Do environmentalists like people?

John Fund wrote this for OpinionJournal's Political Diary (if you don't subscribe, I recommend it strongly to everyone). This movie sounds really interesting and I look forward to seeing it.

Move over, Michael Moore. You have competition in the art of political film-making from a 23-year-old unemployed Romanian miner. And instead of advancing the cause of smug liberal hypocrisy, he's debunking it.

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. . . .


Blogger saturdaynightspecial said...

Horses pollute too.

"Do environmentalists like people?"

What's important to know about them is that they use government extensively to impose their will on others. They can lie like some politicians.

And we shouldn't forget that (IMO) we have benefited from their accomplishments. But enough is enough.

10/08/2006 5:50 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

No they don't like people. Jacques Cousteau very pointedly thought that the planet's human population should only be ~300 million.

He did his personal, non-violent best to make it so, but it did take him on the order of 80 years.

10/12/2006 2:50 PM  
Anonymous Roman said...

Contacted by a Romanian news website, the producer Phelim McAleer said that the movie was financed by Gabriel Resources, but with no editorial pressure.

Gabriel Resources have spended a lot of money trying to influence the public opinion and the Romanian authorities whom do not approve their Rosia Montana project. They say a huge lake with cyanure resulted from the gold extraction coudt not harm the environment.

They have ads on Romanian TV showing the better life will have locals if the project is approved, they even had a sponsorship for a Romanian Film Festival and a Rosia Montana Photo exhibition, all their actions try to convince us that "Rosia Montana is poor, we'll get you (not us) rich".

Now: do you think this movie has nothing to do with their INTEREST?

11/03/2006 9:26 AM  
Anonymous Leaf said...

The point of the film is to demonise groups like Greenpeace, by not giving them an opportunity to respond to their opposition. Why was more not made of the very real environmental fears surrounding the mine's construction? This film is opportunistic and mischievous.

11/25/2006 11:06 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Leaf:

It doesn't appear that you have actually seen the movie. Both sides are given some time (you might argue that it is not enough time, but it is simply false to claim "not giving them an opportunity" to respond). You apparently also don't know that increased income is associated with increased life expectancy and also improved environmental quality (and this last occurs without any government regulations).

11/25/2006 2:32 PM  

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