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Environmentalist Laments Introduction of Electricity
CNSNEWS.com ^ | 8/26/02 | Marc Morano

Posted on 08/26/2002 5:02:28 AM PDT by kattracks

(CNSNews.com) - "There is a lot of quality to be had in poverty," and the introduction of electricity is "destroying" the cultures of the world's poor, according to a U.S. environmentalist, who commented on the eve of the United Nations Earth Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa.

But a pioneer of the environmental movement who left it because he viewed it as too radical, called the anti-electricity views an example of the "eco-imperialism" of the white upper-middle class who think it's "neat to have Africans with no electricity."

Gar Smith, editor of the Earth Island Institute's online magazine The Edge, spoke about what he considers the virtues of poverty during an interview with CNSNews.com.

Earth Island Institute, the San Francisco-based environmental group, once popular with millions of school children for its efforts to save Keiko, the killer whale that starred in the movie Free Willy, sent representatives to this week's Earth Summit.

"The idea that people are poor doesn't mean that they are not living good lives," Smith said.

Smith called the developing world's poverty "relative" and explained "you can't really have poverty unless you have wealthy people on the scene."

Smith decried the introduction of electricity to the poor residents of the developing world.

"I don't think a lot of electricity is a good thing. It is the fuel that powers a lot of multi-national imagery," Smith said.

According to Smith, electricity can wreak havoc on cultures. "I have seen villages in Africa that had vibrant culture and great communities that were disrupted and destroyed by the introduction of electricity," he said.

With the introduction of electricity, the African villagers spent too much time watching television and listening to the radio, allowing their more primitive traditional ways to fade away, according to Smith.

Smith lamented that "people who used to spend their days and evenings in the streets playing music on their own instruments and sewing clothing for their neighbors on foot peddle powered sewing machines" lost their culture with the advent of electricity.

"If there is going to be electricity, I would like it to be decentralized, small, solar-powered," Smith said.

Smith challenged Americans to give up their own modern conveniences.

"The real question is what personal conveniences and self indulgences are you willing to give up in order to stop destroying the planet?" he asked rhetorically.

The U.S. is not a model for the rest of the world to follow because "the level at which Americans consume is unsustainable," according to Smith. He projected that if the rest of the world consumed at rates similar to the U.S., the environmental degradation would require "three extra planets to exploit."

He called the notion that the U.S. needs to export the "American way" of life nothing more than "myth making" and revealed that many of his friends have already voluntarily given up automobiles in favor of bicycles and mass transit.

Smith used the collapse of communism in the former Soviet Union as an example of how to solve ecological problems.

"There is a solution to climate change and pollution. We saw it happen to Russia when their economy collapsed. Their industrial plants closed down, the skies got clear. Their air is a lot cleaner now," Smith said.
'Eco-Imperialism at its Worst'

Patrick Moore, head of the environmental advocacy group Greenspirit, and a former founding member of Greenpeace, called Smith's views "eco-imperialism at its worst."

Moore left Greenpeace in the 1980s after becoming disillusioned with what he considered the group's radical approach to environmental concerns.

"It's that kind of arrogance that is coming from a movement that is basically white upper-middle class and is saying that it's neat to have Africans with no electricity," Moore told CNSNews.com.

"It is the same tendency that has caused Europeans to conquer the whole planet in the first place," explained Moore.

Moore said Smith's views represent a "naive vision of returning to some kind of Garden of Eden, which was actually not that great because the average life span was 35."

"What a terrible thing to say. It's just so obviously stupid -- this romanticization of poverty, where people can't afford to fix their teeth, can't afford decent nutrition, can't afford proper health care, can't afford education," stated Moore.

"What does he think -- that some illiterate with her teeth falling out in the mountains is a good thing?" asked Moore.

The dire poverty that exists in the developing countries, especially in Africa and Latin America are a "kind of poverty that no one would wish on anyone," according to Moore.

But Moore said many of the poverty stricken residents of the developing world do seem optimistic despite their conditions.

"It is amazing that hope springs eternal and people with their teeth falling out who are dying of malnutrition, still laugh during the day. But that doesn't mean it's good," Moore said.

Moore now views the environmental movement as having lost its original mission of ecological protection and is now occupied with encouraging class envy and anti-capitalist rhetoric.

"The environmentalists try to inject guilt into people for consuming, as if consuming by itself causes destruction to the environment. There is no truth to that. You have the wealthiest countries on earth with the best looked after environment" he explained.

Poverty, not wealth, is one of the biggest threats to the Earth's ecological health, according to Moore. "Look at the environmental destruction caused by poverty. They have no money left to reforest, they have no money left to prevent soil erosion, there is no money to clean their water after they make it dirty," he said.

Moore does not have much regard for the environmentalists attending the Earth Summit.

"They are mainly political activists with not very much actual science background who are using the rhetoric of environmentalism to push agendas that are more political than they are ecological," Moore said.

See Related Stories:
Earth Summit: 'Historic Milestone' or 'Big Circus'? (Aug. 23, 2002)
Environmentalists Link West Nile Virus to Global Warming (Aug. 19, 2002)


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TOPICS: Culture/Society; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ecoshateafricans; ecoterrorism; enviroaareracist; enviroshatehumans; garsmitheconazi; globalwarminghoax; greenpeace; greenspirit; noddtkills; noelectricitykills; patrickmoore; racistenvirals; ruralcleansing; stopecoterrorism
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To: kattracks
Thanks for this! It made my day :) *LMAO*
51 posted on 08/26/2002 2:41:54 PM PDT by LRS
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To: Tailgunner Joe; All
Oh man, you've frightened me with *that* link once before.

Give this one a look, people. Inside you'll find some enlightened folks who make Gar Smith look sensible.

52 posted on 08/26/2002 3:52:57 PM PDT by hellinahandcart
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
They Love humanity but Hate mankind.

They Hate Mankind but love feeling superior realtive to the rest of us. Leftists are like the 16 year old hoodlum raised by their Granny and dependent on her for their very life, but don't think twice about ridiculing her or swiping her retirement check.

53 posted on 08/26/2002 4:37:32 PM PDT by Dakmar
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To: Dakmar
realtive s/b relative
54 posted on 08/26/2002 4:47:36 PM PDT by Dakmar
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Thanks for the link.
55 posted on 08/26/2002 5:03:20 PM PDT by jjm2111
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To: RJayneJ; Lazamataz; Nick Danger; Dog Gone
"There is a lot of quality to be had in poverty," and the introduction of electricity is "destroying" the cultures of the world's poor, according to a U.S. environmentalist, who commented on the eve of the United Nations Earth Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa."

There's nothing quite like a spoiled little rich White kid telling starving, diseased kids in Africa that they should be denied electricity in rural hospitals. It almost makes the subtle racism of liberalism appear to be overt for a fleeting moment...

56 posted on 08/26/2002 11:26:00 PM PDT by Southack
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To: Always Right
Europe and the rest of the world are blaming the US for failing the world's poor and destroying the environment. Tensions are emerging between those who want our money (Britain and most of the world) and the US even before the latest Earth Summit (which is meant to blame the USA for everything, as well as, take as much money from us as possible) in Johannesburg. See August 26th London Times.

Hmmm, now how many colonies did the USA have around the world? How many people did we enslave in Africa, Asia, and the rest of the world? Didn't the British Empire empirically control 1/3 of the world, what about France, Holland, Germany, Spain etc… Yet the world is blaming the USA because the world is poor.

Let those wonderful nations that put these people in poverty, used their cheap labor, and stole their minerals pay for the mess they created.

THE USA IS NOT TO BLAME. Perhaps Europe should look themselves in the mirror for most of the problems of the world. The third world is also to blame for their problems. They often created their mess through their corrupted leaders. The USA has no share in the blame, and we should refuse to accept any guilt. Perhaps the rest of the world should learn to fix their problems, instead of using the USA, Christians, Jews or Israel as whipping boys to blame all their own failings on.

Two last questions. Couldn't the poor in the world have been helped by giving all the money it cost to create this conference to them? Wouldn't the environment be better off with out the waste of fossil fuels it took to get to this conference? If these people don't care enough to send their money to the poor and help the environment, why should we?

57 posted on 08/27/2002 12:31:36 AM PDT by GaryMontana
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To: F.J. Mitchell
Two questions. Couldn't the poor in the world have been helped by giving all the money it cost to create this conference to them? Wouldn't the environment be better off with out the waste of fossil fuels it took to get to this conference? If these people don't care enough to send their money to the poor and help the environment, why should we?
58 posted on 08/27/2002 12:37:47 AM PDT by GaryMontana
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To: Nuke'm Glowing
I guess they don't love me.
I grew up in an aprtment in a poor neighborhood in Chicago. My parents (when I was in grammer school) voted for McGovern. They were very democratic. They were happy when I got accepted to the University of Wisconsin (Madison).

In college I read Plato, and was forced to read Marx. I saw the light, and became conservative.

I am now a rightwinger living in Montana proud to drive a Mercedes-Benz SUV, with a five bedroom house, and with many guns.

Let those who think it is romantic to be poor do so. But it is far better to have MONEY, be independent, and a thinking person.
59 posted on 08/27/2002 12:46:33 AM PDT by GaryMontana
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To: kattracks
Its just like a liberal like Gar Smith to romanticize poverty and think living in a thatched hut with no electricity, no hot water, no indoor toilets, no labor saving modern conveniences should be the world's Club Med model. I don't see him and his fellow liberals giving up their affluent Western lifestyles or immigrating to the Third World to commiserate with the wretched of the earth. What they do want is to prevent them for achieving an affluent Western lifestyle and the material comforts Smith and Western liberals enjoy. More evidence if it was needed of just how "compassionate" the enlightened crowd is. They feel so guilty over living in a free and prosperous society that what offends them most is sharing the fruits of how that freedom and prosperity was achieved with those who don't yet have it. I think it a birthright of every one on Earth and yet I'd like to see every home on the planet be as clean, stocked with electricity, hot water and labor-saving modern conveniences like Americans take for granted and that should be our aim in helping the Third World escape poverty. After everything we've seen in the last century its out of touch with reality liberals like Smith who still don't get it.
60 posted on 08/27/2002 12:51:12 AM PDT by goldstategop
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To: kattracks
Smith called the developing world's poverty "relative" and explained "you can't really have poverty unless you have wealthy people on the scene."

Amazing. So if we all live in mud huts without food, everybody's doing great. Usually commies don't say they want the populace to live in poverty-stricken misery quite so overtly.
61 posted on 08/27/2002 2:20:07 AM PDT by mn12
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To: kattracks
Environmentalist Laments Introduction of Electricity

Perhaps such folks could be encouraged to help rid the world of electricity by soaking up as much of it as their individual bodies can take. Thus they could become electron sinks for environmental peace.
62 posted on 08/27/2002 2:44:09 AM PDT by aruanan
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To: kattracks
"The idea that people are poor doesn't mean that they are not living good lives," Smith said.

He's right. Let's end all foreign aid. After all, the poor are probably perfectly happy without it.

63 posted on 08/27/2002 2:50:54 AM PDT by A_perfect_lady
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To: Nuke'm Glowing
He's probably a speech writer for Comissar Daschle already.

LOLOLOLOL!!

64 posted on 08/27/2002 5:35:45 AM PDT by lavaroise
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To: GaryMontana
" Why should we?"

A good point indeed. And one more question should be asked: Since all the money the tax-payers of the world have sent in the past, has wound up in the vaults of the dictators who rule those poor countries-is there enough money on earth, assuming that we send it all, for even a smidgen to trickle down to the ones we desire to help?
65 posted on 08/27/2002 11:10:52 AM PDT by F.J. Mitchell
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