To Stop The Greenwashing
05 January, 2008
Earth and all species including humans are threatened with imminent
ecological ruin. You should be afraid, very afraid. Yet real hope remains
that fundamental social change can avert looming failure of global ecosystems.
The biggest current obstacle to such change is that now that everyone,
every product and every business claims to be "green"; we
have been diverted from urgent, adequate ecological change required
to secure being.
(and some "radical") environmentalists, most businesses and
essentially all governments are greenwashing -- misleading the public
regarding the environmental benefits of their practices, policies and
products. Certified FSC logging destroys ancient forests, climate and
water. Coal is unlikely to ever be clean as existing plants emit into
the atmosphere, and sequestration is unproven. Biofuels hurt the environment,
geo-engineering will destroy remaining natural processes, and buying
more stuff is rarely good for the environment.
It is time
to stop the greenwashing. After two decades of successfully raising
awareness regarding climate change, forest protection and other challenges
to global ecological sustainability; increasingly my time is spent reacting
to dangerous, insufficient responses that fail to address root causes
of ecological decline, provide a false sense of action, and frequently
consolidate and do more environmental harm.
to make money, some to be perceived as effective advocates, while others
believe incremental progress without changing the system is the best
that can be done. Yet all are delaying policies necessary simply to
survive. The greatest obstacle to identifying, refining, espousing and
implementing policies required to maintain a habitable Earth may come
from "environmentalists" proposing inadequate half-measures
that delay and undermine the rigorous work that must be done to bring
humanity back into nature's fold.
policies required to save the Earth are massive in scope and ambition.
Deep-seated change is required in how we house, feed and clothe ourselves;
in our understanding of acceptable livelihoods and happy lives; and
in our relationship with the biosphere and each other. To maintain a
livable Earth there is no alternative to less people and consumption,
a smaller and restorative economy, and an end to cutting natural vegetation
and burning fossil fuels.
failure of global ecosystems and social systems must be addressed in
more than a token manner. A whole series of policy actions exist that
we know are needed, would work, are sufficient, and could start immediately.
These include massive investments into subsidizing renewable energy,
implementing population controls, banning coal, ending old-growth logging
and financing carbon emission reductions.
Earth has already exceeded what can be sustained in these regards, not
only must the destruction stop, but massive regional scale ecological
restoration must commence to establish rewilded and connected ecological
reserves. Economic growth beyond steady-state use of natural capital
must be stopped, and sustainable relocalized communities built around
ecologically positive technology has a role to play. Living in the country
and needing a vehicle I recently chose the best transportation option
society offers me and bought a Toyota Prius. But leading environmentalists
touting technology as the primary emphasis to save our environment are
dreadfully misinformed, and are obviously unaware of the ecological
nature of being. They seem to have forgotten about the primacy of maintaining
and restoring ecosystems.
Even as we
personally strive to live frugal, rich lives; necessary consumption
should focus upon durable items that will last. Strong tools and minds
are required to grow food, make a righteous living, and otherwise practice
ecological living. Excessive consumption is a poor substitute for a
truthful, fully aware, knowledge filled and experience rich life. All
can and should enjoy some luxuries, rather than some enjoying all.
threats are intensifying -- oceans lifeless, forests tattered, water
scarce, and the atmosphere perhaps irreparably damaged. This occurs
even as a climate change backlash builds, largely as a result of truthful
apocalyptic warnings presented without adequate policies that go beyond
greenwash responses and actually promise a hope filled solution likely
and able to succeed.
increased urgency and public awareness, the environmental community
must espouse rigorous, sufficient polices "while the iron is hot"
and demand real actions that are sufficient to solve global ecological
crises. And greenwashers beware: if you stand in the way of sufficient
ecological responses to the greatest emergency of all times, you will
be exposed as Earth destroying charlatans and resisted.
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