Greenpeace is crazy.
And:TS: If Greenpeace has become so extremist, why is it so popular?PM: Because the environmental movement has basically become a religion, or rather a kind of hybrid between religion and political ideology. When people internalise new values, a desire to be environmentally conscious, to save the world, etc, and Greenpeace makes claims that fit this desire, then the organisation indeed must enjoy great popularity. It apparently does not matter that any reference to reality is given up. Take the example of mining. Greenpeace is against mining, not only certain mining, but any. If one asks a green politician to name a mine that is environmentally okay, you get no answer. That would be against the rule: no mining. But how do you get cellphones and bicycles and rapid transit, buildings and windmills? It is an absolute dream world. They call it idealism, but in reality it is a fairytale world.An important aspect of this religion plays on fear and guilt. This works best when it comes to global warming. First, the problem needs to be a global one – they threaten you with the end of the world. Second, everyone is consuming energy and therefore must feel guilty. Therefore, the so-called climate-change movement is extremely successful because it means that people are scared and feel bad and guilty and believe they should give money – to the Church of Greenpeace.
TS: What in your opinion are the biggest challenges for a conservationist?
PM: If I am asked what is the biggest environmental problem, my answer is poverty. Poor people cannot afford to clean wastewater, to clean the air, to plant new trees after cutting them down for fuel, etc. Poverty is a problem for the people and for the environment. To fight poverty helps both. There is no contradiction.
TS: Why did you leave Greenpeace?
PM: When I realised that the humanitarian philosophy had disappeared from Greenpeace, I understood that I had to leave. I wanted to shift from confrontation towards a consensus policy. If everyone agrees with you that the environment is important, you can stop beating them on the head, and sit down and talk about concrete solutions to concrete problems. And I wanted to get away from the anti-development stance towards a sustainable-development approach. When my colleagues came up with the crazy idea of banning chlorine worldwide, it was enough for me to go permanently. I said: Dear God, guys, listen up! You cannot prohibit chemical elements. Chlorine is the most important element for healthcare. I know it’s all about people, but we need chlorine. Chlorine is just so important, precisely because it is toxic – toxic to bacteria that want to kill us. We need toxic chemicals to live a healthy life. We can be against certain chlorine compounds for certain uses, but we cannot seriously demand that chlorine is banned worldwide. Because of this campaign, I finally left Greenpeace in 1986.