[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: (Fwd) FOEI ALERT!!! AGAINST NATURE
> ------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
> From: email@example.com
> Date: Fri, 28 Nov 1997 17:42:54 +0200
> Subject: FOEI ALERT!!! AGAINST NATURE
> Reply-to: firstname.lastname@example.org
> 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: email@example.com
> 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
> 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.
> HAPPY WEEKEND, ANYHOW!
> Ann at FoEI
> RED ALERT
> >Against Nature - 3 x 1 hour "documentaries", starting on Channel 4,
> >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
> >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
> >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
> >on climate change, followed by the articles John Vidal and George Monbiot
> >in the Guardian this morning (25 November), followed by addresses of
> >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
> >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
> >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
> >the greenhouse lobby present their case is that they always start at
> >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
> >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
> >of greenhouse gases became significant.
> >Comm: During the post-war boom, according to the greens, global warming
> >have pushed temperatures up. In fact, the opposite happened.
> >Fred Singer: After industry really got going, after people started using
> >of cars that burn lots of fuel, so after World War Two, the climate
> >Easterbrook: Culminating in the frigid cold winters of the mid-1970s,
> >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
> >into another Ice Age.
> >Easterbrook: At that point doomsayers began to predict that an Ice Age
> >Singer: They came up with horrible predictions about how this was going
> >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
> >southern hemisphere has actually been falling.
> >Corbyn: When proper satellite measurements are done of world
> >they do not show any increase in world temperatures over the last 20
> >Comm: But greens refuse to accept they have been proved wrong. Now, they
> >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
> >it, and of wet and dry. You get terrible droughts in certain cases.
> >you get downpours in Egypt. I think they had rainfall for the first time
> >history. Then you get droughts in other areas, so it's going to be
> >Comm: Scientists also point out that Nature produces far more greenhouse
> >than we do. When the Mount Pinatubo volcano erupted recently, within just
> >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
> >the United States do in a whole year. Oceans emit 90 billion tonnes of
> >dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, every year. Decaying plants throw up
> >90 billion tonnes, compared to just 6 billion tonnes a year from humans.
> >Easterbrook: The natural carbon cycle dwarfs the human cycle. Nature
> >emits carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at
> >fantastically higher than those emitted by human activity.
> >Corbyn: Man adding a little bit of carbon dioxide makes very little
> >to the equilibrium levels. It's a bit like having a bath full of water
> >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
> >overflow. Of course the bath won't overflow. The level of the water might
> >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
> >marginally cooler than it is today. Many scientists have concluded that
> >dioxide doesn't even affect climate.
> >Singer: The so-called scientific consensus about the science of global
> >is a hoax. It does not exist.
> >Corbyn: No matter how many times you read about global warming, it
> >mean that it's true, it just means somebody is repeating something
> >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
> >or a drought or a storm or whatever.
> >Corbyn: Manmade carbon dioxide global warming theory is based on media
> >and will die within a few years.
> >Comm: Although many environmentalists have been forced to accept much of
> >scientific evidence against global warming, they still argue that it is
> >to be safe than sorry. So they continue to use global warming as a reason
> >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
> >But this month, both companies are bringing one out. These are not,
> >series about the horrors of environmental destruction, but about the
> >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.
> >BBC2 series, "Scare Stories", which started on Thursday, is interesting,
> >provocative and largely correct in its critique of misleading
> >claims about human population growth. But the Channel 4 series, which
> >on Sunday, is a rather different proposition.
> >"Against Nature" argues that greens in First World countries are
> >for the deprivation and death of millions of children in the Third World.
> >impoverished people in the South need are vast hydroelectric projects
> >India's Narmada Dam, whose construction has been suspended because of
> >campaigns by First World environmentalists. In their callous disregard
> >human welfare and their fetishism of nature, greens, it maintains, are
> >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
> >Against Nature, the producers tell us, "highlights the absence of
> >rigour behind notions like the greenhouse effect and global warming". Yet
> >series makes the most elementary scientific mistakes. Sulphur dioxide,
> >example, is described as a "greenhouse gas". In reality, it counteracts
> >greenhouse effect. Ecosystems such as oceans and forests, the series
> >produce millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide. In reality, the oceans are
> >absorbers of carbon dioxide, and forests absorb as much as they produce.
> >Indian peasants, according to Channel 4, desperately want the Narmada Dam
> >be built, in order to get fresh drinking water. But the Narmada Dam,
> >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
> >towards the sugar plantations of the richest and most politically
> >people in the state. As most of Gujurat's development funds have been
> >off for the pounds7 billion project, the pressing needs of its
> >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
> >of local people have been protesting against the Narmada Dam, and the
> >of villages, risk of floods, corruption and fraud it involves. Thousands
> >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
> >from the project. The Bank commissioned an independent review, whose
> >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
> >South are the result of environmental campaigning in the North. Though
> >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
> >in the North.
> >This transfer of ideas and tactics has catalyzed a British environmental
> >movement concentrating on precisely those areas in which environmental
> >social justice concerns overlap. New trunk roads are less equitable than
> >public transport, because 34 per cent of British people have no access to
> >car. New superstores are less equitable than affordable housing.
> >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
> >need it most, rather than only those who have plenty of it already.
> >Nature, by contrast, selective, unquestioning, and just plain wrong,
> >with the dispossessors against the dispossessed.
> >John Vidal's article:
> >SEVERAL MONTHS ago, a graduate student with Jonathon Porritt's Forum For
> >Future programme telephoned me. She had spent a month with Channel 4 and
> >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
> >speech about her experiences at C4 and remarked how she was amazed that
> >there seemed to be on another planet - out of touch with the grassroots
> >with what young people and women in particular were thinking. For a
> >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
> >trying to effect social change and promote new thinking. She could, I
> >be called an environmentalist.
> > I chimed in to say that the word ``environment'' was pretty stupid,
> >that the broad debate taking place under its label was, if C4 cared to
> >intellectually, politically and socially exciting. C4, it seemed to me,
> >missing endless stories and doing a disservice to intelligent viewers by
> >taking the debate seriously.
> > There were some polite comments, and a brief discussion. But, as I
> >the commissioning editor for science said very little. Strange, because
> >Ramsden was even then preparing to spend several hundred thousand pounds
> >three hours TV about `'environmentalism''.
> > I'm not surprised she kept quiet. Ramsdan and director Martin Durkin
> >been cooking up a series called Against Nature, the first part of which
> >on Sunday. Journalistically, it falls into the category that might be
> >``provocations'', work that seeks to provoke debate, or make fun of
> >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
> > But Against Nature has no such attributes. From the screen evidence
> >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
> >television, the film-makers state (in the version that I have seen of the
> >first programme) that ``environmentalists'' - unnamed and unidentified -
> >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
> >stock as Hitler and Goering; doom people to live in abject poverty; want
> >misery to continue; peddle a system as pernicious as 19th century
> >Moreover, these ``environmentalists'' control the White House and are
> >immensely rich; are backward looking; fear change; stop people using
> >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
> >environmentalists are batty, it is ridiculous to accuse them in these
> > But what makes Against Nature unforgiveable is that C4 is presenting
> >series not as the comments of any named individual or group but as
> >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
> >groups in the developing world. Its methods are loaded and disgraceful.
> >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
> >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
> >does not talk to Medha Paktar and the hundreds of people prepared to
> >drown to
> >save their communities and land. He deals in generalised
> >of other people's ideas and allows no response or critique of his
> >``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
> >Umit is a Kurdish environmentalist, tortured for writing about the
> >industry and exposing the corruption behind it. He is now a political
> >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
> >detailing Soviet navy pollution, and the 1,000 people criminalised in
> >courts for opposing the Newbury by-pass.
> > Was Chico Mendez seeking poverty? Was Ken Saro-Wiwa xenophobic? Is
> >Khor - a leading New Democracy voice of the south - suspect? Maybe the
> >Walhi environmental activists denounced as terrorists by the Indonesian
> >government for exposing the corruption behind the fires are evil - just
> >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
> >weeks ago?
> > Are all vegetarians and tree planters, as the programme suggests,
> >to old far right movements? Is Robin Cook arguing for the past? Should
> >who takes a walk or likes animals be locked up?
> > Oh dear. The danger and irresponsibility of this illiterate series is
> >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
> >take pollution, health and conservation more seriously in the past 30
> >Who else, as government and corporate agendas merge, is questioning the
> >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
> >and pollution, it effectively promotes economic and political agendas
> >that in
> >my experience, tread heavily on the weakest in all societies and
> >corruption and human rights abuses. I only know of only one broad group
> >which consistently uses this sort of argument about
> >The Far Right. In the US, the Wise Use Movement is linked to the militias
> >its members beat up environmentalists who they call ''commies''. In South
> >America and Asia, corporations and landowners spend millions killing them
> >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
> >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
> >came from the same tradition as Nazis, they would be regarded as puerile
> > 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
> >the skill to tackle them, three hours to casually wave swastikas, and
> >people being hanged, tortured and harassed for questioning the failures
> >democracy or opposing repressive regimes.
> > As such the programmes come across as overtly racist, an offensive
> >of unthinking British liberal film-making. It brings C4's journalism,
> >judgement and political agenda into serious disrepute. Beware.
> >Guardian letters page:
> >Fax: 0171 837 4530
> >Channel 4
> >124 Horseferry Road
> >London SW1P 2TX
> >0171 396 4444
> >Email for complaints: firstname.lastname@example.org
> >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,
> >LONDON SW1P 2TX.
> >(0171) 306 8582 or fax (0171) 306 8373.
> >Email: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > WWW: http://www.gn.apc.org/pmhp/berg
> Further information about the Climate Train and related
> topics is available from our Web Page:
> 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
> --- REPLY TO: email@example.com ---
> | 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