The Green Tree has Red Roots: The Sustainability Scam on Campus

“Do not trust the horse, Trojans! Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks [Greens], even bringing gifts.”

On college campuses, the far Left rarely engages in open debate on the issues of the day. Why debate the other side when you can charge students to support the causes you embrace? The key is dressing your agenda with warm and fuzzy terms like “diversity,” “inclusion,” and—most recently—”Green” initiatives promoting “sustainability.” [Green in the generic sense, not the Green Party]

Troy fell to the ruse of a Trojan Horse and the analogy is apt in the case of “sustainability” and its “third circle” (“social justice”). In Europe, critics of the Green movement contend that “the Green tree has Red (socialist) roots.” Translation: Green has a helluva lot more to do with left-wing politics than it has to do with the environment.

Mandatory “green fees” extracted from students pay for more than tree planting, recycling and other noncontroversial initiatives. My university (Southern Illinois University-Carbondale) raises $300,000 a year from student “green fees.” If you don’t like what they do with the $$$, “tough.” The campus Green group cleverly set up the fee to be permanent (at least five years) and repealed only if both student governments approve a reversal.

Watch out! The Greens lobbied for money from students, and now are getting ready to slide fees by employees, create a salaried position for “Sustainability” and more! If you don’t believe me, read here. SIU is not an isolated example: Peter Wood’s article highlights the national sweep of this budding movement.

What do students and staff get for this money? Part of the Green agenda deals with energy conservation and environmental issues on campus. Dig deeper and see how the Greens ally universities with far Left activists—without full disclosure, except to a handful of individuals on the Eco Task Force.

On my campus, “Project Eco Dawgs” has already laid the groundwork by publishing a guide that embraces the Talloires Declaration by “university leaders” declaring the “environmental pollution and degradation, and the depletion of natural resources” . . . “are caused by inequitable and unsustainable production and consumption patterns that aggravate poverty in many regions of the world.” The Red faction of the Green movement has been preaching this vision of apocalypse for decades, while market capitalism has actually diminished poverty in “many regions of the world” (China, India, and other countries that abandoned the myth of a zero-sum society). There is an “inequitable production and consumption” of doom and gloom on college campuses.

Keep your eyes on the “Sustainability” menu: lots of Greenery, with a healthy offering of “labor rights,” “reproductive rights” (abortion), domestic violence, and assaults on “late capitalism.”

Since the Greens scammed students already, the rest of us must be alert to efforts to impose mandatory fees upon employees—particularly for causes with which many might not agree. If you support (or oppose) these causes, then send your money voluntarily to the organization of your choice.

Meanwhile, beware of Greens bearing old wine in new wineskins.

Jonathan Bean is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Professor of History at Southern Illinois University, and editor of the Independent book, Race & Liberty in America: The Essential Reader.
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