Policy Digest: Environmental Issues

• Mike “The Health Ranger” Adams, founder and director of the popular health news tabloid website Natural News, recently posted an article calling for the death of scientists, journalists anybody else who has written favorably about the technology of genetic engineering. Adams declared anybody working to improve foods to be the equivalent of Nazis perpetrating a holocaust on the world and ominously adds:

. . . it is the moral right — and even the obligation — of human beings everywhere to actively plan and carry out the killing of those engaged in heinous crimes against humanity.

Adams is also under investigation by the FBI for allegedly devising and advertising a website that contains an actual Nazi-style hit list of those journalists, scientists and publications that should be targeted for elimination (in a strange twist, Adams later claimed that this website was set up by biotechnology companies in a “false flag” attack). These websites have since been removed, but you can view archived versions here and here. [WARNING: these sites contain extremely graphic holocaust images.]

Declaring that scientists who are actually improving foods and people’s lives are instead perpetrating a holocaust is a disgusting distortion, especially when the one under investigation for calling for actual violence and open killing is Adams. Vandana Shiva, another prominent anti-GMO activist, re-posted Adams’ dangerous call-to-action on her website without comment. This isn’t surprising, since Shiva also supports ecoterrorist Marie Mason, who set fire to a scientific lab researching genetically engineered foods in 1999.

The only useful thing to come out of this horror is that Adams laid out for the public the ideological essence of the anti-GMO movement in its full glory. Keith Kloor, a science journalist and one of those who found himself on the hit list, wrote about the incident

• In other GMO news, anti-GMO activists have declared a small victory in their plot to ensure that technologically advanced crops are banned from being planted in Costa Rica. Activists are celebrating President Luis Guillermo Solís’s decision to declare native varieties of corn a “cultural heritage.” These activists hope that biotech varieties of corn, engineered to repel insects or allow farmers to easily deal with weeds, will be seen as a threat to the “genetic purity” of these newly declared sacred varieties.

Of course even these “native” varieties are not found in the wild and are themselves the product of thousands of years of human-influenced changes. But activists would like to ensure that any future progress is stopped in its tracks by pushing for a countrywide ban on biotechnology. Costa Rica has already taken a strong anti-biotechnology stance, with most cantons declaring that citizens shouldn’t be allowed to plant scientifically improved varieties of foods. Activists hope that combining the “rights of corn” and the “right to a healthy environment” laid out in the Costa Rican constitution will put nature above the rights of people in Costa Rica. Read the news story here.

• In the climate change debate, environmentalists continue to not-so-subtly call for the elimination of people by waging a war on children. The Sierra Club proselytizes that “[b]y having a child, an American woman increases her carbon legacy sixfold” and political commentator Bill Maher says “you really can’t be an environmentalist . . . if you’re not someone who is extremely concerned about overpopulation.” Last month, Christina Richie, graduate student in theology at Boston College, published a paper where she calls into question the use of “artificial reproductive technologies” (ART) or assisted fertilization because it creates . . . wait for it . . . more children. Echoing other environmentalist groups, Richie characterizes children as “carbon legacies” and calls for a cap on the number of children born using ART. In a thinly veiled call for population control, Richie argues:

The unregulated ART business can no longer be endorsed and the medical industry ought not operate in an environmental vacuum. Retrenchment in all areas of life is the key to slowing down or halting carbon emissions that lead to climate change. For each child made through medical intervention a carbon legacy results. ARTs should be allocated with due concern for the environment and sober consideration for the implications of climate change.

I’ll let that speak for itself. But if you did go against environmentalist ideology and decide to have yourself a little bundle of “carbon legacy,” environmentalists have a solution for you too. You can take Professor Liam Heneghan’s Ecology of Childhood seminar at Chicago’s DePaul University.

In it, Heneghan explains how to use literature that children already love, like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? and Winnie-the-Pooh to indoctrinate children into environmentalist ideology. Heneghan says that teaching children that humans are wreaking havoc on nature should be done in “the most gentle and loving way.” In a Tweet, he adds: “If our kids were environmentally literate they would curl up in a ball, sob, and never leave the treehouse.” I’d much rather have them stay up there than have Heneghan read them a bedtime story.