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  > ------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
  > From:          ifi@foeint.antenna.nl
  > To:           
  > Date:          Fri, 28 Nov 1997 17:42:54 +0200
  > Subject:       FOEI ALERT!!!  AGAINST NATURE
  > Reply-to:      ifi@foeint.antenna.nl
  > Priority:      normal
  > ------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
  > From:          "Friends of the Earth International" <info>
  > Organization:  Friends of the Earth International
  > To:            ifi
  > Date:          Fri, 28 Nov 1997 15:31:24 +0100
  > Subject:       (Fwd) FOEI ALERT!!!  AGAINST NATURE
  > ------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
  > From:          Self <info>
  > To:            foeiall@foe.co.uk
  > Subject:       FOEI ALERT!!!  AGAINST NATURE
  > Date:          Fri, 28 Nov 1997 15:20:18 +0100
  > Dear FoE groups,
  > On Sunday night, Channel 4 in the UK will be screening the first part
  > of its 3 hour "documentary" on the environmental movement -- AGAINST
  > NATURE. The programme makes serious and irresponsible accusations
  > that the environmental movement (FoE, among others, is targeted) is
  > responsible for killing children in poor countries by focusing solely
  > on nature protection issues, and that environmental "fascists" are
  > ideologically similar to Nazis in their beliefs. Incredible stuff,
  > and potentially dangerous for our movements.
  > Kevin Dunion is drafting a letter in response to the programme which
  > will be circulated to FoE groups next week. He will point out that
  > not only have the programme producers manipulated the views of
  > the FoE people interviewed (which include members of FoE US and FoE
  > UK) but also that they have failed to interview any environmentalists
  > from the South (and as a result portray FoEI as a northern
  > organization). A complete missreprentation of and disservice to
  > Southern environmentalists, as well as to the global environmental
  > movement.
  > Below you will find a transcript on climate which is drawn from the
  > programme, as well as two articles that have appeared in the British
  > media this week condemming the programme.
  > Please be prepared next week in case the press contacts you for
  > comments on this programme. You may also want to react directly to
  > Channel 4 -- the address is below.  We will keep you informed about
  > reactions to the programme in the UK, and about how we might react to
  > this as a network.
  > Ann at FoEI
  > >
  > >Against Nature - 3 x 1 hour "documentaries", starting on Channel 4,
  > >Sunday
  > >30th November, 8pm.
  > >
  > >This is the most prominent (and the crudest) manifestation of the
  > >anti-environmental backlash yet - three hours of prime time TV on
  > >Britain's
  > >Channel 4. Those of you in the States should look out for it too - it has
  > >clearly been made with the US market in mind, featuring lots of Americans
  > >and
  > >parroting the rhetoric of both Wise Use and the Global Climate coalition.
  > >
  > >To give you a flavour of what it's like, here is a transcript of the
  > >section
  > >on climate change, followed by the articles John Vidal and George Monbiot
  > >put
  > >in the Guardian this morning (25 November), followed by addresses of
  > >relevant
  > >bodies.
  > >
  > >..........................................................................
  > >.
  > >
  > >Transcribed excerpt from Against Nature, Programme 1. To be broadcast on
  > >Sunday at 8pm.
  > >
  > >Commentary: At the centre of green concerns is the panic about global
  > >warming.
  > >The idea that pollution from things like factories and cars is pushing up
  > >world temperature.
  > >
  > >Piers Corbyn: The media gives the impression that manmade global warming
  > >is a
  > >fact. But in the scientific community a lot of people do not accept it as
  > >a
  > >fact.
  > >
  > >Comm: Environmentalists claim that world temperatures have risen 1 degree
  > >Fahrenheit in the past century. But scientists say this is misleading.
  > >
  > >Corbyn: The very interesting and I think quite frankly dishonest way in
  > >which
  > >the greenhouse lobby present their case is that they always start at
  > >about
  > >1880. Well 1880 and around then was actually a cold period. So they're
  > >starting at a cold period to take it up to now to show warming.
  > >
  > >Comm: The timing of temperature changes does not appear to support the
  > >theory
  > >of global warming.
  > >
  > >Greg Easterbrook: Most of the temperature rises that occurred in the 20th
  > >Century came before the year 1940, and that was before human-caused
  > >emissions
  > >of greenhouse gases became significant.
  > >
  > >Comm: During the post-war boom, according to the greens, global warming
  > >should
  > >have pushed temperatures up. In fact, the opposite happened.
  > >
  > >Fred Singer: After industry really got going, after people started using
  > >lots
  > >of cars that burn lots of fuel, so after World War Two, the climate
  > >cooled.
  > >
  > >Easterbrook: Culminating in the frigid cold winters of the mid-1970s,
  > >which
  > >set record lows throughout much of the Western world.
  > >
  > >Singer: As a matter of fact, the decrease in temperature, which was very
  > >noticeable in the 60s and 70s, led many people to fear that we would be
  > >going
  > >into another Ice Age.
  > >
  > >Easterbrook: At that point doomsayers began to predict that an Ice Age
  > >was
  > >coming.
  > >
  > >Singer: They came up with horrible predictions about how this was going
  > >to
  > >ruin our economy.
  > >
  > >Easterbrook: Now we're all back to being convinced that the earth's
  > >climate is
  > >running away towards heat.
  > >
  > >Comm: Even in recent times, the temperature has not behaved as it should
  > >according to global warming theory. Over the last 8 years, temperature in
  > >the
  > >southern hemisphere has actually been falling.
  > >
  > >Corbyn: When proper satellite measurements are done of world
  > >temperatures,
  > >they do not show any increase in world temperatures over the last 20
  > >years
  > >whatsoever.
  > >
  > >Comm: But greens refuse to accept they have been proved wrong. Now, they
  > >say,
  > >global warming can involve temperature going both up and down.
  > >
  > >Teddy Goldsmith: You see, as I said, global warming is above all global
  > >climate destabilisation. With extremes of cold and heat when you don't
  > >expect
  > >it, and of wet and dry. You get terrible droughts in certain cases.
  > >Sometimes
  > >you get downpours in Egypt. I think they had rainfall for the first time
  > >in
  > >history. Then you get droughts in other areas, so it's going to be
  > >extremely
  > >unpredictable.
  > >
  > >Comm: Scientists also point out that Nature produces far more greenhouse
  > >gases
  > >than we do. When the Mount Pinatubo volcano erupted recently, within just
  > >a
  > >few hours it had thrown into the atmosphere 30 million tonnes of sulphur
  > >dioxide, about twice as much as all the factories, power plants and cars
  > >in
  > >the United States do in a whole year. Oceans emit 90 billion tonnes of
  > >carbon
  > >dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, every year. Decaying plants throw up
  > >another
  > >90 billion tonnes, compared to just 6 billion tonnes a year from humans.
  > >
  > >Easterbrook: The natural carbon cycle dwarfs the human cycle. Nature
  > >naturally
  > >emits carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at
  > >levels
  > >fantastically higher than those emitted by human activity.
  > >
  > >Corbyn: Man adding a little bit of carbon dioxide makes very little
  > >difference
  > >to the equilibrium levels. It's a bit like having a bath full of water
  > >with
  > >the plug out. Water's pouring in and water's pouring out. You get a cup
  > >of tea
  > >and you pour it in the bath. Someone says: Oh don't do that, the bath
  > >will
  > >overflow. Of course the bath won't overflow. The level of the water might
  > >go
  > >up by one millimetre.
  > >
  > >Comm: Indeed, 100 million years ago, there was six times as much carbon
  > >dioxide in the atmosphere as there is now. And yet the temperature then
  > >was
  > >marginally cooler than it is today. Many scientists have concluded that
  > >carbon
  > >dioxide doesn't even affect climate.
  > >
  > >Singer: The so-called scientific consensus about the science of global
  > >warming
  > >is a hoax. It does not exist.
  > >
  > >Corbyn: No matter how many times you read about global warming, it
  > >doesn't
  > >mean that it's true, it just means somebody is repeating something
  > >they've
  > >heard. A proper scientific investigation will prove that manmade global
  > >warming theories based on carbon dioxide are false.
  > >
  > >Singer: I'm sure that many of the environmental extremist groups are
  > >disappointed that they haven't had an environmental catastrophe and they
  > >probably hope there will be one. In fact they latch onto any climate
  > >catastrophe that exists and blame it on global warming, whether it's a
  > >flood
  > >or a drought or a storm or whatever.
  > >
  > >Corbyn: Manmade carbon dioxide global warming theory is based on media
  > >puff
  > >and will die within a few years.
  > >
  > >Comm: Although many environmentalists have been forced to accept much of
  > >the
  > >scientific evidence against global warming, they still argue that it is
  > >better
  > >to be safe than sorry. So they continue to use global warming as a reason
  > >to
  > >oppose industrialisation and economic growth.
  > >
  > >..........................................................................
  > >.
  > >
  > >George Monbiot's article:
  > >
  > >Neither the BBC nor Channel 4 have run a series on the environment for at
  > >least four years. Despite a massive public appetite for environmental
  > >protection, green programmes have been actively excluded from the
  > >schedules.
  > >But this month, both companies are bringing one out. These are not,
  > >however,
  > >series about the horrors of environmental destruction, but about the
  > >horrors
  > >of the environmental movement. It is a backlash without a frontlash.
  > >
  > >This is not to say that there is no case to be made, nor to suggest that
  > >environmentalism should be exempt from the most sceptical examination.
  > >The
  > >BBC2 series, "Scare Stories", which started on Thursday, is interesting,
  > >provocative and largely correct in its critique of misleading
  > >environmental
  > >claims about human population growth. But the Channel 4 series, which
  > >begins
  > >on Sunday, is a rather different proposition.
  > >
  > >"Against Nature" argues that greens in First World countries are
  > >responsible
  > >for the deprivation and death of millions of children in the Third World.
  > >What
  > >impoverished people in the South need are vast hydroelectric projects
  > >like
  > >India's Narmada Dam, whose construction has been suspended because of
  > >campaigns by First World environmentalists. In their callous disregard
  > >for
  > >human welfare and their fetishism of nature, greens, it maintains, are
  > >not
  > >merely conservative, but fascist, drawing their inspiration from
  > >precisely the
  > >same ideologies as the Nazis.
  > >
  > >It would be laughable, had it not been given three hours of prime time
  > >TV.
  > >
  > >Against Nature, the producers tell us, "highlights the absence of
  > >scientific
  > >rigour behind notions like the greenhouse effect and global warming". Yet
  > >the
  > >series makes the most elementary scientific mistakes. Sulphur dioxide,
  > >for
  > >example, is described as a "greenhouse gas". In reality, it counteracts
  > >the
  > >greenhouse effect. Ecosystems such as oceans and forests, the series
  > >says,
  > >produce millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide. In reality, the oceans are
  > >net
  > >absorbers of carbon dioxide, and forests absorb as much as they produce.
  > >
  > >Indian peasants, according to Channel 4, desperately want the Narmada Dam
  > >to
  > >be built, in order to get fresh drinking water. But the Narmada Dam,
  > >despite
  > >the claims of officials, has no drinking water component, as a World Bank
  > >report has pointed out. It will divert water away from peasant villages
  > >and
  > >towards the sugar plantations of the richest and most politically
  > >powerful
  > >people in the state. As most of Gujurat's development funds have been
  > >siphoned
  > >off for the pounds7 billion project, the pressing needs of its
  > >impoverished
  > >citizens have been neglected. It will displace, directly and indirectly,
  > >up to
  > >600,000 people.
  > >
  > >Its construction was halted not, as the series claims, by Northern
  > >environmentalists, but by the Indian Supreme Court, in response to a suit
  > >filed by a local people's movement. Indeed, since 1988, hundreds of
  > >thousands
  > >of local people have been protesting against the Narmada Dam, and the
  > >drowning
  > >of villages, risk of floods, corruption and fraud it involves. Thousands
  > >have
  > >pledged to stay in their homes and drown, rather than submit to forced
  > >resettlement. Northern environmentalists became involved when the peasant
  > >activists asked them for help in trying to persuade the World Bank to
  > >withdraw
  > >from the project. The Bank commissioned an independent review, whose
  > >damning
  > >evidence forced it to pull out.
  > >
  > >This case highlights the most dangerous of Against Nature's flaws: its
  > >astonishing and frankly racist assumption that environmental controls in
  > >the
  > >South are the result of environmental campaigning in the North. Though
  > >Channel
  > >4 has somehow managed to overlook it, India possesses the largest
  > >environmental movement on earth, engaging tens of millions of people.
  > >Like the
  > >movements in Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa and scores of other
  > >Southern countries, it has inspired and guided modern environmental
  > >campaigns
  > >in the North.
  > >
  > >This transfer of ideas and tactics has catalyzed a British environmental
  > >movement concentrating on precisely those areas in which environmental
  > >and
  > >social justice concerns overlap. New trunk roads are less equitable than
  > >new
  > >public transport, because 34 per cent of British people have no access to
  > >a
  > >car. New superstores are less equitable than affordable housing.
  > >Conventional
  > >farming forces the poorest people in Britain to subsidise the richest.
  > >Pollution hammers the poor hardest, as it is they who end up downwind. We
  > >environmentalists want development, but of the kind that benefits those
  > >who
  > >need it most, rather than only those who have plenty of it already.
  > >Against
  > >Nature, by contrast, selective, unquestioning, and just plain wrong,
  > >sides
  > >with the dispossessors against the dispossessed.
  > >
  > >..........................................................................
  > >.
  > >
  > >John Vidal's article:
  > >
  > >SEVERAL MONTHS ago, a graduate student with Jonathon Porritt's Forum For
  > >The
  > >Future programme telephoned me. She had spent a month with Channel 4 and
  > >had
  > >been invited to make a 10-minute presentation about ``the environment''
  > >to the
  > >senior commissioning editors. Would I like to tag along?
  > > We turned up in the boardroom with 25 or more executives. She made a
  > >brave
  > >speech about her experiences at C4 and remarked how she was amazed that
  > >people
  > >there seemed to be on another planet - out of touch with the grassroots
  > >and
  > >with what young people and women in particular were thinking. For a
  > >channel
  > >that prided itself on being socially aware and an original charter to
  > >give a
  > >voice to minorities, C4 seemed to her disinterested in the arguments of
  > >people
  > >trying to effect social change and promote new thinking. She could, I
  > >suppose,
  > >be called an environmentalist.
  > >  I chimed in to say that the word ``environment'' was pretty stupid,
  > >but
  > >that the broad debate taking place under its label was, if C4 cared to
  > >listen,
  > >intellectually, politically and socially exciting. C4, it seemed to me,
  > >was
  > >missing endless stories and doing a disservice to intelligent viewers by
  > >not
  > >taking the debate seriously.
  > > There were some polite comments, and a brief discussion. But, as I
  > >remember,
  > >the commissioning editor for science said very little. Strange, because
  > >Sara
  > >Ramsden was even then preparing to spend several hundred thousand pounds
  > >on
  > >three hours TV about `'environmentalism''.
  > > I'm not surprised she kept quiet. Ramsdan and director Martin Durkin
  > >had
  > >been cooking up a series called Against Nature, the first part of which
  > >shows
  > >on Sunday. Journalistically, it falls into the category that might be
  > >called
  > >``provocations'', work that seeks to provoke debate, or make fun of
  > >sacred
  > >cows. Fine. Made intelligently and with respect for facts, this sort of
  > >polemic can make great viewing and one about the environment could be a
  > >cracker.
  > > But Against Nature has no such attributes. From the screen evidence
  > >Ramsden
  > >and Durkin are intellectual cowards flaunting a startling ignorance and a
  > >dangerous and shallow political agenda. Under the guise of producing an
  > >authoritative documentary with all the sophisticated techniques of
  > >serious
  > >television, the film-makers state (in the version that I have seen of the
  > >first programme) that ``environmentalists'' - unnamed and unidentified -
  > >are
  > >politically and socially akin to the Third Reich.
  > > That's just the foolish start. The list of charges is long:
  > >``environmentalists'' put millions of lives in danger; they come from the
  > >same
  > >stock as Hitler and Goering; doom people to live in abject poverty; want
  > >misery to continue; peddle a system as pernicious as 19th century
  > >imperialism.
  > >Moreover, these ``environmentalists'' control the White House and are
  > >immensely rich; are backward looking; fear change; stop people using
  > >their
  > >resources; and are linked to xenophobic movements.
  > >  Unless this is serious satire, this is sheer stupidity. Who are   these
  > >people he is accusing? Even if some pretty harmless people who call
  > >themselves
  > >environmentalists are batty, it is ridiculous to accuse them in these
  > >terms.
  > > But what makes Against Nature unforgiveable is that C4 is presenting
  > >the
  > >series not as the comments of any named individual or group but as
  > >general
  > >truths. Its charges are presumably levelled as much at all members of
  > >Foe, the
  > >RSPB and the WWF as people like Justice in Brighton and the myriad
  > >environment
  > >groups in the developing world.  Its methods are loaded and disgraceful.
  > >The
  > >director fails to  identify one person or group to back any one of the
  > >accusations made by his anonymous narrator. He presents no evidence that
  > >anyone supports his assertions. Or is engaged in any of these activities.
  > >
  > >Instead, he tars everyone with the same brush and juxtaposes images   of
  > >dying
  > >babies and swastikas with sonorous voice-overs saying that
  > >``environmentalists'' want poverty and regression. He spends time at the
  > >Narmada dam in India talking to a doctor who favours the massive project
  > >yet
  > >does not talk to Medha Paktar and the hundreds of people prepared to
  > >drown to
  > >save their communities and land.   He deals in generalised
  > >misrepresentations
  > >of other people's ideas  and allows no response or critique of his
  > >cartoon
  > >``arguments''. In short it is vicious visual and verbal comment, with a
  > >threadbare intellectual argument and no analysis.
  > >  On the basis of this series my friend Umit Ozturk must be an   honorary
  > >Nazi.
  > >Umit is a Kurdish environmentalist, tortured for writing about the
  > >nuclear
  > >industry and exposing the corruption behind it. He is now a political
  > >refugee.
  > >Umit should sue. So should `'Inverness John'', banged up in Walton for
  > >opposing the Manchester airport extension. Joining them in a class action
  > >might be the leaders of Beluga, the Russian environment group imprisoned
  > >for
  > >detailing Soviet navy pollution, and the 1,000 people criminalised in
  > >British
  > >courts for opposing the Newbury by-pass.
  > >  Was Chico Mendez seeking poverty? Was Ken Saro-Wiwa xenophobic? Is
  > >Martin
  > >Khor - a leading New Democracy voice of the south - suspect? Maybe the
  > >young
  > >Walhi environmental activists denounced as terrorists by the Indonesian
  > >government for exposing the corruption behind the fires are evil - just
  > >like
  > >the Sem Terra landless movement in Brazil or the 1,000 Third World First
  > >students calling for more ethics in government and business at Warwick a
  > >few
  > >weeks ago?
  > >  Are all vegetarians and tree planters, as the programme suggests,
  > >linked
  > >to old far right movements? Is Robin Cook arguing for the past? Should
  > >anyone
  > >who takes a walk or likes animals be locked up?
  > > Oh dear. The danger and irresponsibility of this illiterate series is
  > >that
  > >it legitimises growing political totalitarianism. It wilfully ignores the
  > >converging social and human rights agendas of modern western and southern
  > >environmentalism, and the fact that it's the arguments of
  > >``environmentalists'' which have largely forced governments and business
  > >to
  > >take pollution, health and conservation more seriously in the past 30
  > >years.
  > >Who else, as government and corporate agendas merge, is questioning the
  > >free
  > >market rush to new science and technologies, cruelty to animals, the
  > >extinction of species, major developments and human rights abuses?
  > >  But there is worse. By mocking or misunderstanding the traditions   and
  > >cultures of indigenous groups, proposing that poverty is as simple as not
  > >having a light bulb and continually associating Nature in the film with
  > >faeces
  > >and pollution, it effectively promotes economic and political agendas
  > >that in
  > >my experience, tread heavily on the weakest in all societies and
  > >legitimise
  > >corruption and human rights abuses.   I only know of only one broad group
  > >which consistently uses this   sort of argument about
  > >`'environmentalism''.
  > >The Far Right. In the US, the Wise Use Movement is linked to the militias
  > >and
  > >its members beat up environmentalists who they call ''commies''. In South
  > >America and Asia, corporations and landowners spend millions killing them
  > >and
  > >bribing or influencing politicians against their arguments.
  > >  Against Nature appears to peddle their line, yet C4 either can't see
  > >it or
  > >approves. The makers probably voted New Labour and regard themselves as
  > >liberals. Yet if one of the editors sitting round that boardroom table
  > >had
  > >commissioned the National Front, the Wise Use Movement or the Brazilian
  > >landowners to make a three part series they would be fired.
  > >  If someone had argued that all ``social workers'' were pederasts,   all
  > >``gypsies'' were criminals or because some Nazis were gay, all today's
  > >gays
  > >came from the same tradition as Nazis, they would be regarded as puerile
  > >and
  > >dangerous.
  > >  Television is bad at making programmes about ideas. Here it excels.
  > >C4 has
  > >given a muddled filmmaker with no understanding of a set of big subjects
  > >or
  > >the skill to tackle them, three hours to casually wave swastikas, and
  > >mock
  > >people being hanged, tortured and harassed for questioning the failures
  > >of
  > >democracy or opposing repressive regimes.
  > >
  > >  As such the programmes come across as overtly racist, an offensive
  > >classic
  > >of unthinking British liberal film-making. It brings C4's journalism,
  > >judgement and political agenda into serious disrepute. Beware.
  > >
  > >..........................................................................
  > >.
  > >
  > >Addresses:
  > >
  > >Guardian letters page:
  > >letters@guardian.co.uk
  > >Fax: 0171 837 4530
  > >
  > >Channel 4
  > >124 Horseferry Road
  > >London SW1P 2TX
  > >0171 396 4444
  > >Email for complaints: viewer_enqs@channel4.co.uk
  > >
  > >Broadcasting Complaints Commission.
  > >PO Box 333, LONDON SW1W 0BS. (0171) 630 1966
  > >
  > >Independent Television Commission
  > >33 Foley Street, LONDON W1P 7LB (0171) 255 3000
  > >
  > >Right to Reply,
  > >124 Horseferry Road,
  > >(0171) 306 8582 or fax (0171) 306 8373.
  > >Email: righttoreply@channel4.com
  > >
  > >
  > >
  > >
  > >
  > >........................................................
  > > Blewbury Environmental Research Group
  > > Wendy MacLeod-Gilford  &
  > > Mick Gilford, MA(Cantab), MSc, DIC      __  __ __  __
  > > Lesmarie, Bessels Way, Blewbury         |_) |_ |_) | _
  > > Oxon. OX11 9NN, UK                      |_) |_ |\  |_|
  > > Tel+Fax: 01235 850711                            \
  > > E-mail: berg@gn.apc.org
  > > WWW: http://www.gn.apc.org/pmhp/berg
  > >........................................................
  > >
  > >
  > >
  > Further information about the Climate Train and related
  > topics is available from  our Web Page:
  > http://www.gn.apc.org/sgr/kyoto/journey.html
  > ----------------------------------------------------
  > Dani Kaye BSc (Hons); MSc, Dip. Ling, BTEC Publ.
  > Press Officer, Scientists For Global Responsibility
  > 17 Briary Lane, Royston
  >  HERTS, SG8 9BU,   UK
  > tel/fax +441763 231 541
  >  (dkaye@gn.apc.org)
  > -----------------------------------------------------
  > --- REPLY TO: info@foeint.antenna.nl ---
  > | ann doherty, information officer
  > | friends of the earth international
  > | po box 19199, 1000 gd amsterdam, the netherlands
  > | tel. 31 20 6221369  fax 31 20 6392181  www: www.xs4all.nl/~foeint