Environmentalists have become paradoxical

It began as an innocent trip home from a dinner I attended in South Tampa. If environmentalists are to be believed, however, the act of driving itself was probably not so innocent.

While zipping along in my truck that gets 18 ozone-killing miles to the gallon and fresh from the South Tampa dinner, which consisted of a wide variety of innocent animals, I was gleeful in my political incorrectness.

But then someone beat me at my own game. A Mercedes G55 AMG appeared in the lane next to mine and passed me by with such ease that it put my Ford V6 to shame. After thinking about how ugly the car was and how cool it would be to have one, I decided to come home and look up a few facts about it.

For those who haven’t seen it, the Mercedes G55 is a $100,000 road tank in the spirit of the Cadillac Escalade and Hummer, but slightly smaller and more European in style. In my fact-finding, I found out that the Mercedes G55 AMG gets 12 miles to the gallon and is considered one of the least environmentally friendly cars on the road in both Europe and the United States.

In addition, Baywatch babe, Playboy model and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) spokeswoman Pamela Anderson, on behalf of PETA, demanded one that was leather-free in November 2005. If that is a measure of political correctness, I assume that a hybrid with a leather interior would also have been acceptable.

Mercedes, faced with the spectacle of unhappy vegetarians protesting at their headquarters in Stuttgart, countered by saying that leather-free options would be available in the future on demand. It seems a victory worthy of PETA. Mercedes-Benz can now produce the gas guzzlers that environmentalists love to hate with leather-free interiors and sell them to vegetarians.

Having agreed to offer leather-free interiors only on demand – as Mercedes rightly expects no demand for fabric interiors inside luxury cars – Mercedes can charge custom prices for the bovine-friendly upholstery. Best of all, the victory claimed by PETA will not have any effect on the demand for Mercedes with leather interiors. It will simply expand Mercedes’ customer base to include those who will not pay for a car that killed cows in its production.

The failure of these activists to achieve any actual success in this instance is characteristic of the failure of the animal rights and environmentalist groups in general. In terms of protecting animals, environmentalists and animal rights activists have been ineffective, to say the least. The Endangered Species Act, considered a victory by environmentalists, has listed more than 1,200 species as either endangered or threatened since its inception in 1973. According to the National Fish and Wildlife Service, the pine barrens tree frog was de-listed due to errors in the original data, other species have gone extinct and others recovered despite the act, not because of it. To date, none of the species that have been de-listed are a bona-fide victory for the ESA.

In terms of preventing the use of nuclear energy sources, environmentalists have once more failed. Due to the fact that it is clean, safe and cost competitive, nuclear energy supplies 16 percent of the world’s energy today and 31 countries worldwide use it. The amount of energy produced is more than the amount used worldwide from all sources in 1960.

Again and again, the failure of these groups to achieve anything continues – though that didn’t prevent a British arm of Greenpeace from interrupting Tony Blair’s recent speech to the Confederation of British Industry by dangling themselves in protest from the rafters of the venue where he was speaking. Brilliant.

The failures are satisfying. The privilege and conceit shown in the very nature of environmentalist and animal rights movements is astounding. In a world in which 15 million children die every year from hunger, well-fed environmentalists oppose the growing of genetically modified crops that produce vastly more yields.

At the same time, well-fed animal rights activists oppose the eating of meat. To protest the consumption of food when the World Health Organization estimates that a third of the world’s population is underfed and another third is starving is egregious.

From prediction to outcome in almost every way, environmentalists and animal-rights activists have provided false predictions and proven they are unsuccessful at achieving success in their ill-advised endeavors.

But is it so surprising after all? With activists running the affairs of environmental organizations instead of businessmen and with a spokeswoman with the refinement and appeal of Pamela Anderson voicing the concerns of vegetarians, it is hardly astonishing that the results of these groups have been less than fruitful.

Jordan Capobianco is a senior majoring in English literature.