Michael Shellenberger writes:
Sri Lanka has fallen. On Saturday, thousands of protesters stormed the presidential palace. While the angry and the aggrieved swam in the president’s pool, had a cookout on his lawn, lounged on his bed, and set fire to his residence, the president was spirited away to a naval ship off the Sri Lankan coast. …
The underlying reason for the fall of Sri Lanka is that its leaders—starting with former President Maithripala Sirisena and continuing with his successor, the recently deposed Gotabaya Rajapaksa—fell under the spell of Western green elites peddling organic agriculture and “ESG,” which refers to investments made following supposedly higher Environmental, Social, and Governance criteria. Sri Lanka has a near-perfect ESG score of 98—higher than Sweden (96) and the United States (51).
What does having such a high ESG score mean? In short, it meant that Sri Lanka’s two million farmers were forced to stop using fertilizers and pesticides, laying waste to its critical agricultural sector. (Never mind that Tesla has been booted from the ESG S&P Index, while Exxon Mobil is in the top ten. None of it makes much sense.)
How many stories have you seen in the legacy media about the Green Party policy being implemented in Sri Lanka?
One-third of Sri Lanka’s farm lands were dormant in 2021 due to the fertilizer ban. Over 90 percent of Sri Lanka’s farmers had used chemical fertilizers before they were banned. After they were banned, an astonishing 85 percent experienced crop losses. Rice production fell 20 percent and prices skyrocketed 50 percent in just six months. Sri Lanka had to import $450 million worth of rice despite having been self-sufficient just months earlier. The price of carrots and tomatoes rose fivefold.
Such misery and poverty all from a single Government decision.
Things were worse for smaller farmers. In the Rajanganaya region, where the majority of farmers operate two-and-a-half-acre lots, families reported 50 percent to 60 percent reductions in their harvest.
No wonder they revolted.