15The World Wildlife Fund, a charitable organization dedicated to environmentalism and conservation, is committed to securing a sustainable future for our children. Even if that requires acting with what Apocalypse Now called extreme prejudice.
According to an expansive investigation from Buzzfeed News, officials working closely with the WWF in places like Nepal, India, Cameroon, and the Central African Republic in their country’s parks have been implicated in grotesque violence—with the tacit support of their environmentalist benefactors. The report implicates officials in torture, waterboarding, attempted rape, shootings, beatings, and the deprivation of resources to the indigenous people who need them. It alleges the murder of children as old as 11 and 12. What’s more, the report contends that local WWF officials were aware of these practices even as they publicly denied the fact.
WWF staffers are described as “coordinating” operations and “jointly directing” raids alongside “shock troops” in the effort to combat poaching. One WWF employee divulged a mandate to “camouflage” a weapons deal, as well as the attempt to “train” locals on “defensive combat tactics.”
One particularly illuminating revelation involves a document authored by the former director of India’s Kaziranga National Park, who outlined an anti-poaching strategy that explicitly involved extrajudicial assassinations. “Kill the unwanted,” the document recommended. “If a question arises as to which rights shall get higher priority, it shall not be the human rights.” Dozens, including local inhabitants, met a grisly end as a result of this policy. According to Buzzfeed’s report, WWF was not only aware of this mandate; it actively supported the charge.
Policing poaching in the developing world is a dangerous business, but what this report alleges can only be described as atrocities. We can’t look past the murder and torture of children, the beating and wrongful imprisonment of civilians, and the impoverishment of natives. That sort of misanthropy is the result of dedication and indoctrination. And it’s only getting worse.
Writing in Foreign Policy in 2017, Jamie Bartlett warned that the next wave of potentially violent radicalism would spring forth from the environmentalist movement. While that wouldn’t be a particularly new phenomenon (groups like the Earth Liberation Front, Animal Liberation Front, and Radical Environmentalist and Animal Rights have appealed to violent and criminal tactics for years), he contends that the phenomenon is set to become more widespread.
“The necessary conditions for the radicalization of climate activism are all in place,” he writes. These activists are convinced that they are struggling in vain to confront an existential crisis and governing institutions are all but ignoring this absolute moral imperative. Some will resolve to radicalize and attack the foundations of those unresponsive institutions because they are so corrupted they cannot be allowed to stand. What’s striking is that Bartlett isn’t warning them they’ve adopted a flawed and psychologically damaging paradigm. In fact, he’s telling these fatalistic radicals that they’re right.
“Based on current projections,” Bartlett wrote, much of the globe will become “uninhabitable” by 2050. Millions will die. Hundreds of millions will be displaced. And global governing institutions are wholly unresponsive to this impending genocide.
Bartlett’s speculative projections are arguable. For example, he contends that global energy demand will spike by 50 percent in 2040, but that seems unlikely. Global energy demand is stagnant as technological innovations have made renewables less expensive, cleaner-burning natural gas more available, and industrial equipment and consumer electronics more efficient. Market forces are making coal burning and exploitation cost-prohibitive. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects global energy use to increase by only 28 percent by 2040, with consumption in the U.S. remaining remarkably static.
Bartlett adds that “the Living Planet Index projected that the Earth could lose two-thirds of wild animals by 2020.” This 2016 report and its apocalyptic finding, which was the work of WWF researchers, was designed for consumption and distribution by laypeople in the press, not scrutiny by a scientific peer group. The organization claims that flora and fauna populations on the planet will have decreased by two-thirds by 2020 from their levels in 1970—a decline that risks inviting the cascading collapse of the entire food chain.
In fact, conservation efforts are helping high-profile at-risk animal populations rebound, while other extinction panics are being exposed as hysteria. Indeed, Claude Martin, a refugee from WWF who now dissents from the alarmism that prevails within, notes many earlier projections about extinction rates were false. They were based upon assumptions that were predicated on faulty data, straight-line projections about environmental degradation, and the incorrect notion that stressed animal populations cannot adapt to new conditions.
This is good news, and environmental activists will treat it like they treat every apocalyptic prediction that fails to materialize: They’ll ignore it.
The 1990 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s First Assessment Report’s assessment on temperature increases as a result of global warming—targets the report admitted were arrived at “somewhat arbitrarily” due to low confidence—were wrong.
“Milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms,” the IPCC’s 2001 report warned. That prediction also proved false—the National Snow and Ice Data Center Director Mark Serreze attributed to the fact “climate science, like any other field, is a constantly evolving field and we are always learning.”
In 2007, the IPCC warned that between 75 and 250 million people would struggle to meet their water needs with rain-fed agriculture declining by up to 50 percent. But even an author of that study later confessed the claim was unsupported, and genetic innovation has led to an increase in global agricultural output by hundreds of millions of tons.
As recently as last November, the authors of a terrifying study purporting to show that oceanic temperatures are rising at a pace that will soon be irreversible were forced to withdraw their conclusion. As ever, their dire predictions made a big splash, but its retraction went largely unnoticed.
A healthy movement would be able to reckon with these failed predictions as the inevitable result of models that reduce incredibly complex systems down to a handful of variables, but that introspection is rare. The humility that might accompany such critical self-examinations would go a long way toward combatting the radicalism that increasingly typifies the environmentalist movement. In fact, given the resistance to that kind of soul-searching, it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that radicalization is the point.
A movement that is convinced modernity is irredeemable is radical by definition, and such movements are capable of reasoning themselves into acts of great violence. The next generation of violent radicals will come not with torches or guns, but cuddly panda bears on their lapels.