Anti-environmentalism is a movement opposed to the environmental movement. Anti-environmentalism disregards the current environmental crisis due to specific scientific and economic reasoning. Some anti-environmentalists argue that the Earth is not as fragile as some environmentalists maintain, although this argument is not exclusive to the anti-environmental movement. It focuses on job-creation, wage enhancement and industry. Generally, chemical manufacturers, oil producers, mining producers, timber companies, real estate developers, nuclear power industries, ranchers, hunting outfitters, and electric utilities have anti-environmental motives.[1] Anti-environmentalists are generally right-wing with conservative or libertarian views,[2] though there may be exceptions. Anti-environmentalism labels environmentalism as an extreme, false and exaggerated reaction to the human contribution of climate change. Anti-environmentalism often seeks to portray environmentalism as anti-human advancement.[1]

History in North America

Anti-environmentalism is a movement against the environmentalism movement. Its origination in North America can be marked by a speech delivered by Lewis Powell to the US Chamber of Commerce in 1971.[1] Several acts had been passed in years prior to Powell’s speech in favor of environmentalism, such the Wilderness Act 1964, Federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act 1968, National Environmental Policy Act 1969. Powell directed his audience against the environmental movement and promoted a pro-industry and anti-environmental view. James G. Watt was initially the most well-known anti-environmentalist.[1] He advocated free-for-all mining, ranching, and drilling.

In 1988 a Wise Use Campaign was introduced by Republican senator, Mark Hatfield.[1] The Wise Use Campaign supported unrestricted access to timber and other resources. Wise Use activists exploited the population’s fear of job loss and property devaluation. The campaign placed a barrier between workers and environmentalists.[2] The Wise Use Campaign used bumper stickers, phone-ins and faxes to promote their views. Wise Use and Republicans were the pioneering groups to kick off anti-environmentalism.

The economic recession that began in 1990 enhanced anti-green and pro-industry views. A group called Alliance for America was created with 125 anti-environment and pro-industry groups.[1] In 1994, the US did not pass a Biodiversity Treaty.[1] Another group that was created in the 90’s was called Earth Day Alternatives. They were also counter-environmentalists. This group labelled environmentalists as “anti-human” and extremists.[1] The Earth Day Alternative group promoted three things. They aimed to privatise resources for exploitation, advocate pollution to be permitted as trade between companies, to discredit environmental science. Heritage was a group that was also created with a laissez-faire approach toward the environment.[1] Anti-environmentalists were motivated by the fact that the ICI created deceptive green advertising.[1][3]

Recent anti-environmentalism in the USA

The election of Barack Obama as President of the United States in 2008, and the subsequent rise of the Tea Party movement caused a resurgence in anti-environmental sentiment. Recent anti-environmentalism occurs with chemical manufacturers, oil producers, mining producers, timber companies, real estate developers, nuclear power industries, electric utilities, as well as politics. Present day anti-environmentalists view environmentalism as "an attack on middle-class American capitalism".[4] At a Heartland Institute anti-environmentalism conference held in 2011, President Obama's campaign promised to make America more environmentally cautious was labelled as a plan toward National Socialism.[4] Former Republican Senator Harrison Schmitt accused environmentalism of sacrificing humans for the sake of the weather.[4] Larry Bell, an anti-environmental speaker claimed that the point of environmentalism is to destroy capitalism.[4] Many anti-environmental activists portray environmentalism as a “the ambitions of communist central planners to control the entire society”.[4]

By 2011, less than half of the American population believed that the burning of fossil fuels would affect the environment.[4] In 2011, 80% of Republicans do not agree with the science explaining the current "environmental crisis".[4]

See also



  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Rowell, Andrew (1996). Green Backlash. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-41512828-5.
  2. 1 2 Burke, William Kevin (1995). "The Wise Use Movement: Right-Wing Anti-Environmentalism". Political Research Associates. Retrieved 14 March 2013. Bush's attack on environmentalism failed to save his candidacy, but it was a high water mark for the political influence of the ‘Wise Use’ movement, a network of loosely allied right-wing grassroots and corporate interest groups dedicated to attacking the environmental movement and promoting unfettered resource exploitation. [...] ‘Oregon's electoral process has seen the Wise Use Movement and the Religious Right movement coming together in a number of ways, intentionally or unintentionally pushing forward a much broader conservative social or economic agenda,’ Mazza concluded.
  3. "Green Advertising Law". Retrieved 2013-01-12.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Klein, Naomi (November 9, 2011). "Capitalism vs. the Climate". The Nation.


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