George Monbiot writes: One of the central tenets of environmentalism is that resources should be used as carefully and sparingly as possible. By and large we try to stick to this rule in our own lives, with varying degrees of success. But there is one resource whose use by this movement is sometimes astonishingly profligate: the time and energy deployed by campaigners.
This is a rare commodity. There are few enough people who are prepared to devote their free time to trying to make the world a happier place. There are fewer still who know how to run an effective campaign, and have the grit to stick with it. We should use this rare blessing as intelligently as possible, campaigning against the most pressing threats, ensuring that we are not distracted by issues that are either trivial or imaginary.
There is no shortage of large, demonstrable and urgent hazards to the environment and public health. Among them, to name just a few, are climate change, biodiversity and habitat loss, overfishing, overuse of water, air pollution, dangerous roads and the obesity crisis. None of these attracts a sufficient number of dedicated campaigners; none of them, as a result, has the political attention it deserves. Faced with such issues, we cannot afford to squander precious time and energy chasing phantoms.
All this is a roundabout way of saying that if I were running a campaign highlighting the health effects of mobile phones and phone masts, I would see this as a good time to wind it up. [Continue reading…]