Monday, May 19, 2008

Free documentary exposes environmental activists' real agenda':

Film shows Thursday at Totah
By Cornelia de Bruin The Daily Times
Article Launched: 05/19/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT

FARMINGTON — The Albuquerque-based Rio Grande Foundation and Citizen's Alliance for Responsible Energy partnered to bring the film "Mine Your Own Business" to Farmington's Totah Theater on Thursday.
The film is a one-hour documentary that exposes "the real agenda" of prominent environmental activists, focusing on how the environmental movement ignores the world's poor and their need for economic development, according to advance information sent by the Foundation.

"It has three story lines that intertwine, starting in Romania where a Canadian company wants to mine gold that is there," said Paul Gessing, president of the Foundation. "They want to repair the ground afterward; the place is polluted, the river is filthy, it's ecologically devastated."

The area was mined previously during the communist era, Gessing said.
"Non-local environmentalists discuss how quaint their (the locals') lifestyles are. It shows how the environmentalists are outsiders who want to force the people to live as they are," Gessing said.

Filmmakers then travel to other mining-related situations in Madagascar, where they show white environmentalists from outside telling black locals how to live, Gessing said. It continues to a situation in Chile that has similar overtones.
"The effort is not meant to destroy environmentalists, but it is on the site of the locals," he said. "I think it applies directly to some things that are happening in New Mexico."
The people involved here, he said, are generally from Santa Fe.
"They may think they are well-intentioned, but they don't really care how others are living their lives," Gessing said. "We think that, done responsibly, oil and gas drilling, and mining can be done right."
He hopes some of those in attendance will be people who disagree with the film.
"We feel that government lands should be used the best way for the locals," Gessing said. "It's not right to tell people what they can and can't do."
Following the film, author Paul Driessen will localize the movie's message and field questions from the audience and media.
"The three examples in the film are the tip of the iceberg — it's everywhere," he said. "There's a highly capitalized and organized opposition funded mostly by big foundations that oppose any development."
He likened the effort, which he said includes Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Federation, Friends of the Earth, Oxfam and Christian Aid, to a destroy all the traditional, blue-collar industries and turn the West into "a playground for the rich."
Driessen studied geology and law in college, became interested in ecology and was involved with the environmental movement.
"I found out it was tied to the philosophy that Americans use too much resources and they won't change, so let's make the rest of the resources unavailable'," he said. "If we do that it puts tremendous pressure on prices because we're importing everything. We're only running out of resources politically."
The author is also senior policy adviser for the educational and human rights organization Congress of Racial Equality.
A happy hour precedes the film from 5 to 5:30 p.m. The film begins at 5:30 p.m., and will be followed by Driessen's presentation at 6:30 p.m.
The event is open to the public. The film, food and beverages are free. Gessing hopes the freebie will attract more viewers.
"People can stay as long as they want," he said.

Cornelia de Bruin: