May 22, 2009 Features & Images » Feature Story

The Green Rift 

Has the Environmental Movement Been Torn Apart?

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In that role he's contradicted the advice of Greenpeace not to use soft toilet paper. He's advocated for nuclear power. But more than anything, he's lambasted activists for mounting "fear-based" campaigns about global warming.

"Many environmental campaigns are based on fear," he says. "Climate change, again, words like catastrophe and apocalypse, the collapse of human civilization, this is sensationalism.

"There's no evidence to show that that's going to happen. As a matter of fact right now the climate doesn't seem to be changing. Since 1996, there hasn't been any evidence the climate is changing."

When asked about the state of B.C.'s environmental movement, Moore says that Gordon Campbell has successfully co-opted the issue from the left, particularly with regard to the carbon tax and run-of-river.

"Gordon Campbell has done an amazing job of end-running the political left and the environmental movement on these two issues," he says. "A big part of the split is that environmentalists that are staunchly NDP just can't stand the fact that (David) Suzuki and (Tzeporah) Berman and others are supporting what is essentially the Liberal side.

"I believe there are people who would traditionally be called NDP who are not necessarily leaders of the environmental movement but who agree with Berman on the carbon tax."

Today Moore feels that there's a strong desire for scientific analysis of environmental issues but his split with the movement remains in place - disgusted as he is with the "fear tactics" of certain activists raising awareness of global warming.

"I'm all in favour of clean air, water and good food," he says. "I so strongly disagree with using irrational fear as a basis for these campaigns."

The disillusionment of Tzeporah Berman

Moore's split from the environmental movement has a loose parallel with that of Tzeporah Berman, the fiery co-founder of ForestEthics and leading voice of the 10,000-strong Clayoquot Sound protests.

In the past election and prior to that she took up a different kind of prominence. Where once she pressured the government to protect coastal rainforests, today she's defending its politics. She says that people mounting blanket opposition to run-of-river hydro are effectively doing the lobbying work of the fossil fuel industry.

As executive director of PowerUP Canada, a citizen's initiative that's drawn the support of four Canadian Prime Ministers, she's pushing for better policies at the government level but some activists won't even attend her conferences. At her talk in Whistler she related a furor that erupted over comments she made on CKNW's Bill Good Show.

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