This year, World Environment Day is being held at the heart of US greenwashing—Portland, Oregon.
With Oregon representatives and senators calling for Keystone XL to be done “the right way” and pestering Obama to increase logging in national forests, somehow the state still has a cushy green reputation. The buses run on monocrop biodiesel, there’s a street car that services gentrification, plans for new coal trains are on their way, and just recently an ethanol port got converted into a petroleum export terminal shipping out crude from North Dakota at a pace of a couple of train loads per week. That’s not to say that Portland’s greenwashing politicians aren’t well connected—one close advisor to Senator Wyden just took a job with Exxon, and World Environment Day has come to town with some pretty heavy corporate backing.
But let’s look at five basic reasons why we should not support World Environment Day:
1) Genocide. In 2010, World Environment Day took place in Rwanda, honoring the gorilla-saving endeavors of President Kagame. Kagame, incidentally, is up for war crimes trials for his role in the Rwanda genocide that led to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people. His country is also joining hands with Uganda in a proxy war against the people in DR Congo, representing the US in a path of carnage that has cost the lives of more than 6 millions people for the purposes of natural resource extraction.
2) Corporate Backing. The largest backer of this year’s World Environment Day is Bayer. They’re the ones, joined with Monsanto, who create the neo-nicoten pesticide that is probably responsible for killing all the bees in … the world… They are also the number 1 air polluter in the US. Good thing the World Environment Day in Portland is an outdoors festival, but with corporate backers like these, it’ll be stuffy none the less.
3) The UN has proudly been the arbiter of REDD+ carbon credit schemes. These schemes dispossess indigenous peoples from their lands, creating “nature reserves” so that countries can avoid retribution for intensifying deforestation and carbon emissions. This 21st Century land grab affects countries throughout the world, from Brazil to Indonesia, and is currently being considered as part of California’s “cap n’ trade” package.
4) Food. The G8, which is largely responsible for control over the World Environment Day greenwash, has recently partnered up with Monsanto and Cargill to transform much of Africa’s domestic cropland into monocrop food plantations for export. That means that countries with food crises will be growing GMO food for the rest of the world without being able to keep it for domestic consumption. It also may provide a “safe” place for Monsanto to continue spreading its GMOs while pretending to play nice in the North Atlantic.
5) World Rivers. In Africa, two giant dams are being erected, the Gibe III and the brand new Grand Inga in Congo, bringing the dispossession of hundreds of thousands of people. The Belo Monte Dam threatens a similar path of destruction, but that’s just the beginning of the global assault on rivers launched by investors and governments in the BRICS countries and the North Atlantic. World rivers are under threat from the greenwashing “clean, sustainable, and renewable energy” scam that claims to bring solutions to the troubles of climate change. What it really brings is ecological disaster, placing millions in peril throughout the world.