The corporate co-opting of environmental activism
Journalist Johann Hari is once again on the attack against the ties that bind environmental groups and big polluting corporations. (It’s all about money, in case you didn’t know).
In a recent article for the Independent, Hari treads similar ground as he did in his piece for The Nation entitled ‘The Wrong Kind of Green’. Hari is consistently polemical and comes from a strong standpoint, but as usual, he makes very good points that hardly any other journalists are talking about.
It has taken two decades for this relationship to become the norm among the big green organisations. Imagine this happening in any other sphere, and it becomes clear how surreal it is. It is as though Amnesty International’s human rights reports came sponsored by a coalition of the Burmese junta, Dick Cheney and Robert Mugabe. For environmental groups to take funding from the very people who are destroying the environment is preposterous – yet in the US it is now taken for granted.
Maybe groups like Conservation International (CI) and the Nature Conservancy (TNC) believe they can have more of an impact by working with the oil giants like BP rather than against them. Maybe they think they simply can’t compete without the cash infusion of big business. Starting to sound like the American political system, isn’t it? At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, who is really influencing who?
The problem is that these badges of green encouragement, which environmental organizations hand out to big corporations who deforest and pollute, actually make conscientious consumers buy the products that cause environmental devastation. Green activist groups basically act like de facto ad agencies, selling legitimacy to eco-criminals.
It is admittedly depressing to read about the selling out of the WWF and Sierra Club, but I encourage you to check out the entire article entitled ‘Polluted by profit: Johann Hari on the real Climategate’ in the Independent.
by Graham Land