Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Phrases that stick in your mind

The Journal has a post up about hsu enviro prof Bill Devall who died at his Trinidad home last week.

The Journal says "Among other things Devall was an environmental activist, a Professor Emeritus in Sociology, the author of Deep Ecology: Living as if Nature Mattered, and a founding member of the North Coast Environmental Center."

It's that phrase - Deep Ecology - I have seen that before, on

It is defined as The “Deep Ecology Platform,” as the movement’s credo is called, emphasizes the relative worthlessness of human life, rating it as no more important than that of plants or animals. The Platform considers human beings as a mere “interference” with nature, and openly aims for a “decrease of the human population.” It wraps up with a call to action, suggesting that people need to abandon the idea of “adhering to an increasingly higher standard of living,” and instead should pursue “changes in policies” that affect “basic economic [and] technological structures.”

Activistcash discusses a series of full-page advertisements... The headline “Extinction Crisis” screamed an alarm in 130-point type, followed by 1200 words of propaganda about global warming, globalization, and “ecological havoc.”

More ads followed in short order. Each one dealt with a favorite theme of the “green” political left:

biotechnology (“genetic roulette”);
livestock operations (“welfare ranchers”);
genetically improved foods (“untested hazards”);
economic globalization (“increasing poverty and hunger”); and
modern agriculture (“it poisons the earth”).

In twelve months, Turning Point ran 25 of these splashy politicized commercials, each of them taking up a full page in the Times.

Big money -- but whose?

As any advertising executive will tell you, that kind of exposure is expensive. Within a few months of the campaign’s beginning, guessing the source of its money became a popular East Coast parlor game. Even in the pages of the Times itself, columnist Paul Krugman (an M.I.T. economist) asked: “Who’s paying for those ads?”

An initial answer seemed to be provided at the bottom of each ad, where a partial list appeared of “coalition” members (examples included Greenpeace, Earth Island Institute, the Humane Society of the United States, and Friends of the Earth). Its first ad claimed that Turning Point was “a coalition of more than 50 non-profit organizations.” As the campaign marched forward, the claim grew to “more than 80.” Turning Point’s web site, still operating after nearly two years of advertising silence, now lists 108 “participating organizations.”

In the Fall of 1999 the standard commercial rate for a single full-page ad in the Times was in excess of $117,000. Some reports suggest that Turning Point got a more favorable rate of $87,000 per page, but the group only reported spending $1,164,563 on advertising during its campaign -- making the cost of each ad just over $46,500 -- that breaks down to more than $10,700 for each of Turning Point’s 108 “participating organizations.” This is not an unreasonable sum for today’s big-money environmental groups to come up with, especially considering how easy it is to move money between tax-exempt organizations (Turning Point is one, as are over 90% of its “participating organizations”).

Case closed -- or so it seemed. But tax filings recently released to the public indicate that over 95% of the Turning Point Project’s financing came from one source. It’s not listed among the “participating organizations.” In fact, its name appeared nowhere in any of the advertisements.

The report goes on to point out that If there is still any doubt that Turning Point and the Foundation for Deep Ecology were really one and the same, consider this: through what appears to be an accounting error, FDE actually made one of its six-figure grant payments in 1999 to a “Turning Point Project” located at “919 Ventura Way, Mill Valley, California 94941.” This address is in a residential neighborhood, and it’s actually one of the mailing addresses used by the Foundation itself.

Deep Influences

But Tompkins’ influence is even broader, as his FDE has also spun off a few notable left-wing organizations of its own. These include the International Forum on Food and Agriculture, the International Forum on Globalization, and the Wildlands Project. This last group wants to “re-wild” as much of North America as possible, declare millions of acres permanently “off limits,” and shoehorn human beings into designated “buffer” zones.

Operated by Earth First! Co-founder Dave Foreman, Wildlands is the closest thing modern environmentalism has to a central organizing principle. Everything the Turning Point Project stands for finds its roots in Deep Ecology and its hoped-for denouement in the Wildlands Project. Abandoning biotechnology and modern agriculture fits the mold, as does halting technological progress that have the potential to feed millions of people. Exaggerating natural processes as an “extinction crisis” is right out of the Deep Ecology playbook, since the Platform clearly ranks animal biodiversity above humanity’s own survival.

In addition to Turning Point and its other spinoffs, FDE regularly funds anti-consumer organizations like the Center for Media and Democracy, the Earth Island Institute, the Rainforest Action Network, and the Ruckus Society. In fact, FDE has made over $3.2 million in grants to groups listed as Turning Point’s “participating members.”

They follow the money - in part - Just as the Foundation for Deep Ecology’s tax returns show Turning Point grants landing in FDE’s own California offices, they also show that other donations to Turning Point were sent to Kimbrell’s office in Washington, DC (310 D Street, NE), not the Pennsylvania Avenue address listed on Turning Point’s tax returns. This apparent shell game -- quietly moving money from one Andrew Kimbrell enterprise to the next -- is a clear and blatant attempt to deceive the public and shield the Turning Point Project’s true goals from wider scrutiny.,

And goes on Disingenuous to the end, Turning Point’s leaders would love to resurrect the myth of grass-roots support that lent credibility to their efforts in 1999 and 2000. And maybe this time will be different -- perhaps they’ll break that pesky 5% threshold of public support required to maintain their Federal tax-deduction.

It’s not likely. The Turning Point Project was, and remains, a front for the radical aims of Deep Ecology. If Andrew Kimbrell’s experience is any indication, this latest effort won’t even draw support from the mainstream foundation community.

The reason for this is worth repeating. The Turning Point Project, with its relentless criticism of biotechnology, modern agriculture, economic globalization, and technological progress, is promoting the aims and priorities of Deep Ecology -- a radical, fringe environmental sect that sees human lives as less valuable than plants and animals. This food fight is not about science any more. It’s about the goals of a fringe group that is encouraged by the loss of human life.

There's more - as always, the info at activistcash if pretty eye-opening.

The other links that come up when searching activistcash's site for the phrase "Deep Ecology" are Earth First and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and Center for Media & Democracy

This local guy is not mentioned as the author of the phrase the activists are using, nor is any reference to his book made. In fact, wikipedia credits the phrase 'Deep Ecology' to Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss and they do not mention Bill Devall, fwiw - Just an odd coincidence.



  1. What an interesting post Rose! It sure opened my eyes to what's happening with enviro groups lately.
    As always, follow the money when you want the whole story...

  2. Decall's book indeed draws on ideas put forth by Arne Naess, as well Gary Snyder, David Brower and John Muir. I imagine you consider all of them dangerous radicals.

    As far Dave's compliment for revealing "what's happening with enviro groups lately," your post is mainly about some ad campaign from ten years ago; Devall wrote Deep Ecology in 1985; Naess put forth his dangerous ideas in the early '70s.

    So, Rose, I'm left wondering: would you rather we all live as if nature does not matter?

  3. Seth Hoffman7/02/2009 9:15 AM

    Bill was an amazing human being. He was a sage and will be missed greatly. He was so under appreciated. Your understanding of deep ecology is skewed...why don't you read one of his books?

  4. Yeah, Bob, I think we should pave paradise./ (in case you do not know the / is a snark tag) - and the age of the ad campaign is irrelevant, it is the manner in which it all comes down that is relevant. It is the setting up of multiple groups to create the illusion of size, it is the inherent DISHONESTY that is relevant. And that is what you are either incapable of seeing or refuse to see or care about, consistently and regrettably, because you are a good man otherwise. Stop making fucking excuses for these people. They are con men and they are using your own high ideals and feelings of guilt to enrich their own coffers.

    Seth - I make NO CRITICISM of Mr. Devall. NONE. I'm merely commenting on the phrase DEEP ECOLOGY, and why it is related to alot of what gets covered here.

  5. Rose, It's clear you have no interest in Professor Devall or in deep ecology. I understand that what you were doing here is using his death to launch into an attack on your perceived enemies, as laid out by the Center for Consumer Freedom, the same folks who think the Human Society is evil and that the campaign against obesity is some sort of leftist conspiracy.

    Follow the money indeed -- you'll find that for the most part the world is ruled by greedheads who put immediate short-term profit above the long term health and welfare of people and the planet. Are they honest about it? Of course not. Faux grassroots movements exist on any topic you can think of. One of them is the good ol' Center for Consumer Freedom.

    Who are they? Let's ask Sourcewatch:

    "The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) (formerly called the "Guest Choice Network") is a front group for the restaurant, alcohol and tobacco industries. It runs media campaigns which oppose the efforts of scientists, doctors, health advocates, environmentalists and groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, calling them "the Nanny Culture -- the growing fraternity of food cops, health care enforcers, anti-meat activists, and meddling bureaucrats who 'know what's best for you.'"

    Over 40 percent of the group's 2005 expenditure was paid to Rick Berman's PR company, Berman & Co. for "management services." As part of its operations CCF runs a series of attack websites, including ",,,,,, [and]"

    Most recently they've been campaigning in defense of payday loan industry. Now there's an honest business./

  6. And, Bob, if you READ what they say, you will find that what has happened is groups like MADD, who started with the best of intentions, have crossed the line, same with Sierra Club, Humane Society and so many others.

    Once it became big business, the lies began. Once the money was big nough, it attracted the worst kinds of con men and propagandists - and they use that money to tweak people's minds.

    You like to disregard the fact that the industries under attack have a right to tell their side of the story, put out the facts that counter the propaganda, and try to fight for their survival.

    Too many lines have been crossed, and you who want freedom to do your own thing in certain areas, ought to be against the nanny state in all its aspects. Because Bob, next they will be coming for you.

  7. Rose,
    You can't debate these greenie Marxists. They begin by assuming facts not in evidence. All of their leftist icons must undergo beautification a la Tim McKay and you will be excoriated for not accepting their sainthood.

  8. Arne Naess and Bill Devall were colleagues, and edited much material together.

    Rose, I'd heard negative things about you, but this is lower than I'd have expected. The body isn't even cold. You are.

  9. 7:03,
    Welcome to the real world dipshit.

  10. I don't see any posts at 7:03. Was it edited, or are you hitting the hard stuff tonight?

  11. Nothing has been deleted/edited. Looks like 5:14 was referring to the date.

  12. A Deep Ecology advocate? Celebrate. Gaia is that much closer to pristine nirvana. Who's cold? The ones who want humans exterminated. IMHO


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