicz former vice chairman of Hill and Knowlton a PR firm who recently represented the Copenhagen Climate Council prior to the UN Climate Conference and also helped sell us the Iraq war predicted: ‘I think companies will have to give in only at insignificant levels. Because the companies are too strong, there’re the establishment. The environmentalists are going to have to be like the mob in the square in Romania before they prevail'.

    The last 20 to 30 years in particular has seen the biggest social engineering experiment in human history, have you not had a "whiff of social engineering " In this time. We have been constantly spammed through every medium possible, and everywhere people might gather, subconsciously exploiting our emotions of self esteem, fear, happiness, Loneliness, security, identity, belonging, social status then attaching a product to them. Of course now we are subject to Neuromarketing, using MRI to see which parts of the brain light up, so as to help us consume.
    You may get a "whiff of social engineering" from wanting to limit this but you don't seem to be able to smell the stink of social engineering we have been living with.

  • Comment number 15.

    I agree completely, Robzah.

    Soli from Futerra and I have debated this online before. You may be interested in the discussion here: http://www.futerra.co.uk/blog/618 and here: http://www.identitycampaigning.org/2010/01/a-whiff-of-social-engineering/

  • Comment number 16.

    Might be worth checking with the powers that be, next time they need to broadcast something or other using the national broadcaster, whether they are all 'settled' on this topic, too...

    UK Government Classifies Eco Activists as 'Extremists' Alongside Al Qaeda
    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/01/uk-government-classifies-eco-activists-extremists-al-qaeda.php

    If Gordon and Ed got folk with different viewpoints and questions to the point of being hauled to the Tower for sabotage, it might prove intriguing to see what more tangible actions against the State might result in... hanging, drawing and quartering? Which may not play well if it's last week's best buds on the wrong end.

  • Comment number 17.

    How Ridiculous! So it’s ok to market/advertise relentlessly at people and make them feel insecure but appealing to their better natures is scary and manipulative. Bizarre!

    What Identity campaigning is in its basic form is saying - I will if you will, on collective choices for the benefit of all.

    The consumer culture paradigm reigns supreme! It’s normal so it must be OK.

    It’s good old fashioned journo trick. Set up the straw man, conflate lots of ideas and different people’s work behind it and deliver your own value laden conclusions as if you were taking the only rational position possible. Front it with apparently concerned and objective people to sum it all up.

    At no point does he approach the issue, that the huge changes required and many changes we cannot avoid, require political response and many of us are just honestly trying to address that rather than pretending it’s about individual shopping choices.

    His narrow thinking is frustrating but of no surprise when you see his conclusion for the lowest carbon form of transport. . . . the car! And that planes are equatable to forms of transport such as buses and trains. This demonstrates the point he is missing. We collectively decide to restrict cars/planes for the greater good and everyone is obliged to use public transport. If anything, the religious thinking is that consumer choice is sacrosanct whatever the cost.

    Justin Rowlatt seems to suffer that same blinkered way of seeing everything through the eyes of the individual consumer, rather than the need for collective agreement and demand for the best available choices and restrictions on those which are unsustainable. We need the latter and it seems fanciful in the extreme to believe we can ’sell’ those changes on the basis of self esteem and greed AND insulting to suggest that we all need to be changed into different types of people to want to act in such a manner.

    Maybe it is naive or shallow thinking but I think somewhat disingenuous treatment of the subject. Maybe that’s the way this type of journalism works?

  • Comment number 18.

    This place resembles a madhouse, with people talking at cross purposes and in "tongues" to boot.

    Enter Ethical Man and his cohorts. They are the Carbon puritans, the purists, the extremists, the Taleban, the Al Qaida of the CO2 religion.

    Their faith is simple and pure. They have discovered Earth's thermostat and they can fine tune it down to tenths of a degree, to keep us cool come rain, hail, sleet or snow. All power, morality, science, logic and ethics flow from the CO2 thermostat.

    From this it can be worked out that we must hitch-hike our way to work, shun meat and do penance after the second child. We can get special dispensation to fly in planes, provided it be used to attend Climate Change conferences or fly around the world promoting AGW.

    Arraigned against this army of roundheads are the environmentalist Greens, no less fanatical in their creed. Whereas they initially, enthusiastically embraced the "climate change" religion when told that we must curtail our generation of power, deindustrialise, hug trees and glorify those who live in mud huts, when further told that there may possibly be a way out of Armageddon, they are having none of that.

    When Ethical Man's lieutenant, Helen Grady offered to wave a magic wand and reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere from a terrifying 385 parts per million to a balmy 250 parts per million, which would solve all the world's problems and bring us back to the garden of Eden, while at the same time permitting us to drive cars, the Greens were having none of it.

    They will not rest till we revert back to mud huts and the generation of power, (primitive fire), by the rubbing of sticks.

    Barely could she be restrained from flying at their throats.

    Oh well maybe the extremists of this world will eliminate each other.

  • Comment number 19.

    Justin Rowlatt.

    "Is the green movement bad for the environment?
    It is a bombastic question.."

    deserving a bombastic answer:

    if by environment you refer to the union of global commerce, plutocratic government and aberrant religion, then -- yes.

  • Comment number 20.

    I still wonder what the green movement is. Might it be...

    Politicians who seem to confuse 'acting' with being left alone to do what they think is 'right' whilst being poor on mea culpas on intemperate comments that have damaged their credibility, and are still pretty vague on what they mean to do save demanding a lot of money to do 'it' with based on some very odd and/or highly subjective claims:

    http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/science_technology/climate+change+controversy+warning/3521937

    Or maybe often highly supportive media who confuse press releases as fact depending on how comfortable they feel with the issuer and agenda being portrayed:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/climate-emails-hacked-by-spies-1885147.html

    I have to say I prefer my reporting based on a little more than 'probably...' based on '...bearing hallmarks of...'

    This is much too important to be left to the competencies of the current crop who see themselves as guardians of 'the message'.

    Most from the 'we know better' enviro-establishment who have sought high profile soapboxes have either proven ill-informed, inept, defensive, poorly-qualified or just plain partisan, and have been hung out to dry and hence been fatally compromised by dogmatic association with and blindly loyal devotion to what is a minority, but still a significant and damaging collection of scientific errors combined with clear evidence of scientific politicisation to bend facts to suit desired agendas.

    There is a huge place for people who care for the environment, and work hard to research it, and man's impacts honestly. They deserve to be heard, and judged with respect. Especially if they are open to questions and possible critiques. Better yet if what they proffer is also dosed with pragmatism and an appreciation of the myriad interactions that go in to man's impacts. Cherry picking based on niche interest or selective ideals is not going to cut it.

    The petulant collection I am seeing currently have pretty much failed in this across the board.

  • Comment number 21.

    Justin means no harm. He is a journalist, and journalists always have to have an angle, provocative if possible. And their is a grain of truth in his distortions.

  • Comment number 22.

    21. At 12:09pm on 03 Feb 2010, Doc Richard wrote:

    Odd. Usually the mods check URLs. I think this is broken.

  • Comment number 23.

    JunkkMale let me help you out. Maybe this is the url that Doc Richard wants to direct you to:

    Is Justin Rowlatt an Ethical Man? http://greenerblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/is-justin-rowlatt-ethical-man.html

    His conclusion? - Whatever.. do we care? (I would suggest he doesnt think so).

    Had a quick look at Doc Richard's blog. He is a greenie to the core.

    "Our ecological political ideology is the soundest political ideology around; it is a rock on which the wave of free-market fundamentalism will break itself."

    No Doc Richard, remember you are tree huggers, not rock huggers. Your political ideology is one of the craziest ones around. It is a peat bog, sinking sands, where the world economies would surely disapper if adopted as proved by Spain, Europe and most of the western world.

  • Comment number 24.

    23. At 10:10pm on 06 Feb 2010, Richard

    Ta. Always interested in reading views far and wide.

    However, I was stuck by a comment posted that many might be well advised to ponder, especially in light of how it seems, evidently, to have had such a poor impact on the majority of the population, if the 'polls' are to be given more than a cursory nod (as most are, but the way they are phrased alone, pants):

    '...steers towards a conculsion which was decided before the programme started.

    It's a luxury few can or should indulge in, but at least with 'believers' of any hue it is understandable if not wise.

    But for an objective national broadcaster, with any hint of enhancing narratives or interpreting events, it is frankly the end of trust and credibility.

  • Comment number 25.

    First of all, the main problem with tarring ALL environmentalists with the same brush is the standard question "do you know ALL environmentalists?". Do you even begin to comprehend how broad the spectrum of ideologies and approaches in the "green movement" is?

    The second problem is that yes, while the anarco-punk extremist lobby conflates many issues, from development and fair trade to animal cruelty, at the other end there are environmentalists who approach the whole environmental conundrum from the tired, old 'market forces' paradigm that has been so spectacularly debunked in the recent economic catastrophe.

    Their battery of 'solutions' start and end with lining theirs and their cronies' pockets, proposing nuclear power, genetic engineering and techno-fixes that closely match their portfolios of shares and financial interests. THAT is what has many Climate Change Deniers howling with laughter and pointing their fingers in outright derision at such proponents, whose mealy-mouthed HYPOCRISY shames and devalues a whole movement.

    Yet ALL of those nuances are part of the 'environmental movement'- I know this because I had to study, long, dep and hard, during my Honours degree course in Environmental Quality and Resource Management. The roots and the history of the 'green movement' were covered in depth, in the Philosophy and Politics module that ran through the third year and was one of the exam subjects (my exam grade: 76%). Our studies covered the beginnings, in the romantic idealisation of Nature that begun with the poetry of William Wordsworth and continued with john Muir, and grew into a spectrum of huge diversity, from Gaia proponent and nuclear-supporter James Lovelock, to Biologist and Environmantal campaigner Vandana Shiva, to people's campaigners who gave their lives for the protection of tribal people and their lands, like Ken Sarowiwa, to extremist and Deep Ecologist Aerne Ness.

    Your analysis, seeking to make of all these shades of 'green' one single movement, is at best mischievous and at worst smells of crisp dollar notes, for services rendered, by sowing discord and gib=vng ammunition ot right wing interests.

    Because it is the right-wing (and let us be clear about one thing: in terms of environmental politics, Al Gore IS the right wing!) who stands to profit most. It is they, intent on proposing techno-fixes that profit a new generation of Corporations, who have attracted the greatest and most legitimate criticism from Climate Change Deniers, not the kids prepared to camp, dance and demonstrate at Hopenhagen.

    At 54 I am not as cynical as the conservatives (small c), I neither believe that handing over the solution to the multiplicity of environmental problems that face our planet to the Siemens and Monsantos os the world is an option, but nor do I think ashes and sack-cloth are a viable alternative. BTW, there IS an incontrovertible link between development, vegetarianism and environmentalism: land-use, meat consumption and poverty are root-causes of environmental degradation, ranging from hunting for bush-meat, slope denudation by overgrazing and deforestation for firewood... the poorest people have no alternatives, and the reason is: UNFAIR TRADE!

    It seems to me that you are doing what all journalists do: disingenuously pick on a subject, stir up controversy and fan the flames, then sit back, deride and divide, not by using in-depth analysis, but the very opposite: by relying on the shallow, simplistic, populistic propagandao f the CHAV persuasion of the "Iss 'dem green-wellies an' 'ippies, 'innit tho'? Iss deir fawlt, innit mate? Iss dem what wanna tax us to deaf, innit?'... ilk

    Well, frankly, how reprehensible! How utterly dishonourable! I am appalled that you have the audacity to call yourself "Ethical Man", because, you see, Ethics are about *personal integrity*, standing by truths based on *evidence*, presenting a balanced view, considered concusions, and not simply coming down on the side of those most intent on profiteering, on informing, rather than whipping up acrimony for its own sake, to promote your name.

    You have shown a side of yourself that shames you and deeply devalues anything you might ever say or write in future, casting a shadow of doubt on your personal integrity.

    Ethical man? I don't think so! I suggest you go and read-up on the meaning of "ethical"

    SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!

  • Comment number 26.

    If you are not closed minded to the issues of climate change I suggest you give the book 'The Real Global Warming Disaster' a go.

    What do you have to loose, your religion perhaps?

    Of course it's all nonsense spread by big oil.

    Or is it?

  • Comment number 27.

    The green movement can only be a good think for the environment. We need to think more as to how we can gather our ebergy supplies from renewable sources as much as possible in an effort to show we are all serious as to how we can a.) make a difference and b.) care very much so for the environment.

    It seem's there are more alternative's now, more than ever, however its a case of us striving to harness and make the most of these alternative's both in our working and personal lives.

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm always interested in new methods to environmentally clean up our act. I came across this company one day while
    surfing the internet, that makes Autoclaves, known as the Autoclave Group. "What's an Autoclave?" I hear you cry,
    because I had never come across this product before. Well, it's a big industrial oven. They're used in many different
    industries. These are not domestic ovens, you can get motorsport autoclaves, medical autoclaves or sterilisation Autoclaves,
    Aerospace Autoclaves, Glass Lamination Autoclaves, Rubber Curing Autoclaves, other industrial ovens. The list is endless
    and they clearly are used by many companies. But I was interested in the environmental autoclave, because lets face it anything
    that helps us reduce our environmental impact is fantastic. So how does an evironmental autoclave help? The main answer is that
    it reduces landfill as the autoclave process breaks down household waste into sterile oganic fibre. Materials such as plastics
    or metals can be seperated more easily after this process. The fibrous waste is then processed so it can create energy which
    is put back into the national grid. I've never heard of this method before, but I find it exciting that we have new method being
    brought out that makes being green easier. Wakefield council is one council to who will use this method. So it seems our efforts
    to become green are growing, lets hope Autoclaves speed the process up.
    Autoclaves

  • Comment number 29.

    The green movement, in my opinion highlights the threats to our society/ way of life. As such this can only be considered to serve an overall positive impact (ruling out acts of environmental terrorism and the like). Not only this, but it also creates a lot of jobs, and is in fact a key driver in economic prosperity for many nations. As this article explains

    http://www.energy-measures.com/articles/global_warming_business.php

  • Comment number 30.

    Questions for you, "jknight1". {I was previously "you"}

    1. Instead of an "article", have you read and studied the March 2009 Report by the Spanish University [Universidad Rey Juan Carlos] "Study of the effects on employment of public aid to renewable energy sources". It highlights the Spanish national economic employment waste created by "green" religions stipends on such as electricity bill payer subsidised wind power stations? Try the Executive Summary. "4 for 9"

    2. Have you also read and studied the September 2009 CEPOS study for Denmark called "Wind Energy:The Case for Denmark"?
    Try that for employment also.

    3. Have you read and studied the October 2009 Rheinisches-Westfalisches Institut fur Wirtschaftforschung Study for Germany called "Economic Impacts from the promotion of renewable energies:The German Experience?"
    Try that for employment also.

    4. Do you not realise that the uneducated "green" movement backed up by technically brain-dead politicians is the real threat to our society and environment?

    5. Do you think the biased BBC "Ethical man" has added anything to this argument or is just a reporter pushing the BBC ingrained media pseudo "consensus" of "Anthropogenic Global Warming"?
    Look at how the BBC Pension Funds are invested.

    The "green" and political religious "Holy Grail" of demandable perpetual energy does not exist.
    It is not creation of jobs which matters particularly either.
    It is the creation of the security of food, water, warmth and wealth which matters and generally this requires fewer and fewer employees as competitive "economic" manufacturing methods mature.
    That wealth must not be allowed to be frittered away by economically and environmentally ignorant "green" and political castes.
    Enough said.

  • Comment number 31.

    In reply to "Norfolk Dumpling".

    1. The green movement, does not necessarily result in cost efficiencies, and like any new industry, has its pitfalls and subsequent ugly side. Politicians whom in their false attempt to achieve green, sustainable outcomes may indeed result in increased red tape and the like.

    Only by further encouraging innovation/ technology to be focused in the green fashion will there be no need for e.g. wind turbine subsidies in Spain. An example is the Passivhaus standard for buildings, which through greater consumer attention has created a demand within the market, excelled through ingenious building products/ specifications like e.g. teplo basalt wall ties, which unlike use of other materials eliminates threat of cold bridging.

    2. As regards to uneducated, braindead individuals promoting the green movement, many of which see this as an opportunity for enterprise, good or bad. Also it should be realised that, many see any technology associated with being Green as detrimental, as in the case of Texas region, where they have built wind farms, not in an attempt to reduce CO2 below 300ppm, but purely and simply for electricity production.

    Also, it is only be educating individuals, through sites like http://www.energy-measures.com will individuals be persuaded into changing their way of life, in leading to a reduced carbon lifestyle, see article http://www.energy-measures.com/articles/building_resilience.php

    3. The BBC Ethical man, is responding to a demand in the market for information on sustainable measures etc, which in itself, serves only to compound the interest further..

    As for interwining political endeavour with religious acrimony will only ever confuse individuals, and lead to decisions made based on unsubstantiated evidence.

    Our economy, like any other is driven by economic prosperity, GDP is the key factor to determining success, as a result, it is only through targeting ones own wallet will we ever be able to achieve.

    Joe

 

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