You cannot divorce people from the land, for when you do, it reaps widespread social and economic devastation. This conclusion, drawn by a range of specialists, sums up the consequences wrought by the destructive policies of the green movement detailed in Elizabeth Nickson’s book, Eco-Fascists – How Radical Conservationists Are Destroying Our Natural Heritage. After reading Nickson’s book, one can’t help but conclude that environmentalists are deliberately, systematically destroying property rights and rural communities across North America by promoting and mandating the destruction of the very environment they claim to be saving.
Indeed, Elizabeth Nickson begins her book with the chapter entitled, ‘We’ve been fooled.’ Nickson is no right wing ideologue. She’s a former Time reporter and lives in a green house and personally lives by many of the green movement’s tenants. Yet she descended from a Puritan family, one of the founding families of the American republic (including dozens who fought in the Revolutionary War and one was even a spy at Ft. Ticonderoga), whose pioneering spirit and hard work helped build America. So, she naturally holds a deep connection to rural life, living on a small, sparsely populated island in Canada.
Nickson reveals the roots of the environmental movement as an outright religion. It’s created a framework for its own value system to replace traditional religion with belief systems based on the philosophy of radicals like Kant, Hegel (the origin of virtually all totalitarian thought), and Fabian, with the aim of using social engineering to force compliance.
In 2011, more extreme poverty hit America than at any time since the Great Depression, impacting rural communities disproportionately harder. With commodity prices jumping 600% since 2000, Nickson argues there’s no faster way to hike prices than creating artificial shortages. Likewise, the quickest way to reduce the nation to serfs is to remove property rights. One-third of the land base in the United States’ is already under strict limited or no-use restrictions, reaching nearly 700 million acres.
The United Nations and its initiatives like Agenda 21 have successfully indoctrinated enough governments with bad if not junk science that sustainable development and conservation biology have taken over nearly every community in North America. Conservation biology is based on the assumption that there are ecosystems and that ecosystems must be in balance. It promotes its regulatory agenda by claiming most of nature is out of balance due to human habitation and therefore humans (including livestock) must be removed from land through conservation.
Though Agenda 21 isn’t currently binding, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has as its goal to make it binding under one treaty and reduce the world population to one billion (by American standards of living) or 5-7 billion (by early pioneer standards).
In 1995, the Nature Conservancy launched Conservation by Design outlining its plan to acquire valuable land using eminent domain, forced purchase, and conservation easements to bankrupt unwilling landowners, to turn as much land back to wilderness status as possible. Hence the Wildlands Project being implemented across the country is the largest confiscation of private property ever conceived, forcing rural populations into the cities by taking their land or impoverishing them into submission.
But its not just conservation biologists trying to remove humans from their private property, they infiltrate governments so they can use their regulatory and eminent domain powers to enact this agenda. The Sierra Club, Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, etc. along with 875 non-governmental organizations known as NGOs actually shape and write the policy for governments as delegates to the UN and/or the IUCN, outside of the elected representative process.
One of the most feverish socialists, Maurice Strong, Secretary General of the UN Conference on Environment and Development, said the lifestyle and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class and its high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, suburban housing, and air conditioning are not sustainable.
As a result of the UN’s 1992 Earth Summit, President Bill Clinton established the Presidential Council on Sustainable Development in 1993. Al Gore published his book the same year claiming “wrenching transformation” of society would be necessary. Minor shifts in policy wouldn’t work and for wrenching transformation it required implementation in increments and out of the public and media’s view.
The Global Biodiversity Assessment Report listed private property, single-family homes, paved roads, golf courses, logging, plowing, hunting, dams, fences, fish ponds, drain systems, sewers, etc. as ‘unsustainable.’ Also in 1993, the EPA released a detailed plan of how U.S. environmental regulations would conform to those of the UN. Using the government’s coercive police powers, it has systematically implemented the UN’s sustainability initiatives.
The result? Ninety percent of the most productive forests have been shutdown from human habitation and even maintenance. Holly Fretwell’s research shows Clinton’s sustainability program that forbids forest thinning, harvesting, and cleaning up deadfall has caused 90 to 200 million acres of Western forest to be in imminent danger of an explosive fire so hot it would burn everything to the ground – even the seeds in the soil and burn the dirt itself to dust. Banning thinning has caused 80 percent of the trees in the Pacific Northwest to be infested with root rot and beetles.
A 2008 audit showed hard evidence of forests that are ‘conserved’ are actually dying, causing road closures and underbrush overgrowth that’s killing wildlife and causing intense forest fires. In 2011, a rancher and range scientist found millions of acres of conserved grasslands are also dying. Near Seattle, a storm water management program prompted by fears of polluting Pudget Sound led to storm water being diverted into wetlands and groundwater sinks. It’s destroying the wetlands and contaminating drinking water. Experts call it desertification and it’s what’s happening to all this land turned back to the ‘wild.’ So the policies of the environmental movement are actually destroying the environment they claim to be protecting.
At the 1976 UN Conference on Human Settlements, the United States delegates, Carla Anderson Hills (who later became an architect of NAFTA and the World Trade Organization) and William Reilly (later the head of the EPA), who signed onto its initiatives believed private property ownership is responsible for the accumulation of wealth and creates social injustice. Therefore, they recommended government control of all land, population redistribution, land must be confiscated by government if excessive profits are made, public ownership of land should be used to promote land reform, government must separate owner rights from the right to develop one’s land, and government needs to control land use through zoning and other land use mandates.
Private property ownership has been the key to American freedom since its founding. Nickson points out there is no example in history where state ownership of land has led to prosperity. In fact, it’s led to decline – in wealth of the people and in the bounty and health of the land. By confiscating private property, government and/or environmental foundations confiscate the natural resources along with it. Nickson argues those natural resources can lift the poor out of poverty. These same foundations are responsible for locking down more than 10% of land in the name of conservation in developing countries – greater than the size of Africa.
In Thailand, for instance, the conservationists came in and put in regulations that the government eventually used to reduce farmers into poverty. First their guns were confiscated, then they restricted use of their land so they could no longer trap, hunt, grow their own food or sustain their families from their own land. In peer-reviewed research conducted by Mark Dowie, former publisher of Mother Jones, he found that conservation has displaced more than 14 million indigenous peoples from their ancestral lands and the number climbs to upwards of 20 million people worldwide.
Conservationists admit taking so much land off the tax rolls leads to a decline in economic activity and government services because the property tax base takes a huge hit. They promise tourism will pick up the slack where family-wage jobs at the mill, in forestry/logging, fishing, or ranching were destroyed: yet Nickson sites many examples where the tourism doesn’t show up. But meth labs do – in some communities it’s the only growth industry. There’s a direct correlation between land set aside for conservation and an increase in poverty and welfare.
In America, it usually works like this. Federal agencies list some new critter as an endangered species and then uses that as an excuse to come in and either acquire the property for conservation or habitat corridors or to institute regulations on land use, stripping land owners of their right to develop and, in many cases, farm, ranch, or fish on their own land. If you don’t comply, they’ll bill you for outrageous fines and if you don’t pay up, they’ll confiscate your cattle, your irrigation, or even your land itself. Other tactics include stripping landowners of their mineral or water rights, literally destroying the farmer/rancher’s ability to make a living.
Nickson chronicles a litany of examples from rural communities coast to coast, including her own community of Salt Spring, and how either the government or environmental groups actually introduce endangered species and then use it as an excuse to confiscate rights over your land. They’ve introduced the grizzly bear and gray wolf to kill off livestock. They introduce an array of endangered fish (many not even indigenous to the area) to shutdown landowners’ access to water. Federal agencies can literally regulate your land to such a degree that you can’t so much as turn a shovel-full of dirt without their permission and usually an expensive permit.
He who controls water controls life
“If you don’t have water, you’re dead. Your livestock is dead, your land is dead, you can’t grow food, your crops are dead; it’s genocide,” pronounces Nick Reding in his research for Winter’s Bone. ‘Navigable waters’ has been changed to ‘waters of the United States,’ which means if you simply have a puddle in your yard, the Army Corp of Engineers owns it. The government can come in and establish a 100-foot buffer on either side of your spring or creek and prohibit any human activity on that land and fine you thousands of dollars a day if they find you out of compliance.
In one community in Colorado, enviros claim there’s no water and use it as an excuse to force conservation and confiscate and redistribute water. But the research of engineer and former Forest Service hydrologist Chuck Leaf demonstrates there’s a ‘veritable ocean’ – 8 million acre-feet of water – in the alluvial reservoirs under the South Platte rivers in Colorado and Wyoming and that cheap and simple management of the upper forests could increase water flow by 500,000 acre feet every single year. That’s enough water to sustain all the farms and cities in the Colorado Front Range, farms in Nebraska, and the endangered species in the region. Yet the environmentalists and federal agencies continue to railroad their agenda and heist and redistribute water, draining the aquifers, despite the facts.
Mammoth Klamath destruction
The sucker fish battle in the Klamath River Basin in Oregon and the spotted owl fight in Washington, Oregon, and Montana are the poster child of how the environmental movement destroys a rural community. The habitat mandates (thousands of acres for each mating pair) for the spotted owl shutdown 90 percent of forests in the Western U.S. It was dubbed ecoterrorism. The family-wage job losses, soaring child poverty rates, and the subsequent empty schools are just the beginning.
In the Klamath Basin, Indian tribes, bought-off by $87 million pay-offs for their cooperation, declared two sucker fish critical to their spiritual and traditional food uses and any irrigation construction would negatively impact the fish. Turns out the Indians don’t even eat the fish anymore, and is considered such a pest that they tried to get rid of them by poisoning the water prior to its listing as endangered. The massive water takings affected four hundred ranchers who were put out of business. But that pales in comparison to 50 miles south of Klamath in Siskiyou County where a supposedly endangered Coho salmon (introduced by the government but history and research shows the salmon can’t survive their warm summers or thrive more than 25 miles from the ocean) resulted in a massive water taking, destroying the livelihood of the entire region. California Fish and Game told farmers that this strategy was being tested there and will be spread across the country as a way to cancel community and agricultural rights to water largely through dam removal.
Add to that, the Clinton-era policy to remove 40 percent of ranchers off the range and the systematic removal of livestock from the great West through conservation easements, etc., and it only hastens the desertification and social and economic devastation. Allan Savory’s research shows land actually thrives with cattle on it – when increasing cattle 400 hundred percent, grass increases the same amount. Even in drought, there’s too much grass. He found when you remove the livestock, you remove the caretaker and neglect and waste takeover the land. It was he who said you cannot divorce people from the land. From it we can watch the culture die with it.
Nickson exposes the coziness of government with multi-national corporations and private environmental foundations that are often funded by the very corporations the movement appears to be fighting. The Pew Foundation, for instance, is responsible for increasing regulation of the Canadian tar sands which benefits its board members, the majority of whom are heirs to the Sun Oil/Suncor fortune, by squeezing out smaller operators. Corporations are also adept at exploiting tax credits and other benefits of donating land for conservation or by adopting other green initiatives.
A Washington Post series revealed the Nature Conservancy acquires vast tracts of land using $100 million in government money, strips that land of its development rights, then sells it at a discount to its donors and the very rich for their personal estates – the likes of David Letterman, Ted Turner, and the Rockefellers. Then the rich inflate their property values for which they receive tax breaks by as mush as 220%. It was also uncovered that the Nature Conservancy, which claims to be against oil and gas drilling and fracking, was drilling for oil and gas on land it had purchased for ‘conservation.’
In fact, its board has had former Secretary of the Treasury and Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson, representatives from American Electric and Power Company (one of the worst air polluters at the time), and Georgia-Pacific (largest paper producer – hence tree killer – in the U.S.). The hypocrisy and corruption is scandalous and ought to be an illegal conflict of interest considering the organization’s enormous level of government funding.
“Conservation today acts much like indulgences sold by the Catholic Church, except instead of paradise, the donor gets perpetual tax deductions,” writes Nickson.
Yet, many times non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in concert with private environmental groups like Nature Conservancy and Wildlife Federation eventually attack and often destroy corporations that play along or go green. At least corporations have to answer to their shareholders. NGOs answer to no one and they don’t care who or what they destroy.
Coordination can save rural America
The shining light of the book is how Nickson highlights the power of counties to force their legal authority to be equal players using ‘coordination’ with state and federal agencies to take back their communities from the environmental movement’s systemic destruction of rural America.
Dan and Margaret Byfield’s American Stewards of Liberty in Texas, and Fred Kelly Grant, the architect of coordination strategy first tested in his own backyard in Idaho, slayed the ultimate beast known as the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC). The TTC would have confiscated over 500,000 acres of some of the richest farmland in Texas for the privatized, foreign-owned NAFTA Superhighway Trade Corridor and Toll Road System. Though parts of the TTC agenda still exist, these corridors won’t be 1,200 feet wide or confiscate the 143 acres per mile of tollway as originally conceived.
Truly we, as a country, cannot allow this deliberate confiscation of private property by the environmental movement and its hundred-pound gorilla – the government. Nickson’s book is a must-read exposé with the silver-lining of hope gleaned from coordination to restore property rights and loosen the grip of eco-facists on our way of life.
Terri Hall is the founder of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF), which defends against eminent domain abuse and promotes non-toll transportation solutions. She’s a home school mother of nine turned citizen activist. Ms. Hall is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.