ACTIVIST FRAUD & FUND RAISING:
The World's Poor Are Mere Pawns & Collateral Damage
in the Environmentalists' War on Corporations
By Paul K. Driessen
No doubt. But others pay a heavy price. And “shrill” hardly begins to describe the fabrications and vitriol of campaigns against companies, especially those in extractive industries.
As developed countries build and upgrade facilities and infrastructures, China and India are leading the way in electrifying and modernizing poorer nations at an unprecedented pace. With three billion people struggling on $750 a year, 2 billion still without electricity or running water, and millions dying annually from malnutrition and diseases rarely seen in the West, the efforts are long overdue.
All require raw materials, and companies are scrambling to develop new energy and mineral deposits. While resource extraction is dangerous, dirty and ecologically intrusive, most Western firms emphasize modern technology, health, safety and environmental standards, land reclamation, and cooperation with local and indigenous people. Their operations are usually a major improvement over those conducted by millions of small, poorly regulated and often illegal “artisanal” mines, and even many government-run mines, smelters, and oil production facilities in poor countries.
For radical social and environmental activists, however, none of this is relevant; correcting and punishing violations is insufficient. They simply don’t want globalization, foreign investment, mining. or fossil fuel development.
More important, foreign-owned energy and mineral companies operating in developing countries are perfect focal points for well-orchestrated campaigns that stir up anger and resentment over exaggerated or imaginary environmental and human rights violations – so that people will write a check, and help build the activists’ visibility and power. Indigenous companies and operations, no matter how horrendous, don’t offer those bonuses and are thus ignored.
Moreover, the agitators clearly have the political and PR savvy, Internet skills, and sympathetic media contacts to spin even the most trumped-up charges into gold. Some tip-of-the-iceberg examples are the following:
Attacks on Newmont in Ghana, banks, and dozens of other companies repeat the pattern. In none of these cases did the “concerned” activists provide financial support to the impoverished towns. Even when Oxy was building an eco-lodge and Doe Run was constructing public showers for residents who have no running water, the radical environmentalists contributed nada to the efforts.
The world’s poor are now little more than involuntary pawns – and collateral damage – in the eco-imperialists’ war on corporations, resource development, and modernization. Millions for attacks – but not one cent for aid -- seems to be the motto of the radical environmental activists.
The radicals are forcing poor villagers to continue living in mud huts, burning dung, carrying and drinking tainted water, and battling malarial mosquitoes 24/7/365. But the radical activists are not about to live that way themselves, or limit their own access to technologies that can support anti-corporate campaigns. And, once they’ve closed down an operation, they simply head back to their comfortable U.S. or U.K. homes, or find another corporate target, leaving impoverished locals to pick up the pieces.
Indigenous people, the political environmentalists like to assert, want to live the way their ancestors did. Some certainly do. But many want to adopt selected modern skills and technologies, to improve and enhance their lives.
“Living like our ancestors is a formula for extinction,” observed Cesar Serasera, leader of a national confederation of Amazon-Peru natives. To survive, indigenous people need jobs, healthcare, education, better nutrition and safe drinking water, he said, while holding onto important elements of their culture. Moreover, most of the people impacted by anti-corporate battles are poor, but not indigenous.
Radical groups – and those who support them – are entitled to promote their ideological agendas. They’re not entitled to invent “facts,” or pursue their selfish interests at the expense of the poor and powerless.
They need to start behaving like any other big, wealthy, multinational corporation: responsibly, ethically, honestly, and with concern for both people and the environment. And prospective donors need to begin demanding such behavior, before they sit down to write checks.
“We will have peace with the Arabs,” Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir once said, “when they love their children more than they hate us.” In the realm of environmental politics, there will be justice for the world’s poor when eco-radicals love people more than they hate corporations and economic development.
Latin America -- Economics, Politics, Political Regimes,
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Paul K. Driessen is Senior Policy Advisor for the Congress of Racial Equality, the Committee for A Constructive Tomorrow, and the
Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise. Driessen is author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death, which can be
obtained at www.Eco-Imperialism.com. Email: email@example.com --- Telephone:
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