May 28 2010


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I have been thinking a lot about this post but it wasn’t until I read Idols of Environmentalism by Curtis White, that I was able to put it together. I tried to use quotes on his exact words but I also borrowed heavily, using some of his phrases to fit my own beliefs.

Canada is a nation of diverse cultures: First Nation survivors, the progeny of imperialist rulers and European settlers, immigrants, refugees and corporations (the legal people under certain laws of our country). We shop for beliefs from competing opinions, collect them like plastic cards, ready to purchase the next best presentation. According to Curtis White, beliefs are a “culture-commodity”. Once a belief is reduced to a commodity it commands respect in our economic system.

Sadly, our pursuit of belief replaces our connection to nature, to our planet and mankind. Any moral dilemma over child slaves in the cocoa trade passes quickly when shopping from a minimum wage wallet. Where is common sense in the argument that poisoning our food is safe because a little poison won’t hurt us? We readily bow to corporate experts for beliefs that justify existence in a global economy.

Corporate belief in fish farming, clear-cutting and spreading toxins across the countryside are always accompanied with selected science to satisfy consumers of corporate sincerity..

The “beliefs of Monsanto may fate us to die” but we construct our acceptance or disbelief from a variety of options ranging from hopelessness to scientific pacification. We cross our fingers that Government regulates industry while “free-market corporate malfeasance” promotes economic beliefs that defy all logic.

Belief in the Tar Sands, deep ocean oil drilling, Boreal forest logging may mean the end of our planet as we know it but we can do nothing to stop it and why should we? We are tied to our jobs and industry provides jobs however, no belief satisfies all needs.

At some point Canadians will not believe that Government supported Capitalism is a natural state of being – an ethical system above the fray of culture war, beyond genocide and dictators. But not until we recognize that Corporate capitalism has been adopted by Environmental NGOs (see my earlier post on NGOs) who speak the legal corporate language, gambling carbon on the stock market and signing backroom logging deals on behalf of Canadians.

Canadians did not elect the David Suzuki Foundation to act on our behalf and neither did we elect the Fraser Institute who trade in scientific jargon of the economy without regard to the value of nature to the human existence.

The following quote from the Fraser Institute secures “capacity” for industrial resource extraction on First Nations land. It promotes a false belief that poverty is the inevitable outcome of community owned property and poverty relief can only be achieved by free markets.

“...it seems evident that developing workable systems of private property rights to facilitate market transactions will be a necessary, if not sufficient, precondition to attaining widespread prosperity on Indian reserves.” (emphasis added)

So the toxic fruit of corporate free markets is posited as the only solution to poverty. There is no accounting for the intrinsic (or economic) value of old growth forests that clean the air and water for a sustainable planet. The Fraser Institute doesn’t care, doesn’t need and never pays it’s fair share for air and water created by First Nation forests. This is the myth of the “tragedy of the commons”. This jargon is used world wide to co-opt and disrupt oppressed indigenous communities to satisfy the gluttony of investment dollars that never give nature it’s due.
Soon, I will post my thoughts on the “tragedy of the commons” meanwhile, read the links article that debunks Garrett Hardin’s belief.
According to Curtis White: In global capitalism,  “toxic Chinese pet food, toothpaste and children’s toys are only poisonous if someone dies; otherwise it’s just a profit margin. Corporations take profit as close to the poison line as possible and sometimes profit spills into death” – then there is a great media frenzy but after the storm, “Capitalism returns to it’s belief in an ideal balance between profit and death“.

Think about Canadian industrial agriculture – chemical cherries and GMO soy that “uses as much herbicide and pesticide as needed until it starts killing something other than bugs and weeds“. “Then comes the cost/benefit analysis presented by tender accountants (the bean counters) “and liability lawyers” (who produce scads of memos confirming the sincere corporate belief in science that made them do it).

In France, a very strong judge admonished the Bayer Corporation: saying something like: I heard all your science but I’m banning your product because I just don’t believe you! She rejected the jargon of science. Meanwhile, in Canada the French banned product, is used in our orchards and potato fields where bee hives are placed every spring and we can thank PMRA science for that. The bees haven’t yet expressed their beliefs on that matter – or have they? The bees are deathly silent these days but no one knows why.

What we believe – does it actually make sense?

From Curtis White – The Idols of Environmentalism:
Some people see nature and humanity as a culture of life while others see nature and humanity as something to be manipulated for profit.

Will anything “transform capitalism into an ethical system with values“? People are disillusioned with Global corporatism but that might be a good thing. If corporate systems fall, we might just replace them with something better. There is no hope of fixing our real problem as long as we accept Corporate management of our beliefs

All environmentalists believe that global warming requires urgent action, but they don’t realize that corporate driven activism, reduces their effect on the crisis. Corporate driven activism might even sustain the problems. Mistaken beliefs can cause us to conspire against each other and our own interests.

By using the scientific language of “environment,” or “ecology,” “diversity,” “habitat,” and “ecosystem” we accept the very kind of rationality that serves not only the Suzuki Foundation but corporate industry – for instance:

You can pump this many tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere without disturbing the major climatic systems.”

The following quote from the Boreal Forest Agreement with Corporate newspeak, severs the NGO from the physical reality of Canada’s forest land.

“developing jointly supported action plans that are based on leading, independent science and that provide input into relevant government processes”

That belief will not protect nature! It creates thousands of miles of clear cut barren wastelands for “environment friendly” export 2×4’s, for the next three years while the NGOs sit in an office protecting “caribou” on maps and diagrams with circles and arrows and paragraphs that explain the necessary amount of light for moss production to keep x number of caribou from landing on the red list for extinction.

We can list all the salmon, (use Latin names preventing public recognition of their local fish) then we’ll monitor the “target escapes” and find out if they are “depressed” or “declining” or “extinct.” All from behind a desk by someone who enters data into a computer model of scientific predilections and “target” expectations.

The problem with proving environmental destruction is not about science. If there was proof of final destruction – we wouldn’t be here to read or understand it – yet some people argue for that proof and Corporations demand it before they will change their part in the problem. Common sense says that proof of final destruction or “irreversible harm” is going too far

Our belief in rhetorical science will not solve our problems. Accepting corporate jargon as valid, puts us in the boat with the International lobby machine and together we sink in “techno scientific descriptors” that justify us being there.

It’s corporate “newspeak” the language and mindset of “quantitative reasoning” and “scientific proof”. Check out the Cohen Commission – Most commenters rely on science to prove that fish farms do or don’t harm salmon. Personally, I want wild salmon in my rivers and I don’t need science to tell me why.

When a belief in science wanes, Corporate Executives easily dismiss environmental groups on believing them to be eco-terrorists opposed to corporate industry.  In fact, Corporate philanthropists donate to environmental groups that speak their language and that language turns environmentalists into “quislings” (after WWII quisling entered our vocabulary meaning traitor).

Concerned about our environmental tipping point? Hear the latest from former Shell Oil President who advocates continued drilling in the marine environment using the same scientific technology (after finding the problem with the malfunctioned safety valve in the Gulf oil rig). And you guessed it, his reasoning was based on statistical rhetoric and corporate logic.  He trotted out the volume of daily oil consumption and to excuse the consequence of oil exploration he blamed “human error”. Well science won’t fix humans – we err quite a bit and our biggest error is a belief that the Oil Industry will ever allow new technology to put them out of business capping their vast wealth and control of the International free market economy.

Scientific jargon separates the corporate entity from contentious religious diversity and allows scientific criticism of corporate destructiveness. (You get your scientist & I’ll get mine). This severs our natural human connection to planet earth and reduces our awe for nature to scientific equations and investment dollars. Would you donate to Suzuki or Nature Conservancy if they advocated “respect for life” or “reverence for nature”?

Words like “ecosystem,” do not engage our compassion for whales or caribou and “ecologist” excludes the urban dweller from rural responsibility.

Environmental science is the same science that once served the “Industrial Military Complex” (the oil and pesticide industry and their WWII Corporate death camp) and now serves the genocide of our planet. I hope you have time to read Borkin’s book “the Crime and Punishment of IG Farben“.

It will take me a few days to get all the links here.

Check out these two great blogs on the Boreal Forest Agreement!



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  1. Husky

    My response to “Canadian Borial Forest A”-______________. (No Such Account)


    1. admin

      Hi there Husky –
      thanks for reading my blog.
      I wasn’t stumped by your comment for too very long – Husky the chainsaw? Right?
      and I see you cut down the A”______________greement
      I know, the artist made you do it .
      wow and chow 2 u 2


  2. David Loewen

    great post Priscilla; enjoyed the read. Seems we’ve been pondering some of the same issues around language, science, corporatism, and fanatical belief in the “rational” system.

    We can certainly see some of the fallacies being sold by big-business in the current Gulf of Mexico oil spill crisis. When executives from BP (e.g. CEO) start suggesting that the impacts are “moderate” (see BP-related post on my website from last weekend) — then we have a serious, serious problem.

    The response from Obama’s administration…? far too much time trying to prove how they responded quickly. Barack has certainly found himself in some tight spots after coming in with so much fanfare and “Hope”.

    If you’d like to read about some really bright DFO thinking – read this article on how Arctic oil spill testing was canceled earlier theis month (http://thechronicleherald.ca/Canada/1183022.html). DFO figured that dumping oil beside a proposed National Marine Conservation Area in Nunavut was an effective way to “test” methods.

    brilliant, just brilliant…

    thanks again.


    1. admin

      Hello Salmon Guy,
      Thanks for dropping by – glad you enjoyed the post – all credit to Curtis White (and you too – your posts are always entertaining) and yes, quite a few people are noticing the problem with corporate new speak. I’ll check out your links. I’m pretty sure the “oil spill test” will be just as absurd as DFO’s useless scientific fish farm defense – counting the number of sea lice it takes to kill a wild salmon smolt. Good to see the Canadian kind of “science” that proceeds DFO’s credability (not much there) Likely DFO “science” is the same kind of “science” that registers pesticide so we can all feel safe! Yikes!!


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