Friday, June 8, 2012

Rio+20: The Great Greenwashers

By Xanna Ward-Dixon and Nick Harvey
New Internationalist 
June 2012

The Rio+20 Earth Summit will take place June 20-22. Make this month's New Internationalist your unofficial guide to the conference. Remember things are not always what they seem...

Drum roll please. Let me introduce to you the greatest magicians, conjurers and illusionists of all time. The greatest masters of deception. The Great Greenwashers...

Step up Royal Dutch Shell, the only company cheeky enough to describe sucking oil from Canadian tar sands as a contribution to a sustainable energy future. For Shell it’s a no-brainer: why invest in renewables like you promised when you can be the first foreigners to frack in China? One thing’s for sure, you can never be sure of Shell!

Next up is GM agricultural giant and master of deception Monsanto. The company that brought the world Agent Orange wants to hypnotize away seeds of doubt with its boasts of ‘improving lives’ through ‘sustainable agriculture.’ But before you sign up for their magic beans you may want to check the small print: it’s been argued that paltry crop yields and the need for more pesticides can make their seeds a farming nightmare...

And last but most definitely not least is HSBC. The world’s local bank promises to respect environmental limits. It does this by investing in such daring acts as coal mining, offshore oil and gas drilling, tar sands, mega-dams, the arms trade, logging and so much more!
‘Eight Great Greenwashers’ which examines the green claims of Shell, Monsanto, Vale and others features in June's magazine Protection racket? Guide to the Rio+20 earth summit. Other featuresinclude:
‘Sustainability for sale?’ – a battle is brewing over the future of global action. Danny Chivers presents the unofficial guide to the Rio+20.

‘The good life is the realistic solution’ – indigenous activist Ruth Buendia's take on sustainable development.

‘Tools that might help us’ – an overview of ideas that different groups and movements have suggested for inclusion in the Rio+20 Final Declaration.

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