Thursday, May 14, 2009

Environmentalism, Green Washing, As In Clean Coal & Green Awards for Clear Cutting

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Progress Isn’t Green

The corporate appropriation of the green movement suggests that traditional environmentalism is dead.

* Mon, 04 May 2009 4:11 pm — Posted by Micah White
* | 12 comments

* Green Washing
* Environmentalism

Progress Isn't Green

I remember when the call to “be green” had some revolutionary potential: it served as a rallying point for those of us who felt that corporations were trashing our planet in favor of short-term profits. By demanding that corporations go green, we hoped to draw attention to the long-term consequences an economic model based on infinite growth had on our planet’s finite resources. Although “being green” was never clearly defined, it had something to do with acting in accordance with nature. The implicit argument was that the current way of doing business was essentially not green. Looking around at advertisements today, however, I notice that the corporations who claim to be the most “green” are the same ones that we hoped the environmental movement would defeat: oil companies, large-scale developers and warehouse-size shopping centers.

The other day I passed a huge fleet of machines cutting down trees and digging a massive hole in the ground. Before I could even start to think about the physical destruction of the natural environment, I saw a sign explaining that this was actually “Green Construction.” I felt comforted for a moment and then I realized that I had been tricked: there is nothing green about construction. There are two competing visions of what it means to be green: the original meaning and the appropriated meaning.

The original vision of “green” was that it would represent a cultural and economic shift – a point from which the future would look drastically different from the past. To imagine a green future was to imagine a world that did not resemble our own because we had, as a civilization, turned away from the path of industrialization. The second, more contemporary, meaning of being green is the one appropriated by the mega-corporations. According to this definition, anything permitting the continued, linear progress of industrialization is green. For corporations, any system that will enable humanity to continue to consume and ravish the earth forever is considered green. This definition creates the oxymoronic and paradoxical situation we have today: the top global polluters claim to be green.

We wanted a revolution but corporations want more of the same. So how is it that the green movement was so easily appropriated? My suspicion is that the appropriation of the green movement represents the death of traditional environmentalism. It demonstrates that concern over the desecration of our physical environment is important but not primary.

Advertisers appropriate every revolutionary idea and use them against us. We ask for a “greener” world and we get million-dollar ad campaigns calling our dying world green. As long as corporations are able to lie to us through glitzy advertisements, our desires for change will always be in vain. Only a movement for a clean mental environment, one that silences corporate communication, can give us the intellectual clarity to address the environmental problems that face us as a species.

Let’s clean up the info-toxins polluting our worldview and then stop the physical-toxins poisoning our world.

Micah White is a Contributing Editor at Adbusters and an independent activist. He is writing a book on the future of activism. www.micahmwhite.com or micah (at) adbusters.org
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May
14, 2009
10:09 pm
Link

A multi-millionaire lumberman named Red Emmerson, who owns Sierra-Pacific Lumber company in Anderson, CA has checkerboard
style, clear-cut 10 acre parcels all the way to the foot of the pristine
Mt Lassen Federal park in Lassen County and received a Green Award this year from some bull shit company.

They want to build 10 more coal-fired power plants in the west, in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming. These are not clean coal
power plants, there is no such thing..

I’m working mentally on some kind of
effort to draw attention to this very crappy way of generation electric power.

www.yeswecansolveit.blogspot.com

American Energy Conservation Group
Producing Negawatts…Since 1981
— Green Earl

* reply

May
09, 2009
11:34 pm
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I think this article’s point is correct in the absence of one critical force. That force is of numbers. Not numbers of anti-corporatists rallying to take down the propaganda of green-wash. It the force of scientific numbers being thrown in the face of that propaganda, so that people know what they’ve got by buying green. Stats shown to the public by impartial scientific reporting would allow us to see just what impacts the green corporate sales is getting us. If people are told what the baseline information is compared to the new green tech stuff , and they see a .000002 change in parts per million of carbon footprint by buying a Prius, then people might wise up to the propaganda. So in short, we need a reliable source of independently arrived at, peer reviewed facts that we can rely on to see what these companies are actually doing to reduce carbon foot print and become sustainable.
— jimzello

* reply

May
07, 2009
10:12 pm
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I worked on a Construction Job where the Architect the builder and the owner demolitied a perfectly good, solid brick well insulated,freestanding house that had occupied the house for near on 100 years, they knocked it down to build a new house using new products and new technologies, these technologies are not new a lot of them have been thought of done and used in the past, the old house when it was demolited went into land fill, the new house with new concrete panels, concrete floors, was errected, concrete is 50 % water, where i live there has been drought for the last ten years.
This is not green construction, green construction would have been to retain the existing and to be happy with what youve got, “The best things are not things”
— Anonymous

* reply

May
07, 2009
05:40 pm
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My guess is that the multinationals just define green as the colour of money, that way they can sleep easy.
— David laurin

* reply

May
07, 2009
04:05 pm
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It is amazing to me that something calling for the fundamental destruction of the current way of doing things can be so utterly silenced, turned around, and made servile.
— Caroline

* reply

May
06, 2009
10:07 pm
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Last line is excellent I must say. Unfortunately in America this going green means buying green products. No one cares that these are the same products as before just sold to us with a new spin. Advertisers aren’t dumb, when counter culture becomes culture you kind of have to say damn, they get us again. Activism spread the message and corporations sold it. This only makes things harder on real environmentalists, you cant help the mind which purchased the “idea” that they are making a difference. You have to realize that recycling your cereal boxes wont make a difference, new light bulbs wont change a thing. You are only made to believe that they will.
— Nicholas

* reply

May
07, 2009
02:20 am
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Let us hope you’re right
— Anonymous

* reply

May
06, 2009
11:56 am
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The more informed we get, the more stuff we realize… sort of :P
— Anonymous

* reply

May
06, 2009
08:32 am
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I think the corporations are inadvertently doing us a favor in the long run by proliferating the concept that we have all been doing things wrong to the mostly-oblivious population. The “green” fad may be temporary, ill-conceived and misleading; but ultimately everyone is receiving a kernel of knowledge that in many cases will become an enormous boon to real environmental causes.
— Sam

* reply

May
04, 2009
08:38 pm
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Corporations seek to make money. They make money by selling products that people want. People are demanding “green” products. Corporations respond to popular demand.
— Anonymous

* reply

May
04, 2009
07:54 pm
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“My suspicion is that the appropriation of the green movement represents the death of traditional environmentalism.”

Maybe I am misinterpreting this, but I feel that traditional environmentalism has been dead before “green” hit the corporate advertisements. For example, John Muir created Sierra Club to fight for the preservation of our lands, and today he would be turning in his grave if he saw what Sierra Club is doing. Environmental groups themselves have completely gone mainstream and are full of legislative compromises. I think traditional environmentalism died when people left the streets in protest to writing checks for groups that call themselves environmentalist.

Whatever you may think of the Green-washing, I think it is important to remember that the consumer has more power than corporations and their advertisements and it is ultimately up to the people to resist the temptation to buy these “green” goods. I worry that people will want to replace their old technology with new green technology when instead they should just use their old technology less. You don’t need florescent energy efficient light bulbs to save energy or to be green, all you need to do is turn off the lights…
— Emily

* reply

May
04, 2009
07:29 pm
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Before anyone flames this article:

I think the point (in less flammatory terms) is that the corporations are doing their green campains to be reactionary. Once they feel that fervor has died down, they’ll revert. This means that fervor must be maintained in the absense of visible resistence.
So really, it could be considered a sort of trick.
— Nicholas

* reply

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2 comments:

sushil yadav said...

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Industrial Society is destroying necessary things [Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land] for making unnecessary things [consumer goods].

"Growth Rate" - "Economy Rate" - "GDP"

These are figures of "Ecocide".
These are figures of "crimes against Nature".
These are figures of "destruction of Ecosystems".
These are figures of "Insanity, Abnormality and Criminality".


The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature [Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land].

Chief Seattle of the Indian Tribe had warned the destroyers of ecosystems way back in 1854 :

Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you realize that you cannot eat money.


To read the complete article please follow any of these links.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

sushil_yadav
Delhi, India

American Energy Conservation Group said...

Sushil Yadaw of Delhi, India:

Thank You so much..The chief was right of course...You cannot eat
money and I might add, you can't take it with you when you make
that last trip down the Gandhi
River._Green Earl

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