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Henry Schulte: Environmentalists Use Scare Tactics to Influence Fate of Goleta Beach

This article isn’t intended as another rant against environmentalists but a statement of fact. Self-anointed environmentalists have been using scare tactics for as long as they’ve been in business — and don’t fool yourself, environmentalism is big business.

Like all corporations, the very ones enviros love to hate. Those higher-ups in the Sierra Club, for example, are pulling down six figures all day long — and all on the backs of their supporters who they’ve scared to death that the end is near. And no place more than Santa Barbara have these fear tactics been used ad nauseam.

Environmentalism has become a religion where idealists idolize their nature god as the only truth. Blindly believing everything they disagree with is just flat-out wrong.

Already evidence is beginning to surface that what used to be called global warming, then conveniently spun to climate change (thereby covering all the bases), is proving to be wrong after all. The Antarctic ice is larger than it has been in years, polar bears are flourishing and the Earth has been holding steady or cooling.

All this despite that evil coal continues to be mined, gas cars still dominate and India, China and other countries don’t give one hoot about the pollution they’re creating. Even volcanoes spewing more pollutants in the air than mankind can make in thousands of years proves Mother Nature once again is much more powerful than she’s been given credit for.

And what’s the response (the spin) to this? The ocean is absorbing the heat. How convenient. If the ocean is suddenly absorbing the heat, how come it hasn’t been doing it all these past years when we were supposed to be getting ready to burn up? On a local level, in anticipation, some felt we needed to paint a blue line around Santa Barbara to warn everyone of the impending rising seas. Another stupid scare tactic.

Which brings me more to my point. In a recent article in another publication, three local environmentalists employed these ongoing fear tactics against Goleta Beach. Every statement in that article was hypothetical. You are led to believe that if you place rocks on the beach, the shoreline as you know it will cease to exist. Tell that to the massive stretches of sandy beaches from Rincon to Ventura. There lies one of the most beautiful expanses of sand protected by rocks for as long as I remember — which is a long time now.

To make statements like, “The simple fact is that as sea levels rise, seawalls erode and inundate sandy beaches.” This “fact” was pulled from Chicken Little’s book of anecdotes. And just in case the sea does rise 2,000 years from now after the cooling period, one thing is for certain — none of us will be around to witness it. Of course, the argument will be that someone will be around, but by then they’ll have it figured out.

Why hasn’t the rock revetment on the other side of the Goleta Pier not eroded the sand away? There’s also no shortage of sand on More Mesa, Hope Ranch, Hendry’s Beach or the wide stretches of sand on East Beach and West Beach.

My bigger quarrel is how we continue to allow the voices of so few to affect the outcome of so many. A handful of do-gooders seem to always know what’s best for thousands of others.

The article had flippantly stated we could relocate 100 parking spaces. First, where? Then, at what cost? Ultimately these same environmentalists will fight the new location as unsuitable anyway. The same for the bike bath relocation — “… would also be moved out of harm’s way, and rebuilt wider and safer.” It sounds so pretty and perfect, but again, who is going to pay for it, and just exactly where is it going to be moved?

In order to advance their agenda, these pretty platitudes may work on some people, but when the time comes to make all of their recommended “improvements,” they’ll change their position and contest each one of them — guaranteed. They’ll demand an environmental impact report, the California Coastal Commission will step in and hundreds of meetings and endless costly studies will need to be done. In the end, the people of Goleta will lose their beach anyway.

The editorial went on and on about moving, rebuilding and replanting. For what? All so you don’t have to have some rocks in the sand? Again, thousands of people are being asked to sacrifice something that’s very important to them.

I ask, what is the real reason they’re pushing so hard? I personally don’t think the revetment is the only motivator; it’s the winning of the battle. And it’s to make a point — “we care and you don’t.” We’ll snow you with rhetoric and put the fear of “god” in you, and eventually you’ll have to see it our way whether you like it or not.

— Henry Schulte of Santa Barbara owns and operates Dos Pueblos Ranch. He has been politically active in the community for years. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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