The Wrong Kind of Green

Friday, April 02, 2010

Johann Hari talks about how environmental groups might respond to President Obama’s decision to open up offshore drilling, and he’ll discuss his investigation into conservation groups, such as Conservation International, among the most trusted groups in America to protect and defend nature, are actually cashing in on the world's worst polluters and burying science-based environmentalism in return. His article The Wrong Kind of Green appears in the April issue of The Nation.


Johann Hari

Comments [15]

Ben Ayers

I checked out Johann's story found several glaring errors and I concluded that the Nation magazine needs to pick their writers more carefully and get a fact checker. I expect the right to make stuff up but not the intellectual left.

Jun. 02 2010 11:20 AM

you can read in more detail about funding for 'green' organizations here:

two organizations that definitely do NOT take money from corporate polluters are greenpeace and so if you want to give thoughtfully, give to them!

Apr. 03 2010 10:21 AM
ms. ms

Without getting hung up on whether there are numbers attached to the comments about moneys going to these organizationts, or the debate about legitimacy of current climate science, or whether foreigners should be able to have educated positions on global issues (?!), I think the point of Mr. Hari's efforts is basic, basic thoughtfulness: care where your money is going-- look into who is receiving it, and from whom they are getting the rest of their money. give generously, but give thoughtfully!

anything else is just another form of blind consumerism, which is part of how we've gotten into this mess to begin with.

Apr. 02 2010 01:36 PM
JP from NJ

Amy #3,

You can’t even get people to use condoms to cut down on population (the real problem is to many people!!!) because of so many different cultures and politics that exist in today’s world. Trying to get so many different cultures and religions to even just reduce eating meat is about as far fetched of an idea as saying climate change is not happening… Humans will have already eradicated ourselves before you could realistically and successfully implement a non meat friendly world.

Apr. 02 2010 01:23 PM

i always wondered how it was that greenpeace and sierra club could afford to send me such nice promotional paraphernalia...and then I'd feel guilty for their enveloped gifts - but knowing what i know now I:
A: will start considering a subscription to the Nation magazine.
B: stop contributing $ to these orgs. mentioned in the conversation.

Apr. 02 2010 01:11 PM
Judith from New York

Regardless of nationality Mr.Hari is entitled to well documented opinion.

I regard some of the above comments as uncivilized despite the pleas to remain so. But having lived in America myself for 40 years I know there will always be a small section of the US population (often found working in the Immigration services) who are xenophobic and can never accept that any ideas or culture other than American should be aired, especially by critical foreigners.
And I wait for the flood of cries to 'Love it or Leave it" - which only further underlines my point. Not what I expect on WYNC website.

The actions of European imperialism were not admirable but were (mostly) at a time of lack of scientific knowledge on climate change, can the same be said of America's current imperialism and concern beyond its borders?

Apr. 02 2010 01:06 PM

Personally, I am for dramatic action on global warming, but I am troubled by Mr. Hairi's approach, which seems large on attack and small on facts. He keeps saying that these organizations depend on money from polluters for their survival, but not once does he gave dollar figures. Shouldn't a journalist be able to say coal and oil interests gave Conservation International $XX millions that accounted for XX% of their budget in 2009? Did the Sierra Club get 1%, 10% or 75% of its budget from polluters? Did BP gave a $10 million to World Wildlife Fund and a week later they change their position on climate change? How much money we talking about here makes a difference.

Mr. Hairi also said the evidence that these groups have been corrupted is "clear" but never presents that evidence. He only presented his opinion. In the end, his attacks are as general and empty as those who deny climate change. He should have been pushed harder for facts and figures.

I support and other groups Mr. Hairi likes, so we probably agree on a lot. But what he said today was more ad-hominem than factual and no matter the topic, that never advances debate forward.

Apr. 02 2010 01:06 PM
kai from NJ-NYC

@Rick - Consensus based on empirically observed facts that follow the scientific method to produce the CURRENT theories - in other words, "proof" - are exactly what science is based on. That is the case with climate science and its acknowledgment of the reality of anthropogenic effects on climate change caused by all greenhouse gases.

Secondly, you don't seem to understand basic scientific methods if you think climate science can be "proven" in a lab, comparing climate methods to genetic analysis or the like. Balderdash.

Finally, why are you so sure that unadulterated climate science is a "capitalism hating doctrine of anti CO2"? Its seems to me that capitalism is durable enough to factor in the real costs of externalities, like pollution, that it creates. In fact, Cap and trade is a MARKET-based approach to deal with the spike in greenhouse gases.

It seems that, in the end, you are tied to a certain way of life, certain traditional ways of living and making money, and are afraid that you can't handle it. For some reason I think capitalism can...

Apr. 02 2010 12:48 PM


I need a Brit to lecture me about what is right and wrong in the world. The Brits were the one who did the most damage to most of these poor countries through their imperial policies. So did the other European colonizers. So take your opinions and shove 'em.

Apr. 02 2010 12:43 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Is there someplace where environmental groups that do & don't take money from polluters are listed? I'd like to know which ones deserve support.

Apr. 02 2010 12:40 PM


Mr. Hairi,

Your political system in England didn't stop UK from going to war in Iraq and selling out your country to high-finance. I think your analysis is very superficial.

Apr. 02 2010 12:37 PM

So basically Mr. Hairi if these poor countries had followed the USA path towards industrialization they would be in a better position to combat climate change? So not being polluters has basically hurt them?

Apr. 02 2010 12:36 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Most changes to consumer habits might not, as Mr. Hari stated, make much of a difference in global climate upset. But from what I've read, minimizing meat consumption could have a major environmental impact--both for the climate & for water quality & other aspects. In fact, I've seen it called the most important action individuals can take for the environment. Does Mr. Hari agree or disagree w/this?

Apr. 02 2010 12:29 PM


If the sky is falling then why doesn't the ultra left nation magazine support Nuclear power? That source can run at near 100% capacity. Which you can't say about solar and wind.

James Lovelock inventor of the Gaia theory supports nuclear power. Ultra left journalist Dilip Hiro supports it. The founder of greenpeace supports nuclear power.

If you truly believe in CO2 causing global warming then why not support the imperfect solution of nuclear power. None of the other clean technologies can produce as much energy as nuclear power.

Apr. 02 2010 12:23 PM

First, Consensus is not science. Did Einstein or Newton need consensus for their theories and laws. No. They proved it!

The bottom line is that you need to prove your Global Warming hypothesis in a lab. The scientists who have been talking about cosmic rays and cloud formation have proved their experiments and it negates your industry and capitalism hating doctrine of anti CO2.

Also, don't humans contribute a small percentage of the overall CO2 output? How could killing our economy stop the increases in CO2.

Apr. 02 2010 12:18 PM

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