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Nature Conservancy

FLASHBACK | Conservation International: Privatizing Nature, Plundering Biodiversity

conservation-international

Seedling | Grain

October 2003

by Aziz Choudry

Conservation International’s corporate sponsor list reads like a list of the US’ top fifty transnational corporations. Biodiversity conservation is at the top of Conservation International’s list of goals. But as the list of Conservation International’s dubious ventures and questionable partners around the world grows, Aziz Choudry is starting to wonder if it is time to ‘out’ this ‘multinational conservation corporation’ and show its true colours.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C, with operations in over 30 countries on four continents, Conservation International claims to be an environmental NGO. Its mission is “to conserve the Earth’s living natural heritage, our global biodiversity, and to demonstrate that human societies are able to live harmoniously with nature.” [1] This all sounds very laudable and Conservation International has some very high profile fans. This year Colin Powell shared the podium with Conservation International President Russell Mittermeier at the launch of the Bush Administration’s “Initiative Against Illegal Logging” at the US State Department. In December 2001, Gordon Moore, who founded Intel Corporation, donated US $261 million to Conservation International, supposedly the largest grant ever to an environmental organisation. Moore is chairman of Conservation International’s executive committee. Conservation International has repaid Moore’s largesse by nam-ing an endangered Brazilian pygmy owl after him. [2]

Symphony of Failure

Vickrey

Environmental Activism in Four Movements

Counterpunch

October 16, 2013

by Gregory Vickrey

 

Allegro – Local Failure

In 2010, I wrote an article titled, “Environmentalism is Dead,” decrying the ineptitude and/or downright skullduggery of large environmental nonprofit organizations. At the time, I still held the foolhardy belief that we could keep environmental activism alive at the local level through traditional nonprofit vehicles, particularly because of the “good people” typically involved in such outfits and the hypothesis suggesting small and nimble – and the development of personal relationships – could create more effective tactics within a comprehensive strategy or agenda.

Of course, I was wrong.

I suppose one could argue isolated circumstances prove exceptions to the more idealistic rule, but conversations with activists around the United States and Canada, in particular, have only supplemented my own experiences to the point where the hypothesis above demonstrates abject failure in practice among the grassroots, local and regional fare.

Environmentalism truly is dead.

Keep Off The Grasslands | Mark Dowie On Conservation Refugees

WKOG Editor: We especially like the fact that Dowie distinguishes between member-funded and corporate-funded  NGOs. We also enjoyed the irony that the person who alerted Dowie to the indigenous peoples predicament was Rebecca Adamson, who, in turn, has capitalized on the indigenous rights paradigm to become a corporate broker.” [Further reading on More on Adams:  The Corporate Buy-In]

Video | These people have names…

Nakuru Lemiruni sends a message to those responsible for evicting the Samburu tribe from their land. The Samburu of Kisargei, in Kenya’s Laikipia district, were brutally evicted from the lands they call home in 2010 after the land was sold to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). AWF, using funds from The Nature Conservancy (TNC), says it bought the land on the understanding that no-one lived there. When the Samburu protested and took the matter to the courts the land was hurriedly ‘gifted’ to the government. Police chose a Friday “market day” for their attack, when the men were away and only women, elders, and children were in their homes. Fanning out across the 17,000- acre Eland Downs Ranch, police burned the Samburu families’ homes to the ground, along with all their possessions. Identified in the Kenyan press as “squatters,” the evicted Samburu families petitioned a regional court to recognize their ancestral claims to the land where they lived and grazed their cattle The suit has been filed by the Samburu against the African Wildlife Foundation and the former President. They need money and public support to win.

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The Sun Magazine

Issue 452 | August 2013

by Joel Whitney

Journalist Mark Dowie was speaking at an environmental conference in Ottawa, Canada, in 2004 when he was approached by Rebecca Adamson, a Cherokee and the founder and president of First Peoples Worldwide. She began telling him how conservationists were mistreating indigenous tribes around the world. Intrigued, Dowie decided to look into the subject and write about it.

He traveled for four years to remote parts of the globe, and what he found troubled him. Everywhere he went, native people were being kicked off their ancestral lands to make way for national parks or protected wilderness areas. Dowie wrote a book and titled it Conservation Refugees: The Hundred-Year Conflict between Global Conservation and Native Peoples. He estimates that over the past one hundred years there have been 20 million such refugees worldwide.

He also discovered that the large conservation organizations were partnering with corporations that wanted to build oil wells or gas pipelines or mine for minerals on these lands. Originally conservationists were opposed to drilling and mining, but, Dowie says, the lines between the conservation giants and the corporate giants are being blurred: “International conservation organizations remain comfortable working in close quarters with some of the most aggressive global resource prospectors.” These extractive projects are far more environmentally destructive than the presence of indigenous people, he says. In fact, it’s indigenous traditions that have protected these biologically rich lands, often for millennia.

Dowie was born in Toronto, Canada, and spent his formative years in Wyoming. He calls himself a “Wyoming cowboy,” and his son and ex-wife still own a ranch on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana. Dowie worked for Mother Jones magazine from 1975 to 1985, first as general manager, then as publisher, and finally as editor. In addition to Conservation Refugees, he is the author of Losing Ground: American Environmentalism at the Close of the Twentieth Century and American Foundations: An Investigative History. During his nearly forty years in journalism, he has won nineteen awards, been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and contributed to the Times of London, Harper’s, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Nation. He is currently a contributing editor at Orion and has taught environmental reporting and foreign correspondence at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

I visited Dowie at his home on Tomales Bay in Inverness, California, to discuss the fate of the conservation refugees. Inverness sits on the eastern shore of Point Reyes Peninsula, a protected national seashore. Dowie lives there with his wife — the artist Wendy Schwartz — and their yellow lab, Gracie, who welcomed me with a volley of barks as I crossed the yard on my first visit.

Dowie invited me to follow him through the reeds to his shore-side observatory, a small structure on stilts in the inlet. Six foot three and bowlegged, he stooped a little as he guided me past the poison oak. At seventy-four Dowie is silver haired, broad shouldered, and quietly assertive. When questioned, he answers quickly and without meandering. When challenged, he smiles as if appreciative of the chance to clarify his meaning. He emphasizes that the conflict between native peoples and conservationists is not a story of good guys versus bad guys but “good guys versus good guys.”

 

Whitney: Your book starts close to home with the story of Yosemite National Park.

Dowie: The creation of Yosemite was a long process that began with its “discovery” by white European Americans. Native Americans, of course, were already there. John Muir, forefather of the American conservation movement, is often cited as the park’s founder. He wrote and spoke lyrically about the spiritual renewal urbanites experienced when they entered places like Yosemite Valley — which he defined as a “wilderness” despite its long-standing human population.

Boreal Forest Agreement With Industry: Not One Hectare Of Forest Has Been Protected In Three Years

Canadian-Boreal-Forest-Ag-006

The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement” (CBFA) was reached on 18 May 2010. Photograph: Richard Brooks/Greenpeace/EPA.

“Efforts to control corporations’ destructive impacts must have a critique of corporate power at their heart and a will to dismantle corporate power as their goal, otherwise they reinforce rather than challenge power structures, and undermine popular struggles for autonomy, democracy, human rights and environmental sustainability” – Corporate Watch [Britain]

FLASHBACK: How Nonprofit Careerism Derailed the “Revolution”

December 27, 2004

Greens and Greenbacks

by MICHAEL DONNELLY

My good friend Lisa Goldrosen is a veteran of many left causes. Lisa has spent her entire adult life working in various coop endeavors. She has a wonderful collection of buttons and posters from back when America rose from the slumber of the Eisenhower years. She has buttons from the early days of the clean-up of the Hudson River ­ Pete Seeger’s precursor to Greenpeace. More are from the early Civil Rights Movement. Others are from the anti-Vietnam War effort and the SDS era on campus. She has one anti-war poster that could be recycled as is and still be useful today.

Lisa has arranged them all in a wonderful historic collage. She regularly uses it to give history lessons to young radicals here in Oregon. Someone always asks, “Why didn’t I ever hear about this in school?”

Being a 60s activist myself, having grown up in Flint — steeped in the history of the Labor Movement, a Civil Rights activist at fourteen, a UAW member at eighteen and a draft resister/ Conscientious Objector/anti-war activist later — I always enjoy my discussions with Lisa.

Recently, she put my frustrations with the current state of activism in full perspective.

The Three-legged Stool of Counterrevolution

Lisa notes, “The Revolution was derailed by three things: the end of the draft; Roe v. Wade and the rise of the nonprofit sector. Once the children of privilege were no longer subject to any personal pain, it was over. It was a brilliant strategy by predatory capitalism.”

While I’m not sure if Revolution, or even Reform, was/is inevitable, I agree. Once the draft and the possibility that middle-to-upper class kids would be sent to fight Imperial Wars was over, it’s easy to see how the bottom fell out of the anti-war movement. Recent Imperial Wars, fought predominantly with “volunteers,” are just as heinous as Vietnam, but with few highly-educated, comfortable kids’ lives being on the line, we have yet to see anything approaching the across-the-board, massive opposition that Vietnam engendered. (Astonishingly, this very year during yet another ill-fated Imperial misadventure, we saw the “Peace” Movement line up vociferously behind a proudly-stated “I’ll hunt ‘em down and kill ‘em” warmonger for president!)

Same with Roe v Wade. A whole lot of steam went out of progressive social efforts once this same socioeconomic group could gain access to affordable, legal abortion. (It appears to be the sole bottom line litmus test still applied to the Democratic Party.) Remove the pain and the rulers gain.

It really did become — remove the personal pain from these me firsters and the hiccup of resistance vanishes. I already felt that way about these two issues. But, Lisa’s expansion of the concept to include the rise of the “Nonprofit Sector” put the final piece of the puzzle in place.

What’s the Fallout When Green Groups “Partner” with Arms Makers? | Conservation International & Nature Conservancy

Apr 30

Posted by

"Bombs Away!" by Anxious223 Chris Dixon. Creative Commons license.“Bombs Away!” by Anxious223 Chris Dixon. Creative Commons license. 

About a year ago Conservation International was pilloried by a couple of British videographers posing as executives of the arms maker Lockheed Martin. They bamboozled a C.I. official in London into a meeting where she outlined several ways the nonprofit could “partner” with the arms maker under terms that looked a lot like greenwashing. You can watch the video here and judge for yourself if C.I. did anything wrong.

I had a few issues with the “exposé;” chiefly that C.I. already had dealings with B2 bomber maker Northrop Grumman, whose chairman and CEO Wes Bush is a member of its board of directors. And another big group, The Nature Conservancy, was already in the pay of Lockheed. These existing relationships undermined the shock value the scamsters were going for.

Still, you’d think the critique, or at least the bad press coverage it generated, would inspire reflection about the reputational damage some corporate deals can bring down on a nonprofit organization. More specifically, is a company that makes weapons of war an appropriate partner for a group whose mission is saving the Earth’s biodiversity? Well, if those questions were raised, they didn’t lead to change.

C.I. has just cranked up its P.R. machine in service of a new partnership with Northrop, “a unique and innovative professional development program for public middle and high school science teachers.”

In a nutshell: The Northrop Grumman Foundation will pay for 16 teachers from four U.S. public school systems to visit CI’s Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network’s Volcan Barva site inside La Selva Biological Station and Braulio Carrillo National Park in Costa Rica.

“We believe that supporting professional development opportunities for teachers will have the greatest impact on engaging students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. We expect this program will help cultivate the next generation of environmental stewards,” said Sandy Andelman, vice president at Conservation International in a press release the two partners issued April 19.

Whoa! That statement requires a reality check. According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are 3.6 million K to 12 grade teachers in the United States spread across 14,000 public school districts. The group selected for this program doesn’t even come close to representing 1 percent of the teachers in the country.

While they will surely have a rewarding time and may even return home to inspire their students, the scale of the program is too small to have the impact Andelman claims. Like so many of these corporate-conservationist joint ventures they are more symbolic than substantive.

How Environmental Groups Gone Bad Greenwash Logging Earth’s Last Primary Old Forests

The Great Rainforest Heist

April 16, 2012

by Dr. Glen Barry | Rainforest Portal

The world’s pre-eminent environmental organizations, widely perceived as the leading advocates for rainforests and old growth, have for decades been actively promoting primary forest logging [search]. Groups like Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Environmental Defense Fund actively promote industrially logging Earth’s last old forests. Through their support of the existing “Forest Stewardship Council” (FSC), and/or planned compromised “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” (REDD), they are at the forefront of destroying ancient forests for disposable consumer items – claiming it is “sustainable forest management” and “carbon forestry”.

Rainforest movement corruption is rampant as these big bureaucratic, corporatist NGOs conspire to log Earth’s last primary rainforests and other old growth forests. Collectively the “NGO Old Forest Sell-Outs” are greenwashing FSC’s destruction of over 300,000,000 acres of old forests, destroying an area of primary rainforests and other old forests the size of South Africa (two times the size of Texas)! FSC and its members have built a massive market for continued business as usual industrially harvested primary forest timbers – with minor, cosmetic changes – certifying as acceptable murdering old forests and their life for consumption of products ranging from toilet paper to lawn furniture. Some 70% of FSC products contain primary forest timbers, and as little as 10% of any product must be from certified sources.

FSC has become a major driver of primary forest destruction and forest ecological diminishment. Despite certifying less than 10% of the world’s forest lands, their rhetoric and marketing legitimizes the entire tropical and old growth timber trade, and a host of even worse certifiers of old forest logging. It is expecting far too much for consumers to differentiate between the variety of competing and false claims that old growth timbers are green and environmentally sustainable – when in fact none are. While other certification schemes may be even worse, this is not the issue, as industrial first-time primary forest logging cannot be done ecologically sustainably and should not be happening at all. FSC’s claims to being the best destroyer of primary forests is like murdering someone most humanely, treating your slaves the best while rejecting emancipation, or being half pregnant.

To varying degrees, most of the NGO Old Forest Sell-Outs also support the United Nations’ new “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” program (UNREDD, REDD, or REDD+), originally intended to protect Earth’s remaining and rapidly diminishing primary rainforests and other old forests, by making “avoided deforestation” payments to local forest peoples as an international climate and deforestation solution. Large areas of primary and old-growth forests were to be fully protected from industrial development, local communities were to both receive cash payments while continuing to benefit from standing old forests, and existing and new carbon was to be sequestered.

After years of industry, government and NGO forest sell-out pressure, REDD+ will now fund first time industrial primary rainforest logging and destruction under the veil of “sustainable forest management” and “carbon forestry”. REDD+ is trying to be all things to everybody – forest logging, protection, plantations, carbon, growth – when all we need is local funding to preserve standing forests for local advancement, and local and global ecology; and assurances provided REDD+ would not steal indigenous lands, or be funded by carbon markets, allowing the rich to shirk their own emissions reductions.

Sustainable forest management in old forests is a myth and meaningless catchphrase to allow continued western market access to primary rainforest logs. Both FSC and now REDD+ enable destruction of ancient naturally evolved ecosystems – that are priceless and sacred – for throw away consumption. Increasingly both FSC and REDD+ are moving towards certifying and funding the conversion of natural primary forests to be cleared and replanted as plantations. They call it carbon forestry and claim it is a climate good. Even selective logging destroys primary forests, and what remains is so greatly ecologically reduced from first time industrial logging, that they are on their way to being plantations.

Naturally evolved ancient forests are sacred and primeval life giving shrines, and standing and intact, large and contiguous primary rainforest and other old forests are a requirement for sustaining global ecology and achieving local advancement. Old forests are a vital part of the biosphere’s ecological infrastructure – and have a prominent, central role in making the Earth habitable through their cycling of carbon, energy, water, and nutrients. Planetary boundaries have been exceeded, we have already lost too many intact terrestrial ecosystems, and what remains is in adequate to sustain global ecology.

Primary rainforests cannot be logged in an ecologically sustainable manner; once logged – selectively, certified, legally or not – for throw-away consumer crap, their primary nature is destroyed, and ecological composition and dynamics are lost forever. What remains is permanently ecologically diminished in terms of composition, structure, function, dynamics, and evolutionary potential. Logged primary forests’ carbon stores, biodiversity and ecosystems will never be the same in any reasonable time-span. Selective, industrially logged primary rainforests become fragmented, burn more and are prone to outright deforestation.

Primary forest logging is a crime against Earth, the human family and all life – and those doing the logging, profiting and greenwashing the ecocide are dangerous criminals – who must be stopped and brought to justice. There is a zero chance of protecting and ending first time industrial logging of primary rainforests when the NGO Old Forest Sell-Outs say it is sustainable, even desirable, and continue to greenwash FSC old growth timber markets – now to be expanded with potential REDD funding – providing crucial political cover and PR for forest ecocide through their presence in the organizations.

Each of the named organizations’ forest campaigns are a corrupt shell of their former selves – acting unethically and corruptly – destroying global ecology and local options for advancement, for their own benefit. The rainforest logging apologists have chosen power, prestige and money coming from sitting at the old forest logging mafia’s table, gathering the crumbs fallen from the table to enrich their empires, rather than the difficult yet necessary job of working to fully protect rainforests and other primary forests from industrial development.

WWF, Greenpeace, and RAN are particularly culpable. With rainforests threatened as never before, RAN targets the Girl Scouts, Greenpeace supports Kleenex’s clearcut of Canadian old growth boreal forests for toilet paper, and WWF runs a bad-boy logger club who pay $50,000 to use the panda logo while continuing to destroy primary forests.

The only way this NGO old forest greenwash logging machine will be stopped is to make doing so too expensive to their corporate bureaucracies in terms of lost donations, grants, and other support – whose sources are usually unaware of the great rainforest heist. Ecological Internet – the rainforest campaign organization I head – and others feel strongly, based upon the urgency of emerging ecological science, and our closeness to global ecological collapse, that it is better to fight like hell in any way we can to fully protect and restore standing old forests as the most desirable forest protection outcome. Greenwash of first time industrial primary forest logging must be called out wherever it is occurring, and resisted by those in the global ecology movement committed to sustaining local advancement and ecosystems from standing old forests. There is no value in unity around such dangerous, ecocidal policy.

Despite tens of thousands of people from around the world asking these pro-logging NGOs to stop their old forest logging greenwash, none of the organizations (who routinely campaign against other forest destroyers, making similar demands for transparency and accountability) feel obligated to explain in detail – including based upon ecological-science – how logging primary forests protects them. Nor can they provide any detailed justification – or otherwise defend – the ecology, strategy and tactics of continued prominent involvement in FSC and REDD primary forest logging. They clearly have not been following ecological science over the past few years, which has made it clear there is no such thing as ecologically sustainable primary forest logging, and that large, old, contiguous, un-fragmented and fully ecologically intact natural forests are critical to biodiversity, ecosystems, and environmental sustainability.

We must end primary and other old forest logging for full community protection and restoration. The human family must protect and restore old forests – starting by ending industrial-scale primary forest logging – as a keystone response to biodiversity, ecosystem, climate, food, water, poverty and rights crises that are pounding humanity, ecosystems, plants and animals. There is no such thing as well-managed, sustainable primary forest logging – first time industrial harvest always destroys naturally evolved and intact ecosystems.

Humanity can, must and will – if it wishes to survive – meet wood product demand from certified regenerating and aging secondary growth and non-toxic, native species plantations. Humanity must meet market demand for well-managed forest timbers by certifying only 1) small-scale community eco-forestry practiced by local peoples in their primary forests (at very low volumes for special purposes and mostly local consumption), 2) regenerating and aging secondary forests regaining old-growth characteristics, and 3) non-toxic and mixed species plantations under local control. Further, reducing demand for all timber and paper products is key to living ecologically sustainably with old forests.

Local community development based upon standing old forests including small scale eco-forestry is fine. Small scale community eco-forestry has intact primary forests as its context for seed and animal sources, and management that mimics natural disturbance and gap species establishment. It is the industrial first time logging – selective logging, defined as selecting all merchantable, mature trees and logging them– turning primary forests into plantations, that is problematic. The goal must remain to maximize the extent, size, and connectivity of core primary forest ecosystems, to maximize global and local ecosystem processes, and local advancement and maintained well-being from standing old forests.

By dragging out the forest protection fight on a forest by forest basis, until ecological collapse becomes publicly acknowledged and society mobilizes, we can hold onto more ecosystems, biodiversity, and carbon than logging them a tiny bit better now. Soon – as abrupt climate change and global ecosystem collapse become even more self-evident – the human family will catch up with the ecological science and realize old forest destruction and diminishment must end as we ramp up natural regeneration and ecological restoration of large, connected natural forests adequate to power the global ecosystem. As society awakens to the need to sustain the biosphere, having as many intact ecosystems for models and seed sources for restoration as possible will be key to any sort of ecology and human recovery.

Rainforest protection groups engaged in greenwashing primary forest logging (an oxymoron misnomer if ever there was one), particularly while offering no defense of doing so, while raising enormous sums for rainforest “protection”, must be stopped. We must continue to call upon all big NGOs to resign from FSC and REDD, and join us in consistently working to end primary forest logging, and protect and restore old forests. Until they do, they must be boycotted and their funding cut off – even if this impacts other good works they may do, as old forests are such a fundamental ecological issue – until they stop greenwashing the final destruction of primary forests. And it is past time for their supporters to end their memberships as ultimately these big NGO businesses are more concerned with their image and money than achieving global forest policy that is ecologically sufficient, truthful, and successful.

As a rainforest movement, we must return to the goal of a ban on industrially harvested primary forest timbers. This means continuing to resist and obstruct old forest harvest, businesses (including NGO corporate sell-outs) involved, timber marketing, transportation, storage, milling, product construction, product marketing, and consumption. The entire supply chain for ecocidal primary forest timbers must be destroyed. More of us must return to the forests to work with local communities to build on-the-ground desire and capacity for ecologically inspired advancement from standing old forests, and physically obstructing old forest logging. We must make stolen, ill-gotten old wood from life-giving ecosystems an unacceptable taboo, like gorilla hand ash-trays, only worse. Together we must make old forest revolution.

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Join and follow the End Old Forest Logging campaign at http://facebook.com/ecointernet

 

Failed Saviors | NGOs & Ecotourism [Africa, WWF, Nature Conservancy]

Source

Are ecotourism and wildlife conservation in Africa so sacrosanct in the minds of their supporters that they’ve dodged proper regulation or perhaps even swerved off moral pathways?

I obtained with pride a Conde Nast ecotourism award in 2004 for my client, Hoopoe Safaris of Tanzania. But in the decade since then my own ideas about ecotourism and NGO involvement in African conservation have changed.

There are two issues, here. The first is that “ecotourism” is no longer a legitimate marker for good tourism practices in Africa. The second is that wildlife NGOs have grown increasingly callous of the priorities of local populations. So the two are related. Both discount the preeminent interests of local people in the areas where their interests are pursued.

The common thread that I’ve watch develop over the last decade is that western-driven “charity” or “aid” or “consultation” or “community based tourism” has grown increasingly isolated from the people who theoretically will benefit from those foreign efforts.

Even if there aren’t contextual conflicts, disputes about goals or methodology, the ignoring of the local populations’ interests spawns conflict. Imagine what you might feel if a Chinese NGO came into your suburban neighborhood and began research then implementation of plans to cultivate an herbal remedy … like garlic mustard… in the city parks. You would at least expect participation in the discussion, and you would become infuriated if you weren’t consulted.

In the last decade local people throughout Africa have increased substantially in numbers and in education levels as well. Most parts of Africa have become well linked to the outside world through increased internet and cell phone access. This empowers the local communities to better scrutinize their so-called foreign benefactors.

ECOTOURISM IS A SHAM

The academic community has always been skeptical of ecotourism. A 2007 Harvard study of Tanzania ecotourism concluded that while most such projects seemed legitimate, there was a substantial percentage that weren’t. An analysis by Ohio State University in 2011 of Tanzania ecotourism was much more damning. The report actually named (accused) specific Tanzanian operators that were scamming tourists with the ploy of arguing their products were ecotouristic when they were anything but.

The above studies, and many more referenced within them, are convincing documents that ecotourism if not an out and out scam is a very poorly formed idea. The initial theories might be good, but implementation seems impossible. And the Ohio State study in particular described why self-appointed certification authorities weren’t working, either, so that the notion of creating some universal standard is mute.

The UN initially thought otherwise. It promoted ecotourism but has since backed away from the idea. Almost a year ago exactly I posted several blogs citing the growing skepticism with ecotourism throughout the world. Nothing has changed; ecotourism as commonly applied in the marketing of travel is neither honest or good.

Khadija Sharife in the Africa Report summed it perfectly last week in the post’s title, “The Drunken Logic of Ecotourism.”

WILDLIFE NGO ARROGANCE

But in the year since I and many, many others pointed out the disservice that foreign marketing ploys like “ecotourism” do to local peoples, another foreign fixture of African life has emerged as equally unfair and misleading: wildlife NGOs.

It will be harder to convince you of this, I know. The loyalty that the world’s great animal savior organizations command is legend. It’s one thing to suggest that a relatively small foreign-controlled tour company in Tanzania is not serving the local populations well. It’s another to make this claim against the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) or the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF).

WWF’s long involvement in Africa stands mostly as a fabulous contribution to baseline research and good management of threatened and endangered species. But as with the morphing of the idea of ecotourism into a marketing scam, it could be that the long involvement developed a sense of propriety WWF should not have presumed.

Its most serious conflict is in Tanzania in the Rufiji delta, the outskirts of the great Selous game reserve, which has come under increasing scrutiny because of its enormous hydroelectric potential. A much greater controversy actually than the WWF one I describe below is the World Bank decision to support a hydroelectric dam that could seriously disrupt The Selous and Rufiji delta basin.

But the World Bank’s mission to help developed countries grow and prosper is contextually proper in weighing the consequences of a dam draining a game reserve. The debate is heated and ongoing, and everyone accepts one important debate: who should make the decision? Professionals weighing the overall value to Tanzanian society, or local people immediately impacted?

Quite unlike the World Bank, WWF skipped this important step when it began programs to inhibit rice farming on the outskirts of The Selous. Local rice farmers were obviously the first to be impacted, but they had no input into the decisions regarding the project and WWF sought none from them.

The project mission was always suspect to me, but the rapid implementation without adequate consultation with the local population reeks of arrogance. The entire project has now devolved into all sorts of criminal and unethical consequences. Eight WWF employees have resigned, plus the Tanzania country director, Stephen Mariki.

WWF should be complemented for trying to right this wrong, but the culture that led to their presumption of determining the life ways of local Tanzanian people is the real problem. And that will be a much harder thing to remedy than just abandoning the rice project.

The current most egregious wildlife NGO controversy, however, is on no path to reconciliation because the organization, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), continues to defend its position.

AWF encapsulates its overall mission in the phrase “heartlands.” Over the last several decades, AWF has created heartland areas throughout sub-Saharan Africa in which it concentrates its research and assistance. An essential purpose is to create wildlife corridors between established nationally gazetted protected wildlife areas like national parks to increase the potential for biodiversity and reduce the inbreeding that could otherwise effect large wild animal populations.

Noble. The problem for some time has been to create these corridors, land must be acquired from private holdings. This may have something to do with AWF’s close partnership with the Nature Conservancy in 2007.

But what happens when farmers or other landholders don’t want to sell? AWF’s response has been high-handed and now, it appears, infuriated local populations are gaining the initiative.

In and around their large Manyara ranch holding in Tanzania, AWF has negotiated versions of eminent domain with the Tanzanian government that caused enormous friction locally. And now in Kenya, their acquisition of land (which they subsequently tried to deed over to a new Kenyan Laikipia National Park) is on track to totally cripple all their good efforts in East Africa.

AWF insists it has been playing by the rules. But two thousand Samburu people don’t care if they were playing by the rules or not; they insist with credibility that they have been displaced illegally from their traditional lands by AWF’s high-handed moves.

Unlike WWF, AWF seems to be digging in its heels for a fight that will emasculate it. And if it goes down as I expect it will, so will the reputation and memories of good work that wildlife NGOs have been undertaking for decades in Africa.

Why is AWF resisting an acceptable settlement? AWF is a much younger organization than WWF, and its donor base is much smaller than WWF, much less publicly than individually endowed.

Nature Conservancy is itself a less publicly endowed organization limited to wealthy landowners mostly in Illinois. It could be that these two closely held NGOs feel less vulnerable to public opinion than a more globally funded organization like WWF.

Both these situations, with ecotourism and wildlife NGOs, represent not just outside interference, but outside indifference to the preeminent rights of local people. And because that indifference has been so arrogant – dare one say “racist”? – it led these otherwise noble organizations into presumptions of their legitimacy that denied the preeminent legitimacy of local peoples.

It led tourist companies to scam local peoples with ecotourism; and it led wildlife NGOs to become deluged by the power of their previous successes. It led both types of organizations to ignore the legitimate and preeminent needs of the local populations.

Africa is developing so rapidly I can see incidents of polite refusal, so to speak, of tourist projects and foreign wildlife programs that are put to bed rather easily. The recent controversy in the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) involving the translocation of rhino is a good example of “local populations” politely indicting foreign organizations trying to tell them what to do.

But in heated political arenas, this politeness will be lost. WWF had to back down altogether, fire staff and refund grants. AWF should do the same. When sensibilities are exchanged for political control, foreign tour companies and foreign wildlife NGOs have no hope of prevailing.

Beware, guys. A lot of good has come from your work in the last half century. Don’t blow it.

Bolivia: The US Is Spying on Latin America Under the Cover of USAID and other NGOs

 “I am convinced that some NGOs, especially those funded by the USAID, are the fifth column of espionage in Bolivia, not only in Bolivia, but also in all of Latin America,” Morales said during a press conference in Oruro, a southwestern Bolivian city.

Feb 10, 2012

China Daily

LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales on Thursday accused the United States of spying on his and other Latin American countries.

The Bolivian president said the spying is done under the cover of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

“I am convinced that some NGOs, especially those funded by the USAID, are the fifth column of espionage in Bolivia, not only in Bolivia, but also in all of Latin America,” Morales said during a press conference in Oruro, a southwestern Bolivian city.

Morales said the United States, through the cover of development aid operations of those organizations, knows “all the details of the activities of the social sectors and union leaders” in those Latin American countries.

The president regretted that some union leaders were allegedly used by these NGOs to stir disputes such as the one over a highway project in an indigenous territory in his country.

An All Time Environmental Low? Objectifying Women | Nature Conservancy Partners with Sports Illustrated

“The corporate greenie Nature Conservancy takes greenwash to an all-time low. Quite unprecedented even for an “enviro” outfit that partnered with Dow Chemical.” – Tin Alvarez, Ecological Activist, EcoJustice Pilipinas

Beaches, Babes, and Conservation: What’s Wrong With That?

2/9/2012

 by Keith Goetzman

 The Nature Conservancy is taking a new stripped-down approach to environmental protection: The green group is teaming up with the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and online luxury retailer Gilt to raise money for beach preservation in an unholy mashup of sex, commerce, marketing, publishing, and environmentalism.

Why the green tie-in? “Because everyone benefits from pristine tropical beaches. Especially when they’re occupied by gorgeous women in bathing suits.” That’s according to promotional prose about the partnership on the Gilt website, in an announcement that is no longer posted. (Though you can still buy a $1,000 ticket to a New York launch party where you can hang out with the swimsuit supermodels.)

Agribusiness: The Corporations that Control Conservation [WWF, Conservation International, Nature Conservancy]

“So, who are the individuals guarding the mission of global conservation nonprofits? US-WWF boasts (literally) that its new vice-chair was the last CEO of Coca-Cola, Inc. (a member of Bonsucro) and that another board member is Charles O. Holliday Jr., the current chairman of the board of Bank of America, who was formerly CEO of DuPont (owner of Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a major player in the GMO industry). The current chair of the executive board at Conservation International, is Robert Walton, better known as chair of the board of WalMart (which now sells ‘sustainably sourced’ food and owns the supermarket chain ASDA). The boards of WWF and Conservation International do have more than a sprinkling of members with conservation-related careers. But they are heavily outnumbered by business representatives. On the board of Conservation International, for example, are GAP, Intel, Northrop Grumman, JP Morgan, Starbucks and UPS, among others.”

Way Beyond Greenwashing: Have Corporations Captured Big Conservation?

Beyond Greenwashing

by Jonathan Latham
Independent Science News

February 7, 2012

Imagine an international mega-deal. The global organic food industry agrees to support international agribusiness in clearing as much tropical rainforest as they want for farming. In return, agribusiness agrees to farm the now-deforested land using organic methods, and the organic industry encourages its supporters to buy the resulting timber and food under the newly devised “Rainforest Plus” label. There would surely be an international outcry.

Virtually unnoticed, however, even by their own membership, the world’s biggest wildlife conservation groups have agreed exactly to such a scenario, only in reverse. Led by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), many of the biggest conservation nonprofits including Conservation International and the Nature Conservancy have already agreed to a series of global bargains with international agribusiness. In exchange for vague promises of habitat protection, sustainability and social justice, these conservation groups are offering to greenwash industrial commodity agriculture.

Kenya’s Samburu People ‘Violently Evicted’ after US Charities (Nature Conservancy & African Wildlife Foundation) Buy Land

Around 2,000 Samburu families have stayed squatting on edge of disputed territory, says NGO Survival International

“Members of the Samburu people in Kenya have been abused, beaten and raped by police after the land they lived on for two decades was sold to two US-based wildlife charities, a rights group and community leader have alleged. … The London-based NGO Survival International said the Samburu were evicted following the purchase of the land by two American-based charities, the Nature Conservancy and the African Wildlife Foundation. The groups subsequently gifted the land to Kenya for a national park, to be called Laikipia National Park.”

The pastoralist Samburu have reported constant harassment from police with women allegedly raped and animals seized. Photograph: Zhao Yingquan/Xinhua

Members of the Samburu people in Kenya have been abused, beaten and raped by police after the land they lived on for two decades was sold to two US-based wildlife charities, a rights group and community leader have alleged.

The dispute centres on Eland Downs in Laikipia, a lush area near Mount Kenya. At least three people are said to have died during the row, including a child who was eaten by a lion after the Samburu were violently evicted in November last year.

The London-based NGO Survival International said the Samburu were evicted following the purchase of the land by two American-based charities, the Nature Conservancy and the African Wildlife Foundation.

The groups subsequently gifted the land to Kenya for a national park, to be called Laikipia National Park.

Survival International said the land was officially owned by former president Daniel arap Moi, although AWF simply said it bought it from a private landowner.

With nowhere to go, around 2,000 Samburu families stayed on the edge of the disputed territory, living in makeshift squats, while 1,000 others were forced to relocate, Survival said.

Jo Woodman, a campaigner for Survival, said the pastoralist Samburu had reported constant harassment from police with women allegedly raped, animals seized and an elder shot as recently as last month.

“There has been an ongoing, constant level of fear, intimidation and violence towards the community, which has been devastating,” Woodman said.

A community leader, who did not wish to be named, described police harassment as enormous. He said police beat people, burned manyattas or traditional homesteads and carried out arbitrary arrests during the period leading up to and including the eviction last year. He said they also confiscated many animals and the intimidation has continued.

“The situation has been really bad for a long time,” he said. “[The Samburu] have nothing. Things like bedding and utensils were burned.”

Kenyan police were not available on Wednesday to comment on the allegations.

Survival has written to the UN appealing for urgent action to put an end to the violence and provide assistance to the Samburu, who have gone to court to establish their right to the land.

“In one incident, a Samburu elder was shot dead by paramilitaries,” the group said in its letter to the UN committee on the elimination of racial discrimination, dated 7 December.

“The displaced community has nothing but their livestock, thousands of which were impounded – with no reason given – on 25 November 2011. This is an urgent and serious violation of the rights of this community, which has been left squatting beside its land with no amenities,” Survival’s letter said.

The two conservation groups gifted the 17,100 acres to Kenya’s government in November to create a national park to be run by the Kenya Wildlife Service.

However, since then a court has banned the KWS from proceeding with the conservation project until a ruling on the Samburus’ legal case.

Both US-based charities indicated they were watching the situation with concern but were unable to comment for legal reasons.

John Butler, director of marketing for the AWF, said: “The African Wildlife Foundation does not condone violence. AWF has a longstanding history of working closely with local communities to ensure that conservation solutions benefit both people and wildlife. Unfortunately, we cannot comment at length on this issue due to a pending court case in Kenya.”

Blythe Thomas, a spokeswoman for the Nature Conservancy, said: “The conflict over natural resources across Africa is a serious issue. Everywhere we work in Africa, we’re working with local communities to address natural resource issues. We’re closely monitoring this situation; unfortunately we can’t comment at length due to a pending court case in Kenya.”

Kenya has a history of land-grabbing by senior government officials, particularly during Daniel arap Moi’s time in power. Land disputes are common as legal documents of ownership are often missing or have been forged.

A request for comment from Kenya’s Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife went unanswered. However the minister, Dr Noah Wekesa, was quoted as telling parliament last month that KWS had ceased all activity on the land, which would not be gazetted as a national park until the other legal case was resolved.

The Samburu’s legal case was heard in the town of Nyeri on Wednesday and lawyer Korir Sing’Oei said the court confirmed that the KWS had secured registration of the land.

“The court has turned a blind eye to the pleas of the Samburu community and allowed these illegalities to subsist,” he said. “The transfer [of the land to the KWS] is totally unlawful and it’s in flagrant violation of the interests of the Samburu community.”

The court had agreed to give further direction on the matter in January.

Korir Sing’Oei said he intended to address the violations of rights in a separate case.

“Last year, when the community was forcefully evicted from the land … their homes were burnt down and livestock confiscated in their hundreds and lots of their women were violated,” he said.

“Given the powerful actors who have vested interests in the land, this issue has been really hushed up in the local media,” he added.

The lawyer said the evicted Samburu had no intention of leaving Laikipia, a popular destination for wildlife-loving tourists and the area where Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton in a rustic lodge.

“Where would they go to? They have absolutely nowhere else to go,” he said.

The community elder said running away was not an option.

“That’s the place you call your home … it’s where you were brought up and where your children call home. It’s an ancestral land.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/14/kenya-samburu-people-evicted-land

U.S. Funded Democracy Centre Reveals It’s Real Reason for Supporting the TIPNIS Protest in Bolivia: REDD $$$

November 23rd, 2011

by Cory Morningstar

DI NO AL REDD – Rapido Enriquecimiento con Desalojos, usurpación de tierras y Destrucción de biodiversidad. SAY NO TO REDD – Reaping Profits from Evictions, Land Grabs, Deforestation and Destruction of Biodiversity

“Bolivia is and will remain a country who desperately struggles to resist Imperialism and fight for their autonomy – against all odds.”

The Democracy Centre, Avaaz and Amazon Watch are the main three NGOs, heavily funded by U.S. interests (Rockefellers, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Ford Foundation and Soros to name a few), who led the recent International campaign in which they denounced and demonized Bolivian Indigenous leader Evo Morales and his government. This destabilization campaign focused on the TIPNIS protests. A violent confrontation between TIPNIS protestors (influenced/funded by U.S. NGOs/USAID/CIDOB) and the police was the vital opportunity needed in order to execute a destabilization campaign that the U.S. has been strategically planning for decades. (Declassified Documents Revealed More than $97 Million from USAID to Separatist Projects in Bolivia | Evo Morales Through the Prism of Wikileaks – Democracy in Danger).

A key demand put forward by the TIPNIS protestors were that Indigenous peoples would directly receive financial compensation for ‘offsetting’ carbon emissions. This policy, known as REDD/REDD+ (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), has been denounced as the commodification and privatisation of the forests by many, including those within the climate justice movements. The ‘People’s Agreement’ created at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (April 2010) clearly condemned REDD, stating that it violates “the sovereignty of our Peoples.” REDD has been promoted as a mechanism to allow developed countries to continue to pollute while undermining the right for underdeveloped countries to develop their economies. Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environment Network stated unequivocally that “The carbon market solutions are not about mitigating climate, but are greenwashing policies that allow fossil fuel development to expand.”

Morales survived the orchestrated attempt to destabilize his government. No one’s fool, Morales did something completely unexpected that few if anyone had even considered: he granted the Indigenous peoples of the TIPNIS every single demand which the protestors, under foreign/outside influence had sought (although he made clear that on the issue of REDD, the ‘People’s Agreement’ adopted at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth would guide any future decision on this issue). Completely caught off guard by Morales response, and realizing, perhaps for the first time, whose lives would ultimately be affected by the outcomes of the demands, and how, one anxious protestor commented “we’re screwed“.

Video: Manipulation: Indigenous Peoples Alto Xingu-STOP pushing us for REDD (running time: 9:26)

Morales has been a world leader in his vocal opposition to REDD stating that “nature, forests and indigenous peoples are not for sale.” At the opposite end of the spectrum are the foundations (who serve as tax-exempt front groups for corporations and elites) who finance the NGOs who have led the campaign to discredit Morales are most all heavily promoting and investing in REDD. CIDOB is involved in pilot REDD projects funded by the NGO called FAN (Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza) which is funded by a slew of foreign interest entities/states and corporate NGOs such as USAID, Conservation International, European Union, American Electric Power, BP-Amoco and Dow Chemical‘s partner, The Nature Conservancy. Indeed, when it comes to the world’s most powerful NGOs voicing any dissent to the false solution of REDD, the silence is deafening. (http://www.redd-monitor.org/2011/10/26/manufacturing-consent-on-carbon-trading/)

The money behind the REDD scheme is in the trillions.

Above: Indigenous Peoples Alto Xingu – Stop Pushing Us For REDD – Photo: Rebecca Sommer

It is revealing to note that while the corporate NGOs worked feverishly to shine an International spotlight on the tear-gassing of the TIPNIS protestors by Bolivian police, a slaughter of 100,000 Libyan civilians was underway in an Imperialist, NATO-led invasion under the guise of ‘humanitarian intervention’. This invasion was made possible by the fabrication of events and lies put forward by 78 NGOs. To this day, there is no evidence to back these lies. The NGOs were and remain silent on this latest atrocity as the U.S./Euro Imperialist destabilization campaigns escalate in the Middle East in a race towards global domination.

The Democracy Centre makes clear it’s opposition to the Bolivian Morales government’s position on REDD in its policy statement on REDD drafted by staffer Kylie Benton-Connell [1]

In this report, the Democracy Centre both denies/ignores the involvement of USAID in the CIDOB promoted REDD Amazonia project via its funding to FAN, and argues that “The REDD Amazonia project is important, because it keeps the possibility of these kind of projects alive in Bolivian institutions, in a context where the national government is swimming against the tide of international REDD politics.”

Furthermore, Benton-Connell reiterates the Democracy Centre’s opposition to the Bolivian Morales government’s position and the Centre’s support for REDD in her article published on November 21, 2011 (link below and also published on the Democracy Centre’s website):

” The decision linking forest conservation to carbon markets may well be finalized at the UN climate negotiations in Durban at the beginning of December, unless it is blocked by dissident countries.”

Moreover, Benton-Connell tells us:

“… if today’s Bolivian government or a future one drops its opposition to carbon markets, and an international agreement is reached on trading in forest carbon, revenue streams could become much larger.”

Benton-Connell continues that the problem is not REDD itself, but how REDD is organized. She states:

“The fates of many ordinary people in Bolivia — and of similar communities across the globe — will be in play as technocrats discuss plans for forest carbon trading at the upcoming UN climate negotiations in Durban. As Marcos Nordgren Ballivián, climate change analyst with Bolivian organization CIPCA told us last year: “tensions already exist, and with a new source of profits such as REDD could prove to be, it might cause problems … But we’ll have to see how REDD is organized, because that will define, of course, if these conflicts are worsened.”

The following text appears 8 March 2010 in an article titled Getting REDDy to Cross the Finish Line, Two Decades in the Making: “It’s hard to imagine with all the progress REDD has achieved, that it all started less than 20 years ago with the Rio Summit in ’92, when the makings of a global sustainability architecture in the form of a climate treaty began to take shape. But a forestry treaty had yet to happen … With over 20 years of experience in the forestry sector, Michael Northrup, Program Director of Sustainable Development at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, was invited by the Pinchot Institute for Conservation to give a Distinguished Lecture, ‘After Copenhagen: Implications for U.S. Climate, Energy, and Forest Policy’ at the high brow, exclusive Cosmos Club. Northrup casually described to the 30 or so people in the room where we are with REDD today and how we got here. Plus he played the “name game” as he knew most of the people in the room.”

Of course, Rockefeller is not alone in its quest to lead and dominate on the promise of “green capitalism”; other members of the elites will not be left behind to feed on the breadcrumbs. For example, The Climate and Land Use Alliance, whose member foundations include the ClimateWorks Foundation (Avaaz partner), the Ford Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and multi-million dollar corporate NGOs – Greenpeace International and Rockefeller’s WWF have joined forces to push forward the false solution of REDD.

“The big business conservationists and their professionals didn’t buy off the movement; they built it.” -Katherine Barkley and Steve Weissman, “The Eco-Establishment“, in: Ramparts (eds.), Eco-Catastrophe, Harper and Row, 1970

Video: President Morales Speaks to Imperialism (UN Gen Ass, Sept 21, 2011)(Running time: 8:02)

Let us close while we reflect upon the words of author Juan Carlos Zambrana Marchetti:

“In the recent conflict over the construction of a highway through the TIPNIS indigenous territory, history repeated itself once again: indigenous people renounced all possibility of progress and integration in favor of the hidden political objective of the US to boycott the projects of crop-substitution and development center in the Chapare, wherein lies the core of the anti-imperialist consciousness of the Bolivian people. Once again, foreign interests have ensured that the Indians act against their own interests. This shows that a priority issue for the new agenda of president Morales should be to continue deconstructing the control mechanisms of the Western powers. “Philanthropy” has always been one of the most dangerous mechanisms.”

The article: http://www.alternet.org/water/153161/will_programs_to_off-set_carbon_emissions_fuel_further_conflict_in_bolivia%27s_forests?page=entire

For further reading on the International Campaign to Destabilize Bolivia: http://wrongkindofgreen.org/category/the-international-campaign-to-destabilize-bolivia/

[1] Benton-Connell worked with the Democracy Center in Cochabamba, Bolivia from February 2010 to June 2011, where she authored the report “Off the Market: Bolivian forests and struggles over climate change.”

Flashback: The Eco-Establishment

Katherine Barkley and Steve Weissman, “The Eco-Establishment,” in: Ramparts (eds.), Eco-Catastrophe (Harper and Row, 1970), pp.15-24.

Ask Vietnam protesters about the April 22 National Environmental Teach-In and they’ll tell you it’s a scheme to contain their spring offensive against the ecological disaster in Southeast Asia. Ask young blacks about this new movement to save the ecosystem and they’ll tell you that it is a way of distracting attention from the old movement that was supposed to save their skins.

Then go and talk to an environmental activist, a Survival Walker. Ask him why the ecology movement has turned its back on Vietnam and civil rights and he’ll explain, with a convincing freshness the old New Left has lost, that the sky is falling. He’ll point out that we all have to breathe and that none of us – white or black, Vietnamese peasant or American marine – has much of a future on CO2. We all must eat, and a diet of pesticides is deadly. We all need water, and the dwindling supplies are unfit for human (or even industrial) consumption. We all depend on the same limited forests, mines, oceans and soil, and we are all going to choke on the same waste and pollution.

To this new ecology activist, nothing could be more obvious: we’ve all got to unite behind the overriding goal of unfouling our common nest before it’s too late, turning back the pages of the environmental doomsday book. If we succeed, then we can get back to these other questions. There is no stopping, he will add, an idea whose time has come.

He will be right, too-though a bit naive about where ideas come from and where movements go. Environment will be the issue of the ’70?s, but not simply because the air got thicker or the oceans less bubbly, or even because the war in Vietnam got too bloody to have to think about every day. It will be the issue of the ’70?s because such stewards of the nation’s wealth as the Ford Foundation, with its Resources for the Future, Inc. (RFF), and Laurance Rockefeller’s Conservation Foundation needed a grass-roots movement to help consolidate their control over national policymaking, bolster their hold over world resources, and escalate further cycles of useless economic growth.

[II]

The environment bandwagon is not as recent a phenomenon as it seems. It began to gather momentum back in the mid-’60?s under the leadership of Resources for the Future. “The relationship of people to resources, which usually has been expressed in terms of quantity, needs to be restated for modern times to emphasize what is happening to the quality of resources,” warned RFF President Joseph L. Fisher in his group’s 1964 report. “The wide variety of threats to the quality of the environment may well embrace the gravest U.S. resources problem for the next generation.” The following year, Resources for the Future established a special research and educational program in environmental quality, funded with a $ 1.1 million grant from its parent organization, the Ford Foundation.

Created by Ford in the early ’50?s during the scare over soaring materials costs, RFF had just made its name in conservation by organizing the Mid-Century Conference on Resources for the Future, the first major national conservation conference since Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot staged the National Governors’ Conference in 1908. Held in 1953, the Mid-Century Conference mustered broad support from both the country’s resource users and conservers for the national conservation policy already spelled out by President Truman’s Materials Policy Commission. It was this Commission, headed by William S. Paley (board chairman of CBS and a founding director of RFF), which had openly affirmed the nation’s inalienable right to extract cheap supplies of raw materials from the underdeveloped countries, and which set the background for Eisenhower and Dulles’ oft-quoted concern over the fate of the tin and tungsten of Southeast Asia. Insuring adequate supplies of resources for the future became a conservationist byword.

By the mid-’60?s, Resources for the Future had begun to broaden its concern to include resource quality, thus setting the tone for a decade of conservationist rhetoric and behavior. The trustees of the Ford Foundation, an executive committee of such international resource users and polluters as Esso and Ford Motor, established a separate Resources and Environment Division which, since 1966, has nourished such groups as Open Space Action Committee, Save-the-Redwoods League, Massachusetts Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, and the Environmental Defense Fund. A year later, the Rockefeller Foundation set up an Environmental Studies Division, channelling money to the National Academy of Science and RFF and to Laurance Rockefeller’s own pet project, the Conservation Foundation.

The conservationist-planners’ new concern over threats to the quality of resources, and to life itself, was actually an outgrowth of their earlier success in assuring cheap and plentiful raw materials. It had become clear that supplies of resources would be less a problem than the immense amount of waste generated as a by-product of those now being refined. The more industry consumed, the more it produced and sold, the larger and more widespread the garbage dumps. Rivers and lakes required costly treatment to make water suitable for use in homes and industry. Smoggy air corroded machines, ruined timberlands, reduced the productivity of crop lands and livestock – to say nothing of its effect on the work capacity of the average man. Pesticides were killing more than pests, and raising the spectre of cumulative disaster. Cities were getting noisier, dirtier, uglier and more tightly packed, forcing the middle class to the suburbs and the big urban landowners to the wall. “Ugliness,” Lyndon Johnson exclaimed sententiously, “is costly.”

This had long been obvious to the conservationists. Something had to be done, and the elite resource planners took as their model for action the vintage 1910 American conservation movement, especially its emphasis on big business cooperation with big government.

[III]

When the 1890 census officially validated the fact that the frontier was closed, a generation of business and government leaders realized with a start that the American Eden had its bounds. Land, timber and water were all limited, as was the potential for conflicts over their apportionment. What resources should timber-men, grazers or farmers exploit? What should be preserved as a memory of the American past? Who would decide these questions? The conservationists – Teddy Roosevelt, Chief Forester Gifford Pinchot and some of the bigger timber, grazing and agricultural interests – pushed heavily for a new policy to replace the crude and wanton pillage which had been part of the frontier spirit. While preservationists like John Muir were fighting bitterly against any and all use of wild areas by private interests, the conservationists wanted only to make sure that the environment would be exploited with taste and efficiency.

Roosevelt and his backers won out, of course. And the strategy they used is instructive: failing initially to muster congressional support for their plan, they mobilized a broadly based conservation movement, supposedly to regulate the private interests which they in fact represented. Backed by the widespread public support it had whipped up, the conservationist juggernaut then began to move the country toward a more regulated – but still private – exploitation of its riches.

Of course, the private interests which had helped draft this policy also moved – to staff the regulatory agencies, provide jobs for retiring regulators, and generally to put the right man in the right niche most of the time. Within short order, the regulatory agencies were captives of the interests they were supposed to regulate, and they were soon being used as a screen which kept the public from seeing the way that small interests were squeezed out of the competition for resources. Their monopoly position thus strengthened by regulatory agencies, these large interests found it easy to pass the actual costs of regulation on to the citizen consumer.

[IV]

The old American conservation movement had reacted out of fear over resource scarcities; the new movement of the mid-’60?s feared, as well, the destruction of resource quality. And the corporation conservationists and their professional planners in organizations like Resources for the Future onceagain looked to government regulations as an answer to the difficulties they foresaw. Only this time the stakes were much higher than they had been at the early part of the century. Many of the resource planners want an all-encompassing environmental agency or Cabinet level Department of Resources, Environment and Population. Holding enormous power over a wide range of decisions, this coordinating apparatus would be far more convenient for the elite than the present array of agencies, each influenced by its own interest groups.

Who will benefit from this increased environmental consciousness and who will pay is already quite clear to business, if not to most young ecology activists. “The elite of business leadership,” reports Fortune, “strongly desire the federal government to step in, set the standards, regulate all activities pertaining to the environment, and help finance the job with tax incentives.” The congressional background paper for the 1968 hearings on National Policy on Environmental Quality, prepared with the help of Rockefeller’s Conservation Foundation, spells out the logic in greater detail: “Lack of national policy for the environment has now become as expensive to the business community as to the Nation at large. In most enterprises, a social cost can be carried without undue burden if all competitors carry it alike. For example, industrial waste disposal costs can, like other costs of production, be reflected in prices to consumers. But this becomes feasible only when public law and administration put all comparable forms of waste-producing enterprises under the same requirements.” Only the truly powerful could be so candid about their intention to pick the pocket of the consumer to pay for the additional costs they will be faced with.

The resource planners are also quite frank about the wave of subsidies they expect out of the big clean-up campaign. “There will have to be a will to provide funds,” explains Joseph Fisher, “to train the specialists, do the research and experimentation, build the laws and institutions through which more rapid progress [in pollution control] can be made, and of course, build the facilities and equipment.” The coming boondoggles – replete with tax incentives, direct government grants, and new products – will make the oil depletion allowance seem tame. And what’s more, it will be packaged as a critical social service.

The big business conservationists will doubtless be equally vocal about the need for new bond issues for local water and sewage treatment facilities; lead crusades to overcome reluctance of the average citizen to vote “yes” on bond measures; and then, as bondholders themselves, skim a nice tax-free six or seven per cent off the top.

It isn’t just the citizen and taxpayer who will bear the burden, however. Bedraggled Mother Nature, too, will pay. Like the original conservation movement it is emulating, today’s big business conservation is not interested in preserving the earth; it is rationally reorganizing for a more efficient rape of resources (e.g., the export of chemical-intensive agribusiness) and the production of an even grosser national product.

The seeming contradictions are mind-boggling: industry is combating waste so it can afford to waste more; it is planning to produce more (smog-controlled) private autos to crowd more highways, which means even more advertising to create more “needs” to be met by planned obsolescence. Socially, the result is disastrous. Ecologically, it could be the end.

Why don’t the businessmen simply stop their silly growthmanship? They can’t. If one producer slowed down in the mad race, he’d be eaten up by his competitors. If all conspired together to restrain growth permanently, the unemployment and cutbacks would make today’s recession look like full employment, and the resulting unrest would make today’s dissent look like play time at Summerhill.

[V]

They began in the mid-’60?s in low key, mobilizing the academicians, sprinkling grants and fellowships at the “better” schools, and coordinating research efforts of Resources for the Future, the Conservation Foundation, RAND, Brookings Institution, the National Academy of Science and the Smithsonian Institution. Major forums were held in 1965 and 1966 on “The Quality of the Environment” and “Future Environments of North America.” Research findings were programmed directly into industrial trade associations and business firms.

Then the resource people put their men and programs in the official spotlight: Laurance Rockefeller (founder of and major donor to the Conservation Foundation and also a director of RFF) chaired both the White House Conference on Natural Beauty and the Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Recreation and Natural Beauty (which Nixon has rechristened his Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Environmental Quality). Conservation Foundation President Russell Train headed up Nixon’s Task Force on Resources and Environment, with help from Fisher and several other directors of RFF and the Conservation Foundation, and then became Undersecretary of Interior.

Then the media were plugged in, an easy task for men who have in their hands the direction of CBS, National Educational Television, Time-Life-Fortune, Christian Science Monitor, New York Times and Cowles publications, as well as many of the trade journals and conservation magazines. Independent media, seeing that environment was now news, picked up and broadcast the studies which the conservation elite had produced. Public opinion leaders told their public, in Business Week’s words, “to prepare for the approval of heavy public and private spending to fight pollution.”

Finally, the grass roots were given the word. RFF, Ford and Rockefeller had long worked with and financed the old-time conservation groups, from Massachusetts Audubon to the Sierra Club, and now the big money moved beyond an appreciation of wilderness to a greater activism. When, for example, David Brower broke with the Sierra Club, it was Robert O. Anderson of Atlantic-Richfield and RFF who gave him $200,000 to set up Friends of the Earth (prudently channeling the donation through the organization’s tax exempt affiliate, the John Muir Institute).

When Senator Gaylord Nelson and Congressman Pete McCloskey got around to pushing the National Teach-In, it was the Conservation Foundation, the Audubon Society and the American Conservation Association which doled out the money while Friends of the Earth was putting together The Environmental Handbook, meant to be the Bible of the new movement.

The big business conservationists and their professionals didn’t buy off the movement; they built it.

[VI]

Ecology activists out picketing a polluter or cleaning up a creek will have total freedom to make up their own minds about the threats to our environment, and they will have every right to choose their own course of constructive action. Yet they will surely never get a dime from Robert Anderson, or even a farthing from Ford or Rockefeller. And so far, the grass-roots ecology movement has done nothing but echo the eco-elite.

Ecology, unlike most of the fractured scientific field, is holistic. It talks of life and its environment as a totality: how organisms relate to each other and to the system which provides their life-support system. As a discipline applied to human affairs, then, ecology should help us get a whole view of our natural and social environment-from oxygen cycles to business cycles, from the jeopardized natural environment to the powerful institutional environment which creates that jeopardy. If it revealed these interconnections, ecology would become, as it has been called, a “subversive science,” subverting the polluters and resource-snatchers who now control the conservation of the nation’s wealth. It would point the finger not simply at profit-making polluters or greedy consumers, but at the great garbage-creation system itself – the corporate capitalist economy.

But this is a far cry from the ecology movement as we have inherited it. Ecology, the science of interconnections, becomes a matter of cleaning up beaches and trying to change individuals’ habits and attitudes, while ignoring the institutions which created them and practically all environmental damage.

The grass-roots ecology groups do have politics-the politics of consumer boycotts, shareholder democracy and interest group pluralism, all of which show a wonderfully anachronistic faith in the fairness of the market, political and economic. “If Dow pollutes,” say the boycotters, “then we just won’t buy Saran Wrap.” If Super Suds won’t make biodegradable soap, we’ll buy Ivory. If Ford and Chevy won’t make steam cars, we’ll buy Japanese imports. From the planned obsolescence in automobiles, to 20 brands of toothpaste, much of what industry produces is insulting to the intelligence while also serving no real need; it is waste, to say nothing of the enormous pollution entailed in overproduction.

Consumer sovereignty has gone the way of the dodo, its passing noted two decades back by that stalwart defender of the new corporate capitalism, John Kenneth Galbraith. Consumers just don’t control what gets produced, or how. To educate or build support for some stronger action, boycotts, like the picket line, work well. Bi to change production habits, an ecology movement will really hay to pull the big plug at the other end of the TV transmitter, or better at the production line itself.

Failing in the economic arena, the ecology groups can of course try their hand directly in the political marketplace. Oil has its lobby the auto manufacturers theirs. Why not a People’s Lobby? Californians have already created one, which is now pushing in Sacramento for a referendum “to make the polluters pay.” The Environmental Defense League, geared primarily to the court system, also defending the environment in Congress. The Sierra Club have already lost its tax-exempt status for being too political, and number of the older conservation groups are pushing new, stream-lined legislation. The strategy seems to be paying off, winning victories here and there. Most of the victories, however, mere strengthen the regulatory agencies, which, after public vigilance peters out, will become tools of the big corporations.

Where boycotts and stockholder strategies simply fail, this interest group politics may lead the ecology movement off the edge of a very well-conserved cliff. Eco-catastrophe threatens to kill it all – and Mother Nature, too. But to engage in the give-and-take of interest group politics, the ecologists must grant serious consideration to and must compromise with the oil interests, auto manufacturers and other powerful business groups. Standard Oil gets Indonesia only if they will market that country’s prized sulphur-free oil here; the auto makers can keep producing their one-man-one-car civilization in return for making additional profit (and apparent compromise) on smog control. The world is dying: write your congressman today.

From lobbying, the eco-groups will move into the nearest election, trying to put Paul Ehrlich or David Brower in office. But elections aren’t won on single issues. Allies must be wooed, coalition built. Already parochial and out of sympathy with the blacks an other out-groups, the environmentalists, anxious to infiltrate the electoral system, will become even more respectable and more careful to avoid contamination by “extreme” positions or people. The will become further compartmentalized and will be at dead center sacrificing even those of their own who refuse to compromise.

Avoiding “politics,” the ecologists have taken up the old liberal shuck. Give equal freedom to aristocrats and the people, to bosses and workers, to landlords and tenants, and let both sides win. The scheme, of course, overlooks the one-sided distribution of resources, money and media-power. Some “reformers” will have all they need, but their solution, which will become the solution, is itself a good part of the problem. Profit-seekers and growth-mongers can’t co-exist with Mother Nature and her fragile children without doing them irreparable harm.

To save any semblance of democracy, a decent relationship to the environment and perhaps the environment itself – ecology, the “in” movement, must become a movement of the outs. It must be committed to a long-term militant fight on more clearly understood grounds – its own grounds. That too might be impossible. But, as Eugene V. Debs once observed, it’s a lot better to fight for what you want and not get it, than to fight for-and get-what you don’t want.

Katherine Barkley is a staff member of the Pacific Studies Center.

http://peoplesgeography.com/links/the-eco-establishment/

From the Belly of the Beast – A MUST READ on REDD – | REDD is Supported by Greenpeace, Conservation International, Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund, WWF & Many More Corporate Greens

Blog Post from the Belly of the Beast: In the Bowels of the World Bank

–by Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project; North American Focal Point, Global Forest Coalition

… the Indonesian military is getting money through climate financing for REDD-type projects. The communities that live in the forests–some of them Indigenous to the area, some of them relocated there in the 80s–are being invaded by heavily armed forest rangers, paramilitaries and police; and are forced to leave at gunpoint while their homes are burned to the ground.

Benoit Bosquet, Coordinator of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, defends the bank’s role in "forest conservation" in Indonesia, where forest-based communities have been forcibly evicted at gunpoint. Behind him is a photo of one such eviction. Photo: Petermann/GJEP

Today commenced the fall meetings of the World Bank in Washington, DC. The Bank has long been known for its strong-arm tactics to force countries in the Global South to turn over their resources–whether natural resources or poor peoples’ labor– to corporations based in the Industrialized North.

While the Bank is notorious as a major funder of fossil fuel projects, devastating large-scale hydroelectric projects and deforestation projects, they have now become one of the leaders in the effort to use “market-based” schemes for climate mitigation. They are the world’s carbon brokers.

Indeed, one of the items on their meeting agenda is climate finance–pumping money into various developing countries to supposedly undertake climate mitigation programs that will predominately benefit countries in the north, by enabling them to maintain business as usual and avoid cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Appropriately, there was a civil society session this morning on the impacts of climate finance for REDD projects in Indonesia. Indonesia is a global focal point for climate action because of the massive climate emissions that have occurred there largely as a result of the burning of primeval peat forests for conversion to oil palm plantations. But even the climate mitigation programs come with a high price, and Indonesia provides a stark case study of the devastating social and ecological impacts of REDD (the scheme to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).

But in order to participate in the workshop, it was first necessary to navigate the World Bank’s ridiculous security process.

It became obvious quickly that the Bank is quite paranoid about security. Now why, I wondered sarcastically, would an institution whose mission is ostensibly about poverty eradication need blocks and blocks of metal barricades and legions of police surrounding it?

Perhaps it has something to do with all of the people around the globe who have suffered under their severely unjust policies. Maybe they never quite got over A-16, (April 16, 2000) when thousands of activists descended on DC to blockade all of the streets surrounding the World Bank in a massive condemnation of the Bank’s dirty dealings.

But on this day, there were no protests, yet I still got the run-around by numerous unfriendly security officers and police, directed this way and that until I finally managed to find the registration building.

Once there, I explained for the fourth time that I was only there for one workshop and just needed a day pass. “We’re not giving out day passes today,” the desk jockey muttered. I had not encountered such surly, robot-like people since the Manchester, New Hampshire jail after a group of us were arrested in January 2000 for occupying Al Gore’s NH campaign headquarters in support of the U’Wa people of Colombia, whose lands were threatened by oil drilling by Occidental Petroleum. (Al had a lot of stock in Occidental).

Frustrated, irritated and thoroughly disgusted, I was ready to give up and make the trek back uptown when I saw a separate registration area for CSOs (civil society organizations). Okay, I thought, one more try.

I won’t go into the details, but suffice it to say, I talked my way into an official access badge. Then after navigating yet more metal barricades, police officers and a metal detector, I finally arrived at my destination: the workshop on the impacts of REDD and forest “conservation” in Indonesia. It was horrifying.

Global Justice Ecology Project has been exposing the impacts of REDD on communities in Chiapas, Mexico and California as the result of a sub-national REDD carbon offset deal between the two states. Indigenous communities in the jungle of Chiapas are threatened with displacement for “forest protection” projects, and being subjected to intimidation tactics such as the withholding of medical services to try to force them to leave.

But what is happening on the ground in Indonesia is even more extreme. As one panelist pointed out, the violence happening to the people in the forests is even worse than the violence that occurred under the Suharto dictatorship.

While the dictatorship no longer exists, the military still maintains most of the power in the country–and now that the forests have suddenly increased in value because of REDD (because the carbon stored by the trees now has value), people who live in the forests but do not have official title to their lands (which is about 80% of the people in the rural areas) are being violently evicted for “conservation” projects.

In the 1980s, a program was initiated in Indonesia called the Transmigration Program. It moved 2.5 million people off of the heavily populated islands of Bali and Java and onto other islands, leading to tremendous land conflicts. In some areas, the ratio of migrants to locals was 2:1. This, the speaker explained, is exactly what is now happening under REDD. Massive population displacement.

In a nutshell, the Indonesian military is getting money through climate financing for REDD-type projects. The communities that live in the forests–some of them Indigenous to the area, some of them relocated there in the 80s–are being invaded by heavily armed forest rangers, paramilitaries and police; and are forced to leave at gunpoint while their homes are burned to the ground.

All in the name of conservation.

I spoke briefly with the panel moderator, a woman native to Indonesia, about our work in Chiapas and what we had found there.

“Yes,” she replied. “What we see in Indonesia is not unique. It is happening all over with these REDD projects.”

And what is the point of all of this suffering and misery and violence? To provide corporations in the industrialized north with the opportunity to avoid reducing their pollution by “buying” carbon stored in some distant forest thereby “offsetting” their emissions.

So, in other words, impoverished rural and Indigenous peoples are being confronted with unspeakable violence to allow companies in the North to continue to poison and pollute poor communities near their facilities in the North.

Benoit Bosque, of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (the Bank’s program to help design and fund REDD projects in tropical and subtropical countries) spoke and tried to deflect this intense critique by explaining that REDD was extremely complex, but we shouldn’t give up. “These conflicts are about an accumulation of past mistakes. We cannot let fear of mistakes prevent us from taking bold steps forward.”

Yeah, tell that to the Indigenous Peoples being thrown off of their ancestral lands…

His callous reply received a lot of indignant responses from both the audience and the panel, who pointed out that the World Bank’s track record of enforcing even its own safeguards is terrible. “Consultations have been window dressing. Demands must be made for accountability with World Bank partners or don‘t make them partners. Don’t give them funding!”

At that Benoit bid his adieu before there were any more confrontations about the Bank’s role in funding violence against forest dependent communities.

For these reasons and many, many more, organizations and Indigenous Peoples’ groups around the world are condemning REDD. For more information on this, go to: http://noredd.makenoise.org/. To learn more about GJEP’s work in Chiapas and California on REDD, go to http://climate-connections.org/category/chiapas-2/. To view our photo essay from the community of Amador Hernandez in the Lacandon Jungle, click here

http://climate-connections.org/2011/09/23/blog-post-from-the-belly-of-the-beast-in-the-bowels-of-the-world-bank/

Corporate Green Nature Conservancy Earns $4M Selling (False Solution) Carbon Credits in Canada

"…many European firms buy the offsets to claim to be carbon-neutral for both environmental and marketing reasons."

View Larger ImageTerri Theodore, The Canadian Press

Jun. 8, 2011

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is selling the forest to save the trees. The group is raising millions from its protected forest land by selling carbon credits for protecting the land.

The conservancy announced it is earning $4 million with the largest forest carbon-credit project in North America from its 55,000-hectare Darkwoods forest in southeastern B.C.

The carbon-offset value on 700,000 tonnes of emissions is based on preserving a forest that is private land which could otherwise be aggressively logged, B.C. Environment Minister Terry Lake said Wednesday.

"It is a great time to announce a project like this, being Clean Air Day and we know the role that forests play in keeping our air clean and removing the carbon dioxide," Lake told a crowd gathered for the announcement.

Pacific Carbon Trust — the B.C. Crown corporation that helps market carbon offsets — purchased 450,000 credits from the conservancy and the private Vancouver company Ecosystem Restoration Associates bought 250,000 credits.

Both firms will resell the credits to clients who want to meet carbon reduction goals.

John Lounds, president of the Nature Conservancy, said they’ve created a model for other land owners to follow for preserving forests and protecting the environment.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada owns more than 800,000 hectares of ecologically significant land nationwide, and the Darkwood property carbon plan is considered a pilot project for the conservancy.

The conservancy purchased Darkwoods in 2008 and has reduced the logging to what it calls a "conservation harvest," from 50,000 cubic meters to 10,000 cubic metres. Much of the cut wood is from trees killed by the pine beetle epidemic.

The sale of the conservancy’s carbon credits is equal to removing 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from the air, or taking about 120,000 sport utilities vehicles off the road for a year.

The carbon figure was calculated through international standards.

Ecosystem will sell the 250,00 credits it purchased from the conservancy through the European voluntary market through its German partners, Forest Carbon Group.

Michael Streck, with the Forest Carbon Group, said much of the voluntary carbon purchase market comes from Europe and those companies like the idea of saving forests.

"These are the projects we look for, this is the stuff we’d like to sell, because it is extremely attractive, it has all the sexiness if you want."

He said many European firms buy the offsets to claim to be carbon-neutral for both environmental and marketing reasons.

But still, that market in Europe is just 0.1 per cent of the total carbon-trading market and 50 per cent of that is the purchase of forestry carbon offsets.

"Forestry is the most attractive sector to buy offsets from," Streck said.

The idea of a carbon-trading program has been slow to take off in Canada because the federal Conservative government is opposed to any plan for a carbon-trading market without the participation of the United States.

http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110608/bc_nature_conservancy_carbon_credits_110608?hub=BritishColumbiaHome

An Open Letter to The Nature Conservancy

Image courtesy of Unsuitablog

Dear TNC people:

This is a letter I sent to my lists some months ago. I would ask you to consider distributing it among yourselves and to the conference planners.

I just read of your October conference where business leaders will once again pretend to address the global ecological crisis. I do understand your dilemma: how to defend and perpetuate the industrial consumer society that relies on endless economic growth, i.e capitalism. Susan George of the Transnational Institute wrote a quite wonderful book, The Lugano Report, on this very subject.

We in the environmental community fully understand your plight. But we understand more: we understand the problem. The business community does not yet understand it. It is simply this: economic growth in a finite planet cannot continue and in fact it has ended for all intents and purposes. Economic growth as traditionally understood is OVER.

The power that be will of course continue to throw money at it and hold high level conferences like yours and come up with imaginary “solutions” that only conceal the problem and thus allow it to grow larger. Some of you may actually believe that growth is compatible with preserving wildlife and ecosystems. Let me disabuse you of this view. As long as humans overbreed, overproduce and overconsume, they will necessarily infringe on and eventually destroy the other species on this planet and their ecosystem. Dave Foreman’s book Man Swarm makes this quite clear.

We have a choice: stop overpopulation, consumption and growth, or destroy the planet on which we depend. There is NO middle way to grow AND save the planet. You MUST accept this fact as the premise of your conference and all your plans. Do I make myself clear?

No amount of media hype, government subsidy, financial sleight of hand or regulatory manipulation will change this. Anyone who believes the contrary is whistling in the darkening dark. We are witnessing the convergence of several crises, none of which will disappear. Some flimsy temporary tinkering with monetary or fiscal policy and other icing on the cake may provide some temporary relief in one of the crises, but the others will proceed apace, uncontrolled and uncontrollable. And so it will continue.

If you want the full honest truth, then let me suggest some names: Richard Heinberg as first choice, James Kunstler, Yuri Orlov, the Post-Carbon Institute, maybe Dave Foreman himself, and for some side “entertainment”, you can screen Dave Gardner’s documentary “Growthbusters”, which will premiere in October. This of course assumes you are open to hearing things that are at odds with your faith in growth and consumerism.

Sincerely,

Lorna Salzman

Dear friends in business, arts and culture:

Some of you will be annoyed at this message. I apologize for the intrusion. However, for those of you with an open mind, I ask that you read this short statement from two highly informed and credible activists, one Canadian and one American.

For those of you in the business community, let me beseech you to read and absorb this message. It is not unique nor is it new. It comes on the heels of reports from Canada indicating that despite the broad public concern over climate change, the Canadian government and environmental NGOs continue to refuse to inform the public as to the real extent and gravity of the climate change threat. This withholding of information is echoed here in the United States, replaced by reports and studies on the topic of renewable energy, as if this were a solution to the problem, or even an option at this point in time.

If you are not already worried about what kind of world your children or grandchildren face, then let me appeal to you on strictly economic and financial terms. Very shortly, probably before another decade passes, the developed world that is hooked on fossil fuels and economic growth will experience major energy and environmental constraints and obstacles which will in turn disrupt society and economies across the world and cause social chaos on an unprecedented scale. While the overpopulated less developed world will bear a large part of the brunt of this eco-collapse due to its impact on food crops and drinking water, industrial societies may actually be more adversely affected because they have more to lose in the way of infrastructure, transportation, energy supplies, and food supplies for large cities.

The crisis will first appear in the form of higher prices for energy and goods, followed by scarcities and maldistribution, followed by a forced contraction of commerce and business, especially in construction, maintenance and repair. In my opinion, the economic recession we are in today will not ease up before the new crisis of contraction begins. In other words, we face a global recession of indefinite duration, not a recovery.

It is long overdue for businessmen, entrepreneurs, corporations, investors, financiers and especially government to develop and implement a Greenprint for Survival. I say Greenprint, picking up on the 1972 “Blueprint for Survival” published by The Ecologist in Great Britain and its late founder/editor Teddy Goldsmith, a man of great foresight and insight. The original Blueprint, endorsed by dozens of leading scientists and others from all over the world, analyzed all the trends and sectors of the world economy and environment, and stated clearly and forcefully the impossibility of continued economic growth, the necessity for moving quickly to a steady-state society rather than one based on a continued through-put of energy and resources, and a redesign of human settlements to allow maximum political and economic decentralization.

The necessity for a relocalization of our economy, in terms of food, energy, transportation, commerce and industry, has now become a major subject of discussion but not one that is widespread because business, government and financiers still grasp onto the hope that economic growth and consumption can and will resume to their original extent and form. It is clear that as long as even some environmental groups withhold the truth about climate change and related issues (loss of biodiversity, destruction of ocean fisheries, diminution of fresh water supplies as glaciers disappear, etc.), neither government nor the business community will take any steps commensurate with the threat. For them, the laws of nature and inexorable drive towards eco-collapse have no importance. The sound of denial is deafening.

Some of you have written me in anger and disbelief, quoting pseudo-scientists and studies that have never been peer reviewed or published in any credible scientific publication. Most if not all of these are produced routinely by those with ties to special interests, especially those in energy, such as Exxon, the coal companies, and the nuclear industry (at least what remains of it). As such they have no more credibility than the front page of the National Inquirer. Perhaps it is comforting to the doubters and deniers that some scientists purvey good news. Their comfort, however, is shortly to disappear. The question they need to ask themselves, if they are honest and have any shred of compassion for their descendants, is this: What if the deniers are wrong?

Greed, self-interest and economic hegemony are powerful motivators but not for the good. If the deniers manage to suppress the bad news and twist the facts, they must be regarded as subversives, even terrorists, determined to impose their view of Business As Usual on the rest of us, with all the suffering, deprivation and societal catastrophe that this will bring. Those of you in the corporate or business world who still have an open mind and are willing to hear the truth may represent the last and best hope that our country has of shaking our government awake and instilling common sense into it. If any of you are up to this urgent responsibility, you should not delay but should reach out to others in the business community and demand that they open their ears and eyes to what is really happening. Please give this serious thought.

Lorna Salzman

+++

The following is an excerpt from the article From the Non-Profit Industrial Complex with Love | Explosive Climate Report Kept from Public:

2010 marks a significant new direction in the climate negotiations. The People’s Agreement, agreed upon during theWorld People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth on April 22nd, 2010 (Cochabamba, Bolivia) is by far the best position to date. It is also the first position to state the necessary targets as well as the realities based on climate science. Climate justice advocates now have a legitimate position paper, critical text of which is now being recognized for the first time by the UNFCCC. Climate justice groups across the world, including Canada’s Council of Canadians; Canada’s largest citizens organization, have endorsed and campaign on this powerful agreement. Surely now is the time to pull together and work harder than ever. Solutions do exist. Therefore, the question that must be asked is this: Why is the climate crisis being abandoned by many and why has an incredibly powerful report been kept from the public – when the public wants action?

It is important to note that all big greens including 350.org, RAN, Greenpeace, CAN Canada and CAN International have thus far declined to endorse the People’s Agreement. CAN-International has roughly 500 members in over 80 countries.

Friends of the Earth groups in Africa; Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda endorse the People’s Agreement. You can read their press release here:http://bit.ly/962OZE

They Know – And Have Known for a Long Time

On 18 April 2007, Ken Ward of Grist writes:

The deliberate decision a decade ago to downplay climate change risk in the interests of presenting a sober, optimistic image to potential donors, maintaining access to decision-makers, and operating within the constraints of private foundations has blown back on us. By emphasizing specific solutions and avoiding definitions that might appear alarmist, we inadvertently fed a dumbed-down, Readers Digest version of climate change to our staff and environmentalist core. Now, as we scramble to keep up with climate scientists, we discover that we have paid a hefty price. Humanity has <10 years to avert cataclysm and most U.S. environmentalists simply don’t believe it.

If we did believe it, we would be acting very differently. Why do we continue, in our materials and on our web sites, to present climate as one of any number of apparently equally important issues? Why, if we really believe that the fate of the world will be decided within a few years, haven’t our organizations liquidated assets, shut down non-essential program[s] and invested everything in one final effort? Why, given the crushing circumstances, is there essentially no internal debate or challenge to our inadequate course of action? Why, for that matter, aren’t environmentalists all working weekends?

These are not gratuitous questions. Environmentalists are not immune from the social and cognitive barriers that make it difficult for almost every individual, institution, society, and nation to come to terms with the threat of cataclysm. However, the whole point of environmentalism is to anticipate precisely the conditions in which we now find ourselves. The purpose of the precautionary principle is to encourage the long view, “out even to the 7th generation,” and the ethos of environmentalism is a fundamental challenge to the dominant paradigm. Our values and principles are supposed to buck us up when, as individuals, we lose our way.

A must watch 2009 video of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ross Gelbspan is riveting. Seldom does anyone have the conviction or courage to speak so boldly, so bluntly. Gelbspan reveals that what began as an initial response of many institutions – denial and delay – has now grown into a crime against humanity. Based on his investigative reporting, Gelbspan speaks of how politicians, big oil and coal, journalists, and the irresponsibility of the big greens have fueled a climate crisis. Gelspan has an interesting theory about why the environmental movement, downplaying the risks and avoiding talk of climate catastrophe, has communicated the climate crisis to the public with unrealistic “optimism.” He suggests that perhaps they are emotionally traumatized deep down by what they really know about the terrible extent of the risks of catastrophic climate change.

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“It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing.” – Elizabeth Kolbert, Field Notes from a Catastrophelsas

A Tar Sands Partnership Agreement in the Making?

By Macdonald Stainsby
Canadian Dimension
August 1st 2011

 

Campaigns against tar sands production have grown rapidly over the last four years. From the relative obscurity in Alberta to an international lightning rod for people trying to address all manner of concerns from indigenous and community self-determination to peak oil and climate change – criticisms of the largest industrial project in human history have gained a major voice.

The voices are certainly not homogenous, but a large contingent of these voices call for a shut down of tar sands production and a move away from fossil fuels – if not an outright move away from market-led growth of any sort. But, in the language of the environmental elite, what are the “decision makers” preparing to do with all this anti-tar sands resistance?

While there are still small scale, community led victories against certain developments – like the defeat of the recent Prosperity Mine proposal in British Columbia – I contend that mainstream environmentalism has effectively become a means by which corporations (who used to be anathema to environmentalists) now get the social license necessary to operate. There are obvious examples such as the World Wildlife Fund running commercials with Coca-Cola. But the real social management is done out of sight, and involves some of the most important players in the circles of the North American ruling class.

Co-opting Environmentalism

In the United States, major foundations – led at the time by the Sunoco-oil founded and controlled Pew Charitable Trusts – stopped fighting against environmentalism and sought instead to co-opt it and make it a “partner.” This model expanded over the next couple of decades until it slowly began to creep north of the border into Canada. Now this same technique dominates the Canadian enviro landscape as well, in some cases with a new twist. The Canadian Boreal Initiative [CBI] – a champion of “working with industry to find common solutions” – is not even an organization, but receives their money from Ducks Unlimited Canada who receive theirs from Ducks Unlimited in the United States. All of this funding originates with the Pew Charitable Trusts in Philadelphia. The Pew Foundation was started with a multi-billion dollar grant from Sunoco and today their board of directors is more than 50 percent tied to Sunoco, either through the Pew family or executive work with the oil giant. This same Pew gives funding to other well-known policy right-wing hawkish think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.

The CBI spearheads something they call “the Boreal Conservation Framework,” a plan to protect at least half the Boreal Forest. Fact: far, far less than half the boreal forest has been developed or is slated for development. This “initiative” partners openly with corporations such as Suncor, Nexen and several leading forestry corporations. The CBI, funded and directed by the Pew, also signs on to their framework the International Boreal Conservation Campaign – another Pew front group in the US. Along with corporate friendly organizations like the WWF, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, the Nature Conservancy and of course, Ducks Unlimited are a smattering of First Nations governments. Also among their signatories are the Tides Foundation and the Ivey Foundation.

With this behind them, the CBI then “negotiates” what the final deal of a particular industry should look like. Guaranteed at the outset is that corporations will continue operations, and that the general public is out of the loop right up until the moment the “deal” is announced.

Many other foundations – most but not all American – now play the same game of social manipulation in the environmental field. Foundations such as Rockefeller Brothers, Ford and Hewlett have not only entered into the fray in a major way, in the case of the tar sands campaigns, they have collaborated with the Pew to take social manipulation to a new level. The aforementioned Tides Foundation was set up as a sort of clearing house for other philanthropists and foundations, for many years receiving the overwhelming bulk of their money through the Pew. Today, other groups and foundations give them money and earmark where they want it spent. Tides exercises total control over something you are not supposed to hear about: The North American Tar Sands Coalition.

The Tides and the North American Tar Sands Coalition

The routine is fairly straightforward. After a long stretch when grassroots and community led struggles build up support using a multitude of strategies – from direct action blockades to boycott campaigns and speak outs, demonstrations and more – suddenly many of the organizers who started the campaign are shuffled aside. Professionals are either appointed within the ranks or are imported from outside and all are given foundation-led salaries. With or without public knowledge (almost always without) a “stakeholder” negotiation is undertaken between corporations, government and the new “professional” environmentalists will take place. The terms of the negotiations do not reach the public until a smiling photo-op of the “stakeholders” appears at a press conference to announce an “end” to a particular “campaign” now called a “win-win.” Details will vary, but they always include three things: A promise to stop organizing against a particular industry, market-based incentives that would lead to “change practices” and a guarantee for that industry to be allowed to develop, now unhindered. Such a process is slowly being constructed for tar sands production in Canada.

As if on cue, once the multitude of forces against tar sands development began to crack into both national and international media the large foundations appeared in the background. In this particular case, they had set up a spider’s web of control from the getgo. All the usual foundations – Pew Charitable Trusts, Hewlett, Rockefeller Brothers, Ford Foundation – now use the Tides Foundation as a singular source to centralize control over the would be recipients of funding.

By funnelling all money through the Tides Foundation all organizations and movements that approach any of these sources can be directed to only one source – the Tides Foundation and their “North American Tar Sands Coalition.” The NATSC is headed by one Michael Marx. While they also have “Canadian” and “American” campaign leaders, Marx has near total authority to forge the funding decisions, policy directions, media strategy and over-all focus of how the “coalition” will operate. Who then, is Michael Marx?

Marx is known as a “corporate responsibility” campaigner. Previously working with Forest Ethics and now, along side his control over the tar sands campaign, he is a head of Corporate Ethics International. His own personal bio celebrates that he has previously helped “green” Wal-Mart, one of the largest and most labour exploitative corporations in the world. He does not believe that the tar sands can or should be shut down, and is shaping political messaging to that end. The list of ENGO’s that are funded by Michael Marx’s NATSC is long, but to list merely the largest of the Canadian ones that have been with them from the beginning of the “invisible to the outside” coalition: The Pembina Institute, Environmental Defense Canada, ForestEthics, World Wildlife Fund (Canada), The Sierra Club of Canada (and associated regional chapters), Eco Justice and the Canadian Boreal Intiative. Perhaps most important to note is that the coalition also involves Greenpeace Canada – important because historically GPC did not take foundation funding but has now been listed for several grants from Tides Canada for this work.

There are also many regional only organizations – working on regional only campaigns, such as to ostensibly stop the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline across arts of unceded first nations territory in northern British Columbia. These groups involve Living Oceans society, The David Suzuki Foundation, west Coast Environmental Law and the Dogwood Initiative with a host of community led groups. These regional grants are controlled by Canadian understudy to Michael Marx, Jennifer Lash.

Since the highly criticized deal called the “Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement” was signed in 2010 between what was called nine environmental NGOs and 21 forestry companies, Tides has started muttering in public as their own voice – calling for the “bridging of the two camps” of environmentalists and energy companies over the tar sands. No first nations have been mentioned in their pronouncements. Nonetheless, in Europe they have moved in to steer the direction of anti-tar sands campaigning. Marx himself showed up recently in the UK, speaking out on campaigns to “stop tar sands expansion” in ads paid for by Corporate Ethics International. These same ads have appeared in Alberta; Marx himself lives in San Francisco.

Astro-turfing is a term often applied to various Republican or Tea Party ventures in the United States, ones where money and slick marketing are used to build an appearance of a grassroots network where, in fact, none truly exists. While there most certainly is such a grassroots network against the tar sands – and it is expanding globally – the astro-turfing of “demands” to go into the backroom negotiations is tailored to appear genuine. The manner it is done is to put forward a vague and almost completely uncontroversial call and ask people to sign on to some declaration.

As of late that has appeared to be towards the blight of the toxic tailings ponds littering the landscape by the vast open-pit mines. In recent months as well, Suncor (the original tar sands corporation, former property of Sunoco oil and largest energy company in Canada) announced they had developed “dry tailings technology” and that they planned over time to roll out and implement it. Considering that Suncor is openly partnered with the Canadian Boreal Initiative, it seems strangely convenient that the astroturfing campaign is now targeting tailings ponds – shortly after many of the more corporate environmental organizations and the largest players among tar sands operators were caught – trying to have a private, unreported meeting together.

The first attempt at such a meeting, last April, was spearheaded by the Pembina Institute. The Pembina is employed as consultants for Nexen, Suncor, TD Financial and many other industrial corporations and has partnered with the original tar sands giant Suncor Energy since 1982. That meeting was to be a “fireside chat” but it was cancelled when people got wind of it and it appeared first on the mediacoop.ca and later on in the Globe and Mail. Today, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Tides Foundation and others are calling for “dialogue.”

What Would a Tar Sands Partnership Agreement Look Like?

Based on the market trajectory of the Marx-led team, it will involve beyond promises on water and tailings – including carbon offsets, promised investments in “green” energy technology alongside perhaps some announcement on further research into carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).

Based on all previous deals in Canada and the United States, such a framework could only be announced as the “end to the war over tar sands” – to effectively give social license to tar sands operations permanently. This would then eliminate Tides based on all previous deals in Canada and the United States, such a framework could only be announced as the “end to the war over tar sands” – to effectively give social license to tar sands operations permanently. This would then eliminate Tides based anti-tar sands funding for all organizations in the NATSC. Certain groups such as Greenpeace, the Indigenous Environmental Network, Rainforest Action Network as well as several community initiatives have official positions to end tar sands development. The Pembina Institute, CBI, Tides, David Suzuki Foundation, Sierra Club, and near the totality of ENGO’s who receive NATSC funding in the United States do not call for the cessation of tar sands development, but mitigation of the “worst” impacts.

The breathtaking pace and size of tar sands development in Canada has not gone unnoticed to other would-be producers; many countries around the planet have deposits of bitumen that would require much the same technology. Those investors have been visiting Canada, learning, and heading elsewhere where bitumen beckons. A partial list of locations that are now threatened with tar sands extraction includes Trinidad and Tobago, The Republic of Congo, Madagascar, the US state of Utah, China, Russia and Jordan. There is also the country that may have even larger deposits than Canada – the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

With the exception of Venezuela, whose production is still but a fraction of Canada’s, none of these countries have gone into commercial production at this point. It will be nearly impossible to stop tar sands developments in Africa, Latin America Asia and elsewhere if all of our collective work in opposition to the development of tar sands is sacrificed to a “partnership deal” that allows for continued tar sands extraction. Corporations like France’s Total in Madagascar could then argue: “If this development is clean and responsible enough for Canada, why not so for Madagascar?” Such a dynamic must be avoided at all costs on many levels, not least of which is the remaining sliver of hope that the worst effects of climate change can be avoided, rather than simply managed or mitigated.

Climate justice organizing is, in part, an attempt to go beyond the counting of C02 emissions and to get to the heart of solutions to the climate crisis – solutions that involve the end of oppression of the communities that bear the brunt of the climate crisis, and do so in ways that respects their self-determination. Addressing the needs of these communities as they speak for the solutions they want cannot be a part of a backroom, anti-democratic model of development pushed forward with money from the very industries trying to eliminate them from history. It will take a global effort to hear and then amplify the voices – from Africa to Asia, and north to south in the Americas. None of these voices can be heard if someone closes a door to hold secret meetings with the financial powers whose assets already scream so loudly – as we edge ever closer to a point of no return.

MacDonald Stainsby is a social justice activist and journalist currently living in Edmonton and is the coordinator of http://oilsandstruth.org.

http://ecosocialismcanada.blogspot.com/2011/08/tar-sands-partnership-agreement-in.html

http://canadiandimension.com/

2011 | The Big Green Race to Extinction

Published February 17th, 2011 by Political Context under the headline: 2011 | The Race to the Bottom Accelerates

By Cory Morningstar | http://bit.ly/i35O4J | http://bit.ly/gh2HRe | http://bit.ly/i8HdXq

 

2011 | The Race to the Bottom Accelerates

 

Illustration courtesy of Stephanie McMillan | CODE GREEN

“The Earth isn’t dying, it’s being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.” – Utah Philips

As we now stand firmly on the precipice – staring irreversible climate catastrophe and natural resource depletion squarely in the face – the world accelerates its pace in a mad race to the bottom. Running with the baton are the world’s largest environmental NGOs – non-profit organizations. Although the industrial non-profit complex claims to speak for civil society, in reality these groups are the sanctioning agents of a planet which is rapidly becoming completely dominated by corporate control. These groups have been integral to lending legitimacy and credibility to the very corporations hell bent on destroying and commodifying what little remains of our increasingly fragile planet. What we are now witnessing is a race for the last remaining shared commons. Commons which should be protected and held ‘in trust’ for future generations – if only our governments were not mere puppets of corporate power and control.

WTF WEF: “Defining Civil Society, Once and For All”

“We are blinded, enchanted and finally enslaved by spectacle.” – Empire of Illusion, Chris Hedges

In the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting of 2005 one topic of significant importance was ‘Defining Civil Society, Once and For All’. The moderator Bassir Pour cited there was a 15 minute delay as many of the participants had been listening to the panel titled ‘The G8 and Africa: Rhetoric or Action? ‘ This panel had highlighted an example of ‘civil society in action’ in the form of a demonstration by Greenpeace, which Pour said put a smile on her lips because it was so peaceful. To be sure, there is nothing that makes a corporation or corporate-controlled government happier than a passive, unthreatening demonstration with no fighting spirit. Mind you, the same corporate entities do not uphold such similar peaceful ideologies for themselves to abide by. For example, in Columbia and other developing countries, Coca-Cola has murdered hundreds of union leaders. Dole has had no qualms in knowingly exposing banana workers to toxins resulting in sterilization. On December 26, 2009, Dora “Alicia” Recinos Sorto, age 32, was assassinated. Dora was the second anti-mining activist killed that week in the small community of Nueva Trinidad. Recinos Sorto was eight months pregnant and carrying her two-year old child when she was shot on her way back from doing laundry at a nearby river. Canadian Mining Company Pacific Rim has come under fire for these accelerating assassinations which continue today. In vulnerable countries such violence has become a daily part of life. Activists are targeted and become the invisible victims of the murderous economic system. Demonstrations have morphed from the fierce unwavering determination witnessed in the sixties to the ‘acceptable’ demonstrations now recognized today which are overwhelmingly ineffective. Such assembly line ‘protests’ undoubtedly inspire reactions from the global elite such as, “look at the cute proles who believe they can make a difference – adorable. Now let’s get back to business.” Touching on today’s ineffective movements, on 3 February 2011, Mr. Fish of truthdig.org asks the question: “What do we have now? An anti-war movement that is so gutless and so savagely unimaginative that, rather than gaining purpose and momentum in the face of our government’s ever-increasing disdain for peace in the Middle East, it has proved itself to be too lazy, even too cowardly, to face down the very disease of oligarchy that it had concocted itself to cure.” This statement can easily be applied to today’s environmental movement.

Pacific Rim Corporation: Above: Anti-Mining Activist Recinos Sorto – Assassinated

WEF: “Organizing Their Dream World”

One response to the question of ‘how to define civil society’ was that since big business foundations are incentivized by the tax code, corporations are not civil society, but foundations are. Therefore it should be no surprise the ‘big green’ groups who claim they receive no corporate funding can legitimately do so, merely because foundations serve as corporate front groups. The big greens are funded by the very foundations set up by the corporations who essentially serve as a money laundering service in what the elites proclaim as philanthro-capitalism. Others questions in the WEF discussion were: “Could an NGO formed by a corporation be part of civil society? Does acceptance of government contracts make an NGO an extension of government? Are the big NGOs still members of civil society?” In the summing up period, Pour said, Kofi Annan’s advice was the main point: to keep “organizing our dream world.”

The following year, at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of 2006 a topic of significant importance was ‘Building Trust in Public and Private Institutions’. Richard Edelman, President and CEO of Edelman, USA, reported that opinion leaders now trust NGOs more than business, media and government for information. “NGOs are the most trusted institution in nearly every market,” he stated. (Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2006 Seventh Global Opinion Leaders Study). He further reported that “Information conveyed by CEOs is at the bottom of the list, even lower than politicians, with organizations such as Amnesty International, WWF World Wide Fund for Nature, Greenpeace, and Médecins Sans Frontières at the top of the ranking.” Guy Ryder, General Secretary, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), Brussels, corroborated the Edelman survey: “Trust matters. There is a feeling of bewilderment which dramatically impacts on people’s lives. They feel powerless; we do not have a means of expressing opinions. ‘Trust proximity’ is the thing that you are familiar with; it includes the things you understand.” Ryder further explained that for the ordinary person, “NGOs seem ‘more like me’ and convey the things that matter to me.” He noted that the fall of confidence in public institutions is the most alarming. “53% of people in the US want to be represented by trade unions, but corporate America stops this.” (Corporate America certainly does stop this. Corporate power has been utilizing corporate-owned media to its absolute advantage in a major attempt to turn the public sentiment against unions – the last remaining collective to threaten corporate power. The rhetoric spewed out by the corporate media is nothing less than incredible.)

Make no mistake, NGOs are recognized by corporate power as an absolutely essential element – indispensable for ensuring corporate power can quite easily advance their agenda.

First Place: Nature Conservancy

 

“Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate” – Bertrand Russell

At the front line of the race to the bottom we must recognize The Nature Conservancy for accepting the challenge of “protecting nature” in an announced new partnership with Dow Chemical who have generously gifted Nature Conservancy with a cool $10 million. Unfortunately, this ‘bankrolled consent’ most likely means Dow will be too financially strapped to clean up Bhopal – whose citizens continue to suffer to this day. Never mind last week it was announced that Dow’s profit has tripled. The corporation reported a profit of $511 million for the quarter ending in December 2010. Nature Conservancy’s president and CEO is none other than former Goldman Sachs Group executive, Mark Tercek. Perhaps not coincidentally, former Nature Conservancy president Henry Paulson also made his rounds through the revolving doors of the Goldman Sachs Group. Yet another Nature Conservancy board member, Muneer Satter, also originated from Goldman Sachs. You may recall the name Goldman Sachs – most known for their role in the brilliantly executed 2008 financial crisis which threw millions into poverty as the rich became even richer. As well, Nature Conservancy just hired a new marketing director in 2010 — former executive vice president for marketing at World Wrestling Entertainment. Prior to that position, he served as senior vice president for marketing at Showtime Networks. Showtime indeed. Fiction? Satire? Unfortunately not. If such organizations were not so dangerous, one would have to laugh. However, considering we are on the brink of exterminating our own children, this is truly sickening and no laughing matter. (Fyi – The Nature Conservancy has more than $3.7 billion in assets, annual revenue of $860 million – remember that when they ask you for your last 20 bucks.)

Second Place: Greenpeace International

And what does the world’s most recognized NGO plan to do in the face of cataclysmic climate change, as the opportunity to avoid irreversible planetary collapse slowly dissipates? It launches an international campaign to ‘green’ Facebook by Earth Day, April 22, 2011.

Enough said.

Update! 11 February 2011: “Today we need you to join a very special photo petition – … no, call it a competition – The 10 most-liked photos on Wednesday, 16 February at 17:00 CET will feature in an upcoming Greenpeace activity… (say no more, nudge nudge, wink wink). We also have campaign t-shirts for the top ten, and a CD of “Amchitka, The 1970 Concert that Launched Greenpeace,” featuring Joni Mitchell, Phil Ochs, and James Taylor, for the most popular photo of all. The funniest, weirdest, and most provocative photos will probably get the most ‘Likes’, so have some fun with it, submit your photo and get “liking” right away! Happy snapping, Team Facebook (at Greenpeace!)”

Third Place: WWF Presents National Sweater Day

 

“It’s time to Get Sweatered!” WWF-Canada announces a brand new campaign for Sweater Day, February 17, 2011. And after this you can look forward to shutting your lights off for that one hour a year in WWF’s annual Earth Hour campaign. As always, big greens frame the conversation on what an individual can do while vehemently neglecting to discuss the root cause of climate change – the current economic system. In this campaign, our youth is led to believe that small individual actions will help solve our environmental crisis. They can’t. Further, the crisis is framed to be most unthreatening, simply because the solution proposed requires so little effort. Of course, this campaign isn’t complete without prizes to feed the insatiable need to consume – which this campaign endorses by way of participation. (WWF International’s operating revenue totalled 224.2 million in 2010. Carter Roberts, CEO and President, took home a meagre $486,394 in 2008.)

Honourable Mentions: Friends of the Earth International


Courtesy of Keith Farnish’s Unsuitablog

“Find out about the Good Shopping Guide application: http://bit.ly/hH44mK Plus win an iPod touch! ” – Friends of the Earth via twitter

Friends of the Earth, 1970-2011
RIP

Worst Video

 

The video featuring a 2 minute summary of the COP16 conference and highlighting the brand TckTckTck makes light of our planetary emergency and tells the viewer… absolutely nothing. Further, the video frames Bolivia as an obstructionist to the negotiations when in fact Bolivia stood alone rejecting an agreement which will lead to mass genocide. Alone, Bolivia fought for life using powerful, ethical arguments, defending the people’s agreements adopted in Cochabamba which would protect Mother Earth, all species and future generations. All big greens have declined to endorse the People’s Agreement which places people before corporate profit. It appears this video, being promoted widely, was created by TckTckTck partner UKYCC.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76BgKe1naFc

First Prize for Most Dangerous: Greenpeace at the World Economic Forum

“Capitalism justified itself and was adopted as an economic principle on the express ground that it provides selfish motives for doing good, and that human beings will do nothing except for selfish motives” – George Bernard Shaw

In the frontline of global economic forums such as the WEF, commonly referred to simply as Davos, you will recognize the exceptionally orchestrated Greenpeace demonstrations. This is the Greenpeace that rides today on the coat-tails of the legacy laid down by the original Greenpeace founders decades ago.  A Greenpeace which in reality no longer exists. Before being co-opted by corporate power, Greenpeace consisted of grassroots activists who were not interested in discussing compromise. One such founder, Bob Hunter, wore a ‘fuck off’ sign around his neck in a public meetings. These real-life eco-warriors had no fear of ripping to shreds those who were destroying our planet.

A headline on an image posted on 10 January 2011 reads, “Sixty Greenpeace activists dressed in skeleton suits protest in front of the World Economic Forum conference against Dow Chemical”. The banners reads, “Clean up Bhopal Now!” The images are moving. Yet, in the background something much different is going on … behind the scenes … for those who dance in the elitist circle … the champagne flows almost as fast as the money.

 

7 February 2011, Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International and chair of the Havas creation TckTckTck ‘speaks to power’ in Johannesburg, South Africa. Naidoo explains that at the World Economic Forum in Davos he had meetings with no fewer than 15 chief executives of major corporations, men whose decisions help shape (destroy) our environment and affect workers’ rights (exploitation) and ultimately what kind of world we pass on to our children and grandchildren (irreversible climate hell with collapsed ecosystems). Naidoo states that the first meeting was a breakfast briefing with Unilever. Naidoo states he was invited by the chief executive to speak of the curious relationship his company enjoys with Greenpeace.

Curious. Yes. It is most interesting that TckTckTck creator Havas serves the world’s most powerful clients such as Unilver and EDF (nuclear).

For an excellent briefing on why Greenpeace working with corporate power for a better world is bullshit slash greenwash, Richard Samans offers an astute analysis in “Running the World After the Crash,” in Jan 2011 Foreign Policy. “Two years ago the elites were scared to death by the global crash, their economic nostrums discredited. Thousands of citizens took to the streets. Governments fell. Others desperately promised a new era of financial re-regulation, world cooperation on the environment and food crises created by neoliberalism and exponential growth. Then they regained confidence. Banks were “too big to fail”. The taxpayer was told to pay the bill for the playboys of the Western world. Trillions of private debt were transferred to the taxpayer (socialism for the rich) – a bill that our children and their children will have to pay. A further consequence: there is “no money left”, we are told, to finance climate action, international aid, schools, healthcare, housing, job creation and infrastructure. The elites are laughing all the way to the bank. And the high priests of the system (at Davos Jan 2011) say the next whirl of the financial wheel will be based on carbon credits.”


First Prize for Most Tasteless | Greenpeace Makes Light of Tibetan Oppression

Under attack for the tasteless 30 second Super Bowl commercial using Tibet, the corporation responsible, Groupon, stepped into the defensive mode. As images of Tibet were shown, actor Timothy Hutton read, “The people of Tibet are in trouble. Their very culture is in jeopardy.” The scene cuts to Hutton inside a restaurant: “But they still whip up an amazing fish curry. And since 200 of us bought at groupon.com we’re each getting 30 dollars worth of Tibetan food for just 15 dollars at Himalayan restaurant in Chicago.”

Although this ad is clearly distasteful and trivializes the incredibly serious issue of human rights violations in Tibet, Greenpeace, who also uses Groupon, defended the ad. “Greenpeace is happily participating in the campaign. The truth is that the ‘Save the Money’ campaign and the commercial are really helping us save the whales,” Greenpeace’s John Hocevar said in a blog post. He added, “They loved the idea of poking fun at themselves by talking about discounts as a noble cause.”

People aware of how the Tibetan culture is being destroyed in the conflict with China understand struggles of Tibet deserve respect.

From the Free Tibet website: “For Groupon the commercial has generated a lot of free media coverage and it could be argued that the advert has helped raise the profile of what is happening in Tibet, after all awareness is the first step to accountability. But it does put Tibetans and their suffering at the heart of the joke and when it’s used for commercial purposes that is exploitative. The commercial also exposes that fact that across the US and arguably the world the public know what is happening inside Tibet. But that leaves the uncomfortable fact that not enough of us are holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for the suffering in Tibet, nor for that matter are our own governments being held accountable for their failure to hold China accountable for its appalling human rights record in Tibet.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reLqtMb4-e8&feature=related (What Remains of Us: This film was shot without the knowledge of the Chinese authorities, using small digital cameras, during nearly a dozen secret forays into Tibet between 1996 and 2004.)

First Prize for Most Predictable

 

Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.” – Elizabeth Stanton

 

Rockefeller funded 350.org wins hands down for the predictable launch of their Businesses For 350 Campaign.  How to get to 350?  You won’t find the answer on this site … maybe just keep recycling or consuming. It appears Bill McKibben of 350.org neglected to read our 10:10:10 critique from October 2010.

First Prize for Most Undetected Greenwash of 2010

TckTckTck – partner of 350.org, WWF, Greenpeace and hundreds of other NGOs – was created by Havas, one of the largest marketing and PR firms in the world. Havas clients include a torrent of the largest and most powerful corporations on the planet. Given that economic growth is the root cause of greenhouse gas emissions growth (they have been neck and neck for the last 50 years); and the raison d’etre of Havas is to ensure TckTckTck founding partner corporations including EDF (the largest nuclear corporation on the planet) increase profits through economic growth; TckTckTck was fatally compromised at its inception. In the 2010 ‘Public Eye’ campaign it states, “Organized since 2000, Public Eye reminds corporations with destructive business practices that actions have consequences, presenting ‘name and shame’ awards to the nastiest corporate players of the year and through these awards presents to the world the immoral nexus between corporate power and the political elite.” In 2010, following the Copenhagen disaster, Greenpeace Switzerland participated in naming the Public Eye Award to “the nastiest corporate player of the year”.  The nominees included GDF Suez and Roche – TckTckTck founding partners. In summary, Greenpeace, partner of TckTckTck (Kumi Naidoo chairs both Greenpeace International and TckTckTck, also known as GCCA) is in partnership with these same corporations (GDF Suez and Roche). Such campaigns and organizations make a mockery of those suffering on the front lines of the climate emergency today. The layers of deceit are breathtaking.

As of today there remains a shortcut link on the Havas website to www.tcktcktck.org to “join the fight for climate justice”. And business for Havas has never been better – new business remains strong. (€1.6 billion for the first nine months of the year, compared with €1.1 billion for the same period in 2009 (+42%)).

 

TckTckTck has removed their partner, the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, from visibility on the www.tcktcktck.org website after screenshots and information of this collaboration were released to their supporters and partners using their own listserv. The TckTckTck partners within the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change group include Shell, Coca-Cola and RBC. RBC is the number one financier of the most destructive project on the planet – the tar sands.  Over 1,000 corporate entities make up this TckTckTck partner group.

 

Eradicating Stupidity | Going Forward

“As for the bourgeois state, we are seeking to overcome it, to overthrow it.” Salvador Allende, 1970


 

 

Just as wearing sweaters will not make any meaningful dent in our climate crisis; just as turning Facebook green amounts to essentially nothing; just as ‘green’ shopping and more i-pods only serve to further destroy us; and just as the Nature Conservancy – Dow partnership will only serve to greenwash; consuming as a means of helping will not save whales or anything else. Every day, our current economic system continues brings us one day closer to cataclysmic, irreversible climate change and ecosystem collapse on a global scale.

And while we may not expect truth from the bloated NGOs, we should not accept it. Importantly, while we recognize the demise of ethics within the vast monopoly of NGOs who protect the very system that grips us securely in a stranglehold, we must also recognize that within these corporate structures are well-intentioned citizens and even activists who are just as frustrated by the censorship and symbolic ‘feel good’ campaigns that appeal to our society’s worst traits. Such traits such as individualism, greed, apathy and narcissism are integral for a profoundly weak and divided society. Therefore, such traits are kept fed and nourished by the corporate powers who are, in turn, completely dependent upon society’s successful indoctrination and feelings of powerlessness. Fortunately, for the ethical, yet repressed, campaigners on the inside, in 2011 we now have Enviroleaks – enabling those within the system to leak imperative documents, without fear of repercussion.

What else is new in 2011? To date, there are no mainstream NGOs who are willing to campaign on militarism and its massive contribution to climate change. One would think that this would be a sure ‘win’ upon which the NGOs should love to attach themselves. Really, how many people do you know that would oppose a campaign to end occupations and war? Known to most citizens, militarism in the US represents such a massive chunk of the budget, there is little money for anything else. Healthcare and education remain mere irritants of the lowest priority. Although this reckless budget will no doubt contribute to bankrupting the US sooner rather than later – only to line bank vaults of the corporations and the controlling plutocracy – the big greens are silent on the issue. It appears that millions of lives lost count for little.

And like we must stop the soothing yet false illusion that governments will someday do what they are supposed to do – represent their constituents and act in their best interests – we must also stop the false illusion that NGOs will confront the system and inspire a desperately needed uprising of the people who reject all false solutions while also demanding nothing less a new system which functions to serve only the essential needs of the people while protecting all life and our planet.

To date, the big greens refuse to tell supporters what the most critical aspects of climate change are, in spite of the insistent urging from climate justice activists. These are the imperatives every citizen has the right to know … and are not being told.

1)    In order to stabilize the planet, the world must achieve zero carbon emissions. Zero is the only number that matters and it must be achieved in a matter of years, not decades.  We are in a planetary emergency at less than 1ºC rise.

2)    The current economic system is the root cause of climate change.

3)    A mass mobilization on a global scale is needed to convert to a clean, perpetual zero carbon economy which rejects all false solutions including green capitalism.

The destructive campaigns of the big greens highlighted within this article are just a drop in the bucket of symbolic brand-building nonsense. Therefore the easiest direct action of 2011 is this: hit unsubscribe. The industrial non-profit complex claims to represent and speak for you in economic forums and government institutions around the world. They don’t. And if they have no members of civil society, they immediately lose their power to speak for us.  If they no longer speak for us, they can no longer use civil society as a tool allowing the expansion of the corporate agenda.

The pursuit of profit verses our responsibility to protect nature brings us to a tragic reality that is difficult to accept. Decades of doing nothing means it is now too late to stop climate change. Yet, perhaps it is not too late (we hope) to avert the magnitude of long-term impacts by cutting emissions to zero at break-neck speed. If we miss this closing window of opportunity, feedbacks take over, at which point cataclysmic climate change becomes irreversible. Nature takes over, and our planet becomes a living hell.

Message to the Youth: do-or-die


 

“But we won’t spend a buck a dime a single cent to preclude disaster for our children. As a mother and a grandmother this is the line that grips my heart. I see this as ageism gone viral. We don’t really care about our kids just our credit rating and OUR pensions. I guess Queen Victoria was totally effective when she said, “Children should be seen and not heard. Our so called economic system doesn’t hear the children at all. I guess soon we won’t have to see them either. Good for us adults, our campaign is a BIG success.” – FB comment

Why does society expect the next generation to clean up this mess of unparalleled magnitude – especially considering instead of being given essential tools for life skills, they were given remotes, posters of corporate prostitots, and truckloads of made-for-landfill plastic stuff bursting with toxins, chemicals and everything else that makes one ashamed to be human. This apocalyptic nightmare should never have been left to a generation of youth who have been raised and indoctrinated by corporate America – yet here we are – and the wrath of insatiable greed is about to grab our youth by the throat.

While we listen to Maude Barlow and other wise owls who tell us the next generation is the one that will change everything, we must recognize that today’s youth have become a reflection of our morally bankrupt society – beautiful children who have succumbed to become, most comfortably numb. Millions have come close to over-dosing on social media such as Facebook and texting. Ironically, social media is a wet dream for the globe’s largest marketing public relations firms who represent the world’s most powerful corporations. Marketing executives and corporate super-powers are salivating over what they envision as the greatest opportunity to exploit the planet’s youth. The corporate powers are masters in the art of acclimatizing civil society into believing that we have no control. They methodically hypnotize us to believe resistance is hopeless and therefore should be given up. This very system that enslaves us can continue its existence only if we accept that resistance is futile. Not unlike pedophiles who prey upon children, the plutocracy preys upon and is dependent upon a society easily lured with candy.

Things can change. 2011 marks a paradigm shift. The Egyptians have taught the world how to use the very social media tools corporate gods had hoped would serve to manipulate, control and distract us – and use these tools, instead, as weapons of mass-resistance. We now have WikiLeaks and Anonymous, bound to inspire creativity, coupled with revolt, in ways not yet imagined. The Egyptians have also taught the world what a revolution requires – nothing less than the courage and conviction of hundreds of thousands and even millions of bodies in the streets that refuse to leave until victory is achieved.

Today’s youth have, not only a right, but a moral obligation, to rebel and destroy the current power structures that exist. This is necessary in order to salvage what is left of a raped and pillaged planet on the brink of ecological collapse. Martin Luther King once said that you cannot commit an act of violence against a non-sentient object. Today, police states and corporate controlled governments protect property, corporate interests, and industrialized economic growth over life itself. Drastic times require drastic measures; thus, our youth have the right to destroy the suicidal structures now threatening humanity. Echoing the words of Malcolm X, they must defend that right “by any means necessary”. And we must support them as they seize this right, for we have failed them.

“Liberties are not given, they are taken.” – Aldous Huxley

Go forward in self defence. No longer can we passively witness the rape, abuse and desecration of our Earth Mother.  No longer can we passively witness the exploitation, violence and oppression subjected on our brothers and sisters. In our fight  for survival and for all life, love is the guiding principle, illuminating the centre of our struggle. We will not negotiate life. We reject all compromise. We will practise non-violence in the spirit of the Buddhist concept of aggressive non-violence understanding that one cannot commit an act of violence against a non-sentient object. Although we will exercise compassionate wrath, we recognize we have the right to defend ourselves and our Earth Mother. We intend to do so. Self-defence is not a crime. We will attack the economic system – as this is the only language it understands. We will collectively fight to reclaim our dignity and power. The burning flame at the heart of our fight for life will not be smothered, rehabilitated, co-opted, or psychologically marginalized. There will be no dilution of our fervour, no lowering of the flames, or any muting of our essential collective voice. And if our fire destroys, it is for the sake or protection and healing and bringing us together as one. Our love will burn brilliantly. The time is now.

“Individually we may see ourselves as free, yet as a collective, we are slaves. The point where we free ourselves from our own animal is that moment when we become enlightened, where we see ourselves not as a person at a single point in time, but as a continuity in blood and in thought, spanning generations and time.” Harold One Feather

It is past time to start enacting civil disobedience on a massive scale. Knowledge is the weapon and it is time to arm the masses. Fuel distribution centres, pipelines, the industrial-military-complex, banks, the stock exchange: all must be targeted. Go forward. Don’t look back. Be courageous. Be strong. The truth is on our side. Our parents could not find the courage, which means we must. The Earth, and all life on this planet, pumps through our veins. To feel it, go outside and lie under a tree. Look up at the sky. We are nature. Nature is us. Our time is running out.

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

Cory Morningstar is climate justice activist whose recent writings can be found on Canadians for Action on Climate Change and The Art of Annihilation site where you can read her bio. You can follow her on Twitter: @elleprovocateur

Published February 17th, 2011 by Political Context under the headline: 2011 | The Race to the Bottom Accelerates

By Cory Morningstar | http://bit.ly/i35O4J | http://bit.ly/gh2HRe | http://bit.ly/i8HdXq

This piece continues the series being presented by Cory Morningstar and Gregory Vickrey and is part of their anticipated and controversial book and multimedia project due out in 2011.

2011 | The Race to the Bottom Accelerates

Illustration courtesy of Stephanie McMillan | CODE GREEN

“The Earth isn’t dying, it’s being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.” – Utah Philips

As we now stand firmly on the precipice – staring irreversible climate catastrophe and natural resource depletion squarely in the face – the world accelerates its pace in a mad race to the bottom. Running with the baton are the world’s largest environmental NGOs – non-profit organizations. Although the industrial non-profit complex claims to speak for civil society, in reality these groups are the sanctioning agents of a planet which is rapidly becoming completely dominated by corporate control. These groups have been integral to lending legitimacy and credibility to the very corporations hell bent on destroying and commodifying what little remains of our increasingly fragile planet. What we are now witnessing is a race for the last remaining shared commons. Commons which should be protected and held ‘in trust’ for future generations – if only our governments were not mere puppets of corporate power and control.

WTF WEF: “Defining Civil Society, Once and For All”

“We are blinded, enchanted and finally enslaved by spectacle.” – Empire of Illusion, Chris Hedges

In the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting of 2005 one topic of significant importance was ‘Defining Civil Society, Once and For All’. The moderator Bassir Pour cited there was a 15 minute delay as many of the participants had been listening to the panel titled ‘The G8 and Africa: Rhetoric or Action? ‘ This panel had highlighted an example of ‘civil society in action’ in the form of a demonstration by Greenpeace, which Pour said put a smile on her lips because it was so peaceful. To be sure, there is nothing that makes a corporation or corporate-controlled government happier than a passive, unthreatening demonstration with no fighting spirit. Mind you, the same corporate entities do not uphold such similar peaceful ideologies for themselves to abide by. For example, in Columbia and other developing countries, Coca-Cola has murdered hundreds of union leaders. Dole has had no qualms in knowingly exposing banana workers to toxins resulting in sterilization. On December 26, 2009, Dora “Alicia” Recinos Sorto, age 32, was assassinated. Dora was the second anti-mining activist killed that week in the small community of Nueva Trinidad. Recinos Sorto was eight months pregnant and carrying her two-year old child when she was shot on her way back from doing laundry at a nearby river. Canadian Mining Company Pacific Rim has come under fire for these accelerating assassinations which continue today. In vulnerable countries such violence has become a daily part of life. Activists are targeted and become the invisible victims of the murderous economic system. Demonstrations have morphed from the fierce unwavering determination witnessed in the sixties to the ‘acceptable’ demonstrations now recognized today which are overwhelmingly ineffective. Such assembly line ‘protests’ undoubtedly inspire reactions from the global elite such as, “look at the cute proles who believe they can make a difference – adorable. Now let’s get back to business.” Touching on today’s ineffective movements, on 3 February 2011, Mr. Fish of truthdig.org asks the question: “What do we have now? An anti-war movement that is so gutless and so savagely unimaginative that, rather than gaining purpose and momentum in the face of our government’s ever-increasing disdain for peace in the Middle East, it has proved itself to be too lazy, even too cowardly, to face down the very disease of oligarchy that it had concocted itself to cure.” This statement can easily be applied to today’s environmental movement.

Pacific Rim Corporation: Above: Anti-Mining Activist Recinos Sorto – Assassinated

WEF: “Organizing Their Dream World”

One response to the question of ‘how to define civil society’ was that since big business foundations are incentivized by the tax code, corporations are not civil society, but foundations are. Therefore it should be no surprise the ‘big green’ groups who claim they receive no corporate funding can legitimately do so, merely because foundations serve as corporate front groups. The big greens are funded by the very foundations set up by the corporations who essentially serve as a money laundering service in what the elites proclaim as philanthro-capitalism. Others questions in the WEF discussion were: “Could an NGO formed by a corporation be part of civil society? Does acceptance of government contracts make an NGO an extension of government? Are the big NGOs still members of civil society?” In the summing up period, Pour said, Kofi Annan’s advice was the main point: to keep “organizing our dream world.”

The following year, at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of 2006 a topic of significant importance was ‘Building Trust in Public and Private Institutions’. Richard Edelman, President and CEO of Edelman, USA, reported that opinion leaders now trust NGOs more than business, media and government for information. “NGOs are the most trusted institution in nearly every market,” he stated. (Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2006 Seventh Global Opinion Leaders Study). He further reported that “Information conveyed by CEOs is at the bottom of the list, even lower than politicians, with organizations such as Amnesty International, WWF World Wide Fund for Nature, Greenpeace, and Médecins Sans Frontières at the top of the ranking.” Guy Ryder, General Secretary, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), Brussels, corroborated the Edelman survey: “Trust matters. There is a feeling of bewilderment which dramatically impacts on people’s lives. They feel powerless; we do not have a means of expressing opinions. ‘Trust proximity’ is the thing that you are familiar with; it includes the things you understand.” Ryder further explained that for the ordinary person, “NGOs seem ‘more like me’ and convey the things that matter to me.” He noted that the fall of confidence in public institutions is the most alarming. “53% of people in the US want to be represented by trade unions, but corporate America stops this.” (Corporate America certainly does stop this. Corporate power has been utilizing corporate-owned media to its absolute advantage in a major attempt to turn the public sentiment against unions – the last remaining collective to threaten corporate power. The rhetoric spewed out by the corporate media is nothing less than incredible.)

Make no mistake, NGOs are recognized by corporate power as an absolutely essential element – indispensable for ensuring corporate power can quite easily advance their agenda.

First Place: Nature Conservancy

“Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate” – Bertrand Russell

At the front line of the race to the bottom we must recognize The Nature Conservancy for accepting the challenge of “protecting nature” in an announced new partnership with Dow Chemical who have generously gifted Nature Conservancy with a cool $10 million. Unfortunately, this ‘bankrolled consent’ most likely means Dow will be too financially strapped to clean up Bhopal – whose citizens continue to suffer to this day. Never mind last week it was announced that Dow’s profit has tripled. The corporation reported a profit of $511 million for the quarter ending in December 2010. Nature Conservancy’s president and CEO is none other than former Goldman Sachs Group executive, Mark Tercek. Perhaps not coincidentally, former Nature Conservancy president Henry Paulson also made his rounds through the revolving doors of the Goldman Sachs Group. Yet another Nature Conservancy board member, Muneer Satter, also originated from Goldman Sachs. You may recall the name Goldman Sachs – most known for their role in the brilliantly executed 2008 financial crisis which threw millions into poverty as the rich became even richer. As well, Nature Conservancy just hired a new marketing director in 2010 — former executive vice president for marketing at World Wrestling Entertainment. Prior to that position, he served as senior vice president for marketing at Showtime Networks. Showtime indeed. Fiction? Satire? Unfortunately not. If such organizations were not so dangerous, one would have to laugh. However, considering we are on the brink of exterminating our own children, this is truly sickening and no laughing matter. (Fyi – The Nature Conservancy has more than $3.7 billion in assets, annual revenue of $860 million – remember that when they ask you for your last 20 bucks.)

Second Place: Greenpeace International

And what does the world’s most recognized NGO plan to do in the face of cataclysmic climate change, as the opportunity to avoid irreversible planetary collapse slowly dissipates? It launches an international campaign to ‘green’ Facebook by Earth Day, April 22, 2011.

Enough said.

Update! 11 February 2011: “Today we need you to join a very special photo petition – … no, call it a competition – The 10 most-liked photos on Wednesday, 16 February at 17:00 CET will feature in an upcoming Greenpeace activity… (say no more, nudge nudge, wink wink). We also have campaign t-shirts for the top ten, and a CD of “Amchitka, The 1970 Concert that Launched Greenpeace,” featuring Joni Mitchell, Phil Ochs, and James Taylor, for the most popular photo of all. The funniest, weirdest, and most provocative photos will probably get the most ‘Likes’, so have some fun with it, submit your photo and get “liking” right away! Happy snapping, Team Facebook (at Greenpeace!)”

Third Place: WWF Presents National Sweater Day

“It’s time to Get Sweatered!” WWF-Canada announces a brand new campaign for Sweater Day, February 17, 2011. And after this you can look forward to shutting your lights off for that one hour a year in WWF’s annual Earth Hour campaign. As always, big greens frame the conversation on what an individual can do while vehemently neglecting to discuss the root cause of climate change – the current economic system. In this campaign, our youth is led to believe that small individual actions will help solve our environmental crisis. They can’t. Further, the crisis is framed to be most unthreatening, simply because the solution proposed requires so little effort. Of course, this campaign isn’t complete without prizes to feed the insatiable need to consume – which this campaign endorses by way of participation. (WWF International’s operating revenue totalled 224.2 million in 2010. Carter Roberts, CEO and President, took home a meagre $486,394 in 2008.)

Honourable Mentions: Friends of the Earth International


Courtesy of Keith Farnish’s Unsuitablog

“Find out about the Good Shopping Guide application: http://bit.ly/hH44mK Plus win an iPod touch! ” – Friends of the Earth via twitter

Friends of the Earth, 1970-2011
RIP

Worst Video

The video featuring a 2 minute summary of the COP16 conference and highlighting the brand TckTckTck makes light of our planetary emergency and tells the viewer… absolutely nothing. Further, the video frames Bolivia as an obstructionist to the negotiations when in fact Bolivia stood alone rejecting an agreement which will lead to mass genocide. Alone, Bolivia fought for life using powerful, ethical arguments, defending the people’s agreements adopted in Cochabamba which would protect Mother Earth, all species and future generations. All big greens have declined to endorse the People’s Agreement which places people before corporate profit. It appears this video, being promoted widely, was created by TckTckTck partner UKYCC.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76BgKe1naFc

First Prize for Most Dangerous: Greenpeace at the World Economic Forum

“Capitalism justified itself and was adopted as an economic principle on the express ground that it provides selfish motives for doing good, and that human beings will do nothing except for selfish motives” – George Bernard Shaw

In the frontline of global economic forums such as the WEF, commonly referred to simply as Davos, you will recognize the exceptionally orchestrated Greenpeace demonstrations. This is the Greenpeace that rides today on the coat-tails of the legacy laid down by the original Greenpeace founders decades ago.  A Greenpeace which in reality no longer exists. Before being co-opted by corporate power, Greenpeace consisted of grassroots activists who were not interested in discussing compromise. One such founder, Bob Hunter, wore a ‘fuck off’ sign around his neck in a public meetings. These real-life eco-warriors had no fear of ripping to shreds those who were destroying our planet.

A headline on an image posted on 10 January 2011 reads, “Sixty Greenpeace activists dressed in skeleton suits protest in front of the World Economic Forum conference against Dow Chemical”. The banners reads, “Clean up Bhopal Now!” The images are moving. Yet, in the background something much different is going on … behind the scenes … for those who dance in the elitist circle … the champagne flows almost as fast as the money.

7 February 2011, Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International and chair of the Havas creation TckTckTck ‘speaks to power’ in Johannesburg, South Africa. Naidoo explains that at the World Economic Forum in Davos he had meetings with no fewer than 15 chief executives of major corporations, men whose decisions help shape (destroy) our environment and affect workers’ rights (exploitation) and ultimately what kind of world we pass on to our children and grandchildren (irreversible climate hell with collapsed ecosystems). Naidoo states that the first meeting was a breakfast briefing with Unilever. Naidoo states he was invited by the chief executive to speak of the curious relationship his company enjoys with Greenpeace.

Curious. Yes. It is most interesting that TckTckTck creator Havas serves the world’s most powerful clients such as Unilver and EDF (nuclear).

For an excellent briefing on why Greenpeace working with corporate power for a better world is bullshit slash greenwash, Richard Samans offers an astute analysis in “Running the World After the Crash,” in Jan 2011 Foreign Policy. “Two years ago the elites were scared to death by the global crash, their economic nostrums discredited. Thousands of citizens took to the streets. Governments fell. Others desperately promised a new era of financial re-regulation, world cooperation on the environment and food crises created by neoliberalism and exponential growth. Then they regained confidence. Banks were “too big to fail”. The taxpayer was told to pay the bill for the playboys of the Western world. Trillions of private debt were transferred to the taxpayer (socialism for the rich) – a bill that our children and their children will have to pay. A further consequence: there is “no money left”, we are told, to finance climate action, international aid, schools, healthcare, housing, job creation and infrastructure. The elites are laughing all the way to the bank. And the high priests of the system (at Davos Jan 2011) say the next whirl of the financial wheel will be based on carbon credits.”


First Prize for Most Tasteless | Greenpeace Makes Light of Tibetan Oppression

Under attack for the tasteless 30 second Super Bowl commercial using Tibet, the corporation responsible, Groupon, stepped into the defensive mode. As images of Tibet were shown, actor Timothy Hutton read, “The people of Tibet are in trouble. Their very culture is in jeopardy.” The scene cuts to Hutton inside a restaurant: “But they still whip up an amazing fish curry. And since 200 of us bought at groupon.com we’re each getting 30 dollars worth of Tibetan food for just 15 dollars at Himalayan restaurant in Chicago.”

Although this ad is clearly distasteful and trivializes the incredibly serious issue of human rights violations in Tibet, Greenpeace, who also uses Groupon, defended the ad. “Greenpeace is happily participating in the campaign. The truth is that the ‘Save the Money’ campaign and the commercial are really helping us save the whales,” Greenpeace’s John Hocevar said in a blog post. He added, “They loved the idea of poking fun at themselves by talking about discounts as a noble cause.”

People aware of how the Tibetan culture is being destroyed in the conflict with China understand struggles of Tibet deserve respect.

From the Free Tibet website: “For Groupon the commercial has generated a lot of free media coverage and it could be argued that the advert has helped raise the profile of what is happening in Tibet, after all awareness is the first step to accountability. But it does put Tibetans and their suffering at the heart of the joke and when it’s used for commercial purposes that is exploitative. The commercial also exposes that fact that across the US and arguably the world the public know what is happening inside Tibet. But that leaves the uncomfortable fact that not enough of us are holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for the suffering in Tibet, nor for that matter are our own governments being held accountable for their failure to hold China accountable for its appalling human rights record in Tibet.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reLqtMb4-e8&feature=related (What Remains of Us: This film was shot without the knowledge of the Chinese authorities, using small digital cameras, during nearly a dozen secret forays into Tibet between 1996 and 2004.)

First Prize for Most Predictable

Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.” – Elizabeth Stanton

Rockefeller funded 350.org wins hands down for the predictable launch of their Businesses For 350 Campaign.  How to get to 350?  You won’t find the answer on this site … maybe just keep recycling or consuming. It appears Bill McKibben of 350.org neglected to read our 10:10:10 critique from October 2010.

First Prize for Most Undetected Greenwash of 2010

TckTckTck – partner of 350.org, WWF, Greenpeace and hundreds of other NGOs – was created by Havas, one of the largest marketing and PR firms in the world. Havas clients include a torrent of the largest and most powerful corporations on the planet. Given that economic growth is the root cause of greenhouse gas emissions growth (they have been neck and neck for the last 50 years); and the raison d’etre of Havas is to ensure TckTckTck founding partner corporations including EDF (the largest nuclear corporation on the planet) increase profits through economic growth; TckTckTck was fatally compromised at its inception. In the 2010 ‘Public Eye’ campaign it states, “Organized since 2000, Public Eye reminds corporations with destructive business practices that actions have consequences, presenting ‘name and shame’ awards to the nastiest corporate players of the year and through these awards presents to the world the immoral nexus between corporate power and the political elite.” In 2010, following the Copenhagen disaster, Greenpeace Switzerland participated in naming the Public Eye Award to “the nastiest corporate player of the year”.  The nominees included GDF Suez and Roche – TckTckTck founding partners. In summary, Greenpeace, partner of TckTckTck (Kumi Naidoo chairs both Greenpeace International and TckTckTck, also known as GCCA) is in partnership with these same corporations (GDF Suez and Roche). Such campaigns and organizations make a mockery of those suffering on the front lines of the climate emergency today. The layers of deceit are breathtaking.

As of today there remains a shortcut link on the Havas website to www.tcktcktck.org to “join the fight for climate justice”. And business for Havas has never been better – new business remains strong. (€1.6 billion for the first nine months of the year, compared with €1.1 billion for the same period in 2009 (+42%)).

TckTckTck has removed their partner, the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, from visibility on the www.tcktcktck.org website after screenshots and information of this collaboration were released to their supporters and partners using their own listserv. The TckTckTck partners within the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change group include Shell, Coca-Cola and RBC. RBC is the number one financier of the most destructive project on the planet – the tar sands.  Over 1,000 corporate entities make up this TckTckTck partner group.

Eradicating Stupidity | Going Forward

“As for the bourgeois state, we are seeking to overcome it, to overthrow it.” Salvador Allende, 1970


Just as wearing sweaters will not make any meaningful dent in our climate crisis; just as turning Facebook green amounts to essentially nothing; just as ‘green’ shopping and more i-pods only serve to further destroy us; and just as the Nature Conservancy – Dow partnership will only serve to greenwash; consuming as a means of helping will not save whales or anything else. Every day, our current economic system continues brings us one day closer to cataclysmic, irreversible climate change and ecosystem collapse on a global scale.

And while we may not expect truth from the bloated NGOs, we should not accept it. Importantly, while we recognize the demise of ethics within the vast monopoly of NGOs who protect the very system that grips us securely in a stranglehold, we must also recognize that within these corporate structures are well-intentioned citizens and even activists who are just as frustrated by the censorship and symbolic ‘feel good’ campaigns that appeal to our society’s worst traits. Such traits such as individualism, greed, apathy and narcissism are integral for a profoundly weak and divided society. Therefore, such traits are kept fed and nourished by the corporate powers who are, in turn, completely dependent upon society’s successful indoctrination and feelings of powerlessness. Fortunately, for the ethical, yet repressed, campaigners on the inside, in 2011 we now have Enviroleaks – enabling those within the system to leak imperative documents, without fear of repercussion.

What else is new in 2011? To date, there are no mainstream NGOs who are willing to campaign on militarism and its massive contribution to climate change. One would think that this would be a sure ‘win’ upon which the NGOs should love to attach themselves. Really, how many people do you know that would oppose a campaign to end occupations and war? Known to most citizens, militarism in the US represents such a massive chunk of the budget, there is little money for anything else. Healthcare and education remain mere irritants of the lowest priority. Although this reckless budget will no doubt contribute to bankrupting the US sooner rather than later – only to line bank vaults of the corporations and the controlling plutocracy – the big greens are silent on the issue. It appears that millions of lives lost count for little.

And like we must stop the soothing yet false illusion that governments will someday do what they are supposed to do – represent their constituents and act in their best interests – we must also stop the false illusion that NGOs will confront the system and inspire a desperately needed uprising of the people who reject all false solutions while also demanding nothing less a new system which functions to serve only the essential needs of the people while protecting all life and our planet.

To date, the big greens refuse to tell supporters what the most critical aspects of climate change are, in spite of the insistent urging from climate justice activists. These are the imperatives every citizen has the right to know … and are not being told.

1)    In order to stabilize the planet, the world must achieve zero carbon emissions. Zero is the only number that matters and it must be achieved in a matter of years, not decades.  We are in a planetary emergency at less than 1ºC rise.

2)    The current economic system is the root cause of climate change.

3)    A mass mobilization on a global scale is needed to convert to a clean, perpetual zero carbon economy which rejects all false solutions including green capitalism.

The destructive campaigns of the big greens highlighted within this article are just a drop in the bucket of symbolic brand-building nonsense. Therefore the easiest direct action of 2011 is this: hit unsubscribe. The industrial non-profit complex claims to represent and speak for you in economic forums and government institutions around the world. They don’t. And if they have no members of civil society, they immediately lose their power to speak for us.  If they no longer speak for us, they can no longer use civil society as a tool allowing the expansion of the corporate agenda.

The pursuit of profit versus our responsibility to protect nature brings us to a tragic reality that is difficult to accept. Decades of doing nothing means it is now too late to stop climate change. Yet, perhaps it is not too late (we hope) to avert the magnitude of long-term impacts by cutting emissions to zero at break-neck speed. If we miss this closing window of opportunity, feedbacks take over, at which point cataclysmic climate change becomes irreversible. Nature takes over, and our planet becomes a living hell.

Message to the Youth: do-or-die


“But we won’t spend a buck a dime a single cent to preclude disaster for our children. As a mother and a grandmother this is the line that grips my heart. I see this as ageism gone viral. We don’t really care about our kids just our credit rating and OUR pensions. I guess Queen Victoria was totally effective when she said, “Children should be seen and not heard. Our so called economic system doesn’t hear the children at all. I guess soon we won’t have to see them either. Good for us adults, our campaign is a BIG success.” – FB comment

Why does society expect the next generation to clean up this mess of unparalleled magnitude – especially considering instead of being given essential tools for life skills, they were given remotes, posters of corporate prostitots, and truckloads of made-for-landfill plastic stuff bursting with toxins, chemicals and everything else that makes one ashamed to be human. This apocalyptic nightmare should never have been left to a generation of youth who have been raised and indoctrinated by corporate America – yet here we are – and the wrath of insatiable greed is about to grab our youth by the throat.

While we listen to Maude Barlow and other wise owls who tell us the next generation is the one that will change everything, we must recognize that today’s youth have become a reflection of our morally bankrupt society – beautiful children who have succumbed to become, most comfortably numb. Millions have come close to over-dosing on social media such as Facebook and texting. Ironically, social media is a wet dream for the globe’s largest marketing public relations firms who represent the world’s most powerful corporations. Marketing executives and corporate super-powers are salivating over what they envision as the greatest opportunity to exploit the planet’s youth. The corporate powers are masters in the art of acclimatizing civil society into believing that we have no control. They methodically hypnotize us to believe resistance is hopeless and therefore should be given up. This very system that enslaves us can continue its existence only if we accept that resistance is futile. Not unlike pedophiles who prey upon children, the plutocracy preys upon and is dependent upon a society easily lured with candy.

Things can change. 2011 marks a paradigm shift. The Egyptians have taught the world how to use the very social media tools corporate gods had hoped would serve to manipulate, control and distract us – and use these tools, instead, as weapons of mass-resistance. We now have WikiLeaks and Anonymous, bound to inspire creativity, coupled with revolt, in ways not yet imagined. The Egyptians have also taught the world what a revolution requires – nothing less than the courage and conviction of hundreds of thousands and even millions of bodies in the streets that refuse to leave until victory is achieved.

Today’s youth have, not only a right, but a moral obligation, to rebel and destroy the current power structures that exist. This is necessary in order to salvage what is left of a raped and pillaged planet on the brink of ecological collapse. Martin Luther King once said that you cannot commit an act of violence against a non-sentient object. Today, police states and corporate controlled governments protect property, corporate interests, and industrialized economic growth over life itself. Drastic times require drastic measures; thus, our youth have the right to destroy the suicidal structures now threatening humanity. Echoing the words of Malcolm X, they must defend that right “by any means necessary”. And we must support them as they seize this right, for we have failed them.

“Liberties are not given, they are taken.” – Aldous Huxley

Go forward in self defence. No longer can we passively witness the rape, abuse and desecration of our Earth Mother.  No longer can we passively witness the exploitation, violence and oppression subjected on our brothers and sisters. In our fight  for survival and for all life, love is the guiding principle, illuminating the centre of our struggle. We will not negotiate life. We reject all compromise. We will practise non-violence in the spirit of the Buddhist concept of aggressive non-violence understanding that one cannot commit an act of violence against a non-sentient object. Although we will exercise compassionate wrath, we recognize we have the right to defend ourselves and our Earth Mother. We intend to do so. Self-defence is not a crime. We will attack the economic system – as this is the only language it understands. We will collectively fight to reclaim our dignity and power. The burning flame at the heart of our fight for life will not be smothered, rehabilitated, co-opted, or psychologically marginalized. There will be no dilution of our fervour, no lowering of the flames, or any muting of our essential collective voice. And if our fire destroys, it is for the sake or protection and healing and bringing us together as one. Our love will burn brilliantly. The time is now.

“Individually we may see ourselves as free, yet as a collective, we are slaves. The point where we free ourselves from our own animal is that moment when we become enlightened, where we see ourselves not as a person at a single point in time, but as a continuity in blood and in thought, spanning generations and time.” Harold One Feather

It is past time to start enacting civil disobedience on a massive scale. Knowledge is the weapon and it is time to arm the masses. Fuel distribution centres, pipelines, the industrial-military-complex, banks, the stock exchange: all must be targeted. Go forward. Don’t look back. Be courageous. Be strong. The truth is on our side. Our parents could not find the courage, which means we must. The Earth, and all life on this planet, pumps through our veins. To feel it, go outside and lie under a tree. Look up at the sky. We are nature. Nature is us. Our time is running out.

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Cory Morningstar is climate justice activist whose recent writings can be found on Canadians for Action on Climate Change and The Art of Annihilation site where you can read her bio. You can follow her on Twitter: @elleprovocateur Published February 17th, 2011 by Political Context under the headline: 2011 | The Race to the Bottom Accelerates

By Cory Morningstar | http://bit.ly/i35O4J | http://bit.ly/gh2HRe | http://bit.ly/i8HdXq

This piece continues the series being presented by Cory Morningstar and Gregory Vickrey and is part of their anticipated and controversial book and multimedia project due out in 2011.

2011 | The Race to the Bottom Accelerates

 

Illustration courtesy of Stephanie McMillan | CODE GREEN

“The Earth isn’t dying, it’s being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.” – Utah Philips

As we now stand firmly on the precipice – staring irreversible climate catastrophe and natural resource depletion squarely in the face – the world accelerates its pace in a mad race to the bottom. Running with the baton are the world’s largest environmental NGOs – non-profit organizations. Although the industrial non-profit complex claims to speak for civil society, in reality these groups are the sanctioning agents of a planet which is rapidly becoming completely dominated by corporate control. These groups have been integral to lending legitimacy and credibility to the very corporations hell bent on destroying and commodifying what little remains of our increasingly fragile planet. What we are now witnessing is a race for the last remaining shared commons. Commons which should be protected and held ‘in trust’ for future generations – if only our governments were not mere puppets of corporate power and control.

WTF WEF: “Defining Civil Society, Once and For All”

“We are blinded, enchanted and finally enslaved by spectacle.” – Empire of Illusion, Chris Hedges

In the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting of 2005 one topic of significant importance was ‘Defining Civil Society, Once and For All’. The moderator Bassir Pour cited there was a 15 minute delay as many of the participants had been listening to the panel titled ‘The G8 and Africa: Rhetoric or Action? ‘ This panel had highlighted an example of ‘civil society in action’ in the form of a demonstration by Greenpeace, which Pour said put a smile on her lips because it was so peaceful. To be sure, there is nothing that makes a corporation or corporate-controlled government happier than a passive, unthreatening demonstration with no fighting spirit. Mind you, the same corporate entities do not uphold such similar peaceful ideologies for themselves to abide by. For example, in Columbia and other developing countries, Coca-Cola has murdered hundreds of union leaders. Dole has had no qualms in knowingly exposing banana workers to toxins resulting in sterilization. On December 26, 2009, Dora “Alicia” Recinos Sorto, age 32, was assassinated. Dora was the second anti-mining activist killed that week in the small community of Nueva Trinidad. Recinos Sorto was eight months pregnant and carrying her two-year old child when she was shot on her way back from doing laundry at a nearby river. Canadian Mining Company Pacific Rim has come under fire for these accelerating assassinations which continue today. In vulnerable countries such violence has become a daily part of life. Activists are targeted and become the invisible victims of the murderous economic system. Demonstrations have morphed from the fierce unwavering determination witnessed in the sixties to the ‘acceptable’ demonstrations now recognized today which are overwhelmingly ineffective. Such assembly line ‘protests’ undoubtedly inspire reactions from the global elite such as, “look at the cute proles who believe they can make a difference – adorable. Now let’s get back to business.” Touching on today’s ineffective movements, on 3 February 2011, Mr. Fish of truthdig.org asks the question: “What do we have now? An anti-war movement that is so gutless and so savagely unimaginative that, rather than gaining purpose and momentum in the face of our government’s ever-increasing disdain for peace in the Middle East, it has proved itself to be too lazy, even too cowardly, to face down the very disease of oligarchy that it had concocted itself to cure.” This statement can easily be applied to today’s environmental movement.

Pacific Rim Corporation: Above: Anti-Mining Activist Recinos Sorto – Assassinated

WEF: “Organizing Their Dream World”

One response to the question of ‘how to define civil society’ was that since big business foundations are incentivized by the tax code, corporations are not civil society, but foundations are. Therefore it should be no surprise the ‘big green’ groups who claim they receive no corporate funding can legitimately do so, merely because foundations serve as corporate front groups. The big greens are funded by the very foundations set up by the corporations who essentially serve as a money laundering service in what the elites proclaim as philanthro-capitalism. Others questions in the WEF discussion were: “Could an NGO formed by a corporation be part of civil society? Does acceptance of government contracts make an NGO an extension of government? Are the big NGOs still members of civil society?” In the summing up period, Pour said, Kofi Annan’s advice was the main point: to keep “organizing our dream world.”

The following year, at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of 2006 a topic of significant importance was ‘Building Trust in Public and Private Institutions’. Richard Edelman, President and CEO of Edelman, USA, reported that opinion leaders now trust NGOs more than business, media and government for information. “NGOs are the most trusted institution in nearly every market,” he stated. (Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2006 Seventh Global Opinion Leaders Study). He further reported that “Information conveyed by CEOs is at the bottom of the list, even lower than politicians, with organizations such as Amnesty International, WWF World Wide Fund for Nature, Greenpeace, and Médecins Sans Frontières at the top of the ranking.” Guy Ryder, General Secretary, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), Brussels, corroborated the Edelman survey: “Trust matters. There is a feeling of bewilderment which dramatically impacts on people’s lives. They feel powerless; we do not have a means of expressing opinions. ‘Trust proximity’ is the thing that you are familiar with; it includes the things you understand.” Ryder further explained that for the ordinary person, “NGOs seem ‘more like me’ and convey the things that matter to me.” He noted that the fall of confidence in public institutions is the most alarming. “53% of people in the US want to be represented by trade unions, but corporate America stops this.” (Corporate America certainly does stop this. Corporate power has been utilizing corporate-owned media to its absolute advantage in a major attempt to turn the public sentiment against unions – the last remaining collective to threaten corporate power. The rhetoric spewed out by the corporate media is nothing less than incredible.)

Make no mistake, NGOs are recognized by corporate power as an absolutely essential element – indispensable for ensuring corporate power can quite easily advance their agenda.

First Place: Nature Conservancy

 

“Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate” – Bertrand Russell

At the front line of the race to the bottom we must recognize The Nature Conservancy for accepting the challenge of “protecting nature” in an announced new partnership with Dow Chemical who have generously gifted Nature Conservancy with a cool $10 million. Unfortunately, this ‘bankrolled consent’ most likely means Dow will be too financially strapped to clean up Bhopal – whose citizens continue to suffer to this day. Never mind last week it was announced that Dow’s profit has tripled. The corporation reported a profit of $511 million for the quarter ending in December 2010. Nature Conservancy’s president and CEO is none other than former Goldman Sachs Group executive, Mark Tercek. Perhaps not coincidentally, former Nature Conservancy president Henry Paulson also made his rounds through the revolving doors of the Goldman Sachs Group. Yet another Nature Conservancy board member, Muneer Satter, also originated from Goldman Sachs. You may recall the name Goldman Sachs – most known for their role in the brilliantly executed 2008 financial crisis which threw millions into poverty as the rich became even richer. As well, Nature Conservancy just hired a new marketing director in 2010 — former executive vice president for marketing at World Wrestling Entertainment. Prior to that position, he served as senior vice president for marketing at Showtime Networks. Showtime indeed. Fiction? Satire? Unfortunately not. If such organizations were not so dangerous, one would have to laugh. However, considering we are on the brink of exterminating our own children, this is truly sickening and no laughing matter. (Fyi – The Nature Conservancy has more than $3.7 billion in assets, annual revenue of $860 million – remember that when they ask you for your last 20 bucks.)

Second Place: Greenpeace International

And what does the world’s most recognized NGO plan to do in the face of cataclysmic climate change, as the opportunity to avoid irreversible planetary collapse slowly dissipates? It launches an international campaign to ‘green’ Facebook by Earth Day, April 22, 2011.

Enough said.

Update! 11 February 2011: “Today we need you to join a very special photo petition – … no, call it a competition – The 10 most-liked photos on Wednesday, 16 February at 17:00 CET will feature in an upcoming Greenpeace activity… (say no more, nudge nudge, wink wink). We also have campaign t-shirts for the top ten, and a CD of “Amchitka, The 1970 Concert that Launched Greenpeace,” featuring Joni Mitchell, Phil Ochs, and James Taylor, for the most popular photo of all. The funniest, weirdest, and most provocative photos will probably get the most ‘Likes’, so have some fun with it, submit your photo and get “liking” right away! Happy snapping, Team Facebook (at Greenpeace!)”

Third Place: WWF Presents National Sweater Day

 

“It’s time to Get Sweatered!” WWF-Canada announces a brand new campaign for Sweater Day, February 17, 2011. And after this you can look forward to shutting your lights off for that one hour a year in WWF’s annual Earth Hour campaign. As always, big greens frame the conversation on what an individual can do while vehemently neglecting to discuss the root cause of climate change – the current economic system. In this campaign, our youth is led to believe that small individual actions will help solve our environmental crisis. They can’t. Further, the crisis is framed to be most unthreatening, simply because the solution proposed requires so little effort. Of course, this campaign isn’t complete without prizes to feed the insatiable need to consume – which this campaign endorses by way of participation. (WWF International’s operating revenue totalled 224.2 million in 2010. Carter Roberts, CEO and President, took home a meagre $486,394 in 2008.)

Honourable Mentions: Friends of the Earth International


Courtesy of Keith Farnish’s Unsuitablog

“Find out about the Good Shopping Guide application: http://bit.ly/hH44mK Plus win an iPod touch! ” – Friends of the Earth via twitter

Friends of the Earth, 1970-2011
RIP

Worst Video

 

The video featuring a 2 minute summary of the COP16 conference and highlighting the brand TckTckTck makes light of our planetary emergency and tells the viewer… absolutely nothing. Further, the video frames Bolivia as an obstructionist to the negotiations when in fact Bolivia stood alone rejecting an agreement which will lead to mass genocide. Alone, Bolivia fought for life using powerful, ethical arguments, defending the people’s agreements adopted in Cochabamba which would protect Mother Earth, all species and future generations. All big greens have declined to endorse the People’s Agreement which places people before corporate profit. It appears this video, being promoted widely, was created by TckTckTck partner UKYCC.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76BgKe1naFc

First Prize for Most Dangerous: Greenpeace at the World Economic Forum

“Capitalism justified itself and was adopted as an economic principle on the express ground that it provides selfish motives for doing good, and that human beings will do nothing except for selfish motives” – George Bernard Shaw

In the frontline of global economic forums such as the WEF, commonly referred to simply as Davos, you will recognize the exceptionally orchestrated Greenpeace demonstrations. This is the Greenpeace that rides today on the coat-tails of the legacy laid down by the original Greenpeace founders decades ago.  A Greenpeace which in reality no longer exists. Before being co-opted by corporate power, Greenpeace consisted of grassroots activists who were not interested in discussing compromise. One such founder, Bob Hunter, wore a ‘fuck off’ sign around his neck in a public meetings. These real-life eco-warriors had no fear of ripping to shreds those who were destroying our planet.

A headline on an image posted on 10 January 2011 reads, “Sixty Greenpeace activists dressed in skeleton suits protest in front of the World Economic Forum conference against Dow Chemical”. The banners reads, “Clean up Bhopal Now!” The images are moving. Yet, in the background something much different is going on … behind the scenes … for those who dance in the elitist circle … the champagne flows almost as fast as the money.

 

7 February 2011, Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International and chair of the Havas creation TckTckTck ‘speaks to power’ in Johannesburg, South Africa. Naidoo explains that at the World Economic Forum in Davos he had meetings with no fewer than 15 chief executives of major corporations, men whose decisions help shape (destroy) our environment and affect workers’ rights (exploitation) and ultimately what kind of world we pass on to our children and grandchildren (irreversible climate hell with collapsed ecosystems). Naidoo states that the first meeting was a breakfast briefing with Unilever. Naidoo states he was invited by the chief executive to speak of the curious relationship his company enjoys with Greenpeace.

Curious. Yes. It is most interesting that TckTckTck creator Havas serves the world’s most powerful clients such as Unilver and EDF (nuclear).

For an excellent briefing on why Greenpeace working with corporate power for a better world is bullshit slash greenwash, Richard Samans offers an astute analysis in “Running the World After the Crash,” in Jan 2011 Foreign Policy. “Two years ago the elites were scared to death by the global crash, their economic nostrums discredited. Thousands of citizens took to the streets. Governments fell. Others desperately promised a new era of financial re-regulation, world cooperation on the environment and food crises created by neoliberalism and exponential growth. Then they regained confidence. Banks were “too big to fail”. The taxpayer was told to pay the bill for the playboys of the Western world. Trillions of private debt were transferred to the taxpayer (socialism for the rich) – a bill that our children and their children will have to pay. A further consequence: there is “no money left”, we are told, to finance climate action, international aid, schools, healthcare, housing, job creation and infrastructure. The elites are laughing all the way to the bank. And the high priests of the system (at Davos Jan 2011) say the next whirl of the financial wheel will be based on carbon credits.”


First Prize for Most Tasteless | Greenpeace Makes Light of Tibetan Oppression

Under attack for the tasteless 30 second Super Bowl commercial using Tibet, the corporation responsible, Groupon, stepped into the defensive mode. As images of Tibet were shown, actor Timothy Hutton read, “The people of Tibet are in trouble. Their very culture is in jeopardy.” The scene cuts to Hutton inside a restaurant: “But they still whip up an amazing fish curry. And since 200 of us bought at groupon.com we’re each getting 30 dollars worth of Tibetan food for just 15 dollars at Himalayan restaurant in Chicago.”

Although this ad is clearly distasteful and trivializes the incredibly serious issue of human rights violations in Tibet, Greenpeace, who also uses Groupon, defended the ad. “Greenpeace is happily participating in the campaign. The truth is that the ‘Save the Money’ campaign and the commercial are really helping us save the whales,” Greenpeace’s John Hocevar said in a blog post. He added, “They loved the idea of poking fun at themselves by talking about discounts as a noble cause.”

People aware of how the Tibetan culture is being destroyed in the conflict with China understand struggles of Tibet deserve respect.

From the Free Tibet website: “For Groupon the commercial has generated a lot of free media coverage and it could be argued that the advert has helped raise the profile of what is happening in Tibet, after all awareness is the first step to accountability. But it does put Tibetans and their suffering at the heart of the joke and when it’s used for commercial purposes that is exploitative. The commercial also exposes that fact that across the US and arguably the world the public know what is happening inside Tibet. But that leaves the uncomfortable fact that not enough of us are holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for the suffering in Tibet, nor for that matter are our own governments being held accountable for their failure to hold China accountable for its appalling human rights record in Tibet.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reLqtMb4-e8&feature=related (What Remains of Us: This film was shot without the knowledge of the Chinese authorities, using small digital cameras, during nearly a dozen secret forays into Tibet between 1996 and 2004.)

First Prize for Most Predictable

 

Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.” – Elizabeth Stanton

 

Rockefeller funded 350.org wins hands down for the predictable launch of their Businesses For 350 Campaign.  How to get to 350?  You won’t find the answer on this site … maybe just keep recycling or consuming. It appears Bill McKibben of 350.org neglected to read our 10:10:10 critique from October 2010.

First Prize for Most Undetected Greenwash of 2010

TckTckTck – partner of 350.org, WWF, Greenpeace and hundreds of other NGOs – was created by Havas, one of the largest marketing and PR firms in the world. Havas clients include a torrent of the largest and most powerful corporations on the planet. Given that economic growth is the root cause of greenhouse gas emissions growth (they have been neck and neck for the last 50 years); and the raison d’etre of Havas is to ensure TckTckTck founding partner corporations including EDF (the largest nuclear corporation on the planet) increase profits through economic growth; TckTckTck was fatally compromised at its inception. In the 2010 ‘Public Eye’ campaign it states, “Organized since 2000, Public Eye reminds corporations with destructive business practices that actions have consequences, presenting ‘name and shame’ awards to the nastiest corporate players of the year and through these awards presents to the world the immoral nexus between corporate power and the political elite.” In 2010, following the Copenhagen disaster, Greenpeace Switzerland participated in naming the Public Eye Award to “the nastiest corporate player of the year”.  The nominees included GDF Suez and Roche – TckTckTck founding partners. In summary, Greenpeace, partner of TckTckTck (Kumi Naidoo chairs both Greenpeace International and TckTckTck, also known as GCCA) is in partnership with these same corporations (GDF Suez and Roche). Such campaigns and organizations make a mockery of those suffering on the front lines of the climate emergency today. The layers of deceit are breathtaking.

As of today there remains a shortcut link on the Havas website to www.tcktcktck.org to “join the fight for climate justice”. And business for Havas has never been better – new business remains strong. (€1.6 billion for the first nine months of the year, compared with €1.1 billion for the same period in 2009 (+42%)).

 

TckTckTck has removed their partner, the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, from visibility on the www.tcktcktck.org website after screenshots and information of this collaboration were released to their supporters and partners using their own listserv. The TckTckTck partners within the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change group include Shell, Coca-Cola and RBC. RBC is the number one financier of the most destructive project on the planet – the tar sands.  Over 1,000 corporate entities make up this TckTckTck partner group.

 

Eradicating Stupidity | Going Forward

“As for the bourgeois state, we are seeking to overcome it, to overthrow it.” Salvador Allende, 1970


 

 

Just as wearing sweaters will not make any meaningful dent in our climate crisis; just as turning Facebook green amounts to essentially nothing; just as ‘green’ shopping and more i-pods only serve to further destroy us; and just as the Nature Conservancy – Dow partnership will only serve to greenwash; consuming as a means of helping will not save whales or anything else. Every day, our current economic system continues brings us one day closer to cataclysmic, irreversible climate change and ecosystem collapse on a global scale.

And while we may not expect truth from the bloated NGOs, we should not accept it. Importantly, while we recognize the demise of ethics within the vast monopoly of NGOs who protect the very system that grips us securely in a stranglehold, we must also recognize that within these corporate structures are well-intentioned citizens and even activists who are just as frustrated by the censorship and symbolic ‘feel good’ campaigns that appeal to our society’s worst traits. Such traits such as individualism, greed, apathy and narcissism are integral for a profoundly weak and divided society. Therefore, such traits are kept fed and nourished by the corporate powers who are, in turn, completely dependent upon society’s successful indoctrination and feelings of powerlessness. Fortunately, for the ethical, yet repressed, campaigners on the inside, in 2011 we now have Enviroleaks – enabling those within the system to leak imperative documents, without fear of repercussion.

What else is new in 2011? To date, there are no mainstream NGOs who are willing to campaign on militarism and its massive contribution to climate change. One would think that this would be a sure ‘win’ upon which the NGOs should love to attach themselves. Really, how many people do you know that would oppose a campaign to end occupations and war? Known to most citizens, militarism in the US represents such a massive chunk of the budget, there is little money for anything else. Healthcare and education remain mere irritants of the lowest priority. Although this reckless budget will no doubt contribute to bankrupting the US sooner rather than later – only to line bank vaults of the corporations and the controlling plutocracy – the big greens are silent on the issue. It appears that millions of lives lost count for little.

And like we must stop the soothing yet false illusion that governments will someday do what they are supposed to do – represent their constituents and act in their best interests – we must also stop the false illusion that NGOs will confront the system and inspire a desperately needed uprising of the people who reject all false solutions while also demanding nothing less a new system which functions to serve only the essential needs of the people while protecting all life and our planet.

To date, the big greens refuse to tell supporters what the most critical aspects of climate change are, in spite of the insistent urging from climate justice activists. These are the imperatives every citizen has the right to know … and are not being told.

1)    In order to stabilize the planet, the world must achieve zero carbon emissions. Zero is the only number that matters and it must be achieved in a matter of years, not decades.  We are in a planetary emergency at less than 1ºC rise.

2)    The current economic system is the root cause of climate change.

3)    A mass mobilization on a global scale is needed to convert to a clean, perpetual zero carbon economy which rejects all false solutions including green capitalism.

The destructive campaigns of the big greens highlighted within this article are just a drop in the bucket of symbolic brand-building nonsense. Therefore the easiest direct action of 2011 is this: hit unsubscribe. The industrial non-profit complex claims to represent and speak for you in economic forums and government institutions around the world. They don’t. And if they have no members of civil society, they immediately lose their power to speak for us.  If they no longer speak for us, they can no longer use civil society as a tool allowing the expansion of the corporate agenda.

The pursuit of profit verses our responsibility to protect nature brings us to a tragic reality that is difficult to accept. Decades of doing nothing means it is now too late to stop climate change. Yet, perhaps it is not too late (we hope) to avert the magnitude of long-term impacts by cutting emissions to zero at break-neck speed. If we miss this closing window of opportunity, feedbacks take over, at which point cataclysmic climate change becomes irreversible. Nature takes over, and our planet becomes a living hell.

Message to the Youth: do-or-die


 

“But we won’t spend a buck a dime a single cent to preclude disaster for our children. As a mother and a grandmother this is the line that grips my heart. I see this as ageism gone viral. We don’t really care about our kids just our credit rating and OUR pensions. I guess Queen Victoria was totally effective when she said, “Children should be seen and not heard. Our so called economic system doesn’t hear the children at all. I guess soon we won’t have to see them either. Good for us adults, our campaign is a BIG success.” – FB comment

Why does society expect the next generation to clean up this mess of unparalleled magnitude – especially considering instead of being given essential tools for life skills, they were given remotes, posters of corporate prostitots, and truckloads of made-for-landfill plastic stuff bursting with toxins, chemicals and everything else that makes one ashamed to be human. This apocalyptic nightmare should never have been left to a generation of youth who have been raised and indoctrinated by corporate America – yet here we are – and the wrath of insatiable greed is about to grab our youth by the throat.

While we listen to Maude Barlow and other wise owls who tell us the next generation is the one that will change everything, we must recognize that today’s youth have become a reflection of our morally bankrupt society – beautiful children who have succumbed to become, most comfortably numb. Millions have come close to over-dosing on social media such as Facebook and texting. Ironically, social media is a wet dream for the globe’s largest marketing public relations firms who represent the world’s most powerful corporations. Marketing executives and corporate super-powers are salivating over what they envision as the greatest opportunity to exploit the planet’s youth. The corporate powers are masters in the art of acclimatizing civil society into believing that we have no control. They methodically hypnotize us to believe resistance is hopeless and therefore should be given up. This very system that enslaves us can continue its existence only if we accept that resistance is futile. Not unlike pedophiles who prey upon children, the plutocracy preys upon and is dependent upon a society easily lured with candy.

Things can change. 2011 marks a paradigm shift. The Egyptians have taught the world how to use the very social media tools corporate gods had hoped would serve to manipulate, control and distract us – and use these tools, instead, as weapons of mass-resistance. We now have WikiLeaks and Anonymous, bound to inspire creativity, coupled with revolt, in ways not yet imagined. The Egyptians have also taught the world what a revolution requires – nothing less than the courage and conviction of hundreds of thousands and even millions of bodies in the streets that refuse to leave until victory is achieved.

Today’s youth have, not only a right, but a moral obligation, to rebel and destroy the current power structures that exist. This is necessary in order to salvage what is left of a raped and pillaged planet on the brink of ecological collapse. Martin Luther King once said that you cannot commit an act of violence against a non-sentient object. Today, police states and corporate controlled governments protect property, corporate interests, and industrialized economic growth over life itself. Drastic times require drastic measures; thus, our youth have the right to destroy the suicidal structures now threatening humanity. Echoing the words of Malcolm X, they must defend that right “by any means necessary”. And we must support them as they seize this right, for we have failed them.

“Liberties are not given, they are taken.” – Aldous Huxley

Go forward in self defence. No longer can we passively witness the rape, abuse and desecration of our Earth Mother.  No longer can we passively witness the exploitation, violence and oppression subjected on our brothers and sisters. In our fight  for survival and for all life, love is the guiding principle, illuminating the centre of our struggle. We will not negotiate life. We reject all compromise. We will practise non-violence in the spirit of the Buddhist concept of aggressive non-violence understanding that one cannot commit an act of violence against a non-sentient object. Although we will exercise compassionate wrath, we recognize we have the right to defend ourselves and our Earth Mother. We intend to do so. Self-defence is not a crime. We will attack the economic system – as this is the only language it understands. We will collectively fight to reclaim our dignity and power. The burning flame at the heart of our fight for life will not be smothered, rehabilitated, co-opted, or psychologically marginalized. There will be no dilution of our fervour, no lowering of the flames, or any muting of our essential collective voice. And if our fire destroys, it is for the sake or protection and healing and bringing us together as one. Our love will burn brilliantly. The time is now.

“Individually we may see ourselves as free, yet as a collective, we are slaves. The point where we free ourselves from our own animal is that moment when we become enlightened, where we see ourselves not as a person at a single point in time, but as a continuity in blood and in thought, spanning generations and time.” Harold One Feather

It is past time to start enacting civil disobedience on a massive scale. Knowledge is the weapon and it is time to arm the masses. Fuel distribution centres, pipelines, the industrial-military-complex, banks, the stock exchange: all must be targeted. Go forward. Don’t look back. Be courageous. Be strong. The truth is on our side. Our parents could not find the courage, which means we must. The Earth, and all life on this planet, pumps through our veins. To feel it, go outside and lie under a tree. Look up at the sky. We are nature. Nature is us. Our time is running out.

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

Cory Morningstar is climate justice activist whose recent writings can be found on Canadians for Action on Climate Change and The Art of Annihilation site where you can read her bio. You can follow her on Twitter: @elleprovocateur

“Nature Conservancy” merges with Dow Chemical

Dow Chemical Partners With The Nature Conservancy ‘to Improve Sustainability’

DETROIT, Michigan, January 24, 2011 (ENS) – The Dow Chemical Company and The Nature Conservancy today announced a new collaboration between the two organizations to help Dow recognize, value and incorporate nature into its business goals, decisions and strategies.

Speaking at the Detroit Economic Club, Andrew Liveris, Dow’s chairman and chief executive officer, said the company and its foundation are committing $10 million to the collaboration over the next five years.

"This collaboration is designed to help us innovate new approaches to critical world challenges while demonstrating that environmental conservation is not just good for nature – it is good for business," Liveris said.

Mark Tercek, chief executive of The Nature Conservancy, said his nonprofit organization will provide strategic, science-based counsel and technical support to help answer questions about the value and benefits of natural areas on or near where Dow works – such as the benefits of a forest to ensuring clean water for towns and factories, and the role natural wetlands and reefs play in preventing damage from storms.

"This project is an example of the type of cooperation required to make real, long-term progress in protecting the Earth’s natural systems and the services they provide people," said Tercek. "As the world population surges, it will take public and private sector collaboration like this to make the health of the environment not just an afterthought, but a fundamental consideration in everything we do in every part of our society."

The aim of the collaboration is to advance the incorporation of the value of nature into business, and to take action to protect the Earth’s natural systems and the services they provide people, for the benefit of business and society.

"Companies that value and integrate biodiversity and ecosystem services into their strategic plans are best positioned for the future by operationalizing sustainability," Liveris said.

"At Dow, we see sustainability as an adjective and one that we apply to almost everything we do: sustainable manufacturing, sustainable solutions and sustainable opportunities to constantly add to the quality of life for our communities and fellow citizens," he said. "Today, tomorrow, always."

Dow operates a group of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses in electronics, water, energy, coatings and agriculture. The company’s more than 5,000 products are manufactured at 214 sites in 37 countries. In 2009, Dow had annual sales of $45 billion and employed approximately 52,000 people worldwide.

The collaboration will use scientific models, maps, and analysis for biodiversity and ecosystem services – the benefits that nature provides for people, like clean air, water, and food – and apply them to Dow’s business decisions, said Liveris, who is originally from Australia.

He said the collaboration will inform Dow on setting new policies and approaches in the areas of land and water management, siting considerations, the benefits of natural resources on Dow lands and waterways, and more explicit management of biodiversity.

Scientists from both organizations will implement and refine ecosystem services and biodiversity assessment models, initially, on at least three Dow manufacturing sites.

One of the major objectives of this collaboration is to share all tools, lessons learned and results publicly and through peer-review so that other companies, scientists and interested parties can test and apply them.

Tercek, formerly a managing director at Goldman Sachs, where he headed the firm’s Environmental Strategy Group and Center for Environmental Markets, said, "We hope that the results of this effort will demonstrate to other organizations and companies that incorporating nature’s services into decisions is a responsible, smart and viable business strategy."

Discussion on The Nature Conservancy (2003): http://groups.yahoo.com/group/earthfirstalert/message/13939

http://www.dow.com/ Nature Conservancy DOW site

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jan2011/2011-01-24-091.html

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