It used to be that civilized forums existed where people could present their ideas and expect those ideas to be openly and honestly discussed, perhaps debated, but sadly now the world has become one darkening morass of gossip where the meaner the intent the more prominent the source becomes. I was recently compared to George Bush because I described some nemeses as being not merely opinionated but actually evil. It seems for some President Bush co-opted the word evil, for me he was correctly observing and reporting on the world, not in everything but surely in the fact that some people are just plain evil.

The environmental movement is an example of a wonderful peoples movement being taken over by evil. Sixty years ago when I was being taught the joys of nature and learning to swim in Walden Pond I was fortunate to be immersed in the world and words of  Henry David Thoreau. He said of his life that he was born “in the nick of time” in Concord, Massachusetts, during the flowering of America when the transcendental movement was taking root. It was the mid-nineteenth century and he was largely overlooked during his lifetime, he is now praised as one of the most powerful voices for the natural environment. “In Wildness is the preservation of the World,” he wrote, and with such statements helped shape the thinking of modern day environmentalism.

“My profession is always to be on the alert to find God in Nature, to know his lurking-places, to attend all the oratorios, the operas, of nature.” In a river, he found the flow of eternity; climbing a mountain he felt his spirit move closer to God. “I believe in the forest, and in the meadow, and in the night in which the corn grows.” It was as though he could see through Nature to a glimpse of the divine. What might sound to us like a contradiction made perfect sense to him: “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”

Sadly today the world where once naturalists, woodsmen, hikers, birdwatchers, fishermen, and participants in and with Nature gave birth to a common conservation ethic armies of carpet-baggers and spin-masters have co-opted Nature to create “environmentalism.” They sell it hard employing all of the dirty tricks and devices of modern political campaigns with never a thought as to any ethical consideration. The goal and rules are simple measure success by media stories which translate into cash. If it bleeds it leads, and that means if the story isn’t a bloody controversy fabricate one.