Bronze-level articleAnti-environmentalism

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Oh, so Mother Nature needs a favor!? Well, maybe she should have thought about that when she was besetting us with droughts and floods and poison monkeys! Nature started the fight for survival, and now she wants to quit because she is losing? Well, I say, hard cheese!
—Mr. Burns, The Simpsons

Anti-environmentalism is a term referring to the political reaction and industry backlash against the burgeoning environmentalist movement of the mid-20th century. The rhetorical tactics used by anti-environmentalist groups are sometimes referred to as "green-baiting" in reference to the tactic of red-baiting and the style of argumentation is often referred to as "tobacco science" in reference to the tobacco industry's notorious denialist campaigns. The trend is also sometimes referred to as "brownlash," a play on "backlash."[1]

Anti-environmentalist figures and organizations rarely, if ever, use this term. They prefer to either present themselves as "skeptics" or as "concerned environmentalists" trying to refute "alarmist" elements within their ranks, more or less concern trolling actual environmental groups. Anti-environmentalism is, essentially, environmental denialism.


[edit] Notable campaigns

In the United States, there were (and still are) a number of notable anti-environmental campaigns:

[edit] Denialist

See the main article on this topic: Denialism

[edit] Anti-wilderness

"Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." … Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
Genesis 1:26

The Sagebrush Rebellion (1970s-1980s) and Wise Use (1990s-present) movements were not denialist per se. The movements opposed federal wilderness designation and National Park expansion, and called for existing public lands to be opened up to logging, mining, ranching, off road vehicles and oil drilling. They were especially popular in western U.S. states, like Alaska during the height of local opposition to the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act; Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, and Arizona; and more recently the Pacific Northwest during the northern spotted owlWikipedia's W.svg controversy. The Wise Use name came into usage and replaced the Sagebrush Rebellion name after the 1988 Multiple Use Strategy Conference organized by Ron Arnold, but was essentially a continuation of the same movement.[2] These groups remain active and popular in parts of the west, and it could be argued that something similar is happening in the east as well with such groups as West Virginia's hilariously-named "Friends of Coal."

[edit] Moral ideas

A few anti-environmentalists are concerned about the suffering of animals in the wild[3][4] and less about ecological services, biodiversity, scientific and cultural value, and the romanticized idea of "freedom." This, and the presence of predators in the wild, is often used as an argument for "humanely raised meat" and against veganism. Whether it is an appeal to nature, or the idea that mass-domestication as a means for profit/food that destroys forests at an unsustainable rate is actually good for sentient life, is often vague.

Meanwhile, some optimistic transhumanists think animals in the future can be made happy.[5] This value system is sometimes more consistent with environmentalism (and veganism[6]) because long-term technological progress is the main goal, and the wise use of natural resources is necessary for human society to do that. Acknowledging the importance of biodiversity as a resource in a utopia, and a patience based on the (kinda depressing) idea that we've only caused a tiny fraction of the world's total suffering through inaction/conservation, is one way to combine environmentalism and utilitarianism.

If someone discovers the technological equivalent of Noah's Ark that could preserve all memetic, genetic, and scientific information about the biosphere, however, we'd be obliged to make a flood of mass-euthanasia to stop ecological competition.

Many anti-environmentalists are simply anthropocentric thinkers who willfully ignore the many lessons of the environmental sciences. Typical of anti-enviromentalists is to compound the ideas that "short-term environmental destruction doesn't matter in the long run" with conjectures like "exploitation or not, we're already doomed in the long run".

Revealingly — in the sense that a presumed environmental collapse is invoked to justify any and all extreme actions one may please — anti-evironmentalism isn't even all that different from the fringe Hard green mindset.

[edit] Techniques and rhetoric

[edit] Astroturfing

See the main article on this topic: Astroturf

[edit] Stereotyping

See the main article on this topic: Stereotype

[edit] Frame-flipping

[edit] Conspiracy theories

See the main article on this topic: Conspiracy theory

Hard-right conspiracy theorists also view environmentalism as a front for any number of the following:[16]

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Bibliography

[edit] References

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