A white man is distraught at the way big, bad and unscrupulous Chinese businesses are destroying the world’s crystal clear environment. Bill Miller in the desmogblog raves against the Chinese habit of buying wood from poorer nations in South East Asia as well as from far off South America. He is scared that since China does not even have one-eighth of the demand for paper compared America, there is huge scope for increase in demand. And then we will lose all our forests. Of course, there still will be China to blame. So according to Mr. Miller, it would be better for China to remain economically dormant. His blog post is typical of the western response when faced with climate change. The key to understanding this sort of take on the environment lies in Miller’s writing itself. He inadvertently slips in the fact of the US’s being the largest consumer of wood pulp. Is it wrong for the poorer nations to want to be richer? Is it unfair to buy resources from other nations?
Unlike what the Americans would lead us to believe, there are no real trade-offs involved. Western developmental economists would have us believe that there is a real conflict between development and the environment. They point out how more and more natural resources are depleted while a country develops. They do not mention the gaps between the consumption of a poor nation and that of richer nations. The US emits more greenhouse gases than the rest of the world combined simply because it consumes more. So if the US and European nations cut down on their emission levels then poorer nations like China and India have chances of developing without causing any real and lasting damage. We cannot have environmental activism without concern for human values. Why should China remain poor when the US gets richer by the day? And the US is rich not because Americans work harder; it is only because they robbed the Native American of his home and land. It is because the white man knows how to bend truth. In fact, blogs like desmogblog are efforts to subtly shift the blame for rapid deforestation of the earth from the white nations to China and India. What goes by the name of environmental activism is in fact a new kind of imperialism.
If Mr Miller and company are so concerned about environmental pollution by China et al, let them take initiatives to plant more trees. Let them cancel third world debts so that third world countries do not need to cut trees for getting some money.