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What is The Firebreak?
Our Vision and Mission Explained
Welcome to this website. The name firebreak was chosen as it represents an underused but obvious risk management tool. The way to prevent catastrophic events like forest fires is to manage the risk, remove the fuel needed for fires to spread and use the best expertise to draw lines in potential threat paths to protect societal goods and lives.
A firebreak is an aggressive stand to address a looming problem and resist widespread destruction. Rather than leaving ourselves subject to the fortunes of the ruthless intensity of nature, those creating firebreaks know how to manage the threat, ensuring that we can continue to survive and thrive within nature.
Why are firebreaks seldom used today? Many of the worst forest fires, now legendized in the media as “wildfires”, occur in regions where the forests have not been managed for many years. Environmental activists widely oppose forestry management and prefer to leave nature to take care of itself. Protecting nature has become synonymous with protecting nature from humans and this ideology has been integrated into the wider Western narrative – precautionary rather than risk-management driven.
Regulators have embraced this precautionary green agenda in part because they believe it makes them smell better, but it also allows them to not be responsible for failed decisions (it’s always better to be safe than sorry). It is also cheaper to do nothing than to actively manage risks where the benefits go largely unseen. In the recent spate of summer fires in British Columbia, Canada, West Kelowna fire chief, Jason Brolund, complained on national TV that their department cannot get sufficient budget for preventative measures like firebreaks.
The same can be said for catastrophic damages from flooding, heat waves and droughts. Our leadership today take little or no risk-reduction measures (no risk management) and when disaster strikes, they go in front of the media and crow about the need to fight climate change. Pity the media do not emphasize their failures and no one is calling them to task. Instead they amplify the fear distractions.
We need firebreaks not only in forest management, but in all environmental-health risk situations. This Firebreak website will create a line used to stop the spread of burning threats from those special interests influencing media, NGOs, activist scientists and tort lawyers. The strategy is to actively pre-empt the threats of fearmongering getting out of control via misleading media reports or campaigns. It will involve digging into the dirt and fighting in hazardous environments (and perhaps lighting some controlled burns).
Our vision is to be that break-line, supporting risk management and societal goods by preventing threats and false fears from being torched alight in the media by activist arsonists.
Why the Firebreak?
Too many destructive fires on environmental-health debates are left unattended and get out of control. The decades-long campaign against a relatively benign herbicide, glyphosate, is a good case in point. Special interests in the organic food industry lobby, the American tort law industry and anti-industry NGOs combined forces with a handful of activist scientists to create an issue out of nothing. When the media aligned with these interest groups, they amplified the continuous stream of fear-laden nonsense into a perceived public health crisis. A proper firebreak could have stopped those flames from spreading out of control.
We need a clear understanding of the importance of risk management in an increasingly hazard-driven regulatory environment. Threats can be contained with risk reduction measures and if communicated properly to the public, the activist arsonists will have little success in fanning their flames of fear.
The media and NGOs have mostly been given a free pass to spread dangerous inaccuracies as kindle to fuel fires of public outrage. Many of these fires get out of control and leave nothing behind (with consumers and innocent third parties left to pay the price).
We plan to:
become the go-to site to report breaches in risk management firebreaks (media manipulation, NGO fear campaigns, scientific misrepresentation...)
actively inhibit interest-driven journalists from freely spreading flames, highlight their influences and reduce harm from their activities
reproduce or initiate quality content from a wide variety of experts and public figures to act as a firebreak to political, business or research risks
ensure that public institutions do not passively implement policies based on widely-published fear campaigns
promote accurate scientific positions in controversial fields or subjects.
We will take the media, institutions and NGOs to task when there is any misrepresentation on environmental-health issues. The most pressing issue is how activist interests is being spread through large media organizations. So many major news organizations have become mouthpieces for NGO campaigns (if not acting like NGOs themselves). We will shine light upon the activist arsonists: those interest groups supporting activist journalists or NGOs (lobby groups, tort law firms, foundations, media groups).
Why are there so few firebreaks?
Fire departments get budgets for putting out fires, rarely for preventing them by managing forest risks or setting up firebreaks when conditions are favorable. In the same way, we tend to only react to crises (and often far too late) when preventative measures would be so much more efficient.
Activists play the long game, influencing media and civil servants years beforehand, changing societal expectations through narratives developed over decades. When they light a fire, it is designed to spread. While other organizations don’t have their same passion and perseverance, The Firebreak website will try to bring together experts determined to contain these threats.