A sensible environmentist
DES MOINES – With all the heated debates about climate change, genetically modified organisms, sustainability and more, an unlikely voice is offering a new take on these controversial topics.
Perhaps most surprising is that these insights are coming from a self-described Greenpeace dropout.
“The idea that humans are evil and nature is good is destructive thinking,” said Dr. Patrick Moore, a Canadian ecologist, who was the keynote speaker at the 2016 Iowa Pork Congress on Jan. 27 in Des Moines. “We need to balance the needs of people and the environment.”
Although he was a co-founder and driving force in the organization for 15 years, he said he ultimately abandoned Greenpeace to pursue a more sensible, science-based approach to environmentalism.
“While Greenpeace began with a strong humanitarian component, this changed over time,” said Moore, who has been dubbed the Sensible Environmentalist. “Greenpeace lost its humanitarian perspective and drifted into the belief that humans are the enemy.”
Moore’s views on environmental policies have evolved dramatically from the anti-nuclear activism and anti-chemical campaigns that defined his Greenpeace involvement in the 1970s and 1980s.
Moore’s growing disillusionment with radical environmentalism peaked when Greenpeace took aim at chlorine.
“Greenpeace said chlorine was ‘the devil’s element’ and called for a global chlorine ban,” Moore said. “Not only is chlorine an element on the periodic table, but adding chlorine to drinking water, pools and spas is the single biggest advance in the history of public health.”
Frustrated by his peers’ ideological and politicized agendas, Moore, who authored “Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout,” said he left Greenpeace and began focusing on sustainable environmental outcomes.
Today, Moore promotes policies based on science and logic. He also seeks to build consensus rather than division.
“I like to talk with farmers, because you’re out in the environment every day,” said Moore. “Leaving Greenpeace allowed me to move away from constant confrontation and focus more on consensus building.”
That doesn’t mean Moore won’t tackle contentious issues that affect agriculture, including the climate change debate.
While many politicians speak of an impending climate change catastrophe, Moore said the scientific community disagrees about climate change.
“The Global Warming Petition Project says there’s no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the earth’s climate,” said Moore, who noted that more than 31,000 American scientists have signed on to the GWPP.
The GWPP demonstrates that the claim of “settled science” and overwhelming consensus favoring the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and subsequent climatological damage is wrong.
“No such consensus or settled science exists,” Moore said.
Scientists who support the GWPP stress that government action based on this flawed climate change hypothesis would unnecessarily damage both human prosperity and the natural environment of the earth.
Still, many world leaders embrace statements like “it’s extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid 20th century,” a claim made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The word ‘likely’ in that statement means this is an opinion, not a judgment,” Moore said.
Nevertheless, G7 leaders from the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Japan and Italy who met in the summer of 2015 agreed to phase out fossil fuel use by the end of the century.
Moore, who noted that 80 percent of the world’s energy is produced by fossil fuels, said the G7 decision was troubling.
“I’m not convinced we can run our economy on wind, solar and other renewables.”
Moore, who believes nuclear energy is one of the most important energy resources of the future, sees the value of fossil fuels.
“They are 100 percent organic and represent the largest battery of solar energy on earth,” he said. “When burned, they help produce food for life.”
No enemy of nature
Food for life is also linked to another controversial topic – GMOs. Moore said he’s a strong proponent of GMOs, including golden rice.
A diet that includes a mere 40 grams of golden rice daily is all that is needed to combat vitamin A deficiency, which contributes to millions of deaths each year among preschool-aged children in developing countries.
Greenpeace slams golden rice as a Trojan horse for GMOs.
“There are political and superstitious reasons that create irrational restrictions on GMOs, but there are no scientific reasons,” said Moore, who shares these views through his Twitter handle EcoSenseNow. “Golden rice is not a poison. It gives people something they need to survive.”
The safety of GMOs has been confirmed by the American Medical Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the World Health Organization, the Royal Society of Medicine in the United Kingdom and other respected organizations.
Yet environmental activists like Vandana Shiva, of India, vehemently fight GMOs.
“According to Shiva,” Moore said, “‘Saying farmers should be free to grow GMOs, which can contaminate organic farms, is like saying rapists should have freedom to rape.'”
In a world of sensationalism, misinformation and fear, Moore encourages farmers to fight for the truth.
“Humans are not the enemies of nature,” he said. ” Let’s speak up and take a new approach to balance environmental, social and economic priorities.”
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