Canadians care about the environment so it is to be expected that the environmental movement in Canada is strong. Environmental activism, however, isn’t what it used to be. The new factor is money, hundreds of millions of dollars from billion dollar American foundations. In February, for example, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, made a grant for $100 million to the Climateworks Foundation, one hundred million in a single grant to be spent over 12 months, $8.3 million per month. Hewlett’s previous grant to Climateworks, quietly made, was for $460 million.
The Hewlett Foundation is part of a consortium of billion dollar American foundations that are funding environmental activism as a way to sway investment capital and market share in various industries, particularly in the energy sector. As described in the landmark strategy paper titled, "Design to Win," voter and consumer campaigns are funded to push public policy makers to drive "massive change in investment flow" from so-called "dirty energy" to so-called "clean energy." As I see it, this is business; swaying investment capital, swaying market share, shifting consumer and retailer demand, I don’t see this as charity.
Charity is about reducing poverty. Its about advancing education and for historical reasons, its about advancing religion. That’s why charities get the tax privileges that go along with being a charity. And perhaps even more importantly, that’s why charities get the trust of the public.
Now, however, in the charitable sector we have billion dollar foundations and in once case, a hedge fund billionaire (Jim Simons, the founder of both Renaissance Technologies and the Sea Change Foundation), pouring in hundreds of millions of dollars to sway investment capital in order to foster the renewable energy industry and along with it, the energy security, the national security and the economic security of the United States.
Renewable energy is synonymous with domestic energy since all renewable energy is local. Thus, in the name of saving the planet, climate change campaigns help to foster American energy security by forcing the diversification of the domestic energy supply and weaning the U.S. off of foreign energy (read: imported oil). This is an important point that generally speaking, has been missed.
The Rockefeller Brothers' Tar Sands Campaign to choke off Canadian oil exports would benefit the U.S. in two ways: 1) deterring investment in the Alberta oilsands frees up investment capital to be invested in the renewable energy sector – or so the thinking goes. And 2) the campaign to block oil tanker traffic on the strategic north coast of B.C. would block oil exports to Asia and continue the U.S. monopoly on Canadian oil exports.
I can see how the Rockefeller Brothers' Tar Sands Campaign provides a public benefit to Americans but I do not see how the U.S.-funded campaign against the Canadian aquaculture industry and the Rockefeller Brothers' Tar Sands campaign provide a measurable benefit to Canada – which is what Canadian charities are supposed to do.