NO Longer is it enough to talk about growing intelligently or using technology to meet long-term problems. Instead, scarcity politics seeks to slow and even reverse material progress through what President Obama’s science adviser, John Holdren, calls “de-development.”
That’s according to an article by Joel Kotkin recently published in Forbes which laments, in particular, restrictions on the capacity of those who manage water in the Central Valley of California. Like the Murray Darling Basin in Australia, the Central Valley has been experiencing drought, and this has been exacerbated by the politics of “de-development”.
Australian agriculture has not only had to struggle with unreasonable demands on its water allocations during drought, but over the past two decades there has been a campaign against the introduction of new crop varieties.
Bob Phelps has been involved with The GeneEthics Network since January 1988 – since its inception. He is currently its Director. Working with Greenpeace and other groups the Network was successful at getting most Australian States to ban the commercial planting of most genetically modified (GM) crops at a time when most of the rest of the world was embracing the technology.
New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia recently lifted the bans, but it hasn’t stopped the campaigning. Indeed Greenpeace and the GeneEthics network have been holding forums over the past two weeks with a couple of Americans lecturing grain growers in Western Australia about why they shouldn’t plant a crop that North American farmers have been growing successfully for some time.
1. How Elite Environmentalists Impoverish Blue-Collar Americans
by Joel Kotkin, http://www.forbes.com/2009/03/16/california-environmentalists-water-agriculture-opinions-columnists-scarcity.html
“De-development”–that is, the retreat from economic growth–includes some sensible notions about conservation but takes them to unreasonable, socially devastating and politically unpalatable extremes. The agenda, for example, includes an opposition to population growth, limits on material consumption and a radical redistribution of wealth both nationally and to the developing world.
“In much the same way as seen in California’s water crisis, many of the administration’s “green” energy policies pose a direct threat to blue-collar workers employed in extracting and processing fossil fuels. The resultant high energy prices caused by the proposed “cap and trade” system–essentially a system for creating scarcity–also will cost middle-class consumers, blue-collar workers, truckers and manufacturers. These constituencies could well face the kind of water policy-related decline that is destroying farming communities throughout central California.
“Yet at the same time, such policies make the well-to-do and trustifarians in San Francisco and Malibu–for whom higher energy prices are barely a concern–feel better about themselves. In what passes for progressive politics today, narcissism usually takes priority over reality.”
2. Greenpeace GM forum draws ire, BY COLIN BETTLES http://fw.farmonline.com.au/news/state/grains-and-cropping/general/greenpeace-gm-forum-draws-ire/1457566.aspx
3. The following picture of some sheep was taken in north-western Victoria, Australia, by Jennifer Marohasy in November 2006.