Do environmentalists like people?
Gheorge Lucian is the star of a new film by Irish journalist Phelim McAleer that exposes the all-too-real agenda of the radical green movement. Mr. Lucian comes from a poor village in Romania where environmentalists are fighting plans for a new gold mine. His village, where unemployment tops 70%, desperately needs the $1 billion in new investment and 600 jobs the project would bring. But environmentalists have blocked it, claiming it will pollute a pristine environment.
Mr. McAleer, the filmmaker, considers himself an environmentalist. But when he went to cover the story for the Financial Times, he says, "I found that almost everything the environmentalists were saying about the project was misleading, exaggerated or quite simply false," he wrote in London's Daily Mail. "The village was already heavily polluted because of the 2,000 years of mining in the area. The mining company actually planned to clean up the existing mess. And the locals, rather than being forcibly resettled as the environmentalists claimed, were queuing up to sell their decrepit houses to the company which was paying well over the market rate."
All this set Mr. McAleer to thinking that there might be other examples where mining companies, now part of the most heavily regulated industries in the world, were being blocked from making investments that could improve the lot of local residents. When Gabriel Resources, the Canadian mining company that was proposing the Romanian project, offered to fund a documentary on the idea, he jumped at the chance so long as he had full editorial control. Gabriel Resources wound up paying for part of the project, while Mr. McAleer raised the remainder from investors.
His film, "Mine Your Own Business," premiered last week at the Denver Gold Forum. In it, Mr. Lucian, the Romanian miner, is seen hop-scotching around the globe confronting environmentalists in the style of Mr. Moore with the real-world consequences of their ideology.
He finds plenty of pincushions to stick needles into. Belgian environmentalist Francoise Heidebroek pompously tells Mr. Lucian that he and his fellow Romanian villagers prefer to use horses rather than cars, and to rely on "traditional cattle raising, small agriculture, wood processing" to live. In Madagascar, Mr. Lucian finds an official of the World Wide Fund for Nature who argues that the poor are just as happy as the rich and then insists on showing Mr. Lucian his new $50,000 catamaran. . . .