VISALIA, Calif. - Patrick Moore’s hair has noticeable thinned in the 26 years since he was photographed straddling a baby seal to prevent it from being clubbed to death.
However, his passion for environmental issues has not disappeared since that photograph appeared in 3,000 newspapers worldwide in 1978.
Moore, who holds a doctorate in ecology from the University of British Columbia, is one of the founders of Greenpeace. Greenpeace introduced the world to environmental activism by protecting baby seals, protesting atmospheric nuclear testing and challenging huge Russian whaling trawlers in rubber boats in the stormy North Pacific.
Moore is no longer associated with Greenpeace or any of the other so-called mainstream environmental groups like the Sierra Club. When what he called the anti-civilization, anti-human, anti-globalization, anti-trade ultra-left extremists took over those groups, he turned his back on them. Not only that, he challenges their so-called science at every turn.
“We have an environmental movement (today) that is run by people who want to fight, not win,” Moore says.
Moore left Greenpeace after 15 years to find realistic solutions to issues like the “environmental disaster” of 6 billion who go hungry each day. He now mesmerizes audiences like the California Cotton Growers Association annual meeting with his take on finding solutions to environmental issues.
One solution is embracing genetically modified crops to feed the world’s poor. Genetically modified food not only can generate more food per acre, but it does it with fewer pesticides and less soil erosion.
“There are so many real benefits from genetic modification compared to the largely hypothetical and contrived risks that it would be foolish to ban genetic modification,” said Moore.
He scoffed at the recent vote ban genetically modified crops in Mendocino County, Calif. It was purely politically motivated because “the campaign of fear now being waged against genetic modification is based largely on fantasy and a complete lack of respect for science and logic.” He calls it scripts right out of Hollywood movies.
He said the attack on “Golden Rice” is a tragedy that is preventing millions from receiving sufficient Vitamin A in their daily diet. An estimated 500,000 children go blind each year from chronic Vitamin A deficiency. A Swiss scientist used DNA technology to insert a gene from daffodil plant into rice to add high levels of Vitamin A to rice, a staple for millions worldwide. The controversy over genetically-modified crops likely will keep that off the market for decades.
He said if environmental extremists were to admit that Golden Rice was a good GM crop, they would have to admit that there might be others. “And then, they would be reduced to a rational discussion on the subjects like the rest of us mortals,” he says.
He said environmental extremists invent campaigns against invisible poisons. He calls the Alar on apples scare a classic case of this. The end result of this activity is that people eat fewer fruits and vegetables, the very foodstuff that has proven to reduce cancer risks.
Moore’s passion today is forestry.
“No species has ever become extinct because of logging forests,” he says. “There is more diversity of life today than ever before.”
Forest area in the U.S. is the same as it was 100 years ago.
“Trees are the answer to a lot of the questions about our future on this planet,” he said.
Trees clean the air and water and using wood for building material uses less energy than making steel and concrete.
“Using more wood means using less fossil fuel,” he explained.
Eighty percent of the timber produced in the U.S. is from private land and “when you buy wood from a lumber yard that is a signal to plant more trees” which is good for the environment.
Moore is a rare scientist who brings logic; sound science and passion to what he says are the real environmental issues of today. When he is introduced as a Greenpeace founder to a conservative crowd like the cotton growers who have been hammered by today’s breed of environmentalists, skepticism is thick enough to cut
When Moore finishes, people are handing him business cards to get on his mailing list and to invite him to speak to other farm groups.