We Didn't Call it Communism

Peter Wood

“Sustainable Sausage,” a blog that promotes “sustainability for twenty somethings” features the views of three New Zealanders, Lisa, Kavi, and Janelle. One of the Kiwi sausage-makers found her way to Ashley’s and my provocative press release from a month ago, Sustainability is a Waste:  10 Reasons to Oppose the Sustainability Movement on Your Campus, and was appropriately provoked.  She imagines we invite “huge piles of garbage all over the world,” and also accuses us of confusing Soviet communism with the Green movement.  Ah, no.  Communist regimes proved themselves in the last century to be the most environmentally destructive in human history.  The Soviet Union gave us not only Chernobyl, but massive pollution in the Urals; uncontrolled radiological releases including the now famous Chelyabinsk-65 release in 1957 that contaminated 20,000 square kilometers and the Tomsk-7 release in 1993 that poisoned another 100 square kilometers; chemical dumps on the Baltic Seabed; the attempt in the 1970s to re-channel northern-flowing rivers with nuclear explosions; and the destruction of the Aral Sea to irrigate deserts.  The modern West has not always been a good steward of the environment, but there is nothing in the West in the last century remotely on the level of heedless destruction of the environment carried out by communist regimes.  It might, however, be a good thing if promoters of the sustainability movement with its emphasis on central planning and an ideology of shared sacrifice showed a little awareness of where public policy based on those principles has led in recent times. We never drew or implied a comparison of communism with the sustainability movement.  Yet Lisa-Kavi-Janelle are so baffled by our criticisms of the sustainability movement that they jump to the idea that when we said “sustainability” we really meant “communism.”  Sorry, Kiwis.  When we said “sustainability” we meant “sustainability.”  And we are not at all keen on having “huge piles of garbage all over the world.”  We are just keen on making sure that people like you—people who seem ignorant of recent history and determined to promote the latest feel-good cause without any understanding of its larger social implications—are put on the spot.

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