Why Are Environmentalists Taking Anti-Science Positions?

Fred Pearce, een gekende journalist die vaak over milieuzaken publiceert, schreef onlangs in het gezaghebbende Yale Environment 360 een opiniestuk met de titel “Why Are Environmentalists Taking Anti-Science Positions?”. Hij is de zoveelste in een rijtje (van ecopragmatisten) die de dogmatische stromingen omtrent sommige topics, die jammergenoeg in de milieubeweging binnengeslopen zijn, in vraag stelt.

On issues ranging from genetically modified crops to nuclear power, environmentalists are increasingly refusing to listen to scientific arguments that challenge standard green positions. This approach risks weakening the environmental movement and empowering climate contrarians.

by fred pearce

From Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring to James Hansen’s modern-day tales of climate apocalypse, environmentalists have long looked to good science and good scientists and embraced their findings. Often we have had to run hard to keep up with the crescendo of warnings coming out of academia about the perils facing the world. A generation ago, biologist Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb and systems analysts Dennis and Donella Meadows’ The Limits to Growth shocked us with their stark visions of where the world was headed. No wide-eyed greenie had predicted the opening of an ozone hole before the pipe-smoking boffins of the British Antarctic Survey spotted it when looking skyward back in 1985. On issues ranging from ocean acidification and tipping points in the Arctic to the dangers of nanotechnology, the scientists have always gotten there first — and the environmentalists have followed.

And yet, recently, the environment movement seems to have been turning up on the wrong side of the scientific argument. We have been making claims that simply do not stand up. We are accused of being anti-science — and not without reason. A few, even close friends, have begun to compare this casual contempt for science with the tactics of climate contrarians.

That should hurt.

Het volledige en zeer interessante opiniestuk vind je terug op de Yale 360 site. Hier gaat journalist Keith Kloor in een blogpost ook dieper in op deze materie.