In early 2020, I had the honor of editing the book Green is the New Red, which was put together by a study committee of the Civitas Christiana Foundation. We sought to denounce the environmentalist maneuvers and help the Netherlands face the threats that, in the name of ecology, daily menace the sectors that still keep our society running.
This new green socialism is quite active in Northern Europe. This ideology promotes the idea that modern farming, construction, roads, boats, transport, industry, industrial production and other activities constitute a system that harms the environment and puts the land at risk.
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According to green socialism, the legitimate pursuit of profit based on the right to private property, which makes a productive system possible, is responsible for climate change with catastrophic consequences for future generations.
Today, the Dutch people are faced with a major problem of conscience. They are placed before a false alternative, promoted by a powerful international propaganda machine using techniques of psychological war. There are supposedly two choices:
- Either keep producing and maintaining our current lifestyle, thus emitting CO2 and nitrogen, deemed responsible for an environmental catastrophe;
- Or bow our heads to the prophets of ecology, produce less, live a more primitive lifestyle, without great pretensions, under global governance and thus “calm the fury of nature.”
This problem of conscience pervades all the Netherlands today. We are told we must reduce the number of cattle. We are “kindly” invited to pay a CO2 compensation tax when buying a plane ticket or filling up the car. New regulations restrict the construction industry. Highway authorities have lowered the speed limit considerably. We are overwhelmed by green propaganda in gas stations, hotels, schools and malls that instils a feeling of guilt upon all, depicting any opposition as callous and greedy.
At the turn of the century, the European Commission launched a “brilliant idea” called the Natura 2000 Programme. According to its website, it seeks to create a European network of lands to protect “breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species.” In the Netherlands, no less than 180 areas are identified as part of this network.
The protected areas consist of over 18% of the European Union’s land area and almost 9.5% of its marine territory. Thus, Natura 2000 is the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world. Its impact on the Netherlands is enormous.
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To comply with the Natura 2000 Programme, the Dutch Government implemented the Programma Aanpack Stikstof 2015–2021 (PAS). When it began to be more strictly imposed in 2019, farmers and construction contractors protested.
The farmers protested because the measures to reduce nitrogen emissions were forcing them to cut their production drastically. For the Netherlands, these cuts do not allow us to compete in the market. Indeed, if we reduce production in all Natura 2000 areas, our small land cannot sell goods at conveniently low prices. We will be overwhelmed by competition in larger countries. We are now the second-largest exporter of agricultural goods in Europe. Because of environmentalist measures, many producers are already considering leaving the country to work elsewhere. At the same time, thousands of immigrants pour into the country, where they live off State subsidies.
The need to reduce nitrogen emissions has been scientifically contested. Nitrogen enriches the soil. PAS officials ironically claim they want to protect areas with poor soil, where only rare plants can grow. At the same time, they reduce the emission of a nutrient that could enrich those soils. It seems that they want to keep the soil in these areas poor.
The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated nations in Europe. Hence, the construction industry is very important. The PAS regulations undermine this sector by claiming that removing sand from the soil emits nitrogen. This is unacceptable for environmentalists, although it is scientifically proven that the risks and damages are very limited. However, the construction industry stalls without sand.
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We read in PAS: “The reason for the programme is the fact that in many Natura 2000 areas overloading of nitrogen deposits is a major problem for the realisation of the conservation objectives for nitrogen-sensitive nature in those areas, to which the Netherlands has committed itself under the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive.”
These international directives favor globalism and interfere with our sovereignty, economy and private property. The EU issued the Birds Directive in 2009, and the Habitats Directive was adopted after the Bern Convention in 1992 and inspired by the ECO-92 World Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Workers generally are poorly informed about measures like these. They would reject them if they could have been warned about their real consequences.
These treaties have been dormant for decades. Suddenly, a new Government says: “Now we are forced to implement them because we signed a treaty more than 30 years ago…” We have to ask if the treaty was signed in 1992, why were they not implemented then? Why should they be implemented now? There is clearly an agenda at work here that manipulates the moods of public opinion to accept whatever is convenient for its goals.
Thus, PAS says: “On a regular basis, the competent authority must reject an application for a permit or a permit granted will be annulled by the court if the person who intends to carry out such an activity cannot sufficiently substantiate that the nitrogen-sensitive habitat types and habitats of species in a Natura 2000 area will not be affected by that activity”.
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In law, the maxim, auctori incumbit onus probandi, declares that the burden of proof lies with the accuser, not the defendant. This directive requires the opposite. Farmers, contractors or any owners can be refused permits or even have previous permits withdrawn, should they not prove sufficiently that their activities will not affect the small portion of swamp or poor wasp nest next to their properties!
Moreover, environmentalists have already announced that after PAS expires in 2021, they will come out with new, even more stringent, measures. We read in PAS: “This program shall enter into force on 1 July 2015 for a period of six years (2015-2021). From that date onwards, this program and its underlying rationale may be used for granting permission for activities that cause nitrogen deposition with a potentially detrimental effect on a Natura 2000 site. After the period of this program, there will be another program for a period of six years. There will be, in any case, a second program (period 1 July 2021-1 July 2027) and a third program (period 1 July 2027-1 July 2033). By 2030 it will be necessary to consider whether – depending on the nitrogen load and the conservation status of the nitrogen sensitive habitats and habitats of species in the Natura 2000 sites concerned – the continuation of a programmatic approach and the legal obligation to do so will be necessary.”
With this constant changing of regulations and this juridical uncertainty, it becomes difficult to make serious plans for the future.
In 2018, Prime Minister Mark Rutte issued the well-known “gasverbod” policy, which will gradually eliminate natural gas for heating because of environmental concerns. The government wants to replace it with a geothermal system that “pumps” heat from the ground. The first step in this process is to forbid the use of natural gas in new houses.
Geothermal heating is inefficient. Moreover, it demands a drastic change in the infrastructure of houses and buildings and will cause a massive increase in electricity use. If the gasverbod is further implemented, the average Dutch family will have to spend from 25 to 40 thousand euros just to change over to the new system. The initial national cost will be about 200 billion euros ($243 billion ). According to the Dutch Economics Institute for the Construction Industry, this figure could go up to 500 billion euros ($609 billion), should shops and companies be included in the policy.
The policy proposes yet another absurdity. Since most people do not have such money readily available, the government has offered to purchase the family’s land in exchange for the installation of the new system. The family will still own the house, but not the land on which it is built until it pays the money back. This subtle but fierce attack on private property makes the population increasingly more dependent on the central government.
As of 2020, 39 city councils have already implemented measures forbidding newly-built houses to have natural gas heating systems.
The Dutch gas infrastructure is presently worth 100 billion euros. All that wealth might be destroyed shortly and replaced by a much more expensive and less effective system. This change will not prevent green fundamentalists from saying geothermal energy is not green enough a few years down the road. Then new regulations will rob the population once again.
We could provide more examples of how the Green Madness is trying to take our country by assault, but the ones just described are enough to give the reader an idea. Such onslaught, inspired and supported by international institutions, namely the UN and EU, conspire together with radical green-socialist movements to destroy what remains in Europe of social and economic order. They will replace it with a semi-hippie-like green society, without religion, with sub-production and no morals.
Hugo Bos – Director of Civitas Christiana Foundation – Netherlands
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