A friend who has heard me discuss my theories about the relationships between mainstream Environmental groups and fossil fuel extraction and marketing companies sent me a link to an article titled Polluted by profit: Johann Hari on the real Climategate. He included a rather amusing subject line on the email “Red meat for Rod” and addressed it to a small group of people who also have been subjected to my “wild” and somewhat contra-intuitive theories.
The article discusses how some large environmental groups decided to start taking corporate cash with the good intention of using it as a tool to do more effective advocacy for their particular issue. According to Johann Hari, the actual practice has not worked out as initially envisioned, and some organizations have lost disillusioned members as their coffers have swelled with the polluter’s contributions.
Yet as we confront the biggest ecological crisis in human history, many of the green organisations meant to be leading the fight are busy shovelling up hard cash from the world’s worst polluters – and simultaneously burying science-based environmentalism. In the middle of a swirl of bogus climate scandals trumped up by deniers, here is the real Climategate, waiting to be exposed.
There are some juicy bits of evidence and examples in the article. Here is a sample to whet your appetite before you go and read it for yourself.
Christine MacDonald, an idealistic young environmentalist, discovered how deeply this cash had transformed these institutions when she started to work for CI (Conservation International) in 2006. She told me: “About a week or two after I started, I went to the big planning meeting of all the organisation’s media teams, and they started talking about this supposedly great new project they were running with BP. But I had read in the newspaper the day before that the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] had condemned BP for running the most polluting plant in the whole country… But nobody in that meeting, or anywhere else in the organisation, wanted to talk about it. It was a taboo. You weren’t supposed to ask if BP was really green. They were ‘helping’ us, and that was it.”
One quibble that I have is that Johann Hari attributes the trend of accepting contributions from polluters to Jay Hair of the National Wildlife Federation. My research has revealed decisions by people like Michael McCloskey that predate Hair’s tenure with the NWF. McCloskey rose to be the Sierra Club Executive Director before the first Earth Day in 1970 and was an active leader in the organization for more than 40 years. He detailed his actions to place the organization on “firm financial footing” that included accepting corporate donations in his book titled In the Thick of It.