Is the environment a human rights issue?
Carl Pope is Executive Director of the Sierra Club. Since Pope’s appointment in 1992, Sierra Club has added 150,000 new members, bringing the total membership to 700,000. Pope has a distinguished record of environmental activism and leadership.
Prior to his work with the Sierra Club, Pope served on the Boards of the California League of Conservation Voters, Public Voice, National Clean Air Coalition, California Common Cause and Public Interest Economics, Inc. He is the co-author of Strategic Ignorance: Why the Bush Administration Is Recklessly Destroying a Century of Environmental Progress, and other books including Hazardous Waste in America and Sahib, an American Misadventure in India. Pope was educated at Harvard University and spent two years in the Peace Corps in India on graduation.
Carl Pope: First I don’t like the word “issue”, so that . . . that’s _________. Do I believe that if globally people’s basic rights were respected, the air would be cleaner, the water would be purer, there would be a lot fewer toxic chemicals in the food supply? Absolutely. If you enable people to protect themselves, that is a normal human instinct. I mean we get into these debates sometimes with people, we talk about how, “Oh we’re rugged individualists. And us rugged individualists we don’t want the government telling us what to do. And what are all these clean water regulations?”
And I sometimes have to remind people that in the Old West, when somebody poisoned the well they strung him up. We’re really very mild. We don’t string people up. We just retire them. But I think that there are parts of the world . . . And I have a great advantage. I go to work in the morning, I do not look under my car. I do not check to see if anybody has put a bomb there. I do not particularly . . . I assume my telephone is tapped, but I don’t particularly worry about the fact that my telephone is tapped. What I do is safe. I’m not at personal risk if I offend the President of the United States. In a lot of the world that’s not true. In a lot of the world doing what I do for a living is really dangerous. And that’s where defending human rights, defending the defenders of communities is such a critical thing to do. Because if ordinary people are at risk when they speak out for their families, then the bad kind of lobbyists are going run the show.
Recorded on: September 27, 2007
Carl Pope sometimes has to remind people that, in the Old West, if you poisoned the well, you'd be strung up.
When adults are challenged to behave like adults, by a child, they can go in one of two directions.
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
When it comes to scientific theory, (or your personal life) be sure to question everything.
- The theories we build to navigate the world, both scientifically and in our personal lives, all contain assumptions. They're a critical part of scientific theory.
- Cognitive psychologist Donald Hoffman urges us to always question those assumptions. In this way, by challenging ourselves, we come to a deeper understanding of the task at hand.
- Historically, humans have come to some of our greatest discoveries by simply questioning assumed information.