Similar talk has been heard from other eco groups, though they always clarify that they don’t mean the earthquake in the Indian Ocean was caused by global warming, er, exactly.
Note that all the rhetorical work here is done by the “er, exactly,” which is packed with insinuation that Levey does not unpack, because she can’t, because of course “eco groups” really don’t mean that the earthquake was cause by global warming.
After the usual round of accusation by way of dark innuendo, Levey gets to her point: Environmentalists, she says, oppose economic development, especially for poor nations. Their message:
Poor countries are unwise to aspire to join the industrialized world, and their “natural” disasters are a comeuppance for buying into the desirability of economic progress.
This is, not to put too fine a point on it, horseshit. While there are greenies who oppose development as such, they are on the fringe. (There are fewer of them than there are of, say, right wingers planning to visit the Museum of Creation.)
It is retrograde types like Levey who see environmental protection and development as opposing forces. Mainstream environmentalism — and even moreso cutting edge green thinking — supports ecologically responsible development. They support leapfrogging, whereby developing countries use emerging technologies to bypass the grinding, earth-screwing, wealth-concentrating stages of industrialization whereby the developed world reached its current state of prosperity.
Thinking greens recognize that economic development is crucial to protecting the earth, but they realize that there’s development and then there’s development. We like the kind that benefits the poor and the earth, not just elites and industry oligarchs.
That Levey can play on this outmoded opposition in a major newspaper is not only her failing — it is a failure of environmentalists to be more consistent and vocal in their message of hope and progress.