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An Environmental Plea

If the word "environmentalist" wasn't so corrupted, I would consider myself to be one.  For years, the main charity I have supported with my money and my advocacy has been private land trusts like The Nature Conservancy.  Just because I don't think that governments should quash individual rights to force people not to develop their own land does not mean that I don't think certain pieces of land are worth protecting from development.  But I do it the old-fashioned way -- I and others spend money to buy that land.  Here is more on why I (mostly) like  groups like the Nature Conservancy and here is a post wherein I lament the shift in charity from spending your money to achieve goals to spending money to lobby the government to force other people to achieve your goals.

Of course, my claim to be an environmentalist just because I, you know, spend my money and time on private conservation efforts would be laughed off because I take the wrong stand on certain litmus test environmental issues (e.g. global warming, of course).  In this world, someone who buys a silly and environmentally worthless $19.99 carbon offset has more environmental street-cred than I do.

So I guess it is nice, at least for once, to be in agreement with those "real" environmentalists:

The government's bid to make fuel consumption more environmentally friendly will involve petrol and diesel being mandatory blended with 2.5pc biofuel from this April and the country's leading supermarket chain is aiming to use twice this amount at over 300 of its petrol stations.

But campaigners believe this is not the green alternative people think they are getting.

Jenn Parkhouse from Norwich Friends of the Earth said: “From April, people will have no choice but to contribute to the destruction of forests, the eviction of small farmers and rising food prices which will mean more hunger.

“More and more people now realise the need for a strong movement to stop the destruction caused by the biofuel industry and the legislation which encourages it.”

Posted on January 29, 2008 at 09:10 AM | Permalink


"Be careful for what you wish, because you may get it, and sometimes you get it good and hard."

I have always wanted to know who said that one, but it is so appropriate...

Posted by: Frederick Davies | Jan 29, 2008 9:28:27 AM

I prefer to use the term 'conservationist'. That way you get across the idea of what you are for without having to be lumped in with the left-wingers who call themselves environmentalists. John Muir called himself a conservationist I think.


Posted by: Sameer Parekh | Jan 29, 2008 10:15:08 AM

I'm with Sameer. Environmentalism is a religion. Conservationism is a philosophy.

Posted by: Dan | Jan 29, 2008 11:36:41 AM

Frederick, I believe it is a bastardization of the following famous Mencken quote:

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.

Posted by: Jody | Jan 29, 2008 11:53:49 AM

Coyote points out why groups like Ducks unlimited do more for conservation(almost 12 million acres in North America) than groups like Greenpeace or PETA ever will.

Of course, they don't have "Pure motives" like those other groups do[/snark]

Posted by: HTRN | Jan 29, 2008 8:00:51 PM

Doesn't the Nature Conservancy get massive tax subsidies (both US and UN), government land grants, and other regulation-induced goodies? I've always thought of them more as an NGO that also takes private donations than as a truly private market-based endeavor.

Posted by: Kyle Bennett | Jan 30, 2008 4:56:30 PM

Kyle: I don't know about land grants and "regulation induced goodies", but not taxing away your money is not a subsidy.

Posted by: markm | Feb 1, 2008 9:22:21 AM

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