Wednesday, June 20, 2007



This week sees the countrywide launch of Mine Your Own Business in Ghana.

Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney are in Ghana this week to promote the premiere of their film across four Ghanaian television channels. The film, which will be shown at prime time on four consecutive days, means that the whole country will get to see it. Already the filmmakers have had a huge response to their visit and have received hundreds of emails of support. The week will see the filmmakers have a hectic round of media interviews. You can hear them tomorrow morning on Joy FM one of the country’s leading radio stations where they will be discussing the issue raised in MYOB with a panel of distinguished Ghanaians.

McAleer and McElhinney said they are delighted to have arranged such a comprehensive distribution of the documentary in Ghana.

“It is to be broadcast at prime time on four of the country’s main television stations and hopefully it will be seen by most of the population in this country where mining plays such a significant role in the economy.”

We are delighted at the already positive response we have had from people and the media,” they added.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Mine Your Own Business

The Environmental Creed
By Donald J. Boudreaux
Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Careful observers often and correctly note that, for many of its adherents, environmentalism is a religion.

Too many environmentalists disregard inconvenient truths that would undermine their faith that calamities are percolating just over the horizon. It might well be that humans' "footprint" on the Earth is larger than ever; it might even be true that this larger footprint creates some health risks for us modern humans that our pre-industrial ancestors never encountered.

But it is undeniably true that we denizens of industrial, market economies live far better and far healthier than did any our pre-industrial ancestors.

Compared to those ancestors, our life expectancies at birth today are about three times higher. Our bodies are cleaner and more free of disease. Our homes are sanitary. We have indoor plumbing and anti-bacterial soap; our ancestors had outhouses. Our clothes are cleaner and, despite recent hysteria, our food supply is safer.

What we almost never hear from self-proclaimed "environmentalists" is recognition of the upside of contemporary life. The commerce and industry that produce all the things that environmentalists ecstatically despise also produce incredible amounts of wealth, health and cleanliness -- not to mention the leisure necessary for modern people to reflect upon and enjoy nature.

Also, too many environmentalists condemn people who don't share their creed. For example, I don't recycle my trash because my time is too precious for me to spend it sorting such items into different containers. I never criticize those who do recycle, but environmentalists point accusing fingers at us nonrecyclers. In environmentalists' eyes, those who unquestioningly disregard the value of one resource (time) in order to spend it on the conservation of other resources (wood, plastic and glass) are righteous while those of us who value and conserve time are sinners.

And just as religious belief sometimes can inspire adherents to commit acts of cruelty against other human beings, so, too, can environmentalism. Such cruelty is vividly revealed in the new film "Mine Your Own Business." This movie is a documentary centered on a small Romanian town, Rosia Montana. A poor mountain village, Rosia Montana was chosen by a western mining company as a site for a new mine -- an enterprise that would have offered higher-paying jobs to the mostly peasant, rural population.

Environmentalists, though, opposed the mine. Among their chief reasons was their insistence that the mine would "destroy" the way of life of residents of Rosia Montana. On this point, the environmentalists were correct: The mine would indeed change the way of life in that town. But as the film documents, that's precisely an outcome that the townspeople wanted.

Their rural way of life -- with chickens scampering along the dirt roads and outhouses rather than indoor plumbing the norm -- was no joy for them. Most of these townspeople welcomed an opportunity to integrate with the modern, industrial, global economy.

The environmental congregation, however, paid no attention. Living in cities far away from Rosia Montana, environmentalists -- against all evidence -- insisted that the townspeople really don't want the industry, jobs and greater prosperity that the mine would bring.

One environmentalist, a Belgian woman, confidently shared her revelation that the people of Rosia Montana prefer to travel by horse rather than by automobile, so the added wealth that the mine would bring to enable the townspeople to afford cars would be pointless.

The townspeople, alas, have very different ideas. Being human, they're capable of thinking for themselves. And when asked if they'd prefer a horse to a car, droves of them looked at the questioner as if he were stupid to ask such a thing. "A car" was the constant and unambiguous answer of each person asked.

In another scene, a local man in his 20s, after expressing his support for the mine, was asked if he shared the environmentalists' concern that the mine would destroy the town's beauty. Looking momentarily befuddled, the young man glanced around his hometown -- at the dirt streets, the shacks, the ever-present farm animals -- and said matter-of-factly that "It is not so beautiful."

I don't know if the mine ever will be built in Rosia Montana; environmentalists are still fighting it. If these environmentalists succeed, it will be yet another example of religious zealotry run amok with sad consequences.

Donald J. Boudreaux is chairman of the department of economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. His column appears twice monthly.

Donald J. Boudreaux is chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. His column runs twice monthly. E-mail him at:

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Investors Business Daily recognise the value of debate

Piece that appeared in Investors Business Daily by Roy Innis - the civil rights leader.

If Only Greens Saw The Forest For The Trees
By ROY INNIS | Posted Thursday, May 31, 2007 4:30 PM PT
"People here have no jobs," Mark Fenn admitted, after taking documentary producers on a tour of his $35,000 catamaran and the site of his new coastal home. "But if you could count how many times they smile in a day, if you could measure stress" and compare that with "well-off people" in London or New York, "then tell me, who is rich and who is poor?"
Fenn is coordinator of the World Wildlife Fund's campaign against a proposed mining project near Fort Dauphin, Madagascar. The locals strongly support the project and want the jobs, development, improved living standards and environmental quality the state-of-the-art operation will bring.
People there live in abject poverty, along dirt roads, in dirt-floor shacks, and are hardly able to afford food on their $1,000-a-year average incomes. There is little power, no indoor plumbing. The local rain forest has been destroyed for firewood and slash-and-burn farming. People barely eke out a living.
But Fenn claims the mine will change the "quaint" village and harm the environment. He says he feels "like a resident," his children "were born and raised" there, and the locals "don't consider education to be important" and would just spend their money on parties, jeans and stereos.
Actually, Fenn lives 300 miles away and sends his children to school in South Africa. And the locals hardly conform to his insulting stereotypes. "If I had money, I would open a grocery store," said one. "Send my children to school," start a business, become a midwife, build a new house, said others.
You have to see the film, "Mine Your Own Business," to fully grasp the callous disdain these radicals have for the world's poor. Don Imus' intemperate remarks were insensitive. But Fenn's demeaning, even racist, statements perpetuate misery.
These enemies of the poor say they are "stakeholders" wishing to "preserve" indigenous people and villages. They never consider what's wanted by the real stakeholders — those who live in these communities and must endure the consequences of harmful campaigns waged all over the world.
The WWF, Greenpeace, Oxfam, Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network and other multinational activist groups battle mines in Romania, Peru, Chile, Ghana and Indonesia; electricity projects in Uganda, India and Nepal; biotechnology that could improve farm incomes and reduce malnutrition in Kenya, India, Brazil and the Philippines; and DDT that could slash malaria rates in Africa, where the disease kills 3,000 children a day.
They harp on technology's speculative hazards and ignore real, life-or-death dangers that modern mining, development and technology would reduce or prevent. They never mention the jobs, clinics, schools, roads, improved housing and small business opportunities — or the electricity, refrigeration, safe water, better nutrition, reduced disease and fewer dead children.
They pervert "sustainable development" to mean no development, and ignore how mines will lay the foundation that will sustain prosperity and better living standards for generations.
Agitators use global warming and "corporate social responsibility" to force companies to acquiesce to their agendas — and ignore human rights to energy and technology, and people's desperate cries for a chance to take their rightful places among the Earth's healthy and prosperous people.
They extol the virtues of microcredit, to support minimal family enterprises, and demand debt forgiveness and more foreign aid for corrupt dictators — but oppose economic development that would eliminate the need for international welfare. They blame Newmont Mining for accidents that killed five people over a two-year period in Ghana, but refuse to admit that their pressure campaigns cause millions of deaths every year.
One could justifiably call it eco-manslaughter — or a racist experiment on powerless, impoverished Third World families.
Yes, there are environmental impacts from mines, dams and other development. There are health and other risks. But the Industrial Revolution also brought those changes. Are we worse off for it? Do we want to return to the jobs, lifestyles and living standards of pre-industrial, pre-electric America, when 95% of Americans were farmers, cholera and malaria were ever-present, and the average life expectancy was 45?
Would any of the greens, politicians and celebrities who clamor to keep the world's poor "indigenous" (and thus impoverished, energy-deprived and diseased) care to live that lifestyle for even one month? Would they exchange their 10,000-square-foot mansions for a hovel, give up electricity and stop globe-trotting in private jets?
Why hasn't the United Nations criticized the institutional racism being perpetrated in the name of "saving the planet"? Where are U.S. civil rights groups, media, churches and these poor countries' leaders? This intolerable situation cannot continue. People of conscience must no longer remain silent.
Innis is national chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, a civil rights group that promotes economic development rights for the poor worldwide.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Mine Your Own Business featured on

Fox News has featured Mine Your Own Business in a column detailing how debate about the environmental movement is not being allowed to take place.

Junk Science: Earth-Friendly Greens Camouflaging the Poor's Plight

Thursday , May 31, 2007

By Steven Milloy

Many people are aware that the world’s poor desperately need economic development. Few realize, however, that a major obstacle to overcoming global poverty is the anti-development and anti-human environmental movement that camouflages itself under ubiquitous “Earth-friendly” shades of green.

This lack of awareness is no accident. It's come about through a “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil” syndrome, where “evil” refers to the many ills of the modern environmental movement.

The syndrome is borne out by recent events related to the eye-opening documentary, "Mine Your Own Business: The Dark Side of Environmentalism," a film about environmentalist efforts to stop economic development in poverty-stricken regions around the world.

The syndrome’s “see no evil” aspect is exemplified by the efforts of Greenpeace and 80 other environmental organizations to block the movie from being shown in Romania (where much of the film was shot) and Washington, D.C.

A Greenpeace official was invited to be a special guest at the film's Washington, D.C., premiere at the National Geographic Society headquarters.

Instead of accepting the invitation, which included the opportunity to participate in a post-screening discussion panel, Greenpeace sent a letter to the Society expressing outrage at the decision to permit the film’s screening.

A Greenpeace-friendly newsletter demonstrated absurdly warped logic by asking a National Geographic spokesman whether the organization would rent out its facilities for the showing of a pro-Nazi propaganda film or a pornographic movie.

“I’m appalled by their demand to shut down the film,” said Frayda Levy, president of the screening’s co-sponsor, the Moving Picture Institute.

“We invited [Greenpeace], but instead of joining us for a discussion, they display breathtaking narrow-mindedness. Regardless of whether you love or hate 'Mine Your Own Business,' it deserves to be seen. What makes them so afraid of this film?” Levy wondered in a media release.

The “hear no evil” aspect of the syndrome is demonstrated by the recent experiences of "MYOB" filmmakers at the International Finance Corp., the private finance arm of the World Bank.

Though filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney declined comment, the IFC apparently had contacted them about hosting a screening of "MYOB" in the bank. The IFC finances a lot of large infrastructure projects and has had to wrestle with anti-development environmental groups that try to block those development efforts.

Not only did the IFC invite the filmmakers to screen the documentary, it also offered as a form of payment to do what it did with Al Gore’s documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” that is, purchase 200 DVDs and distribute them to local schools. McAleer and McElhinney jumped at the offer.

But a rather sheepish IFC official subsequently contacted the filmmakers and said that the bank had rethought its offer. The bank could only find the funds to buy 10 copies of "MYOB" and it had decided it would not distribute them to local schools.

Instead, the bank would lend them internally to bank employees. A final condition was that the filmmakers were not allowed to tell anyone or announce to anyone that the IFC showed the film.

After the screening, World Bank employees, on a one-by-one basis, reportedly commented to McAleer and McElhinney about how true "MYOB" was, but that they were not allowed to say so within the bank.

The syndrome’s “speak no evil” aspect is exemplified by my recent personal experience with consumer products giant Procter & Gamble, which touts its support for “sustainable development” on its Web site.

Concerned that the company was promoting a concept that has become an Orwellian eco-activist term for blocking all development opportunities no matter what the humanitarian costs, a shareholder group with which I am affiliated filed a related shareholder proposal with the company.

In negotiations concerning the proposal, we asked Procter & Gamble to consider distributing copies of "MYOB" to its employees as a way of providing them an alternative viewpoint on “sustainable development” and to make a public statement to the effect that the company thought it was important to hear alternative viewpoints on environmental topics.

But while the company agreed to distribute copies of "MYOB" to its employees, it refused to make the public statement. Procter & Gamble’s position was that it didn’t want to be seen as endorsing a particular organization’s point-of-view — an ostensibly reasonable position except that the company has previously publicly endorsed the viewpoints and mission of the Rainforest Alliance, an anti-development environmental group.

Without the public acknowledgment, we doubted that the company was serious about the need for balanced views on sustainable development. Since negotiations collapsed, we’ll be raising the issue with Procter & Gamble’s CEO, Alan G. Lafley, at its annual shareholder meeting this fall.

The combination of intimidating environmentalists and intimidated organizations has resulted in a tragic absence of debate about the environmental monkey on the backs of the world’s poor.

Until we can at least talk about what environmental policies may be doing to developing nations — let alone debate these policies — we will have little hope of changing the lamentable state of affairs that has blocked life-saving economic development.

Steven Milloy publishes and He is a junk science expert, and advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.