If You Love Nature and Defend It Against Human Destruction, Be Prepared to Be Called a Fascist
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Why is this Red Guard philistinism directed at those whose hearts are broken by the heedless destruction of the natural world, by people who wouldn't dream of trivialising the heedless destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, or the demolition last month of a 4,000-year-old pyramid at El Paraiso in Peru?
I think there may be three reasons. The first is ignorance. A complete absence of cultural understanding would be career death in the media. A complete absence of scientific understanding is no impediment at all, as almost all media outlets are run and dominated by humanities graduates. I think, among some commentators, there's also a sense that concern for the living planet is a check on human progress, an affront to the view of humanity as deus invictus, the weightless god, floating above the grubby realities of life on earth.
But most important, perhaps, is an unconscious absorption of the demands of money. Unlike most art, the wonders of nature often stand in the way of attempts to extract resources or to build airports or shopping centres. Corporate attacks on people who love and seek to defend the natural world have seeped into every pore. Culturally hegemonic, the developers' view finds expression in the most unlikely places.
So those of us whose love of the natural world is a source of constant joy and constant despair, who wish to immerse ourselves in nature as others immerse themselves in art, who try to defend the marvels that enthrall us, find ourselves labelled – from the Mail to the Guardian – as romantics, escapists and fascists. That, I suppose, is the price of confronting the power of money.