For committed green activists it is mankind who has desecrated the pristine world of nature and destroyed its beauty; in Bob Brown’s words, “the planet’s most colourful killer is modern Homo sapiens”. It is a mantra that fits nicely into the socialist’s aim of crippling Australia by putting productive land out of reach of the killer.
Manipulated by foreign environmental non-government organisations (NGOs), Australian environmental outfits, positioning themselves as independent non-profit organisations, enjoy the tax-deductible status of “charities” and tax-free income. Identifying as “Australian” is a marketing plus for groups such as the Wildlife Australia Fund. Established “for the conservation and restoration of the environment”, it is supported by expatriates seeking to run Australia from New York.
Under the benign, philanthropic guise of protecting our flora and fauna, green activists are gradually locking away land to stifle Australia’s economy and bring it into the welcoming arms of the new global governance.
And the international green machine is there to help. Wealthy international “charitable trusts” and “foundations” are pulling the strings behind many of our ostensibly philanthropic wildlife groups. It is a vast, global, mutually dependent and interlocking network of unelected representatives beyond the reach of government. Among them are the World Wide Fund for Nature, Pew, and the Nature Conservancy.
Working “in partnership” with Greenpeace, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is the world’s richest and largest environmental group, with its secretariat in Switzerland, but run from the USA. The Australian president is Robert Purves, founder of the Purves Foundation. WWF is well known for its cute little panda emblem, but there’s nothing naive or artless about WWF. Claiming that agriculture, land clearing, overgrazing and overfishing “are the main pressures on biodiversity”, its aim is to reduce fishing to zero and run farmers and graziers off their land by making it untenable to live on. Without human input, land cannot generate an income.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (the name change from World Wildlife Fund gave it a far wider environmental embrace) has long luxuriated under the protective shade of the green umbrella while pursuing its aim to control every Australian primary industry from timber and cotton to sugar cane and dairy. Beef is currently the focus and the WWF modus operandi is deviously sophisticated.
Self-proclaimed Marxist, Jason Clay, is vice-president of Markets for Change, a particularly sinister and unpleasant WWF program that “investigates and exposes the companies and products driving environmental destruction”. Joining with compliant corporations, WWF is by-passing Australian governments to impose its own cleverly crafted conditions on primary producers as to what they can and cannot do on their own land—everything from cropping and water regulation to tree clearing and animal husbandry—in order to receive WWF’s “sustainability certificate”—and pay handsomely for the privilege.
“Roundtables” are now the new ploy to forward this strategy. To give the impression that they are consultative and take all voices into account, primary producers are invited along as attendees. But, in essence, it is simply a form of blackmail. If a producer does not agree on how to manage their own land or water according to WWF’s “sustainability” rules, Jason and his buddies will ensure that the supply chain from producers and processors to manufacturing and retailing will be targeted in a concerted, negative PR campaign. Retailers selling products from “threatened native forests” were the recent focus, with Harvey Norman stores and their timber furniture feeling the heat. Alan Oxley, principal of ITS Global, sums it up succinctly: he calls it “green thuggery”. The plots cooked up under the pernicious green “sustainability” banner are a sick joke on Australia.
WWF has taken up climate change, global warming and Earth Hour with unrivalled enthusiasm. “The World’s temperatures are rising,” trumpets WWF, “but we have the solutions”: rising temperatures are due to “human activities, like burning coal and clearing forests”. As always, humans are the problem. But when it comes to feral animals, a pressing and worsening problem for rural Australia, WWF remains strangely silent.
Might is right for the WWF: it wrestled the World Wrestling Foundation to the ground over the use of initials. The wrestling group is now WWE—World Wrestling Entertainment.
Pew, an enormously wealthy “charitable trust” and “global environmental advocacy organisation” is run from Washington. Founded in 1948 by the Pew family and originally a genuinely humanitarian organisation, Pew has gone the way of the Australian Conservation Foundation, now overrun by environmental extremists.
“For the last 200 years,” claims Pew, “the Australian frontier has been logged, plowed, grazed and mined”; this effrontery, in Pew’s view, can’t be allowed to continue, so Barry Traill, director of Wild Australia, is brought in with “a full tool box of approaches” to set things right. Pew is currently funding “Outback Australia”, which is eyeing Western Australia’s proposed Kimberley wilderness parks, while, with the aim of “restoring and conserving shark populations”, Pew is opposing Western Australia’s shark cull and attempting to override the legitimate aims of the state government.
Its pro-shark but anti-fishing mission, “to protect the world’s oceans from destructive human activities”, saw it supporting former Labor Minister Tony Burke’s unconscionable proposal to create extensive new marine parks right round Australia, with fishing (both commercial and recreational) banned, and businesses (from charter boats to seafood processing) unable to do business.
The proposal, later rejected by the incoming Liberal government, had Pew issuing a statement from Washington expressing “grave concern at the Australian government’s announcement that it has suspended implementation of the world’s largest network of marine parks”. Pew’s concern for fish trumps the right of Australians to earn a living.
But committed activists don’t give up: the Victorian Environmental Defenders Office, axed with other EDOs in early 2014, was quickly briefed by the US environmental litigation group Earth Justice, and is relaunching itself as Environmental Justice Australia.
Meanwhile, the Climate Commission has reinvented itself as the Australian Climate Council. So stand by for the next devious way of locking up the Coral Sea.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is not the biggest international NGO, but one that should ring some of the loudest alarm bells. Led by former managing director of Goldman Sachs, Mark Tercek, with headquarters in Virginia, it is buying up land worldwide and entering into “corporate partnerships” in its mission “to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends”—a grandiose statement that conceals its true intentions until the workings of its beneficiaries are unmasked.
The Nature Conservancy is “working collaboratively” and “sharing resources” with its Australian sidekicks, Bush Heritage and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC). Parading as “Australian” while benefiting from TNC’s largesse, AWC is simply a cog in the wheel of those whose goal is global socialism.
The aim, says CEO Atticus Fleming, is to “protect and return land to its natural state”, an absurd fantasy but with childish appeal that has entered school curriculums: “Should modern humans return to the hunter-gatherer way of life?” is a debate for Year Seven. Fleming was part of Senator Robert Hill’s coterie that gave us the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999, which has manacled rural Australia in green tape. AWC board member Tim Flannery is joined, among others, by a yoga teacher, an artist and the young, fourth wife of US millionaire entrepreneur James H. Clark, himself a director of WWF.
AWC has some serious financial backers. It has “acquired” more than 7 million acres of land, formerly largely sheep and cattle raising properties, to create wildlife “sanctuaries” round Australia, while land is bought up to consolidate existing properties or bring together “regionally significant national parks” as larger sanctuaries. Some cleared areas are being replanted “to provide grazing opportunities for wallabies”. All are human-free zones.
Fortunately for Australia there are some reasonable environmentalists who believe in man working harmoniously with nature. Says Max Rheese, director of the Australian Environment Foundation: “We believe that people are an integral part of the environment and should not be excluded from it. Up to about the 1970s,” he says, “environmental reform was much needed … and the movement was successful in achieving this.” But now ideology has taken over from common sense and the view of environmental groups is “an alarmist, catastrophic doom and gloom scenario that paints people and their activities as a blight on the environment”. Meanwhile, Landcare, doing exactly as its name implies, is a sensible and rational hands-on group with farmers well onside that has done a lot to rejuvenate degraded land.
But emotion rather than reason makes for winning ways with the strident environmentalists’ PR machine. Emotionally seductive brochures featuring the pleading eyes of the Shark Bay Mouse or a sparkling, moss-lined stream appeal particularly to the young, vulnerable or insecure who see the environmental crusade as a “cause” that’s “doing something for the planet” and gives meaning to their lives.
For the board rooms of Australia, being seen as contributing to preserve animal and plant life from extinction is a philanthropic gesture, with the comforting thought that “something is being done” without the burden of any personal or physical involvement—and perhaps assuaging the guilt of leading a twenty-first-century lifestyle that is light years away from AWC’s Rousseauvian fantasy of “returning land to its natural state”.
Seeing the opportunity to promote an image of concerned altruism and a generous community player taking the high moral ground, these captains of industry are seduced, deliberately or through uninformed naivety, into the environmental net of “corporate partnerships” working against Australia. You don’t acquire land for nothing, and they are the ones with wallets seriously open.
The idea of preserving some of our original flora and fauna as part of our heritage is, in itself, a worthy aspiration. But when it is a falsehood, and the real aim hidden behind the green cloak is neither known nor suspected, it is a betrayal of the many well-meaning but gullible contributors to environmental groups.
When it is knowingly and intentionally used as the means to a nefarious end, you have to ask these guys: Why are you accepting green ideology that is working to sacrifice a prosperous, independent Australia on the altar of the poisonous brotherhood of global socialism?
Julia Patrick is a frequent contributor to Quadrant on environmental politics.