Greenpeace represents the rollback of human achievement

By: Derek Fildebrandt, CAODC

The following OpEd was published in the Calgary and Edmonton Sun, and was retrieved from Originally published on December 17th.

Greenpeace is not just some silly, stunt-pulling - but ultimately innocent - environmentalist group. They represent an extremist, neo-luddite movement to roll back human achievement. If this was ever in doubt, it no longer is.

More than 1,500 years ago, the ancients of Peru constructed the Nazca lines. Believed to have astronomical or religious significance, the lines beautifully draw massive hummingbirds, monkeys, fish and other animals. The largest of these is over 200 metres across. The lines are made from extremely sensitive ground and are only (legally) viewable from the surrounding foothills or by aircraft. Even the president of Peru is forbidden from walking on the highly sensitive grounds. It holds such value that it has been designated at UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Such concerns were tossed aside by Greenpeace activists last week. To protest world leaders in meeting in Lima, Peru discussing climate change, about 20 activists showed up and unfurled a massive banner reading, "Time for change! The future is renewable." Of course, they got their branding moment in there by signing off the bottom with the Greenpeace logo.

Greenpeace wasn't the only thing branded in this publicity stunt though. The grounds that the Nazca lines are drawn on were badly damaged, which could take more than 1,000 years to return to its original state.

Peru's Deputy Minister of Culture said, "It's a huge slap in the face at everything Peruvians consider sacred."

Greenpeace has only admitted that "this looks bad," but not actually apologized to the Peruvian people for desecrating an important symbol of their culture.

There is another important symbol in this however. Greenpeace's desecration of the Nazca lines represents their loathing of human achievement. Their simplistic message for five minutes of fame was more important than the cultural and artistic achievements of an ancient people that have survived the elements for more than 1,500 years.

Such arrogance, and ignorance is breathtaking, but illuminating of their modus operandi.

The the world has seen hundreds upon hundreds of millions of people lifted out of poverty in the last half century is a testament to human achievement and technological progress. As much as some may wish otherwise, human civilization as we know it is utterly impossible without oil and gas. With a world population of 7.2 billion, we would be hard pressed to have even a medieval standard of living without it.

Greenpeace is not seeking a more responsible or clean oil and gas industry. They are seeking no oil and gas industry. It is extremism of a well-intentioned, but horribly misinformed and warped kind. We have perhaps given them a free ride because of their originally noble - and successful - mission of bringing environmental protection to the forefront in the 1960's. That is no longer Greenpeace however.

We have for too long dismissed Greenpeace as a harmless bunch of overgrow kids with useless degrees trespassing on private property to snap a picture of how heroic they are.

They even defiled our own democracy by illegally hanging a banner from the East Block of Parliament. Luckily for us, no permanent damage was done. Luckily for them, Parliament Hill security showed remarkable more restraint than might have been shown if they had scaled the White House instead.

It's time to treat them like most of us treat PETA; a group of space cadet extremists with no interest in finding a reasonable middle ground. They unfairly discredit real-world conservationists who want to find an equilibrium between human development and progress on the one hand, and the need to protect our environment on the other.

Those who want to stop the use of oil (such as most opponents of Keystone XL) need to explain what they would do in its absence. They can't, and so they rely on cheap one-liners; but this time the consequence of their message cannot be erased. We shouldn't forget that.


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