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Environmental Movement Commits Suicide
"The Death of Environmentalism" is an essay by two environmentalists that has been the subject of increasing buzz on the internet. According to New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, the article's contention that "modern environmentalism, with all of its unexamined assumptions, outdated concepts and exhausted strategies, must die so that something new can live" is correct.

Kristof, who describes himself as former "environmental groupie" writes that he still shares "the movement's broad aims, but I'm now skeptical of the movement's "I Have a Nightmare' speeches." His op-ed column notes that "the environmental movement was convinced that the Alaska oil pipeline would devastate the Central Arctic caribou herd. Since then, it has quintupled."

The New York Times columnist recalls that when he first began worry about the environment, "global cooling and nuclear winter seemed the main risks." In 1975, Kristof writes that Newsweek ran a story stating "Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend ... but they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century."

The lesson to be learned, according to Kristof, is that "This record should teach environmentalists some humility. The problems are real, but so is the uncertainty." Taking exception to the view that false environmental alarms should be accepted, the columnist bluntly explains that "environmental alarms have been screeching for so long that, like car alarms, they are now just an irritating background noise."

This is not to say that Kristof is opposed to environmentalism, just the opposite. He write that the environmentalists "loss of credibility is tragic because reasonable environmentalists - without alarmism or exaggerations - are urgently needed." The columnist goes on to state that "it's critical to have a credible, nuanced, highly respected environmental movement. And right now, I'm afraid we don't have one."

Environmentalism as a credible, intellectual movement is dead. This is a pity. However, it was by their own hand.
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