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Mixed Media: World on the Web

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Your Internet Enemies

by Mike Papciak

If you don't study your opponents," cyberpunk author Bruce Sterling says, "you're a hobbyist, not an activist." Fortunately, the Web makes it easy (and even fun) to track anti-environmental groups.

Environmentalists have been working hard to keep new roads out of our public forests. With equal fervor, the Blue Ribbon Coalition ( promotes driving internal-combustion engines anywhere they please. The Coalition insists that environmentalists "don't want anyone, anywhere, doing anything." (C'mon fellas-haven't you seen the Sierra Club Outings Web site?)

To read how some "wise users" want to celebrate the Wilderness Act by gutting it, check out the Wilderness Act Reform Coalition's site at Did you know that this landmark conservation law is responsible for "jeopardizing our national defense"?

Global warming takes a lot of heat online, with some of the more virulent sites saying it simply doesn't exist. The Global Climate Coalition ( is a bit more sophisticated, cloaking its message in a veneer of concern for corporate well-being. Climate policies, we're told, must "focus on responsible voluntary actions."

Two of the most elaborate sites with anti-environmental messages are the Cato Institute ( and The Heritage Foundation ( The former features a library of libertarian commentary, a Spanish-language version, and even an online T-shirt shop. Cato sees the planet as one big free market. From The Heritage Foundation's site you can download many megabytes on government oppression in the name of the environment. (In a nutshell: Environmentalists see "a world of problems" while conservatives see "a world of opportunity.")

Read a few of these sites, and you'll learn where your hardiest foes find their wildest ideas. But keep in mind a maxim from retiring New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan: "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts."

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