Environmental hypocrisy?

Discussion in 'Politics and Society' started by iBrian, Oct 20, 2003.

  1. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    I just received an e-mail stating that there's a massive amount of deforestation being planned by the Brazilian Congress - and that the e-mail should be forwarded with your name to protest against it.

    If memory serves, this is an old hoax that does the rounds periodically - I'm certainly sure I've seen this one before. However, two points immediately come to the for about the hypocritical nature of the problem:

    1/ Firstly, deforestation does not occur spontaneously, but occurs because the rich developed nations seek to exploit poorer nations for their natural resources. The USA is often implicitly blamed for this, but certainly the EU is as responsible on many counts, as are other developed nations, such as Japan. The point being, that it represents a ridiculous contradiction that the developed world should create direct economic pressures on poorer nations for exploiting them, yet at the same time attempt to create pressure for these nations not to develop their own resources. It shows a contemptible incongruity in the way that our own countries deal with the world.

    2/ The second objection is that our own nations have developed strong industrialised economies precisely because they have already ravaged their own resources. Britain is a very prime example of this, having turned to the use of coal - which powered the industrial revolution - not because of ingenuity, but from need. Britain became extensively deforested by the time of the 17th century. In fact, there are very very few trees left in Britain that can be confidently dated to before the 17th century, excepting in specialist conservation areas, such as a the Calaedonian Forest - which it itself survived almost certainly because there was insufficient soil for agriculture, and offered poor lands for grazing. The point of this objection is that if we simply object to other nations developing their own natural resources, are we not behaving hypocritically - in having ravaged our own resources, we demand that others do not so that we ourselves may benefit in environmental terms? Should poorer nations be allowed to develop their natural resources in isolation from the aggressive industrial economies of the developed world, until such time as they can find their own balance of exploitation coupled with maneagable sustenance?


    An area for discussion.
     
  2. Nogodnomasters

    Nogodnomasters New Member

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    The problem with clear cutting the Amazon is numerous. Every tree is its own eco-system. It has unique life not found elsewhere. Dozens if not hundreds of insects become extinct with each tree. Leaving behind the plug for the movie "Medicine Man", there is also the problem of those little brown people who live there. There was one tribe which threaten suicide if they cut down their sacred forest. The civilizied nations branded them as "terrorsist" trying to stop progress. Then there is the problem that effects us at home. The rain forest has an impact on global weather. Its destruction will not help this county metrologically. When our rich farmland become desert, it will be too late.

    Oh-did I mention the oxygen it produces?
     
  3. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    True - but the importance of the Amazonian forests can in no way excuse the destruction of richer nations' own ecosystems. I seem to remember that when George W. Bush was elected, one of the first things he did was open protected areas of Alaska to environmentally damaging oil prospecting, and revoke protection from logging in other areas.

    It's all well and good that we seek to protect the environment in other nations - but if we cannot even be bothered to properly protect our own then we are nothing but hypocrites - demanding the poor abstain from natural exploitation while the rich continue on regardless on their own territories.

    And that's before we even get onto the topic of the USA defying and calling into question international research on Global Warming - because to admit it's reality will be expensive to address. The richest most polluting CO2 producer on earth cannot be bothered to afford to address local or global pollution threats in it's own borders, yet expects poorer nations to pay to tackle both the threat and the resulting damage.
     
  4. Nogodnomasters

    Nogodnomasters New Member

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    The US has never had a problem in being hypocrites. We overthrow democratic governments and install dictators. It is all in what we call, "the national interest."
     
  5. mikie8

    mikie8 New Member

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    i like the way th us say they won the second world war but it was the us who supplied nazi germany with 35% of all thier explosives as weel ans armour plating , wire , tubing, iron and more lol

    also the way they attack afganistan when it was they attacked the wtc


    lmao the us are soooooo hypocrical but they are not the only ones :)
     
  6. Baud

    Baud Seeker of Knowledge

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    Brian, I feel your first objection is somewhat misguided. Although it certainly is true that there is a demand for exotic wood, construction wood and woodpulp in the industrialized countries, the major demand among these is for woodpulp and construction wood. These two can be conveniently found in western nations, certainly in the US, in Canada and in Northern and Eastern Europe. Pine trees are generally the cheapest, fastest growing and least demanding trees and are used widely in construction and for woodpulp production. These trees are not found in the Amazon. It is true that countries like Brazil and Indonesia make exotic wood available on the market and that these woods are also used for construction wood and woodpulp, but both of these products could be produced in developped countries for a price that, although higher, would still be acceptable.

    The policy of Brazil in the Amazon region comes from a conscious choice from the Brazilian elites to develop the south in priority instead of the Amazon region. The south of Brazil has received important subsidies, and top-level industries are now installed there. If you go there, you will see a developped country. In the meantime, the population of the Amazon region had to earn a living, and deforestation is the obvious answer due to the lack of proper development financing and the availability of wood.

    However, this policy is short-term and misguided. Woodcutting and woodpulp production are intensive in capital (infrastructure) and unskilled labour, but the added value is very small, which means that it brings few capital in the country. Moreover, it forces the government to keep the education level in these regions low so that the workers remain unskilled, stay cheap and say there. Producing primary commodities does not bring growth.

    However, the Brazilian elites are counting on the industries of the south to bring growth, while playing with the image of the (very real) deforestation of the Amazon to attract foreign development aid, that is then invested in the south, and generally not in the Amazon region.

    The vision of the rich nations exploiting the huge natural resources of the poor nations is not entirely matched by facts. It was certainly true one hundred years ago, but is not anymore completely correct. There are western companies who profit from the situation, sure! But if you are a US company and you have a choice what Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to do, it will bring more returns to invest in oil drilling in Kazakhstan, in the making of computer parts in Asia or in software development in India than in woodcutting in Brazil!

    Your second objection to current development policy is much more to the point. Developped nations have polluted and damages their ecosystems and the planet's without giving it a thought during a good number of years. It is true that demanding that developping nations follow strict environmental standards will make it more difficlut for them to "catch-up" and looks very unfair.

    However, the dilemma is this: the environment is already damaged. Should we allow developping nations to develop quicker, while damaging the environment even further, or should we ask them to develop more slowly while preserving the environment? Although it is clearly unfair to them and can look hypocritical, I still think that the second alternative is the better. What is past is past, bad past, but it is no reason for not trying to make things better.

    However, I completely share your views on the US attitude regarding climate change and the Kyoto Protocol. If the developped countries want the developping countries to do their share, the developped countries must do theirs.

    I hope I didn't bore anyone yet. ;)

    Baud
     
  7. mikie8

    mikie8 New Member

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    great views from both and no i was not bored .
    but the first thing g. bush did when he got in power was to go back on all enviroment policies set forth by previous presidents . the us had continued to increase harmfull pollution and will continue to do , but at the same time the us puts other countries under pressure not to develop thier own resources . this is plan hippocrisy .

    mind you although over 30 counties have signed a world treatie againest terorist the us will not , another hippocrisy as the us are the first to attack a democratic country because of terroists .

    i dont think the enviroment is high up on any countries list but contralling or at least maknig sure your neighbor doesnt get as powerfull as you is on the agenda . chille has 80% of the world copper reserves but have they mined it and did the us help them to develop the technology NO insted they killed the president and put in power a murdering nutter so south america will never equal the north .

    im not againest the us i just like history and its effects .
     
  8. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Ah, yes - General Pinochet - who's bloody coup and bloody reign was sponsored by the United States, and all because the previous president allowed a communist into the government cabinet.

    Hi baud - certainly true, and I enjoyed reading your post. If I may attempt to clarify my first point - the engine of deforestation I would personally argue lays with Developed World consumerism. Certainly, there are developing nations who are looking to purchase these resources as products, but there has been - certainly until very very recently - where there was still a very significant traffic of the wood entering at least European markets, often in the form of cheap furniture.
     
  9. mikie8

    mikie8 New Member

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  10. The Mysterious

    The Mysterious The Mystical Shadow

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    I was afraid of this for years now... Time's up!

    Greetings! I am a friend of the nature and wildlife!

    Consider and Look at us now!
    Mankind... so selfish, very greedy and yet unaware of what's important.
    Not only amazonia, nor Wild South America, but ALL woods and forests in the world should be protected and grown, as well as wildlife...
    or we'll be doomed for that.

    Let us shield all this natural existence which once was so wondeful.... but now turned into garbage piles and gray ruins of nature... and all becouse of US.... though there are good people as well and they're not to blame.

    How sad...
     
  11. Anzac

    Anzac Resident Anarchist

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    Don't forget it's not just the US on environmental hypocrisy, it's the entire Western world pretty much. It's all talk in "we'll cut our figures by 40%" said Mr. Blair, how much have they been down? 6%? (quoted as a Labour party statistic). It's always a good vote winner to say you're doing your bit, but actually carrying out contradicts those nice corporations that are quintessential to national interests. How does it favour the national with the nasty pollution? It doesn't matter because British pollution knackers the German and Danish environment. When it comes down to it, some trade agreements sort that one out, no one minds.

    The Kyoto Protocol is a bit of a joke in my eyes. It sections pollution into "Blocks" and it's so many per country. Only developing countries buy western ones so they can actually survive another day. The Western countries then pass on this to the "consumer" who eventually has to pay more. Net result = more for big business (I think it's about 675-0 now...).

    The environment is a huge global issue yet those in power (i.e. the West) are profiting from exploiting and killing it, and after all, it's the next generation that will deal with it. Oil pollutants, SUVs, and the like (think about how much oil one tank uses, then think 100, then think an invasion of a country...) just continue to rape our fair planet for a few dollars more. What's to be done? Nothing.

    As for slandering the US foreign policy? Another thread sounds like a good idea - and say, maximum of 1000 points per person to save time!
     
  12. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Just bumping a topic linked to from the main site. :)
     
  13. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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  14. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    Unfortunately the real perpetrators are protected by millions of buffers who will take the fall for them.
     
  15. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    too true thats why anarchy is the only way:eek:
     
  16. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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  17. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    I don't support those brands. Never have.
    But they are chic, and so long as they are, and the ephemeral brats who do buy them (and all the rest of that glitzy, schmaltzy veneer) remain as superficial as they are, things will not change.
     
  18. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    please don't say that, everything must change, its called natural selection!
    the cheek of the chic!
     

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