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Friday, May 07, 2004

Greenwashing Inc.

Other than perhaps Meg Ryan, no one gets more lip service than Mother Nature.

Dow Chemical,for example, portrays itself as a responsible steward of the environment. They realize that, as long as they're making highly visible token efforts, the vast amount of damage their products do to our environment will go unnoticed. Those associated with conservation issues refer to this p.r. tactic as "greenwashing".

Consider the folllowing example from today's Washington Post:

Plastic debris dumped in the ocean over decades is breaking into microscopic particles that are cropping up everywhere from beaches to deep ocean sediment, according to a study being published today by a group of British scientists. Widespread littering has led to a steady accumulation of plastic fragments at sea, according to Richard Thompson, a professor at the University of Plymouth."It's a cause for concern rather than alarm," Thompson said in a telephone interview yesterday. "There's lots and lots of microscopic bits of plastic. It appears quite ubiquitous. It's likely to be a global problem," he said.

...Tony Kingsbury, a member of the plastics group at Dow Chemical Co., said his group is working with organizations such as the Ocean Conservancy to curb the kind of littering that clutters the world's oceans.

"We've got to get people educated," said Kingsbury, whose group recently distributed a couple million bags to aid refuse-collection efforts. "Things just don't end up in the ocean."

You can't make this stuff up. Dow's solution for the fact that our oceans are polluted with plastic? More Plastic! Millions of plastic bags to help clean up the mess. Never mind the fact that plastic bags are much worse for the marine environment than coke bottles.

This is a picture illustrating the way in which a plastic bag suffocates a coral reef.

This picture shows a sea turtle simultaneously choking on a plastic bag and wearing one.

May I Suggest A New Corporate Slogan?

Dow Chemical: Pretending To Care While Making Things Infinitely Worse


What can you do to make a difference? There are some commonsense approaches, such as those advocated by various environmental groups:

Green Community "Help the Oceans"

The first question voters need to ask themselves is "Does Bush give a rat's ass about the environment?" The answer, according to every environmental group from the stodgy centrist Sierra Club to Greenpeace is a resounding NO.
A good first step would be voting all anti-environmental politicians out of office. The League of Conservation Voters publishes an annual environmental scorecard:

League of Conservation Voters Scorecard

The meticulously calculated results paint a pretty clear picture. With possible exception of Jim Ramstad and John McCain, the Democratic party trounces Republicans when it comes to environmental issues. For example in Minnesota, Sen. Norm Coleman scores 21% on his voting record, while Senator Dayton scores 79%. Congressman Gil Gutneckt (R) votes gree 5% of the time while Martin Sabo (D) votes green 97% of the time.

Kiss off, Dow. Reduce, re-use, recylce, and vote 'em out.
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