Posts Tagged ‘Green-washing’
We have another referendum approaching and we have the opportunity to make our opinions count. I have always felt that it is important to vote. There have been times when I truly wonder whether it really makes any difference to vote, the same policies seem to be in place no matter which of the parties get in however I will not give in to disinterest or frustration, I will always exercise my right to vote no matter how disillusioned I feel.
If everybody who really feels disenfranchised were to become engaged and vote then perhaps things would finally change – I live in hope!
I have copied here a blog piece by John Perkins, writer of The Economic Hitman, I think it’s worth a read.
On May 31 Ireland will put the EU’s new treaty for fiscal discipline to a referendum, giving Irish voters a chance to overturn this controversial agreement. The crisis in Ireland is symbolic of ones facing many European countries, as well as the United States, and is a direct outgrowth of policies implemented against developing countries when I was an economic hit man (EHM). The upcoming decision by Irish citizens is a harbinger for other countries around the world, as well as crucial to Ireland’s financial future.
If voters agree to sign this treaty for fiscal discipline, it will obligate Ireland to run low government deficits and maintain drastically reduced levels of public debt; in other words, the country will be forced to implement even stricter austerity measures on its already beleaguered citizens. It is important to remember that Dublin accepted international aid in 2010 in order to deal with a huge budget deficit brought on by the previous government’s pledge to bail out Irish banks for billions of dollars in bad loans. The Irish Government has been “asset stripping” –selling off public resources, including gas from the west coast, utilities, and forests in attempts to reduce the debt. This is an old tactic that was perfected by economic hit men in countries throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East during the 1970s and 1980s. Many Irish are vehemently protesting such acts and are opposed to signing the EU treaty, declaring them a loss of sovereignty for a nation that fought a bloody battle for full independence less than a century ago.
The Awaken Ireland Movement is an example of an approach aimed at empowering the people to create a different future, bringing the people together in a community-based grassroots movement to share information on viable alternatives and to encourage conversations towards a vision for a better future. The challenge will be to base the movement on formulating realistic solutions at local levels in ways that respect differences and allow a voice for the many. Austerity measures are killing the European economy. Not surprisingly Goldman Sachs and other investment organizations are at the root of the problem; they are strategically staffing Europe’s government and the Central Bank with hard-hearted investment bankers more interested in the concerns of the financial sector than those of the people. These ex-European Commissioners and former central bankers are helping the banks gain access to those in power.
I was horrified to read this report, on the Organic Consumers website, about Monsanto being involved in Haiti. Anyone who is a regular visitor to this blog knows that there is no love lost between me and Monsanto. I have long had a strong disrespect for this company and their bullying tactics to further their aims in spreading the use of gm crops and increasing their profit line.
Haiti is a country that once had a self sustaining agricultural industry and I am not talking about hundreds of years ago, until relatively recently there was a thriving agricultural economy in Haiti. For more info on this please check out this link.
Obviously Haitians are now vulnerable and really need to get food growing again as soon as possible. If you do a google search on “sustainable agriculture in Haiti” you will find that there are a lot of projects underway to encourage sustainable agricultural industry there.
The hybrid seeds being supplied will produce crops that will not produce viable seed – the Haitian farmers will be unable to save seeds and go on planting as farmers have done for generations, they will be forced to buy seed every year!
I find it insidious that Monsanto are moving to get a grip on Haiti’s agricultural future and the fact that they are being aided by the USAID is reprehensible.
This is being funded by American taxpayers – whether or not they want to fund Monsanto Americans’ hard earned tax dollars are helping this genetic giant to undermine an already vunerable country. USAID is a tax-payer funded agency that promotes the United States’ interests abroad.
Please read the report about Monsantos involvement and if you live in the States and you are unhappy about this situation please think about taking some action here.
If you don’t live in the States and still want to take some action then look at the end of the page and click on the link for international supporters.
That’s my tirade over for the moment, thanks for reading
I don’t know about how you feel – I know that I often feel angry at the blatant disregard given by world governments, my own included, to the sizeable problem facing us all, Global Climate Change.
I recently came across this really interesting site, set up by people who have become, as many of us have, frustrated at the way big business nods it’s head at global climate change, puts on a big old green hat and continues as normal.
This site offers us the opportunity to voice our opinion on those who are wreaking havoc on efforts to bring about any real sort of climate protection agreement.
Here I will let the Angry Mermaid people tell you more……..
Crucial UN climate talks take place in Copenhagen this December. While people, organisations and social movements around the world are calling for strong action to prevent climate change and ensure climate justice, big business has been lobbying to block effective action to tackle the problem, while also seeking to benefit from it. Lobbying is defined as attempting to influence the decision-making process.
The Angry Mermaid Award has been set up to recognise the perverse role of corporate lobbyists, and highlight those business groups and companies that have made the greatest effort to sabotage the climate talks, and other climate measures, while promoting, often profitable, false solutions.
Named after the iconic Copenhagen mermaid who is angry about the destruction being caused by climate change, the Angry Mermaid Award winner will be decided by a public poll. Read the story of the Angry Mermaid.
I would encourage you to visit this site and please, please use your chance to vote.
Please spread the word and get your friends to vote too, the more the merrier….
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? . . . And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
This post has been prompted by a comment on the previous post. Thanks Sean for getting me to put my thoughts down in words.
Yes, I agree that the situation with the Green party is sad. A lot of people have given of themselves over the years to create a party which was to have the care and responsibility for a healthy earth as it’s prime motivator.
I have never been a party member however I know many who are or have been very actively involved in the party and I know that many of them are really feeling the disappointment now.
Some of them feel that the compromise that is happening at government level is worth it, others don’t agree.
I am now considering joining the party and encouraging all the alternative minded people that I know to do the same in an effort to reclaim the party from Dublin intellectuals and career politicians.
I do like the fact that party members actually do have a say in what happens. If I do become a party member and if I am unhappy with what is happening then I would have the chance to try and shape new policy. It does require some serious consideration.
I have never been a party person, never had unwavering allegiance to one party, preferring instead to choose individual candidates in my local area. I used to be quite involved in local politics at one time because of the campaigns that I was involved and I saw the local politicians in light that most of the electorate do not.
Most Irish people have never attended a local council meeting in their own area. It is an interesting thing to do because you see the politicians behave in a way which you don’t see when you watch them through the public lens. It is particularly interesting when a really important decision is to be made as sometimes national politicians turn up to oversee from the public gallery and ensure that the locals do as they have been instructed.
I have distanced myself from involvement in politics and campaigning as a thoughtful action, not passively or because of apathy. It does take a certain level of energy to maintain an active and thoughtful interest in both active campaigning and politics and I decided some years ago that enough was enough.
I became tired of trying to change things from the top down and instead I have concentrated on working from the ground up. I now prefer to quietly just get on with my own business, trying my best to live as sustainably as possible. I have always loved the quote – And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
I guess that is what I have been doing for the last few years. Change that comes from the ground up is very rooted. It is well tried and tested by the time that change becomes the norm. It may seem as though nothing is changing then slowly you may start to notice a change in attitude or habits of people a long way from your sphere of influence – so to speak.
I have some thinking to do on this, whether or not to become more actively involved again.
All input is gratefully received, please comment if you feel moved…
I was trawling a little on the web this evening when I came across an interesting article on the treehugger website and saw that a group, Greener Festivals had set itself up to give out awards to music festivals that it considered were worthy of a “Green” credit, this is what the Greener Festivals guys had to say:
The Award is based on a seven part questionnaire which covers event management, travel and transport plans, CO2 emissions, fair trade, waste management and recycling, water management and noise pollution. Points are awarded for festivals which can show an active plan to promote public transport, reduce on-site waste, recycle and compost wherever possible, re-use water and use sustainable power. Festivals are expected to have a coherent environmental policy and we have environmental auditors who visit as many festival sites as possible to assess how festivals implement their plans
Out of curiosity I had a further look to see who had won awards and why. These sorts of awards can sound very positive and make you think – wow, isn’t it great that huge music festivals are going to such lengths to “Green” their image and do something worthy for the planet?
Now, maybe I am getting (more) cynical in my (slightly) advancing years but that was where the positivity stopped when I saw that the Electric Picnic won the award for Ireland. I myself did not attend the Electric Picnic, my interest in that sort of large concert having waned some years ago, although I know that there were some very good bands playing and that the organisers put in place a Body and Soul area – a “chill out space” which is a comparatively quiet and calm area which would appeal to me.
This is what the Electric Picnic lads said: “This year we worked in partnership with Cultivate, Body and Soul, Edenbee, carbon offsetting partners EmissionZero and BYE to establish a ‘Sustainability Team’ to reduce Electric Picnic’s impact on the environment,” John Reynolds of POD Concerts said. This year the festival organised its first dedicated carpooling service to reduce congestion and carbon dioxide emissions, there were Bin your Empties teams around the site as well as an increased number of recycling stations in order to make it as easy as possible for people to recycle.
Some of the cafes offering festival-goers nourishment or refreshment were also solar-powered.
That’s all as you would expect these days to be honest, they tried to practise responsible waste collection and transport, I would consider that to be the basic requirement of any festival getting permission to go ahead.
One friend of mine, who lived close by, went to the site at the very end of the festival to see what he could salvage to reuse or recycle and it is his experience which made me doubt the “worthiness” of the award system. He was really troubled and saddened by the extremes of waste which he witnessed there.
There was silliness such as a toilet tissue company sponsoring a free loo roll for each concert goer so there was loo paper strewn in all directions and “decorating” many of the trees, harmless in itself but very wasteful of paper. The real sadness lay in the amount of camping gear which was simply abandoned there, he said it was as though people had just gotten up in the morning and walked away, leaving tents, sleeping bags, clothing and toiletry bags behind, not in the hundreds but actually in the tens of hundreds. There was no organised effort to salvage any of this material, my friend and some others took what camping gear they could for their own use and to send to organisations who would be able to make use of camping gear for emergency shelters.
To an individual the leaving behind of some toothpaste, shampoo, make-up and cleansers etc might not seem like a big deal but multiply that person by a few thousand and that’s a lot of chemicals going to landfill needlessly. It is so acceptable now to leave everything behind you at music festivals that shops are now selling “disposable” festival tents and sleeping bags.
When I used to go to music festivals in the early eighties we could not afford to leave anything behind, we even brought a lot of our own food with us. Even if money had not been so short I could not have engaged in this sort of mindless waste because I was brought up to reuse items and be responsible for what I used and how I disposed of anything I was done with.
If concert organisers really want to earn green credits they could start with trying to change the currant attitude of most concert goers to one of responsible use, they could try to bring on board some organisations which could make use of the camping gear left behind, perhaps offer refunds to campers who help in the clean-up. I am sure they could come up with some creative ideas given the power of the marketing teams they work with. The greenest thing they could do is to change how people think, that’s the powerful thing to do!
The great thing is that this is something which we can all do, we can all help to change attitudes and influence people in a positive way.
By letting our light shine we give permission to others to do the same.