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NewsReal Sunday: False Prophet– Greenpeace’s Apocalyptic Prediction Bites the Dust

Posted on August 23 2009 9:18 am
David Forsmark is the owner and president of Winning Strategies, a full service political consulting firm in Michigan. David has been a regular columnist for Frontpage Magazine since 2006. For 20 years before that, he wrote book, movie and concert reviews as a stringer for the Flint Journal, a midsize daily newspaper.
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Remember James G. Watt? He was Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior. A Westerner who believed the country’s resources should be wisely used, not hoarded. This was an abrupt reversal of the trend under Nixon and Carter in which millions of acres were put under the control of the federal government annually, and the definition of “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act had broadened beyond all meaning.

Enraged environmentalists finally settled on a line of attack towards Watt that had little to do with his (and Reagan’s) policies, which most Americans would consider common sense if they bothered with the details.

Their cry was that Watt was a religious fanatic who thought Jesus was coming back at any moment, so there was no need to pass a clean environment on to future generations. A fake quote was even circulated—which was repeated in the media in their lead stories but retracted far less prominently–claiming Watt said that Jesus would return when the last tree was felled.

Watt eventually resigned and became another public official of the time embroiled in perjury trap investigations. But even after he was gone, he was not forgotten, as elites kept up the mockery as a hammer against Reagan’s environmental philosophy.

Evangelical Christians are often mocked for their interpretations of the Book of Revelation—though the Left Behind series touched a nerve beyond Christian book stores. There is a legitimate criticism of those who spend too much time trying to use current events to make predictions of something even Jesus said he did not know in order to fill the pews.  However, there is a religion that depends on prophecies of the imminent end of the world for its very existence– and it’s not Christianity.

Environmentalists’ funding and influence depends on selling dire predictions of a disastrous future. It’s no longer enough to say we must clean up that river, or that smokestack is far too dirty. No, those problems have been largely solved. In order to keep the fundraising—and government funding—going, environmental radicals must threaten the end of the world

In a July 15 press release, Greenpeace stated that there could be an “ice free summers in the Arctic” as early as the year 2030. This was given a fair amount of play worldwide; but such predictions are rarely countered by logic, they are just repeated as, “Greenpeace, the international environmental organization today said… whatever.”  Greenpeace’s extreme radicalsm is rarely mentioned.

Recently, on the BBC Worldwide interview show, Hard Talk, Greenpeace’s outgoing leader, Gerd Leipold finally faced some hard talk, and he didn’t fare too well.

Under the relentless logic of host Stephen Sakur, who demanded an answer and would not let his guest off the hook with muttered platitudes, Leipold admitted that his organization “emotionalizes” issues; and that he really did not think even Greenland’s ice sheet would melt by 2030.

I’ll bet you didn’t see this on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN or MSNBC. (The New York Times offered a weak explanation on its Green Inc. blog seeking to minimize the firestorm.)  Only dire predictions make big stories in the mainstream media. Just as U.S. casualties were a big story in Iraq, but military victories were not; outlandish doomsday predictions make headlines, their refutations are largely ignored.

I remember as a junior-high student hearing an evangelist, Jack van Impe, who was best known for having memorized the whole Bible. After that audience-attracting hook became a bit old, he started using headlines and world events to not-quite-predict the Rapture, a doctrine taught by many fundamentalist Christians that Jesus will take believers out of the world before God’s judgment of the Tribulation.

In the early 70s, van Impe began pointing to 1976 as the Big Year. Even as a kid, I wondered at the idea that all of human history was centered around the American bi-centennial. By 1977, van Impe was explaining why he was still on the Earth. He had slightly miscalculated, and 1982 was looking good. He wasn’t predicting, mind you, but his oft-repeated phrase was “1982, brother.”

By 1983, Jack van Impe, was still around, and no longer filling large arenas with thousands of fundamentalist Christians.

My guess is that the admirers of Greenpeace in the mainstream media, in the American Left, and in the halls of Congress will not hold the predictors of environmental doom and gloom to the same standard Jack van Impe was held to with his base.

Can someone give me a “2030, brother!”?

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