Environmental sellouts won’t beat true warriors

OlympiaMarch 7, 2013 

Brian Rosenthal’s article (Feb. 25) about one-time environmental activists shilling for coal exports features as poster child Bruce Gryniewski, a former Washington Environmental Council director, who accuses his critics of “ecoMcCarthyism.” Rosenthal names other converts, too; all seem a little defensive. And what motivated their change of heart? Does the explanation go beyond the obvious corporate cash in their pockets?

The American public is at last awakening to the reality of the climate crisis, demonstrated by record heat, drought, fires and storms, even as the lavishly funded campaign to discredit climate science goes on unabated. And global warming has been on their radar (and computer) screens of environmental activists for at least three decades; they understand very well the urgency with which Dr. James Hansen et al. demand immediate action to limit atmospheric carbon – and stop burning coal.

So lack of awareness can’t explain the sellouts’ behavior. But perhaps they believe it’s already too late, so why not just relax and enjoy the polluters’ spoils for another few years or decades. Maybe we have passed the tipping point, who knows? But we do know this: it will never be any earlier. And most of us can’t let cynicism define our lives.

There’s no denying these defections are disturbing (and shame on them). But our irritation can empower us to work even harder to stop the coal export scheme. Volunteers are more effective advocates and warriors than mercenaries, because we have conscience, reality and growing numbers on our side.

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