Today, thousands of well-intentioned people will take part in Earth Day and many will be inspired to join a green EMO. I’m not talking about the disgruntled “emo” subculture that wears black clothing. A green EMO (Environmental Movement Organization) is more the wide-eyed optimistic sort that writes letters, protests, and lobbies government for environmental action. Although this type of campaign generates feel-good actions, the actions are not always connected to positive environmental outcomes.
Green activism is often a threat to the very environment that activists are trying to save. The immediate action of calling for biofuel, for example, does not achieve the long-term goal of cutting carbon emissions. Subsidies for ethanol are currently so large that one-sixth of the world’s corn crop is turned into fuel for American cars. This increases food prices, which hurts the poor and entices other countries to burn native forests to make way for agriculture. The outcome: More emissions generated than saved from biofuels over the next century, writes author Bjorn Lomborg.