- - Thursday, October 25, 2012

By Elizabeth Nickson
HarperCollins, $26.99, 353 pages

In today’s society, few issues rile up people as much as the environment. You know the drill: Everyone has to go green, make an ecological impact, control your carbon footprint, keep the planet sustainable, manufacture biodegradable products, tackle climate change and so on. The environmental movement’s never-ending supply of manufactured talking points are enough to make your head explode.

Yet consider this point for a moment. What if the real enemy against the environment was environmentalists? Some of you may now be thinking, “Al Gore, Maurice Strong and David Suzuki are to blame? I knew it.” The problem goes much further down the environmental food chain, however. Left-wing activists have played a significant role in hurting rural communities and ruining our natural resources. These individuals are charter members of the group known as the “eco-fascists.”

Elizabeth Nickson’s book, “Eco-Fascists: How Radical Conservationists Are Destroying Our Natural Heritage” is a superbly written account of the devastating political agenda of the environmentalist junta. A talented and experienced journalist, Ms. Nickson previously worked as European bureau chief of Life magazine, reporter for Time magazine and columnist with Canada’s National Post. Ms. Nickson’s ability to mix hard facts, intriguing ideas and personal stories in a straightforward and readable manner will attract many inquisitive minds. The book’s bombshell revelations alone will make it one of the year’s most talked-about releases.

Ms. Nickson makes an interesting personal assessment at the beginning: “I walk the green mile more than anyone I’ve met.” She resides in a sanguine rural setting in Salt Spring Island, B.C. The area is surrounded by a forest, meadows and a ravine. Her living abode is “a green house heated by geothermal” and is “carbon neutral.” More to the point, the house has “no drywall, no paints, no solvents, and could be certified as a healthy house.”

Even though Ms. Nickson thinks green, she doesn’t view the world through rose-colored glasses. In her view, the “environmental movement has created a bewildering array of institutions that have been well hidden behind the scrim of modern life.” For example, many federal and state agencies contain “true believers” who are pushing the environmental agenda on unsuspecting individuals, businesses and communities. It has led to a “suffocating web of lies, distortions, fear-mongering, and bad science married to top-of-the-line strategic planning, which has triggered an error cascade wreaking destruction everywhere prosecuted.”

The author speaks from personal experience. “Eco-Fascists” details Ms. Nickson’s agonizing battle against the Island Trust to gain a permit to build a second house on her property. For most free-thinking people, the basic right to construct on your own land should be a no-brainer. Alas, the brainless community activist-environmentalists on Ms. Nickson’s local board did everything in their power to delay the process. The struggles she faced, people she met and knowledge she acquired made her realize the environmental movement ain’t what it’s all cracked up to be.

She dug even deeper. Driving into “America’s back country,” Ms. Nickson learned more about the radical environmentalist agenda. Here’s just a small sampling. Ron Arnold, former executive director of the Sierra Club, describes “how networks of environmental organizations coordinate to systematically target specific rural communities for economic dismantling.” Private foundations and their ENGOs (environmental non-government organizations) are “working with the U.S. government to prosecute the environmental agenda in jurisdictions where, after all the conferences and posturing, the money does its work.” Large ENGOs work hand-in-hand with the U.N. Environmental Program, the “Big Daddy or overlord in the system.” Moreover, the European Union grants “environmental groups the funds to agitate and terrify Europeans.”

There are many first-hand stories described in great detail. Ferry County residents Joel and Sarah Kretz discuss their ordeals with Earth First, noting there is a “biologist under every rock out here busily protecting wildlife from the peasantry: the evil, unwashed Neanderthals.” Bill Lowe discussed how his community’s battle with the Colorado Natural Land Trust over conservation easements — after a tornado hit in 2007 — resulted in the family being “left with nothing.” Meanwhile, there’s an astonishing battle in Siskiyou County in California between environmentalists and local residents over a dam removal and the coho salmon’s survival. According to Ms. Nickson, “the city people who fund the attack on the people of the valley” are “forcing the conformation of the Siskiyou to a U.N. plan, that Siskiyou County wildlife, grasslands, and forests will die without man’s stewardship, and that the land will go to desert within a hundred years.”

This is only the tip of the iceberg in “Eco-Fascists.” Ms. Nickson’s intellectual odyssey and incredible tales are going to shock and frustrate readers. Her book should also get people talking, reflecting and reconsidering previously held positions about North America’s environmental movement. You may find that the green in your heart becomes beet red in your face.

Michael Taube, a regular contributor to The Washington Times, is a former speechwriter for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

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