May 18, 2006

"All the eco-news that's fit to sell ads"

Andrew Leonard wrote yesterday in his "How the World Works" column for Salon about a special "green business" section in the New York Times, filled with smarmy ads from the likes of Wal-Mart, GM, Shell, and ADM. He remarks on the greenwashing it promotes and the obvious fact that it is an advertising supplement pretending to be objective editorial content (there's even an article about "eco-ads"!), and he is remarkably perceptive about the fact that this business is part of, not an alternative to, the whole model of economic growth that threatens the environment so egregiously.
There's also a more fundamental snake-eating-its-own-tail problem. The general tone of the section is hopeful, packed with tales of environmentalists and business executives working together, full of heartwarming news about advances in energy efficiency, renewable technologies and corporate commitments to social responsibility. But it would have been nice to have just one essay exploring the question of whether environmental destruction is built into the deep structure of the current global economy. Nowhere is the possibility raised that even as some slivers of society in the developed world are beginning to understand the importance of sustainable development, rampaging economic growth in countries such as China and India threatens to utterly overwhelm what little, incremental progress is being made in, say, Northern California or Sweden. ... [A]ny discussion of "the business of green" ought to tackle directly the fundamental problem: Economic growth, historically speaking, is an eco-killer.
environment, environmentalism, anarchism, anarchosyndicalism, ecoanarchism