Archives

Tagged ‘WWF‘
WATCH: Selling Extinction

WATCH: Selling Extinction

Prolekult Films

Published April 26, 2019

“Selling Extinction is a short introduction to the capitalist notion of a “Green New Deal”, the NGOs that support it and the recent Extinction Rebellion protests in London.” [Running time: 23:43]

 

[Prolekult is a Marxist film, writing and culture platform based in Birmingham, England. The project is presently run by James Bell (writing and narration) and Alex Bushell (editing and filming). The purpose of the project is to provide high-quality film content looking at world politics, culture and economics from a Marxist perspective. You can support them on Patreon and follow them on Twitter.]

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Most Inconvenient Truth: “Capitalism is in Danger of Falling Apart” [ACT III]

January 28, 2019

By Cory Morningstar

 

This is ACT III of the six-part series: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

 

In ACT I of this new body of research I opened the dialogue with the observations of artist Hiroyuki Hamada:

 

“What’s infuriating about manipulations by Non Profit Industrial Complex is that they harvest good will of the people, especially young people. They target those who were not given skills and knowledge to truly think for themselves by institutions which are designed to serve the ruling class. Capitalism operates systematically and structurally like a cage to raise domesticated animals. Those organizations and their projects which operate under false slogans of humanity in order to prop up the hierarchy of money and violence are fast becoming some of the most crucial elements of the invisible cage of corporatism, colonialism and militarism.”

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent has been written in six acts. [ACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT VACT VI] [Addenda: I]

In ACT I, I disclosed that Greta Thunberg, the current child prodigy and face of the youth movement to combat climate change, served as special youth advisor and trustee to the foundation established by “We Don’t Have Time”, a burgeoning mainstream tech start-up. I then explored the ambitions behind the tech company We Don’t Have Time.

In ACT II, I illustrated how today’s youth are the sacrificial lambs for the ruling elite. Also in this act I introduced the board members and advisors to “We Don’t Have Time.” I explored the leadership in the nascent We Don’t Have Time and the partnerships between the well established corporate environmental entities: Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, 350.org, Avaaz, Global Utmaning (Global Challenge), the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

In ACT III, I deconstruct how Al Gore and the Planet’s most powerful capitalists are behind today’s manufactured youth movements and why. I explore the We Don’t Have Time/Thunberg connections to Our Revolution, the Sanders Institute, This Is Zero Hour, the Sunrise Movement and the Green New Deal. I also touch upon Thunberg’s famous family. In particular, Thunberg’s celebrity mother, Malena Ernman (WWF Environmental Hero of the Year 2017), and her August 2018 book launch. I then explore the generous media attention afforded to Thunberg in both May and April of 2018 by SvD, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers.

In ACT IV, I examine the current campaign, now unfolding, in “leading the public into emergency mode”. More importantly, I summarize who and what this mode is to serve.

In ACT V, I take a closer look at the Green New Deal. I explore Data for Progress and the targeting of female youth as a key “femographic”. I connect the primary architect and authors of the “Green New Deal” data to the World Resources Institute. From there, I walk you through the interlocking Business & Sustainable Development Commission and the New Climate Economy – a project of the World Resources Institute. I disclose the common thread between these groups and the assignment of money to nature, represented by the Natural Capital Coalition and the non-profit industrial complex as an entity. Finally, I reveal how this has culminated in the implementation of payments for ecosystem services (the financialization and privatization of nature, global in scale) which is “expected to be adopted during the fifteenth meeting in Beijing in 2020.”

In the final act, ACT VI [Crescendo], I wrap up the series by divulging that the very foundations which have financed the climate “movement” over the past decade are the same foundations now partnered with the Climate Finance Partnership looking to unlock 100 trillion dollars from pension funds. I reveal the identities of individuals and groups at the helm of this interlocking matrix, controlling both the medium and the message. I take a step back in time to briefly demonstrate the ten years of strategic social engineering that have brought us to this very precipice. I look at the relationship between WWF, Stockholm Institute and World Resources Institute as key instruments in the creation of the financialization of nature. I also take a look at what the first public campaigns for the financialization of nature (“natural capital”) that are slowly being brought into the public realm by WWF. I reflect upon how mainstream NGOs are attempting to safeguard their influence and further manipulate the populace by going underground through Extinction Rebellion groups being organized in the US and across the world.

With the smoke now cleared, the weak and essentially non-existent demands reminiscent of the 2009 TckTckTck “demands” can now be fully understood.

Some of these topics, in addition to others, will be released and discussed in further detail as addenda built on the large volume of research. This includes stepping through the looking glass, with an exploration of what the real “Green New Deal” under the Fourth Industrial Revolution will look like. Also forthcoming is a look at the power of celebrity – and how it has become a key tool for both capital and conformity.

[*Note: This series contains information and quotes that have been translated from Swedish to English via Google Translator.]

 

 

 

A C T   T H R E E

 

Malena Ernman: WWF Environmental Hero of the Year, 2017

Greta Thunberg’s mother and father. Opera singer Malena Ernman with husband actor Svante Thunberg at the Polar Music Prize, 2012. Ernman represented Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009. Photo: Chapman

In October, 2018, Miljö & Utveckling recognized We Don’t Have Time founder, Ingmar Rentzhog, as Sweden’s #1 Environmental Influencer of the year. [Source: The Secret Sauce of a Global Climate Movement]

Greta Thunberg, special youth advisor and trustee to the burgeoning mainstream tech start-up, We Don’t Have Time,  was recognized as the #2 influencer of the year.

The previous month, on September 1, 2018, Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s most prominent newspaper, ran an op-ed from Global Challenge titled “The Acute Climate Crisis Requires a Broad Political Gathering”:

“Although much of the change required is both possible and profitable, vigorous political campaigns are essential to adjust prices, taxes and regulations so that the transition to a sustainable society becomes attractive, profitable and fast. ” [Full letter in English]

“The signatories stand ready to assist in the process, in support of transforming our society and the wider world into a low-carbon economy: Mats Andersson, Vice Chairman of the Global Challenges Foundation; Erik Brandsma, CEO of Jämtkraft; Malena Ernman, Opera Singer; Antje Jackelén, Archbishop; Staffan Laestadius, Professor Emeritus KTH; Kristina Persson, former Minister of the Future; Ingmar Rentzhog, Chairman of the Global Development Challenge; Johan Rockström, Professor of Environmental Sciences SU; Daniel Sachs, CEO of Proventus; and Anders Wijkman, Chairman of the Club of Rome.”

Anders Wijkman, cited in the above signatories, is a former member of parliament, chairman of the Swedish Environment Council and the former co-president of the Club of Rome. He is also a member of Global Utmaning with a special commitment to climate issues and circular finances.

Also cited in the above signatories is Malena Ernman, mother of Greta Thunberg.

In an interview published October 15, 2018 recognizing Rentzhog as the “#1 Environmental Influencer of the year”, Miljö & Utveckling asks Rentzhog who are his greatest influences. He cites Greta Thunberg, yet does not mention the assistance his company provided Thunberg (current We Don’t Have Time special youth advisor and trustee) that would result in her campaign going international. Nor does he identify his relationship with Thunberg’s mother, Marlena Ernman, who is briefly cited in the same article.

Earlier in the year, on May 4, 2018, Rentzhog and Ernman were both featured guests at the Friday opening gala of the climate conference (“climate change day”) held from May 4-6th in Stockholm, Sweden. Greta Thunberg’s sister, Beata Ernman-Thunberg was also featured in the program. This was a low key, modest event.

Thunberg was born into privilege and wealth.

Her mother is Swedish opera singer and celebrity Malena Ernman. Her father is actor Svante Thunberg, while her grandfather is actor and director Olof Thunberg. “Her ancestor on her father’s side is the Nobel Prize winner, Svante Arrhenius. Arrhenius was a Swedish physicist and chemist who received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1903. He is known for myriad scientific contributions but it was his discovery that an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide increases the Earth’s surface temperature. That finding led to the conclusion that human-made carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming.” [Source][On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground, Svante Arrhenius, 1896]

The newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) is the third largest in circulation in Sweden. It has been generous in its coverage of both Thunberg and her mother, Ernman.

On May 30, 2018 SvD selected Thunberg as one of its winning laureates in the SvD youth writing competition for the climate.

Prior to this, on April 21, 2018 SvD gave coverage of the families book that was underway. The book “Scener ur Hjärtat” (which translates in English to “Scenes of the Heart”), about the mental health challenges within her family coupled with anxieties facing climate change, would be launched on August 24, 2018, four days following the first day of Thunberg’s school strike (August 20, 2018).

World Wildlife Fund (WWF), perhaps the most corporate and egregious NGO in the world, and a fully corporatized Greenpeace, have both been instrumental in the propping up of Thunberg with the support of other international NGOs such as 350.org. On October 11, 2017, WWF Sweden awarded Ernman with the Environmental Hero award.

Artist Malena Ernman and biologist Rebecka Le Moine appointed Miljöhälter of the Year by WWF” [Source]

On September 17, 2018, WWF Sweden named Thunberg as one of its three nominees for the Young Environmental Hero of the year 2018.

Greenpeace Sweden: ” Malena Ernman is an incredible activist in the fight to preserve our forest for future generations. Thanks to the support of her, and all of you other amazing people who support us, we can continue to protect our outstanding planet. Do you also want to give away a Christmas present that makes a real difference?” [Source: Facebook]

Greenpeace also utilizes Ernman, and Thunberg, to promote their powerful brand. Few are aware that in 1997, Greenpeace believed that climate policy must reflect the understanding that the world must not exceed a 1ºC temperature rise. Yet not long after, in 2009, with a full ecological crisis now engulfing the planet, Greenpeace led the demand (at the United Nations Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen), for a binding agreement that would allow the Earth to further warm to a full 2ºC. The 2ºC demand, under the umbrella group TckTckTck, co-founded by Greenpeace, would undermine Bolivia, the G77 and other small island states that had fought for a binding agreement to keep global temperatures from exceeding 1ºC. The following year, 350.org – another co-founder of TckTckTck – would undermine the Indigenous peoples of Bolivia yet again at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, held in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

+++

“Capitalism is in Danger of Falling Apart”

“But the more important fact remains: the mainstream debate is about how to practise capitalism, not whether we should choose between capitalism and some other system.” — Generation Investment

“We are making the case for long-term greed.” Al Gore and David Blood, in Generation’s New York City Office. August 25, 2015. (Christopher Griffith) [Source]

Utilizing the power of celebrity (an unprecedented phenomenon for the expansion of capital in the west), today’s global influencers such as Thunberg, are fully utilized to create a sense of urgency in regard to the climate crisis. The unspoken reality is, they are the very marketing strategy to save capitalism. This is a very “inconvenient truth”.

The Financial Times, July 27, 2014:

“Now is a crucial moment for investors, he continues. “The next five to 10 years is the most critical time to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. We think capitalism is in danger of falling apart. As a result, the business, which has been fairly reticent in the past about the mechanics of investing sustainably, is planning to increase its visibility. ‘We need to go all in. We are going to be more aggressive because we have to.'” — Blood and Gore: “Capitalism is in Danger of Falling Apart”, Financial Times, July 27, 2014

The September 8, 2015 article “David Blood and Al Gore Want to Reach the Next Generation” published by Institutional Investor, disclosed that “the California State Teachers’ Retirement System [CalSTRS], the second-­largest public pension fund in the U.S., with $191 billion in assets, was the first American institutional investor to invest in Generation.” This was part and parcel of the divestment campaign led by Ceres partner 350.org on behalf of wall street and finance. Jack Ehnes, CEO of CalSTRS, also serves on the board of Ceres.

The same article sheds light on the driving force behind the environmental NGOs that comprise the non-profit industrial complex and interlocking directorate highway that merges the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) with the corporate world of finance:

“I would highly recommend people who are looking to divest from carbon take a look at Generation,’ says Larry Schweiger, a longtime conservationist and a board member of the Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit founded by Gore to promote education and initiatives about climate change. Schweiger was president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation from 2004 to 2014; under his watch the NWF became a Generation investor. ‘It was one of the best-­performing investments in our portfolio.’ he says.” — September 8, 2015, “David Blood and Al Gore Want to Reach the Next Generation,  Institutional Investor

Jumping forward, to April 29, 2018, the article, Al Gore: Sustainability is History’s Biggest Investment Opportunity, published by the Financial Times, discloses “climate wealth” is not for the many, but rather for the few:

“Generation lists large public sector investors among its clients, such as Calstrs, the $223bn Californian teachers’ pension plan, the $192bn New York State pension plan and the UK’s Environment Agency retirement fund. It also manages money for wealthy individuals but has stopped short of opening to retail investors. Almost all its assets are run in equity mandates, yet $1bn is invested in private equity.” [Source]

“I called Generation Income and found that their investment opportunities are limited.  They have two investment funds – Global Equity and Asia Equity.  The Global Equity fund is currently closed – there is a multi-year waiting list that is also currently closed.  The minimum investment is $1 million and you need to be super-accredited.  The fund seems to be targeted at institutional investors – not individuals.  The Asia Equity fund is open but the same minimum requirements apply ($1M minimum).” [Source: AIO Financial]

Generation Investment board members include eco-luminaries such as Mary Robinson, a former president of Ireland and the founder of the nonprofit, Mary Robinson Foundation. Robinson serves as president to Richard Branson’s B Team, which is managed by Purpose – the  public relations arm of Avaaz.

February 9, 2007: Sir Richard Branson (L) and former vice-president of the United States of America, Al Gore pose at the launch of The Virgin Earth Challenge in London. The challenge is for a USD 25M science and technology prize fund for viable products to remove atleast 1 billion tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide per year. (Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)

 

At this juncture, seeing as we are being led to believe that “sustainable investments” are the pathway to solving our planetary crisis, it might be wise to ask in what sustainable corporations Generation Investment is investing. Generation Investment has created a focus list of some 125 companies around the world in which it invests not based on how sustainable the business is, but rather, “on the quality of their business and management.” [Source]

Generation Investment’s portfolio and investments include multinational corporations with horrendous records of malfeasance, such as Amazon, Nike, Colgate, MasterCard, and the Chipotle restaurant chain with heavy investments in health and technology. And as all of these corporations are heavily invested and/or dependent on fossil fuels, how Generation Investment can justify investing in these companies is anyone’s guess.

“[Gore] and his colleagues are aiming at a small audience within the financial world that steers the flow of capital, and at the political authorities that set the rules for the financial system. ‘It turns out that in capitalism, the people with the real influence are the ones with capital!’ Gore told me during one of our talks this year. The message he hopes Generation’s record will call attention to is one the world’s investors can’t ignore: They can make more money if they change their practices in a way that will, at the same time, also reduce the environmental and social damage modern capitalism can do.” [Source]

[Tracking Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management Portfolio]

Above: The Washington D.C, 2017 People’s Climate March:  “The B Team, lead by Sir Richard Branson, Sharan Burrow and former Vice President Al Gore, joined hundreds of thousands of workers, scientists, business leaders, students, parents, grandparents, children and indigenous groups demanding action on climate change by the U.S. administration.” [Source]

“It’s about an industrial transformation on a scale that we’ve never seen before.” — Sharan Burrow, general secretary, International Trade Union Confederation, B Team leader [Video]

 

“This is the biggest economic opportunity of our lifetime. This movement has left the station and is never going to stop.” — Jean Oelwang, President, Virgin Unite, Senior Partner, The B Team

+++

An Inconvenient Case Study: M-Kopa Solar, Africa

Source: M-Kopa website

“We think it’s possible to build a business with no trade-offs. We can benefit the environment. Our customers will be better off. And we’ll get richer. We all can win.” M-Kopa Canadian co-founder, Jesse Moore

Gore, with a net worth of approx. 350 million dollars, pays much lip service to subjects of inequality, wealth disparity and poverty.  Thus, it is useful to actually take a look at what the much hyped green energy revolution actually looks like, when played out in real life and exactly who is being served by the so-called “green revolution”.

M-Kopa Solar – “Power for Everyone” is a pay-per-use solar power provider (in the form of solar kits) created for impoverished African countries by white uber rich capitalists. The countries targeted thus far include rural Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

M-Kopa is the brainchild of Jesse Moore (CEO), Chad Larson and Nick Hughes —who helped develop M-Pesa, which has more than 19 million users in Kenya. [1]

From its inception, Gore’s firm has been a lead equity investor of M-Kopa. Incubated by Signal Point Partners in 2011, M-Kopa solar raised money from investors including Richard Branson and Generation Investment Management. Launching in late 2012, the company’s initial goal of selling 1,000 solar packages a week within three years was reached within 12 months. On December 2, 2015, M-Kopa, now the world’s leading “pay-as-you-go energy provider to off-grid homes”, announced the closing of a USD 19 million financing round led by Generation Investment Management LLP. [Source]

Included on the M-Kopa board of advisors is Colin Le Duc, a founding partner of Generation Investment Management and the Co-CIO of Generation’s growth equity Climate Solutions Funds.

Other investors/lenders/partners include Shell Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

At this juncture, before we continue, it is vital to note that in 2015, M-Kopa estimated that eighty percent of its customers lived on less than $2 (USD) per day.

By 2015, M-Kopa had reached over USD 40 million in revenue.

The December 2, 2015 Bloomberg article “The Solar Company Making a Profit on Poor Africans – M-Kopa Plans to be a $1 Billion Company by Selling Solar Panels to Rural Residents—and Providing Them With Credit” discloses the reality behind corporate vulturism hidden beneath a vellum of white savior greenwash. Following the “success” of prepaid water meters for many African countries, M-Kopa charges high interest rates to the poor, with astronomically higher dividends/returns going back to the rich:

The interest M-Kopa charges is high by U.S. or European standards. The cash price of one of its products is about 20 percent less than the installment price. But in the markets where the company’s working—so far, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda—the rates are competitive. Traditional microfinance companies typically charge about 20 percent interest on their loans, and in October the Kenyan government issued treasury bills that offered investors a 23 percent annual return.”

Upon first glance, a person would assume this business is the selling of solar. Yet this assumption would be a mistake. The product is finance: “About a quarter of those who pay off their first purchase move on to others, the company says.” This is colonization in a 21st century new form. Colonization via debt made possible by the selling of Western values.

Other vultures exploiting the impoverished and vulnerable under the guise of green and “clean energy for all” include stalwart organizations, such as the Gates Foundation and Mastercard.

Unlike Western finance, where loans are usually paid in monthly installments, Africans are not given this same measure of trust. Rather, on top of a deposit, they must pay for their new loan (debt) on a daily basis. Perhaps this can be filed under “green energy racism”. Those that do not make their payments, will be punished accordingly: “Our loan officer is that SIM card in the device that can shut it off remotely,” says Chad Larson, M-Kopa’s finance director and its third co-founder. “We know that it’s important for them to keep their lights on at night, so they can be counted on to keep paying.” [Source] [“The pay-as-you-go feature is enabled by embedded machine-to-machine technology that allows M-KOPA to receive payments through the M-Pesa mobile money platform. M-KOPA can turn off the device remotely if the customer falls behind on payments. Repayments create a credit history for poor consumers that may give them access to other financial services.”][Source]

“The solar lamps are programmed in such a way that they automatically switch off whenever customers default on the daily payments. The start-up provides a solar power system that consists of a panel, three lamps, radio and mobile phone charging kit.” — M-Pesa solar dealer to blacklist defaulters with credit bureaus, February 18, 2015

Daily payments for M-Kopa are topped up through the M-Pesa service whereby Safaricom, the largest telecommunications in Kenya (and the most profitable company in the East and Central African region) earns an undisclosed fee for every transaction. M-Kopa and Kenya Power, are Safricom’s biggest pay-billing clients. [In 2015, Kenya’s Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore was the fourth African to join Richard Branson’s B -Team – Ventures Africa].

“We don’t invest in solar at all,” says David Rossow, who helps manage the Gates Foundation’s $1.5 billion portfolio of program-related investments (PRIs). The foundation doesn’t even have a clean energy program. But it does have a program called Financial Services for the Poor. “We care about asset-backed lending for the last mile.” [Source]

Of further value for our white saviour entrepreneurs is the valuable metadata: ” M-Kopa’s current customer contract stipulates that the data the company amasses can be used only to improve customer experience, but the company has plans to collect listener and viewership data from its radios and televisions. ‘There’s data we can gather that practically no one else can,’ [Chad] Larson says.”

And what does the green energy revolution, wholly dependent on the further plundering of the Earth, actually bring to Africa, where more than 600 million people have zero access to electricity and more than 300 million have no clean sanitation? A solar oven? A toilet? Water filtration? Plumbing? Schools? Health clinics? Hospitals? Answer: the television.

“Make your payments in full and on time, so you can qualify for system upgrades and much more!” — M-Kopa website

And just because the business is actually finance, more than it is providing solar products, [2] that doesn’t mean there isn’t ample opportunity to rob African people blind. The price of the basic 24-inch television solar kit [2-1][2-2] when financed is an outrageous USD 644.88. The cash price is still a whopping USD 546.61, which is an exorbitant sum for people who exist on $2.00 (USD) per day. Of course, this price only remains so if the daily payments are made each and every day, ensuring no additional interest or penalties accumulate on top of the original loan amount.

The gross exploitation here is beyond the pale. Consider a 30W solar package comparable to the M-Kopa package above can be purchased retail for USD 157.99 on Amazon. Likewise, the price of a basic 24-inch LED television is often advertised in the United States and Canada for under USD/CND 100.00. Many of the items sold in the packages, [2-3] can be found in the proliferating Western “dollar” stores for $1.00 (USD) each.

 

Photo: M-Kopa

One might wonder what happens when the loans outlive the outsourced products with short-lived warranties – a two-year warranty on the 24-inch television and a one-year warranty on accessories.

Between bombing campaigns on African countries, former US president Barrack Obama found time to visit the M-Kopa solar corporation. “US President Barack Obama talks to June Muli, M-Kopa’s head of customer care, during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi in July 2015. Photo: M-Kopa.” [Source: Forbes]


In February 2015, M-Kopa announced its plan to have their customers, who defaulted on their loans, blacklisted with credit bureaus:

“M-Pesa-linked solar dealer, M-Kopa, will from April begin sharing information on loan defaulters with credit reference bureaus to arrest the rising number of non-payers. The firm has issued a notice saying it plans to share information on how customers pay for their M-Kopa solar kits, in a move that will see defaulters blacklisted by lenders. M-Kopa now joins other utility providers such as Kenya Power and water service boards which have taken to credit reference bureaus to list those who default on paying their bills.” [Source]

Credit and the perpetual debt that ensues is not the only aspect of the American dream that multinational corporations are bringing to the Global South.

To be clear, it’s not “sustainable economies” that our corporate overlords pursue. A capitalism that is in trouble, must seek out – in order to save itself, new markets:

“The Gates Foundation’s team saw in M-KOPA an opportunity to demonstrate that mobile financial services could help businesses get more such valuable products into the hands of a new market of eager consumers: poor people.” [Source]

“The key was helping M-KOPA turn its customer accounts into bankable collateral. Other investors were taking equity positions in the startup. The Gates Foundation instead made a $5 million loan, alongside the Commercial Bank of Africa. The thesis: if M-KOPA could successfully pay back the loan, local commercial banks would see the payments from pay-as-you-go financing schemes as a reliable revenue stream. That would create a new lendable asset class.” — Banking on the Poor, summer, 2016, Stanford Social Innovation Review

Here we must look at the reality behind the “green jobs” – that M-Kopa created – a pivotal selling feature of the so-called “green economy”, new green deal, sustainable development / global goals, and a myriad of other holistic sounding language that mask reality.

What is rarely mentioned, if ever, is the fact that the M-Kopa solar panels, televisions, etc. are not made locally, rather, they are “sourced from overseas markets.” (China) Although the company has suggested that solar panels may be made locally over the next few years, (likely due to the growing animosity from Kenyans), the following information will demonstrate that this will only be the case if Kenyans can be exploited more so than Chinese.

Chad Larson, co-founder and finance director of M-Kopa Solar, poses for a photograph at the headquarters of M-Kopa Solar in Nairobi, Kenya, on Wednesday, July 22, 2015. Customers agree to pay for the solar panel with regular instalments which M-Kopa, a Nairobi-based provider of solar-lighting systems, then monitors for payments that are made using a mobile-phone money-transfer service. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

 

In the March 19, 2018 article, Solar Firm M-Kopa Lays off 450 Staff to Cut Costs, published by Business Daily Africa, the reason for doing so was disclosed in no uncertain terms:

“Kenya’s mobile phone-based solar kit reseller M-Kopa Solar fired 450 workers in its subsidiaries in four countries to ease operational costs and boost profitability.

 

M-Kopa co-founder and CEO Jesee Moore said the firm was in a better position to meet its targets and expand solar connections to the next one million customers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania offices.

 

‘This was done to reduce fixed costs and keep us on the path to profitability which resulted in job reductions across offices in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and UK, reducing our global headcount by 18 per cent,’ he said.”

An article published by Quartz Africa four days prior, on March 15, 2018, was even more to the point:

“M-Kopa, the Kenyan pay-per-use solar power provider, is downsizing in a bid to improve its competitiveness, ensure long-term sustainability, and increase return for investors.”

This is worth emphasizing. To be clear – this is a profitable increase for investors, with net-worths of millions of dollars – made at the expense of firing workers making approx. $2.00 USD per day.

March 15, 2018: M-KOPA secures Ksh100million from CDC, FinDev Canada: CIO East Africa (L-R) Jesse Moore, Co-Founder and CEO, M-KOPA and Paul Lamontagne, Managing Director of FinDev Canada during a customer site visit in Ngong.

Immediately following the sacking of African M-Kopa employees – along with outsourcing – Generation Investment put up more funding. The  March 21, 2018, article “M-Kopa Solar Receives $10 Million Investment After Sacking 150 Employees” published by the Kenyan Wall Street, disclosed the following:

“The investment comes after the company completed a restructuring exercise that saw staff count reduce by 18% from 1000 to 850 across East Africa. As we reported last week, about 78 developers were fired and their work has now been outsourced to a foreign company called Applicita that is owned by the company’s new CTO.

 

According to the CEO Jesse Moore, the restructuring process has been driven by the need to increase its competitiveness, enhance long-term sustainability, and boost investors’ returns.

 

The FinDev investment was led by CDC Group, an investor that had formerly pumped $7 million into the company, and includes follow-on investments by Generation Investment Management and LGT Venture Philanthropy. The two firms are current M-Kopa shareholders.”

The white colonization that continues to proliferate was not lost on Kenyan Wall Street which noted:

“… the company continues to raise eyebrows over its status as a Kenyan startup since its senior management is mostly composed of foreigners. What’s more, the matter of sacking local employees to outsource its operations to a foreign company will not go forgotten.”

+++

“The Gathering” & Nurturing of Foundation Funded Pragmatism

As disclosed in ACT I of this series, the very first people tagged in the initial Thunberg school strike tweet by We Don’t Have Time founder, Ingmar Rentzhog, were the following five twitter users: Greta Thunberg, This Is Zero Hour, Jamie Margolin, the teenage founder of This Is Zero Hour, Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project and the People’s Climate Strike twitter account (in the identical font and aesthetics as 350.org).

The first tweets from any given NGO twitter accounts are important as they often reveal exactly for what purpose/action the account was created for. In this particular instance, the very first tweet from the People’s Climate Strike account contained the hashtag #floodthesystem (July 24, 2015). This hashtag was devised to promote the action named Flood Wall Street, which took place on September 28, 2015, leading up to the second People’s Climate March on November 29, 2015. In 2015, the first NGOs to start using the #floodthesystem hashtag were This Changes Everything (NGO of Naomi Klein, 350.org board member), May 6, 2015; OccuWorld, May 12, 2015 (“something big is coming this fall”), retweeted by Rising Tide North America), Sharon Vardatira, Meridian Consulting, May 13, 2015, and Occupy Wall Street, May 20, 2015.

The strategy behind devising different social media accounts affiliated with hashtags, campaigns and NGO manufactured movements, is that one will catch fire. Such is the case with the Climate Strike twitter account (Climate Strike! – Global Climate Convergence) that was largely abandoned by 2017, and #EarthStrike, which largely failed to catch fire (thus far), to this very recent climate strike – as a hashtag – that has struck gold with the public psyche.

The “one 15 year old girl” tweet was then re-tweeted by Paola Fiore, founder and CEO of ETICAMBIENTE® Sustainability Management & Communications Consulting. Fiore is also the National Coordinator for Italy for The Climate Reality Project Europe. [1] Affiliations, memberships and partnerships of Fiore’s firm include, (but are not limited to) the Association for Coaching, Eco Community, United Planet Faith & Science Initiative (Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a founding member as is Dr. Rajendra Pachauri), 2degrees (funded by the European Commission), and the International Coach Federation. ETICAMBIENTE® holds membership with both The Climate Reality Project, and it’s client, the International Society of Sustainability Professionals.

The first “follows”‘ selected from any given NGO twitter accounts are also important as they often reveal who created the account – or those closest affiliated with the project. In this instance, the first two follows for the People’s Climate Strike twitter account (created June 2015) are Cheri  Honkala and the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign founded by Honkala. Honkala was the “Our Revolution” endorsed candidate for Pensylvania State Representative (#WeAreThe197th) in 2017.

With the formation of board announced on August 29, 2016, the 2018 Our Revolution winning candidates included Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. On September 18, 2018 Our Revolution (OR) and the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) announced a formal partnership established by both of the organizations national boards.  “PDA  is a grassroots political action committee, founded in 2004 to transform the Democratic Party and U.S. politics by electing progressives to federal office.” The PDA National Advisory Board includes members of US Congress, documentary film maker Michael Moore, commentator Thom Hartmann, Medea Benjamin of Code Pink and others of high liberal status.[5]

Recently, a new institute was launched which is partnered with Our Revolution: The Sanders Institute (“Our Mission: To Revitalize Democracy”). The inaugural conference (The Sanders Institute Gathering) took place in Burlington, Vermont (US) from November 29 – December 1, 2018. The invite only event  included the crème de la crème of the liberal political establishment including; Bernie Sanders who delivered the keynote, 350.org board member Naomi Klein and 350.org founder Bill McKibben ( Sanders Institute fellow) who both spoke on the New Green DealJeffrey Sachs (Sanders Institute fellow), Cornel West (Sanders Institute fellow) New York mayor Bill de Blasio, Nina Turner (Ohio state senator, president of Our Revolution), Ben Cohen (Ben & Jerry’s), and U.S. representative Tulsi Gabbard (Sanders Institute fellow) [Full list]

The green bourgeoisie rubbed elbows with “celebrity activists” including Susan Sarandon, John Cusack, Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte (Glover and Belafonte are both Sanders Institute fellows). WCAX News reported that the only debate that night was whether or not media would be allowed into the event. Ultimately the media was given access to the event, yet had to adhere to conditions of who they were, and who not allowed to record. (So much for freedom of the press.)

Participants spoke passionately about Indigenous rights, racism, etc. at the invite only event of predominantly white rich saviours who are presented as the leaders of our only salvation. In reality, they are only trying to salvage a system (via reforms) in which they are flourishing. Another inconvenient truth at odds with the gathering, are the promotional videos produced for the institute, which deliberately strive to give the pretense of politically correct diversity and inclusion.

July 20, 2018: Zero Hour’s Jamie Margolin is to the left of Bernie Sanders (centre). Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is in the back row, far right. “Organizers with Zero Hour meet with Sen. Bernie Sanders during their lobbying day Thursday.” Photo: Courtesy of Zero Hour [Source]

As previously highlighted, Zero Hour is one of the five twitter accounts tagged in the first Thunberg school strike tweet. Partners of This Is Zero Hour include; We Don’t Have Time, 350.org, The Climate Reality Project, the Sierra Club, Power Shift, the Sunrise Movement and many other NGOs that garner much power and influence within the non-profit industrial complex.

“Thank you Vice President @algore for your support & endorsement of the #ThisIsZeroHour movement” [September 20, 2018, Twitter]

January 4, 2019, Twitter

Other Zero Hour partners include Powershift, iMatterYouth, CareBoutClimate, ClimateSign, Sierra Club, 350.org and Citizens Climate.

In this December 10, 2018 tweet (9:35AM), ten twitter accounts were tagged; 350.org, We Don’t have Time, the Sunrise Movement, Teen Vogue, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Women’s March, Our Children’s Trust, Zero Hour, and March for Our Lives.

Activism & Corporatism Working Hand in Hand

The Climate Group,  is a co-founder of We Mean Business – a coalition of organizations working with thousands of the world’s most powerful corporations and investors. [6]

Perhaps the most noteworthy online exchange were the “words of encouragement” extended via twitter by The Climate Group [6] to Zero Hour for leading the Youth Climate March in July, 2018. Also of significance were the hashtags used in The Climate Group tweets: #WeDontHaveTime and #FrontlineYouth. This effectively illuminates the strategy and the key players behind the “climate movement” – where the NGOs, their funders, and the corporate entities are all on the same team.

This is not kindness. This is exquisite, albeit callous strategy.

Incubated by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund as an in-house project that later evolved into a free-standing institution, The Climate Group is a co-founder of We Mean Business – “a coalition of organizations working with thousands of the world’s most influential businesses and investors.” The founding partners of We Mean Business are Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) (full membership and associate members list), CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), Ceres, The B Team, The Climate Group, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Together, these groups represent the most powerful – and ruthless – corporations on the planet, salivating to unleash 100 trillion dollars for the fourth industrial revolution.

As I will demonstrate in the next segment of this series, the “frontline youth” energy is strategically being mobilized by a highly organized and sophisticated climate campaign. This same energy is being captured, then channeled back to save, strengthen and expand, the capitalist, hegemonic system that promises to destroy the future for these very same youth. One could call this a circular death economy. It takes much skill and coordination to “herd cats” [7] – to their own slaughter.

 

  • July 5, 2017, Al Gore, Generation Investment, "Sustainability Revolution"

 

End Notes:

[1] M-Pesa is a mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and microfinancing service. It was launched in 2007 by Vodafone for Safaricom and Vodacom (the largest mobile network operators in Kenya and Tanzania). It has expanded to Afghanistan, South Africa, India, Romania, and Albania.) In Kenya, M-Pesa is being utilized to impose a debt ideology/familiarity that reflects western debt ideology.

[2] The company M-KOPA offers the following three(3) product packages:

[2-1] The M-KOPA 5 Solar Home System can be purchased with a deposit of $2,999.00 Ksh. ($29.75 USD), plus 420 daily payments of $50.00 Ksh($0.50 USD). This total payment, including the deposit, is $23,999.00 Ksh. ($238.03 USD). The cash purchase price with no financing is  $18,999.00 Ksh. ($188.44 USD). [Accessed January 27, 2019]

The “M-KOPA 5 Solar Home System” includes one 8W solar panel, one rechargeable radio, one M-KOPA 5 control unit with a lithium battery, four 1.2W LED bulbs, one 5-in-1 phone charge cable, one custom charge cable, and one rechargeable LED torch.

[3-2]  The M-KOPA 600 requires a deposit of $5,999.00 UGX. ($59.50 USD), plus 590 daily payments of $100.00 Ksh($0.99 USD). The total payment, including the deposit, is $64,999.00 Ksh. ($644.68 USD). The cash purchase price with no financing is  $ 1,999,000.00 Ksh. ($546.61 USD).” [Accessed January 27, 2019]

The “M-KOPA 600 (24? TV)” package includes one M-KOPA 600 control unit, one 24-inch flat screen digital TV, one 30W solar panel, one TV remote control, one TV aerial, two solar lights, one solar rechargeable LED torch, one solar rechargeable radio, and two phone charging cables. “Satellite Dish & CAM Card provided separately.”

[3-3]  The M-KOPA 600 w/ Zuku CAM requires a deposit of $6,999.00 UGX. ($69.42 USD), plus 590 daily payments of $135.00 Ksh($1.34 USD). The total payment, including the deposit, is $86,649.00 Ksh. ($859.42 USD). The cash purchase price with no financing is  $ 69,999.00 Ksh. ($694.27 USD).” [Accessed January 27, 2019]

[4] We create and promote innovative sustainability programs and corporate social responsibility initiatives, and offer strategic advisory services on climate change and the SDGs.

[5] The PDA National Advisory Board includes members of US Congress: Representatives Barbara Lee, Keith Ellison, Raul Grijalva, and James McGovern; as well as documentarian Michael Moore, Actress / Activist Mimi Kennedy, Rev. Dr. Rodney Sadler, Author Jim Hightower, and Radio Hosts / Authors Lila Garrett and Thom Hartmann. Activists Michael Lighty, Medea Benjamin, Steve Cobble, Kristin Cabral, Dr. Paul Song, M.D., Belen Sisa, and Professor Marjorie Cohn also serve on the PDA Advisory Board, which is chaired by the exemplary activist Donna Smith.” [Source][Full Board Accessed January 10, 2019]

[6] The Climate Group: The Rockefeller Brothers Fund also acts as an incubator for in-house projects that later evolve into free-standing institutions – a case in point being ‘The Climate Group’, launched in London in 2004.  The Climate Group coalition includes more than 50 of the world’s largest corporations and sub-national governments, including big polluters such as energy giants BP and Duke Energy, as well as several partner organizations, one being that of the big NGO Avaaz. The Climate Group are advocates unproven carbon capture and storage technology (CCS), nuclear power and biomass as crucial technologies for a low-carbon economy. The Climate Group works closely with other business lobby groups, including the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), which works consistently to sabotage climate action. The Climate Group also works on other initiatives, one being that of the ‘Voluntary Carbon Standard’, a new global standard for voluntary offset projects. One marketing strategist company labeled the Climate Group’s campaign ‘Together’ as “the best inoculation against greenwash”. The Climate Group has operations in Australia, China, Europe, India, and North America.  It was a partner to the ‘Copenhagen Climate Council’.

[7] Forbes, Sept 25, 2014: Leadership Lessons from The People’s Climate March:“With that as her model of leadership it is perhaps no surprise that so many cats have been so successfully herded. But there is more. The other leadership lesson is putting project before person.” [Source]

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation and Counterpunch. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can support her independent journalism via Patreon.]

Edited with Forrest Palmer, Wrong Kind of Green Collective.

 

 

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Inconvenient Truth Behind Youth Co-optation [ACT II]

January 21, 2019

By Cory Morningstar

 

This is ACT II of the six-part series: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-profit Industrial Complex

 

In ACT I of this new body of research I opened the dialogue with the observations of artist Hiroyuki Hamada:

 

“What’s infuriating about manipulations by Non Profit Industrial Complex is that they harvest good will of the people, especially young people. They target those who were not given skills and knowledge to truly think for themselves by institutions which are designed to serve the ruling class. Capitalism operates systematically and structurally like a cage to raise domesticated animals. Those organizations and their projects which operate under false slogans of humanity in order to prop up the hierarchy of money and violence are fast becoming some of the most crucial elements of the invisible cage of corporatism, colonialism and militarism.”

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent has been written in six acts. [ACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT VACT VI] [Addenda: I]

In ACT I, I disclosed that Greta Thunberg, the current child prodigy and face of the youth movement to combat climate change, served as special youth advisor and trustee to the foundation established by “We Don’t Have Time”, a burgeoning mainstream tech start-up. I then explored the ambitions behind the tech company We Don’t Have Time.

In ACT II, I illustrate how today’s youth are the sacrificial lambs for the ruling elite. Also in this act I introduce the board members and advisors to “We Don’t Have Time.” I explore the leadership in the nascent We Don’t Have Time and the partnerships between the well established corporate environmental entities: Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, 350.org, Avaaz, Global Utmaning (Global Challenge), the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

In ACT III, I deconstruct how Al Gore and the Planet’s most powerful capitalists are behind today’s manufactured youth movements and why. I explore the We Don’t Have Time/Thunberg connections to Our Revolution, the Sanders Institute, This Is Zero Hour, the Sunrise Movement and the Green New Deal. I also touch upon Thunberg’s famous family. In particular, Thunberg’s celebrity mother, Malena Ernman (WWF Environmental Hero of the Year 2017), and her August 2018 book launch. I then explore the generous media attention afforded to Thunberg in both May and April of 2018 by SvD, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers.

In ACT IV, I examine the current campaign, now unfolding, in “leading the public into emergency mode”. More importantly, I summarize who and what this mode is to serve.

In ACT V, I take a closer look at the Green New Deal. I explore Data for Progress and the targeting of female youth as a key “femographic”. I connect the primary architect and authors of the “Green New Deal” data to the World Resources Institute. From there, I walk you through the interlocking Business & Sustainable Development Commission and the New Climate Economy – a project of the World Resources Institute. I disclose the common thread between these groups and the assignment of money to nature, represented by the Natural Capital Coalition and the non-profit industrial complex as an entity. Finally, I reveal how this has culminated in the implementation of payments for ecosystem services (the financialization and privatization of nature, global in scale) which is “expected to be adopted during the fifteenth meeting in Beijing in 2020.”

In the final act, ACT VI [Crescendo], I wrap up the series by divulging that the very foundations which have financed the climate “movement” over the past decade are the same foundations now partnered with the Climate Finance Partnership looking to unlock 100 trillion dollars from pension funds. I reveal the identities of individuals and groups at the helm of this interlocking matrix, controlling both the medium and the message. I take a step back in time to briefly demonstrate the ten years of strategic social engineering that have brought us to this very precipice. I look at the relationship between WWF, Stockholm Institute and World Resources Institute as key instruments in the creation of the financialization of nature. I also take a look at what the first public campaigns for the financialization of nature (“natural capital”) that are slowly being brought into the public realm by WWF. I reflect upon how mainstream NGOs are attempting to safeguard their influence and further manipulate the populace by going underground through Extinction Rebellion groups being organized in the US and across the world.

With the smoke now cleared, the weak and essentially non-existent demands reminiscent of the 2009 TckTckTck “demands” can now be fully understood.

Some of these topics, in addition to others, will be released and discussed in further detail as addenda built on the large volume of research. This includes stepping through the looking glass, with an exploration of what the real “Green New Deal” under the Fourth Industrial Revolution will look like. Also forthcoming is a look at the power of celebrity – and how it has become a key tool for both capital and conformity.

[*Note: This series contains information and quotes that have been translated from Swedish to English via Google Translator.]

 

 

 

 

A C T   T W O

 

We Don’t Have Time Players

The We Don’t Have Time board of directors is comprised of the following people:

  • Ingmar Rentzhog, We Don’t Have Time founder and CEO
  • Anette Nordvall, We Don’t Have Time chairwoman/shareholder, private tech investor, works with STOAF (venture capital and private equity firm in Sweden), venture partner with Capital A Partners
  • David Olsson, We Don’t Have Time chief operating officer, chairman of the Swedish climate think tank Global Utmaning
  • Christian Emmertz, We Don’t Have Time co-founder, business unit director at Hewitt Packard (HP) Sweden, partner at RealCap Investment, The Climate Reality Project leader, trained by Al Gore
  • Stella Diesen, “Changing the world with Microsoft tech Innofactor” (formerly Microsoft), The Climate Reality Project leader, trained by Al Gore
  • Gustav Stenbeck, CEO of Mestro, founder and executive chairman of Gain Sustain (investment banking)

 

Global Utmaning, which translates to Global Challenge in English, was founded in 2005 by economist Kristina Persson, Sweden’s former  Minister of Strategic Development and Nordic Cooperation. Persson was tasked with building cooperation with Nordic countries in order to leverage strength within the international community (“together we are an actor with clout”). Her position involved the fostering of long-term development for “the green transition, jobs and distribution, and initiatives to influence the global agenda for sustainable development.” [Source] She is heir (with her siblings) to the business empire established by her father, Sven O. Persson which has a revenue of approximately SEK 3 billion (approx. USD 332,500,000.00) per annum. Persson is also the founder of the Freja Foundation established in 2017.

The We Don’t Have Time Foundation board of directors include:

  • Cathy Orlando, national director, Citizen’s Climate Lobby in Canada
  • Stuart Scott, The Climate Reality Project leader, trained by Al Gore
  • Per-Espen Stokenes, researcher in behavioural economics
  • Ingmar Rentzhog, founder and CEO, We Don’t Have Time
  • David Olsson, chief operating officer, We Don’t Have Time
  • Greta Thunberg, special youth advisor and trustee
  • Jamie Margolin, special youth advisor and trustee

 

Acquisition International Magazine Issue 10, 2018 

“Citizen Climate Lobby international outreach manager Cathy Orlando, centre, is pleased with the Trudeau government’s new carbon tax plan. She’s seen here with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, husband Sanjiv Mathur, and their daughter Sophia Mathur. (Supplied)” [Source]

The We Don’t Have Time advisory board includes the following individuals:

The presence of Ikea on the We Don’t Have Time advisory board should be duly noted. In 2017 Ikea awarded a $44.6m grant from the IKEA Foundation to the We Mean Business coalition (founded in 2014). This grant was in fact “the second largest single donation ever made by the charitable arm of retail giant IKEA.” The We Mean Business coalition founding members include The B Team, the Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), the Carbon Disclosure Project, Ceres, The Climate Group, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and the Prince of Wales Corporate Climate Group. Other We Mean Business partners include the United Nation Global Compact, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UNEP Finance, the World Bank, and World Wildlife Fund. [Full list] [Further reading:“100 Billion for Everyone Who Signs”]

The B Team is managed by Purpose, the for-profit public relations firm run by Avaaz co-founder Jeremy Heimans, co-author of the book “New Power”. Ikea is a client of Purpose and partner to the Purpose NGO “We Are Here Now” (“Here Now”).

In the following excerpt from the January 28, 2016, Maclean’s article, Have We Hit ‘Peak Stuff?’ Ikea Says There’s Röom to Grow, the collective corporate climate fervor now sweeping the globe is demonstrated once again:

“So how to square Ikea’s “peak stuff” talk with its “buy more” actions? A spokesperson volunteered in an email that [Steve] Howard’s [head of sustainability at Ikea] comments were made as “part of a wider global context where many people still have very limited means” while Sjostrand suggested the goal was “to continue to grow our business, but grow it in a more sustainable way.” Translation: Ikea will sell you more furniture and home furnishings, but it will try harder not to make you feel guilty about it. Which explains why the company’s corporate reports are festooned with examples of sustainability initiatives, from selling only LED-compatible lighting to serving responsibly harvested fish in the cafeteria.”

Sustainability and capitalism are like oil and water. The two are incompatible. They cannot co-exist.

The “climate revolution” sought by We Don’t Have Time et al doesn’t contract mass-consumption, it delivers new products in order to expand it.

The “clean energy revolution” doesn’t threaten big oil – it secures it. It doesn’t weaken capitalism. It strengthens it. It doesn’t inspire resistance – it quells it – into oblivion.

Here we can reflect on the most simple things that shed light on the ideologies shared by the majority of those at the helm of decision making in addressing our climate crisis. In plain sight, what companies and institutions a person is most interested in are made public on one’s LinkedIn account. Selected groups to follow shared by the average non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) professional, are rarely if ever groups, institutions or people working within the realms of ecology, Indigenous rights, social justice, environmental sciences, or other critical areas associated with climate change and environmental depletion. Nor are  smaller institutions or individuals working toward small-scale local solutions of any interest.

Rather this interlocking directorate of “Ted talkers” and “thought leaders” most commonly select and follow the world’s most powerful and successful finance and tech companies, and the marketing firms that propel them to their success. Rarely are institutions, groups or people within the environmental sciences of interest, nor are  smaller institutions or individuals working toward small-scale local solutions. The most popular institutions followed, and shared by most of this crowd, are comprised of white Western leadership, predominantly male. Some of the most admired ones chosen by the many are the World Economic Forum, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Economist, the Green Climate Fund – groups and institutions they wholly identify with, and seek to assimilate/belong.

Here we must recall the fact (disclosed in ACT I) that Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project is a partner to We Don’t Have Time. (Al Gore’s priorities to be discussed in ACT III.)

“Rentzhog wants to affect ‘change within business, not against business.'” — Anette Nordvall, Chairman of We Don’t Have Time [Source]

The Sacrificial Lambs

“The same hormones and neurotransmitters can be released by a good story. These include dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins, which Phillips refers to as the “angel’s cocktail.” The effects of oxytocin make you more generous, trusting, and ready to bond. This is what is released in your blood when you hear a sad story. It makes us feel relaxed and more human as we bond to the storyteller.” — based on the TEDxStockholm Talk, “The Magical Science of Storytelling,” by David JP Phillips, We Don’t Have Time board of directors  [Source]

To begin this segment, we can look at the “WE” movement (“ME to WE”, Free the Children and WE Day). [1] The 2015 exposé  “Unleashing Voluntourism” produced by the Canadian Public Broadcasting (CBC) was originally scheduled to air on March 19, 2015. The documentary investigated the privatization of, the NGOization of, and the explosive growth of, what has morphed into a billion dollar industry – tourism masquerading as volunteerism – for privileged youth in the West.

Celebrity, fetishized in an rapidly eroding society void of meaning and culture, has resulted in such a powerful asset to capitalism and militarism, that the subject has become an active area of study by academics such as Dan Brockington and Ilan Kapoor. The power of celebrity was not lost on WE whose keynote speakers for massive gatherings and endorsements have included: Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau in 2008 (video), and again, in 2015 following his election win, former “first lady” Michelle Obama, Hollywood’s Natalie Portman, and a stream of others. Indeed, renting celebrities for galas and events has too become a niche industry.

Shortly before it was to air, the documentary was pulled after WE requested unauthorized footage be removed from the exposé. When it did air, on April 7, 2017, two scenes had been cut from the film. The following clip is one of the two deleted clips (running time: 1m:1s), “Volunteers Unleashed: suppressed Me to We clip #1″:

The controversy regarding WE is far from over as the NGO grapples to protect its million dollar brand. On January 17, 2019, WE announced they would commence legal action against a small podcast network and news outlet in Manitoba, Canada, where journalists have no explicit legal protection from SLAPP lawsuits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation). This news outlet had been reporting on the WE movement since 2015.

The following images and brief commentaries are but a tiny glimpse into the world of NGOization and co-optation of both resistance and youth. Today we bear witness to what can aptly be described as the mechanisms and orchestrated movements of the non-profit industrial spectacle.

To illustrate the co-optation of youth, we will now look at the celebrity youth activists and Climate Reality leaders Greta Thunberg and Jamie Margolin. We focus on these two individuals as they are directly connected to the We Don’t Have Time campaign and business plan.

The Climate Reality Project and Global Utmaning. Greta Thunberg at far left. “How do we ensure that today’s decision-makers benefit and learn from young people’s commitment to the future? On September 26, the question attracted over 250 visitors to Kulturhuset Stadsteatern where Global Utmaning and Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project arranged seminars.” [Source]

Thunberg has stated repeatedly that her strike will continue “until Sweden is aligned with the Paris Agreement.” Therefore, by her own statements, this is the singular, overall purpose and goal of the strike. The foundation of the Paris Agreement is the expansion of nuclear, the financialization of nature, further privatization at an unprecedented scale, “large scale CO2 reduction” (carbon capture storage), a desperate attempt to revitalize economic growth, and more market “solutions” that will further perpetuate our multiple crises. Therefore, the Thunberg campaign is in part to create a demand upon governments across the globe to align with the Paris agreement. (A demand to obtain what the ruling classes have already decided to unleash on us, our planet, and all life.) As adherence to the Paris Accords is a running theme in the mainstream NGO movement, the marketing campaign is helped along by 350.org, Avaaz, WWF, Greenpeace, in tandem with the UN (“Changing Together”), the World Bank (“Stepping Up“)[2], and more recently, the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The Global Utmaning think tank cites its main asset as its network of over 90 senior advisors. From its homepage:

“The global market economy has lifted millions of people out of poverty. Meanwhile, inequality increased significantly. The financial system must be globally regulated and the current economic stagnation broken. It requires a new green, circular and inclusive growth model that creates value, labor and welfare. What is tomorrow’s new economic story?”

Global Utmaning recently announced a partnership with Global Shapers – an initiative of the World Economic Forum that brings together young leaders worldwide: “The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019 will be held from 22-25 January in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. Over 3,000 global leaders will come together under the theme Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” [Emphasis added]

AVAAZ

Here we will make some brief observations of both Avaaz and 350.org in relation to the global “Climate Strike” campaigns. An exhaustive body of research that lays bare the function and ancestry of both NGOs, based on investigations from 2012 to present, now exists on the Wrong Kind of Green website. I encourage readers to familiarize themselves with the two entities.

On December 14, 2018, 350.org sent out a press release containing the following excerpts:

“Katowice, Poland – Today- 30 school children from three local schools in Katowice, answered the call of Greta Thunberg and brought the global #ClimateStrike into the final day of the UN Climate talks in Katowice.

 

The 30 students were granted special access to enter the UN talks and carry their message to the delegates and Polish government: with only 12 years left to get the world off fossil fuels, leaders must act now.” [emphasis in original]

On cue, the international media would publish photos such as this one:

Here is what you don’t see:

  • Preconference: The youth are being organized for the December 14, 2018 press event. Photo: David Tong / WWF New Zealand

At the bottom of the 350.org press release under the heading “For more information”, the press release discloses: “NOTE that 350.Org and Avaaz are NOT organising these actions but are helping the students to spread their message.” [Emphasis in original]

And yet it certainly appears that Avaaz did in fact play a leading role in organizing the action – while orchestrating the media spotlight. [See photos in the above slider.]

On the day following the 350.org-Avaaz press release, December 15, 2018, NGOs and institutions alike scrambled to catapult the words of Thunberg into the hearts and minds of citizens all over the world.  From the UN, to Avaaz, to the World Bank, to grass roots resistance, they all clamoured to spread young Thunberg’s words. But one NGO took it upon itself to redact many of Thunberg’s words, releasing an abbreviated version (79K views on Facebook). With no disclaimer to its audience, Avaaz removed four excerpts from Thunberg’s speech. [4] The two excerpts that follow, which were cut by Avaaz, are most revealing:

Two of the excerpts that have been cut from Greta’s speech, are most revealing:

“You only speak of the green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake.”

 

“But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. Our civilisation is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.”

It is not surprising Avaaz would strike Greta’s comments considering a primary function of Avaaz is to promote market solutions that accelerate “green” economic growth – in servitude to “a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.”

In the following Avaaz campaign, the NGO employs Thunberg’s face to place pressure on Sweden for corporate non-solutions, such as in this instance, “large scale CO2 reduction”. This is holistic framing for carbon capture storage technologies.

Here it is imperative to refer to the August 24, 2017 press release “Bellona seminar on Nordic CCS cooperation”. From the release:

“Now politicians have to go ahead so that we can build full-scale CO2 capture facilities as quickly as possible,’ said Tandberg. Three full-scale facilities in Norway are planned, but not yet granted, with a preliminary price tag of NOK 12.6 billion (EUR 1.28 billion)…

 

Norway is leading in capture, transportation and storage technologies, and can export the knowledge and facilities. There is potential for a completely new industry to be built. However it depends on whether Norway is able to keep its position. It is urgent to build the CCS plants, develop the technology further and get full-scale CCS infrastructure, and a Nordic cooperation can facilitate this process.”

This is a prime example of one of the main functions of NGOs. To generate popular demand from the citizenry that will in turn support the legislation required for projects that serve to benefit industry, rather than people and planet. Prior to the contracts being signed or a shovel breaking ground to build the infrastructures that will comprise the “global architecture in the age of the fourth industrial revolution” – legislation is required. And just like a proverbial snowball turning into an avalanche, the legislation begets money for a budget with bidding and construction to commence shortly thereafter.

What better way to create a demand for something detrimental to both the environment and the populace, than to package it under climate change solutions, with the lovely and innocent face of Greta.  With reality turned on its head,  industry doesn’t have to impose its will on the people – the people will impose it on themselves, via Avaaz et al. The people are thus engineered to  demand the very false solutions that the corporations have had up their sleeves for years and even decades.

Hence, the non-profit industrial complex and the media, both financed/funded by the word’s power elite, are amalgamated with and by corporate power. Together they work in unity, toward one common goal: economic growth. Hence, market solutions are always THE solutions. It is not simply a matter of placing the economy first before everything else. Rather, its placing the economy first at the EXPENSE of everything else. And everyone else. And all life on this planet.

To look at the scale of such so-called solutions, one need look no further than the 2013 Carbon Tracker “Unburnable Carbon Report” – page 12:

“Given that the average annual rate of storage in 2015 is projected by the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute (2012) to be about 2.25 million tonnes for 16 CCS projects, a total of nearly 3800 CCS projects would need to be operating by 2050 under the idealised scenario.”

The idealised scenario “offers about an 80% chance of not exceeding a warming of more than 2°C.”

May 14, 2015:

“As with all the shaping of our shared futures by the elite, the pathway to CCS is clear in the 2008 Green Alliance paper, A Last Chance for Coal, with contributions from Ben Caldecott while at the Policy Exchange think tank. The paper notes that it is critical Europe’s commitment to CCS be realized before 2020; 12 short years away from the paper’s publication date. The year 2020 is a critical date of vast significance – a recurring deadline for all environmental market solutions to be in place.”

[Further reading: AVAAZ: The Globe’s Largest & Most Powerful Behavioural Change Network]

[Further reading: McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street]

Jamie Margolin – Zero Hour

Jamie Margolin is the teenage founder of This Is Zero Hour and “one of the 13 plaintiffs suing Washington State for its failure to take adequate action on climate change.” (As disclosed in ACT I of this series, Margolin – and her NGO Zero Hour – accounted for two of the six accounts tagged by We Don’t Have Time on the very first post reporting Greta Thunberg’s school strike.) Margolin attended Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps (a three-day conference) that took place in Seattle on June 27-29, 2017. [Source] In July 2017, Margolin began organizing for a youth climate march in Washington, D.C. and launched Zero Hour. On February 27, 2018, exactly eight months after her first day at the Climate Reality Leadership Corps, Margolin would be featured in Rolling Stone magazine. Prior to her meteoric rise to stardom, Margolin interned  in Hillary Clinton’s campaign office in Seattle. The following passage demonstrates what has now become the normal corporate promotion of youth:

“The youngest speaker at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco this week is Jamie Margolin of Seattle, who founded the Zero Hour youth climate march this past July and led its flagship action in Washington, D.C. At 16, Margolin presents a youthful contrast to most of the GCAS leadership, like California Governor Jerry Brown (80); former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (76); and China’s top climate diplomat, Xie Zhenhua (68).” [Source]

In the 21st century manufactured movements and revolutions, today’s “leaders” (fabricated by corporate owned and funded media) are no longer enemies of the establishment. Rather, they  do events together – with establishment figures such as New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio adulating over our new “revolutionaries” while tagging them and tweeting their praises.  When the establishment itself loves our movements and our “faces of the future” – we know we have already lost tomorrow.

“Donate”: Jamie Margolin, teenage founder of This Is Zero Hour | Climate Reality Project webpage banner

On cue. On December 5, 2018, Time Magazine voted Greta Thunberg as one of the most influential teens (now the most sought after and targeted demographic by corporations) of 2018 while Jamie Margolin, founder of Zero Hour, Climate Reality leader and teen influencer, was lauded over by Teen Vogue. [July 19, 2018, Climate Change Puts the Future at Risk, So I’m Taking Action; November 5, 2018, 21 Under 21: Jamie Margolin Knows Climate Justice is the Key to All Justice; December 1, 2018, The Teen Vogue Summit 2018]

Teen Vogue, December 5, 2018: “15-Year-Old Activist Greta Thunberg Schooled World Leaders on Climate Change at a United Nations Summit”

In the above image, Margolin lends her celebrity status to prop up the brands Global Citizen and Johnson & Johnson. Global Citizen is perhaps the most egregious NGO in the non-profit industrial complex with its grotesque model of shallow, hollowed-out “activism” and corporatization. Recently Global Citizen has introduced “points” that can be accumulated by clicking on actions. In a blatant emulation of credit cards (the more money you spend, the more points you acquire), the more actions you click, the more points you acquire. These points can then be redeemed for access to celebrity events and concerts.

This is the social engineering of unquestioning compliance and  instantaneous acquiescence. In order to receive the reward, one must perform the action requested. If you do not comply, you simply do not receive the points.  Here the encouragement for critical thought and debate is deliberately and strategically erased from the equation.

September 25, 2018: The Zero Hour Movement Founder & President Jamie Margolin attends Global Citizen – Movement Makers at The Times Center in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen)

 

NGOs are not the only entities to exploit youth. Corporate partners that finance their endeavours also provide lofty sums of money to have their toxic legacies greenwashed. In July 2018, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay “nearly $4.7 billion US in total damages to 22 women and their families after they claimed asbestos in Johnson & Johnson talcum powder contributed to their ovarian cancer, in the first case against the company that focused on asbestos in the powder… Six of the 22 plaintiffs in the latest trial have died from ovarian cancer. … Mark Lanier, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said in a statement that Johnson & Johnson had covered up evidence of asbestos in their products for more than 40 years.” [Source]

Par for the course, partnerships and endorsements for corporations inflicting violence upon both children and planet are a hallmark of the non-profit industrial complex. This is not the only lawsuit that has been launched against Johnson & Johnson nor will it be the last. There are also 1200 pending lawsuits in the US alone against this corporate entity. Johnson & Johnson is not the exception – it is the normal.

“Global Citizen – Movement Makers. In This Photo: (L-R) Ladan Manteghi, Jamie Margolin, and Afroz Shah speak onstage during Global Citizen – Movement Makers at The Times Center on September 25, 2018 in New York City.” Source: Noam Galai/Getty Images North America

Bill Gates (Breakthrough Energy, Mission Innovation) with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for Global Citizen. Montreal, Quebec, Canada, September 17, 2016. REUTERS/Geoff Robins/POOL

Jamie Margolin – teenage founder and executive director of This is Zero Hour, founded in 2017 (June 30, 2017, twitter)

Jamie Margolin, speaking via Skype at the Climate Emergency Plan presentation, (We Don’t Have Time, Climate Utmaning, the Club of Rome), November  24, 2018:

“We don’t just think about, oh there’s carbon in the air and we need to lower it, we think of how did the carbon get there?, like how did we allow a system that could lead us to such destruction?”

The system that Margolin refers to is that of global capitalism, an economic system that is devouring everything in its path. A promise to destroy the planetary ecosystems of our shared futures. And it’s not as though Margolin has not begun to understand the glaring systems intersecting at the nexus of our multiple crises, such as capitalism, colonialism, racism and patriarchy.

Rather, Margolin does in fact possess the basic building blocks of knowledge that are required for the long road ahead of instilling and inspiring the revolutionary changes that are required amoungst the youth. Yet, by positioning herself with those that bring into fruition and profit from everything Margolin touches upon, she tragically denigrates her own analysis by merely calling for better cups for Starbucks rather than the elimination of Starbucks altogether. Hence, on her current path, Margolin does more harm than good for the very systemic issues she articulates so well.

With “crude capitalists“, such as Gore, de Blasio and others, now capturing the last vestiges of youth that even have such awareness (an awareness that is slowly dying out), soon the systemic structures that allow capitalism and oppression to flourish will have no opposition whatsoever. We are reaching the point where there is no distinction between our “movements” and the coalitions created to further our oppression and servitude. The fact that Margolin serves as a face for Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project – when saving capitalism is Gore’s number one priority (as we will learn in ACT III), grinds all of Margolin’s articulate words – and actions – to dust. Gore uses Greta, Margolin and all the youth they mobilize – by destroying the very futures these youth are hoping to save – all in servitude to economic growth and capitalism for the world’s power elite.

Also of relevance to the Thunberg campaign is the race to capture the Millennial and Generation Z. With increasing frequency, this capture is primarily achieved by the manufactured and heavily funded youth “movements”. “Movements” teeming with potential consumers, fully exploitable by those that benefit from, and in many cases contribute to, the steady stream of funding. The title Generation Z has been applied to those connected from birth to online media, to whom “instant gratification is the norm.” Today, this demographic is the most powerful and sought after audience in North America. As an illustration of the terms popularity, Zero Hour’s Margolin actually refers to herself as “generation Z.”

The November 8, 2018 Barclays article, Gen Z: Step Aside Millennials reports that this demographic (children born between 1995 and 2009), the same demographic that youth leaders like Greta Thunberg and Jamie Margolin belong to, appeal to and influence, are quickly becoming the new “consumer giants” and “mega influencers”:

“By 2020, Generation Z will be the largest group of consumers globally. They will account for 40% of consumers in the US, Europe and BRIC countries and 10% in the rest of the world. Companies that don’t engage with Gen Z successfully could rapidly lose market share. Some of them may only be 9 years old, but Gen Z already have huge spending power. In the US, Gen Z currently have $200 billion in direct buying power but $1 trillion in indirect spending power by influencing household spending*. Gen Z’s advanced digital knowledge and ability to assess factors such as price and availability from a young age make them increasingly influential in family spending decisions.”

In the eyes of bankers and capitalists, this group of youth are mere consumers. Dollar signs. Not children, youth or even people.

Faux activism comes with many perks inclusive of six-figure salaries, jet-setting, and “Ted Talks”. Plus, the best hipster eco-brands money can buy. Perhaps the most enticing perk – is access. Access to the halls of power. With the media fawning all over every reformist word, the faux activist can fall in love with his/her/x own image all over again. Everyone wants to be a star. Everyone wants to live the luxurious life. Everyone wants to belong to the champagne circuit.

All on the backs of the most oppressed. All on the backs of the most vulnerable. Yet the paradox is this – we are their vehicle. Our resistance captured and channeled directly back into the very systems crushing us.

A Coupe De Grace

Greta Thunberg is being strategically exploited by the World Bank, the UN, and the non-profit industrial complex that serves the ruling classes. They are using her to advance their own self-interests and objectives – that are in direct opposition to everything this young woman brilliantly articulates. This is being presented as a “leaderless movement” – very much the “New Power” methodology and religion for the capitalists – theorized by Jeremy Heimans (Avaaz/Purpose) for mass movement building – that serves the most powerful and destructive forces on the planet.

The manipulation of young, malleable minds is at the foundation of Western indoctrination in order to insulate a failing system and mask the market solutions being designed to address it. Market “solutions” that benefit the rich at the expense of  the environment. Hence, the youth are always the sacrificial lambs of the non-profit industrial complex.

 

 [Further reading: From Stable to Star – The Making of North American “Climate Heroes”]

[Further Reading: Targeting Millennials: The 30 Trillion Dollar Jackpot]

[Further Reading: The Pygmalion Virus in Three Acts [2017 AVAAZ SERIES, PART II]

 

End Notes:

[1] “According to WE.org, ‘WE is made up of WE Charity and ME to WE. Both are part of the WE Movement, also known as ‘WE’ and ‘We.'” – “WE Charity used to be called Free The Children, and before that, Kids Can Free The Children. ME to WE is a private, for-profit business, but WE prefers to call it a ‘social enterprise.'” [Source]

[2] The COP24 Stepping Up Climate Action is a campaign initiated by the UN with Connect4Climate. The campaign of “global leaders, thinkers, activists and influencers” includes Greta Thunberg. “Connect4Climate is a global partnership program under the Communication for Climate Change Multi-Donor Trust Fund of the World Bank Group. The Trust Fund was initiated by the Italian Ministry of Environment, and in 2014 it was joined by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.”

[3] Video: Greta & Svante Thunberg – Straight Talk, Dec 9, 2019 [ 15:31 in]; Grist, December 5, 2018: “I will sit there every Friday until Sweden is aligned with the Paris agreement,” she told a packed auditorium in Katowice.

[4] 1) “You only speak of the green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake.”

2) “But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet our civilisation is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.”

3) “Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than its what is politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis.”

4) “We have run out of excuses and we are running out of time.”

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation and Counterpunch. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can support her independent journalism via Patreon.]

Edited with Forrest Palmer, Wrong Kind of Green Collective.

 

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex [ACT I]

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex [ACT I]

By Cory Morningstar

January 17, 2019

 

“What’s infuriating about manipulations by Non Profit Industrial Complex is that they harvest good will of the people, especially young people. They target those who were not given skills and knowledge to truly think for themselves by institutions which are designed to serve the ruling class. Capitalism operates systematically and structurally like a cage to raise domesticated animals. Those organizations and their projects which operate under false slogans of humanity in order to prop up the hierarchy of money and violence are fast becoming some of the most crucial elements of the invisible cage of corporatism, colonialism and militarism.” Hiroyuki Hamada, artist

 

1958: “17-year-old Bianca Passarge of Hamburg dresses up as a cat, complete with furry tail, and dances on wine bottles. Her performance was based on a dream and she practised for eight hours every day in order to perfect her dance.”

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent has been written in six acts. [ACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT VACT VI] [Addenda: I]

In ACT I, I disclose that Greta Thunberg, the current child prodigy and face of the youth movement to combat climate change, serves as special youth advisor and trustee to the burgeoning mainstream tech start-up, We Don’t Have Time. I then explore the ambitions behind the tech company We Don’t Have Time.

In ACT II, I illustrate how today’s youth are the sacrificial lambs for the ruling elite. Also in this act I introduce the board members and advisors to We Don’t Have Time. I explore the leadership in the nascent We Don’t Have Time and the partnerships between the well-established corporate environmental entities: Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, 350.org, Avaaz, Global Utmaning (Global Challenge), the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

In ACT III, I deconstruct how Al Gore and the Planet’s most powerful capitalists are behind today’s manufactured youth movements and why. I explore the We Don’t Have Time/Thunberg connections to Our Revolution, the Sanders Institute, This Is Zero Hour, the Sunrise Movement and the Green New Deal. I also touch upon Thunberg’s famous family. In particular, Thunberg’s celebrity mother, Malena Ernman (WWF Environmental Hero of the Year 2017) and her August 2018 book launch. I then explore the generous media attention afforded to Thunberg in both May and April of 2018 by SvD, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers.

In ACT IV, I examine the current campaign, now unfolding, in “leading the public into emergency mode”. More importantly, I summarize who and what this mode is to serve.

In ACT V, I take a closer look at the Green New Deal. I explore Data for Progress and the targeting of female youth as a key “femographic”. I connect the primary architect and authors of the “Green New Deal” data to the World Resources Institute. From there, I walk you through the interlocking Business & Sustainable Development Commission and the New Climate Economy – a project of the World Resources Institute. I disclose the common thread between these groups and the assignment of money to nature, represented by the Natural Capital Coalition and the non-profit industrial complex as an entity. Finally, I reveal how this has culminated in the implementation of payments for ecosystem services (the financialization and privatization of nature, global in scale) which is “expected to be adopted during the fifteenth meeting in Beijing in 2020.”

In the final act, ACT VI [Crescendo], I wrap up the series by divulging that the very foundations which have financed the climate “movement” over the past decade are the same foundations now partnered with the Climate Finance Partnership looking to unlock 100 trillion dollars from pension funds. I reveal the identities of individuals and groups at the helm of this interlocking matrix, controlling both the medium and the message. I take a step back in time to briefly demonstrate the ten years of strategic social engineering that have brought us to this very precipice. I look at the relationship between WWF, Stockholm Institute and World Resources Institute as key instruments in the creation of the financialization of nature. I also take a look at the first public campaigns for the financialization of nature (“natural capital”) that are slowly being brought into the public realm by WWF. I reflect upon how mainstream NGOs are attempting to safeguard their influence and further manipulate the populace by going underground through Extinction Rebellion groups being organized in the US and across the world.

With the smoke now cleared, the weak and essentially non-existent demands reminiscent of the 2009 TckTckTck “demands” can now be fully understood.

Some of these topics, in addition to others, will be released and discussed in further detail as addenda built on the large volume of research. This includes stepping through the looking glass, with an exploration of what the real “Green New Deal” under the Fourth Industrial Revolution will look like. Also forthcoming is a look at the power of celebrity – and how it has become a key tool for both capital and conformity.

[*Note: This series contains information and quotes that have been translated from Swedish to English via Google Translator.]

 

 

A C T   O N E

 

“How is it possible for you to be so easily tricked by something so simple as a story, because you are tricked? Well, it all comes down to one core thing and that is emotional investment. The more emotionally invested you are in anything in your life, the less critical and the less objectively observant you become.” — David JP Phillips, We Don’t Have Time board of directors, “The Magical Science of Storytelling”

 

 

Greta Thunberg, We Don’t Have Time, Facebook, October 26, 2018

 

August 2018, Finance Monthly, co-founder of We Don’t Have Time, Ingmar Rentzhog

We Don’t Have Time

As this term is quickly becoming the quote du jour as a collective mantra to address the ongoing environmental disaster that can best be described as a nod to the obvious, it’s true that we don’t have time. We don’t have time to stop imperialist wars – wars being the greatest contributor to climate change and environmental degradation by far – but we must do so. Of course this is an impossible feat under the crushing weight of the capitalist system, a US war economy, and the push for a fourth industrial revolution founded on renewable energy. Yet, inconvenience has nothing to do with necessity in regards to addressing a particular situation. What is never discussed in regard to the so-called “clean energy revolution” is that its existence is wholly dependent on “green” imperialism – the latter term being synonymous with blood.

But that’s not what this series is about.

This series is about new financial markets in a world where global economic growth is experiencing stagnation. The threat and subsequent response is not so much about climate change as it is about the collapse of the capitalist economic system. This series is about the climate wealth opportunity of unprecedented growth, profits, and the measures our elite classes will take in order to achieve it – including the exploitation of the youth.

What is We Don’t Have Time?

 

“Our goal is to become among the biggest players on the internet.” — Ingmar Rentzhog, We Don’t Have Time, December 22, 2017, Nordic Business Insider

On August 20, 2018 a tweet featuring a photo of “a Swedish girl” sitting on a sidewalk was released by the tech company, We Don’t Have Time, founded by its CEO Ingmar Rentzhog:

“One 15 year old girl in front of the Swedish parliament is striking from School until Election Day in 3 weeks[.] Imagine how lonely she must feel in this picture. People where [sic] just walking by. Continuing with the business as usual thing. But the truth is. We can’t and she knows it!”

Rentzhog’s tweet, via the We Don’t Have Time twitter account, would be the very first exposure of Thunberg’s now famous school strike.

Above: We Don’t Have Time tweet, August 20, 2018

Tagged in Rentzhog’s “lonely girl” tweet were five twitter accounts: Greta Thunberg, Zero Hour (youth movement), Jamie Margolin (the teenage founder of Zero Hour), Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, and the People’s Climate Strike twitter account (in the identical font and aesthetics as 350.org). [These groups will be touched upon briefly later in this series.]

Rentzhog is the founder of Laika (a prominent Swedish communications consultancy firm providing services to the financial industry, recently acquired by FundByMe). He was appointed as chair of the think tank Global Utmaning (Global Challenge in English) on May 24, 2018, and serves on the board of FundedByMe. Rentzhog is a member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Organization Leaders, where he is part of the European Climate Policy Task Force. He received his training in March 2017 by former US Vice President Al Gore in Denver, USA, and again in June 2018, in Berlin.

Founded in 2006, Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project is a partner of We Don’t Have Time.

The We Don’t Have Time Foundation cites two special youth advisors and trustees: Greta Thunberg and Jamie Margolin. [Source]

Screenshot

Mårten Thorslund, chief marketing and sustainability officer of We Don’t Have Time took many of the very first photos of Thunberg following the launch of her school strike on August 20, 2018. In the following instance, photos taken by Thorslund accompany the article written by David Olsson, chief operating officer of We Don’t Have Time, This 15-year-old Girl Breaks Swedish Law for the Climate, published August 23, 2018:

“Greta became a climate champion and tried to influence those closest to her. Her father now writes articles and gives lectures on the climate crisis, whereas her mother, a famous Swedish opera singer, has stopped flying. All thanks to Greta.

 

And clearly, she has stepped up her game, influencing the national conversation on the climate crisis—two weeks before the election. We Don’t Have Time reported on Greta’s strike on its first day and in less than 24 hours our Facebook posts and tweets received over twenty thousand likes, shares and comments. It didn’t take long for national media to catch on. As of the first week of the strike, at least six major daily newspapers, as well as Swedish and Danish national TV, [1] have interviewed Greta. Two Swedish party leaders have stopped by to talk to her as well.” [Emphasis added]

The article continues:

“Is there something big going on here? This one kid immediately got twenty supporters who now sit next to her. This one kid created numerous news stories in national newspapers and on TV. This one kid has received thousands of messages of love and support on social media…. Movements by young people, such as Jaime Margolin’s #ThisIsZeroHour that #WeDontHaveTime interviewed earlier, speaks with a much needed urgency that grown-ups should pay attention to…” [Emphasis in original]

Yes – there was, and still is, something going on.

It’s called marketing and branding.

“Yesterday I sat completely by myself, today there is one other here too. There are none [that] I know.” — Greta Thunberg, August 21, 2018,  Nyheter newspaper, Sweden [Translation via Google]

The “one kid immediately got twenty supporters” – from a Swedish network for sustainable business. What is going on – is the launch of a global campaign to usher in a required consensus for the Paris Agreement, the New Green Deal and all climate related policies and legislation written by the power elite – for the power elite. This is necessary in order to unlock the trillions of dollars in funding by way of massive public demand.

These agreements and policies include carbon capture storage (CCS), enhanced oil recovery (EOR), bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), rapid total decarbonisation, payments for ecosystem services (referred to as “natural capital”), nuclear energy and fission, and a host of other “solutions” that are hostile to an already devastated planet. What is going on – is a rebooting of a stagnant capitalist economy, that needs new markets – new growth – in order to save itself. What is being created is a  mechanism to unlock approximately 90 trillion dollars for new investments and infrastructure. What is going on is the creation of, and investment in, perhaps the biggest behavioural change experiment yet attempted, global in scale. And what are the deciding factors in what behaviours global society should adhere to? And more importantly, who decides? This is a rhetorical question as we know full well the answer: the same Western white male saviours and the capitalist economic system they have implemented globally that has been the cause of our planetary ecological nightmare. This crisis continues unabated as they appoint themselves (yet again) as the saviours for all humanity – a recurring problem for centuries.

Source: WWF

+++

“Our goal is to become at least 100 million users. It is an eighth of all who have climbed on social media. Only last month we managed to reach 18 million social media accounts according to a media survey that Meltwater news made for us. At Facebook, we are currently seven times the number of followers among the world’s all climate organizations. We are growing with 10,000 new global followers per day on Facebook.” — Ingmar Rentzhog interview with Miljö & Utveckling, October 15, 2018

We Don’t Have Time identifies itself as a movement and tech startup that is  currently developing “the world’s largest social network for climate action”. The “movement” component was launched on April 22, 2018. The web platform is still in the progress of being built, but is to launch on April 22, 2019 (coinciding with Earth Day). “Through our platform, millions of members will unite to put pressure on leaders, politicians and corporations to act for the climate.” The start-up’s goal to rapidly achieve 100 million users has thus far attracted 435 investors (74.52% of the company’s shares) via the web platform FundedByMe.

The startup intends to offer partnerships, digital advertising and services related to climate change, sustainability and the growing green, circular economy to “a large audience of engaged consumers and ambassadors.”

We Don’t Have Time is mainly active in three markets: social media, digital advertising and carbon offsets. [“In the US alone estimated market for carbon offsetting amount to over 82 billion USD of which voluntary carbon offset represents 191 million USD. The market is expected to increase in the future, in 2019 estimated 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions to be associated with any kind of cost for offsetting.”] As the company is a niche organization, social networks are able to provide services tailored to platform users. The startup has identified such an opportunity by offering its users the ability to purchase carbon offsets through the platform’s own certification. This option applies to both the individual user of the platform, as well as whole organizations/companies on the platform.

One incentive of many identified in the start-up investment section is that users will be encouraged to “communicate jointly and powerfully with influential actors.” Such influencers are Greta Thunberg and Jamie Margolin who both have lucrative futures in the branding of “sustainable” industries and products, if they wish to pursue this path in utilizing their present celebrity for personal gain (a hallmark of the “grassroots” NGO movement). [Further reading: The Increasing Vogue for Capitalist-Friendly Climate Discourse]

The tech company is banking on creating a massive member base of “conscious users” that will enable “profitable commercial collaborations, for example, advertising”:

“Decision makers – politicians, companies, organizations, states – get a climate rating based on their ability to live up to the users’ initiative. Knowledge and opinion gather in one place and users put pressure on decision makers to drive a faster change.”

 

“The main sources of revenue come from commercial players who have received high climate rating and confidence in the We Don’t Have Times member base.[2] … The revenue model will resemble the social platform of TripAdvisor.com’s business model, which with its 390 million users annually generates over $ 1 billion in good profitabilityWe will work with strategic partners such as Climate Reality leaders, climate organizations, bloggers, influencers and leading experts in the field.”

Video: We Don’t Have Time promotional video, published April 6, 2018 [Running time: 1m:38s]

A “state of conscious and permanent visibility assures the automatic functioning of power.” — Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish

Comparable to other social media endeavors where “likes”, “followers”, and unfathomable amounts of metadata determine financial success, the fact that the business is virtual enables high profit margins. The return on investment, best described as mainstream acquiescence and desirability by way of exposure, will be obtained through future dividends. In anticipation of this projected success, the tech company plans to take its business to the stock exchange in the near future. (Think Facebook and Instagram.) The most critical component to the success of this startup (like its predecessors) is achieving a massive member base. Therefore, according to the company it “will work actively with both enlisting influencers and creating content for various campaigns linked to the hashtag #WeDontHaveTime.”

 

Prospectus We Don't Have Time (pdf)

We Don’t Have Time Business Plan Swedish

 

On April 18, 2018 the crowdfunding platform FundedByMe (utilized by We Don’t Have Time to enlist investors) acquired Ingmar Rentzhog’s Laika Consulting. Excerpts from the press release are as follows:

“FundedByMe today announced that they acquire 100% of the shares in the established financial company Laika Consulting AB, a leading communications agency in financial communications. As a result, the company doubles its investment network to close to 250,000 members, making it the largest in the Nordic region. The acquisition is a strategic step to further strengthen FundedByMe’s range of financial services…

 

[Ingmar Rentzhog] will continue to work on strategic client projects for FundedByMe and Laika Consulting in part-time. Moreover he takes a role in the company’s board. The majority of his time he will focus on climate change through the newly established company, “We Don’t Have Time”, as a CEO and founder.” [Emphasis added] [Source] [3]

 

We Don’t Have Time Software App: The Latest Wave of Western & Corporate Ideology at Your Fingertips

 In October 2016, Netflix aired the third season of Black Mirror, “a Twilight Zoneesque anthology TV series about technological anxieties and possible futures.” The first episode “Nosedive” posits a shallow and hypocritical populace in which “social platforms, self-curation and validation-seeking” have become the underpinning of a future society. [Black Mirror’s third season opens with a vicious take on social media]. The disturbing episode shares parallels to the concept behind We Don’t Have Time. The difference being instead of rating people exclusively, we will be rating brands, products, corporations and everything else climate related.

Acquisition International Magazine Issue 10, 2018 

The not unintended results will be tenfold. The corporations with the best advertising executives and largest budgets will be the winners. Greenwashing will become an unprecedented method of advertising as will the art of “storytelling” (no one ever said a story has to be true). Small or local businesses with little financial means will more than often be the losers. Especially hit, will be migrant entrepreneurs whose cultures differ from ours in the West – where “Western democracy” is the only democracy that is valid.

Adding to the conversation as to who is ultimately benefiting from this endeavor from a cultural, social, geographical and ethnic perspective is the fact that “subconscious biases about race or gender, is a proven problem on many crowdsourced platforms.” [Source] Ultimately, this means that in order to acquire the needed support as a multimedia platform, the self-interest of the Western world must be at the fore with no concern for the Global South – other than what we can continue to steal from her.  The inconvenient truth is that all roads lead to the same collective (if even subconscious)  goal: the preservation of whiteness.

Rentzhog assures his audience that “our core, though, will remain, namely to empower our users to put pressure on world leaders so that they move faster towards an emission-free world and environmentally sustainable solutions and policies.” [Acquisition International Magazine Issue 10, 2018]

An “emission-free world” sounds enticing – yet there are no plans whatsoever to retract our growth economies. “Environmentally sustainable solutions” … according to who? According to a tribal elder who upholds the principles of “the seventh generation” (the Indigenous belief that humans must properly provide for its descendants by ensuring that our actions in the present allow the Earthly survival of seven succeeding generations – not to be confused with Unilever’s Seventh Generation acquisition) – or according to the World Bank? (We all know the answer to this rhetorical question.)

Another inconvenient truth, regarding the above premise, is that there is growing pressure on governments to increase Federal research and development funding to develop and deploy “deep decarbonization” technologies as one of the primary “solutions” to climate change. This was proposed at the Paris Climate Accord with Bill Gates’ “Mission Innovation” initiative which committed to doubling government investment in energy technology.

“We want it to cost more, in terms of revenue, public support and reputation, to not work on lowering emissions and improve environmental sustainability, whereas those that lead the way should be recognized for this. Our vision is to create a race towards environmental sustainability and CO2 neutrality, making it the core priority for businesses, politicians and organizations worldwide.” — Acquisition International Magazine Issue 10, 2018 

Here again, we must look closely at language and framing. Who are “those that lead the way”? Are they referring to Western citizens who can fit all their belongings in a duffle bag? [Here it must be said that the environmental heroes in the West are NOT the Richard Bransons or Leonardo DiCaprios of the world. The real heroes for the environment, due to their almost non-existent environmental footprint, are  the homeless – despite the scorn they receive from society as a whole.] Are they referring to the African Maasai who to this day, literally leave no trace? Or are “those that lead the way” Unilever and Ikea (represented on the We Don’t Have time board). This is another rhetorical question we all know the answer to. Notice the mention of CO2 “neutrality” rather than a drastic reduction of CO2 emissions. Convenient language when one of the main pillars of the business model is the sale of carbon offsets – rationalizing a continuance of the same carbon based lifestyle by constructing a faux fantasy one, that anyone with monetary wealth, can buy into.

As online reviews and ratings systems have become a Western staple of determining the worthiness of a person, group or corporation,  the internet presently is a primary source of determining the quality of an entity. One example of this type of system is the online site Trip Advisor, which utilizes user feedback as a measuring stick of a hotel, airline, car rental, etc.  As the Trip Advisor rating system is the revenue model We Don’t Have Time seeks to emulate, we will explore this particular rating system.

Whereas a reputable and established website such as Trip Advisor is based on an actual experience – We Don’t Have Time evaluations are more geared toward promises into the future regarding a green technology revolution and/or the effectiveness of advertising in making people believe the veracity of these promises. By utilizing fake accounts (think Twitter and Facebook), strategically orchestrated campaigns will effectively allow the app to break political careers and demonize people and countries based on the numbers of ratings (“climate bombs”). These bombs can be administered against any foe that does not embrace the technologies (sought by the West to benefit the West) of this so-called revolution, regardless if the reason for doing so is justifiable or not.

The word “bomb” itself will become reframed. Rather than associating bombs with militarism (never touched upon by We Don’t Have Time) the word bomb will eventually become first and foremost associated with ratings, bad products, bad ideas and bad people. Such is the power of language and framing when combined with social engineering. Here, the behavioural economics of hatred can be weaponized – a virtual new form of soft power. The Nicaraguan Sandinista government who did not sign onto the Paris Agreement because it is too weak (and serves only Western interests) could quickly become a pariah on the global stage- as the West controls the stage. Already a target for destabilization, the soft power app would be applied as the ruling class sees fit.

When one contemplates the non-profit industrial complex, it must be considered the most powerful army in the world. Employing billions of staff, all inter-connected, today’s campaigns, financed by our ruling oligarchs can become viral in a matter of hours just by the interlocking directorate working together in unity toward a common goal to instil uniform  thoughts and opinions, which gradually create a desired ideology. This is the art of social engineering. Conformity and emotive content as tools of manipulation has been and always will be the most powerful weapons in the Mad Men’s  toolbox. If 300, 000 people have already voted with “climate hearts” on a “trending” topic in under 48 hours – it must be a great idea.

“Nobody wants to be bottom of the class.”  Ingmar Retzhog, We Don’t Have Time, December 22, 2017, Nordic Business Insider

To be clear, the West is in no position to “teach” (nudge/engineer) the “correct” value system regarding sustainability to the world, when the biggest polluters on the planet are manufactured into “climate leaders” and “climate heroes”. This is reality turned on its head. A reality we are conditioned to accept. Institutions such as the United Nations in tandem with the media, spoon-feed this insanity (that defies all logic) to the global populace, in servitude to the ruling classes.

“Nudging”: Acquisition International Magazine Issue 10, 2018 

Finally, this behavioral science platform lends itself to the continued devolvement of critical thinking. With virtually everything and everyone to rate all day long – who has time to look in depth at any given policy or product that after all, sounds, looks and feels simply amazing due to sophisticated marketing coupled with behavioural change tactics? It is vital to keep in mind that social engineering – and massive profit – are the key merits and purpose of this application.

 

End Notes:

[1] TV 2 Danmark Danish public service, SVT Swedish public service, TV 4 News, Metro TV, Dagens Nyheter, Aftonbladet (August 20, 2018), Sydsvenskan, Stockholm Direkt, Expressen (August 20, 2018) , ETC, WWF, Effekt Magazin, GöteborgsPosten,Helsingborgs Dagblad, Folkbladet, Uppsala Nya tidning, Vimmerby Tidning, Piteå Tidningen, Borås Tidning, Duggan, VT, NT, Corren, OMNI, WeDontHaveTime CEO viral FaceBook post that mention it first. [Source]

[2] Click-based advertising based on highly rated companies that want to drive traffic to their websites; Targeted web advertising for companies that want to reach out to environmentally aware users in different segments; Business subscriptions where companies and organizations have the opportunity to interact with the members and get the right to use the We Don’t Have Times brand and the company’s rating in their marketing [Source]

[3] “Laika Consulting was one of the first companies in Sweden to work with crowdfunding when we established the brand in 2004. I look forward to follow the company’s growth closely. A combination of Laika’s expertise in listed companies, together with FundedByMe with its international and digital presence, can create new opportunities for growth.”says Laika’s CEO, Ingmar Rentzhog.” [Source]

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation and Counterpunch. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can support her independent journalism via Patreon.]

Edited with Forrest Palmer, Wrong Kind of Green Collective.

 

 

Philanthropic Capitalist Foundations and Corporate Environmentalism

Le Partage

January 2019

By Nicolas Casaux

 

 

Translation from French to English via DeepL Translator

 

The two examples below of funding from Jane Goodall’s NGO (Jane Goodall Institute) and 350 (.org) are quite representative of how mainstream ecology works. The leading figures and organizations in the field of ecology, those that are often reported in the media, are rarely, if ever, revolutionary. Their discourse is often limited to various platitudes, encouraging all kinds of false solutions and stating relatively hollow proposals, or worse (ending poverty/developing green energy and technology/developing organic/go to work by bike/developing sustainable development/vote for the good guys/etc.). And their actions are palliative (which can, however, in some cases, be really important).

Jane Goodall’s NGO funding

*

NGO 350.org funding

The same reasons that push the mass media (which, on the whole, belong to[1] – and broadly convey the ideology of – the same class of individuals found behind philanthrocapitalist foundations) to promote the ecologism of large NGOs and some subsidized personalities (by the private or public), push private philanthrocapitalist foundations and/or public organizations to finance these NGOs and individuals: they are harmless for today’s capitalist industrial society.

Thus the NGO 350.org was created and continues to be financed by the Rockefellers and many other ultra-rich capitalists; thus the Jane Goodall Foundation is financed by various philanthrocapitalist foundations and even directly by a few corporations, including an airline company; and thus WWF, which is financed by and collaborates with various multinationals (Coca-Cola, HSBC, etc.).) and foundations; and thus Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s , “founded with the support of three banks […] : BNP Paribas, the Swiss bank Lombard Odier, and Cortal Consors, BNP’s subsidiary specialising in online trading for individuals”, which collaborates with Total[2] and is “financed in particular by donations from companies such as Casino, Suez or BNP[3]”; thus Cyril Dion’s film Demain was subsidised by AFD and co-produced with France Télévisions, as well as his documentary film Après-Demain ; etc.

Ultimately, these heavily subsidized, funded and mediated NGOs and personalities are a kind of ecological guarantor of capitalist industrial society. They make it possible to channel and control popular concerns about the fate of the natural world. Their ecologism is to ecology what modern electoral systems are to democracy. A fraud. About these general public ecologists, Jaime Semprun’s Encyclopedia of Nuisances wrote in its Address to all those who do not want to manage nuisances but remove them, in June 1990, that they:

“are in the field of the fight against nuisances what trade unionists were in the field of workers’ struggles: intermediaries interested in preserving the contradictions for which they regulate, negotiators dedicated to bargaining (the revision of standards and harmfulness rates replacing the percentages of wage increases), advocates of the quantitative as economic calculation extends to new fields (air, water, human embryos or synthetic sociability); in short, new brokers of an economic subjection whose price must now include the cost of a “quality environment”. We are already seeing the establishment, co-managed by “green” experts, of a redistribution of the territory between sacrificed and protected areas, a spatial division that will regulate hierarchical access to nature goods. As for radioactivity, there will be something for everyone.

 

To say that the ecologists’ practice is reformist would still do it too much credit, because it is directly and deliberately in line with the logic of capitalist domination, which unceasingly extends, by its very destruction, the field of its exercise. In this cyclical production of evils and their aggravating remedies, ecologism will have been only the reserve army of an era of bureaucratization, where “rationality” is always defined far from the individuals concerned and any realistic knowledge, with the renewed disasters that this implies. […]

 

It is therefore not a kind of extremist purism, let alone “politics of the worst”, that invites us to stand out violently from all the ecological planners of the economy: it is simply the realism about the necessary future of all this. The consequent development of the fight against nuisances requires clarifying, through as many exemplary denunciations as necessary, the opposition between ecolocrats – those who derive power from the ecological crisis – and those who do not have interests distinct from all dispossessed individuals, nor from the movement that can enable them to eliminate nuisances through the “rational dismantling of all commercial production”. If those who want to suppress nuisances are necessarily on the same ground as those who want to manage them, they must be present as enemies, otherwise they will be reduced to figuring in the spotlight of the directors of spatial planning. They can only really occupy this ground, i.e. find the means to transform it, by asserting without concession the social criticism of nuisances and their managers, installed or postulated. »

Their criticism of nuisance management, which is also a criticism of the management of popular concerns and disputes, is in line with the denunciation of the NGOization of resistance formulated, among others, by Arundhati Roy:

The NGO-ization of Resistance, Arundhati Roy, August 16, 2004

Gil Scott-Heron had sung it, the revolution will not be televised, and the collective INCITE! rightly adds that it will not be subsidized either.

 

End Notes:

  1. https://www.bastamag.net/Le-pouvoir-d-influence-delirant-des-dix-milliardaires-qui-possedent-la-presse ?
  2. https://www.zonebourse.com/TOTAL-4717/actualite/Total-accord-avec-la-Fondation-GoodPlanet-25542889/?iCStream=1 ?
  3. https://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2015/09/16/l-empire-yann-arthus-bertrand-en-5-chiffres_4759524_4355770.html ?

 

[Nicolas Casaux is a member of the international organization Deep Green Resistance.]

WATCH: What is Nature ®Inc?

WATCH: What is Nature ®Inc?

Video Published August 22, 2012 by Transnational Institute

 

“Bram Büscher is Professor and Chair of the Sociology of Development and Change group at Wageningen University, The Netherlands and holds visiting positions at the Department of Geography, Environmental Management and Energy Studies of the University of Johannesburg and the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology of Stellenbosch University, in South Africa. [Full bio]

 

Environmentalism and Democracy in the Age of Nationalism & Corporate Capitalism

December 14, 2017

by Clive Spash

 

 

Recently my masters’ students and I watched the film Carbon Rush. This reveals how numerous carbon offset projects – under the Kyoto Protocol’s emissions trading related Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – are devastating the lives of some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world, and simultaneously destroying the environment on which they depend for their survival. CDM projects (such as dams, waste incinerators, wind farms, commercial forestry and oil palm plantations) suffer from dubious or no additionality and may as easily increase as reduce net greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, the international climate community commonly regards offsetting as central to climate change policy. Such schemes have proliferated due to the desire for making money out of environmental crises and a total disregard for exploitation of the poor and weak, the very groups that ‘development’ (clean or dirty) was supposed to help. In the neoliberal era the rule of the banking and finance sector and multi-national corporations means prioritising making profits by shifting costs onto others; something that has long been recognised as the modus operandi of the business enterprise (Kapp, 1978).

Environmental commodification, trading and offsetting are business as usual approaches to  environmental policy. Whether converting wetlands into bankable assets as in the USA or greenhouse gases into tradable permits as in Europe, the justification is that the preservation of the capital accumulating growth economy requires mechanisms that institutionalise the ‘right’ to undertake environmental degradation. There is also consensus across political divides about the need for economic growth. In the UK, neither Corbyn (Labour) nor May (Conservative) had any meaningful environmental agenda, and both their parties remain totally committed to a growth economy. Diverse nation states are similarly united in promotion of environmental crises as growth opportunities. For example, the European Union and China are pushing the rhetoric of ‘Green Growth’. This combines increasing domestic greenhouse gas emissions through the extension of market based mechanisms and offsets with the promise of new future technologies as the ultimate ‘solution’ to address those same emissions. Faith in markets and technology remains core to international climate policy and unaffected by whether the USA is in or out of the Paris Agreement. Similarly, faith in markets and technology as environmental saviour would have remained the same regardless of having Trump or Clinton in the White House.

In actual fact, the USA has never been a leader in greenhouse gas emissions reduction or climate policy, and both Democrat and Republican administrations have contributed to weakening international treaties. The Paris Agreement was watered down at the behest of the Obama administration compared to a more rigorous treaty, with common base year and targets, recommended by the European Commission (Spash, 2016a). Obama made clear his commitment to protect American jobs over the environment and specifically over any need to address human induced climate change. In this logic, environmental policy is justified if it creates jobs and growth, which always come first despite the inevitable contradictions. Obama’s administration massively expanded domestic oil and gas exploration to make the USA the worlds largest oil exporter (Spash, 2016a: 70). Non-conventional oil has been part of this strategy, despite the world already having over 6 times the reserves it could possibly burn and still have a ‘likely chance’ of the 2°C target (Spash, 2016b). Obama boasted that under his administration enough oil and gas pipelines had been built to ‘encircle the Earth and then some’ (see full quotation in Spash, 2016a). He ignored the associated ecological and social harm, not least that to indigenous communities. In 2016, Native American protestors at Standing Rock opposing construction work on the Dakota Pipeline that, now operational, transports fracked oil, were brutally suppressed by the combined efforts of the construction corporation’s security forces, riot police and the national guard. All that was before the election of a climate denialist with personal investments in fossil fuels.

The USA is one amongst many nations putting their own interests before the common good, and with a record of saying one thing and doing another. Modern development is allied to a military-industrial complex that ensures nation states work to secure, maintain and expand their fossil fuel resource supplies at all costs. Current fossil fuel and infrastructure polices totally contradict the supposed  commitment of nations to the Paris Agreement, and its already exceeded, scientifically unhinged, target for a potentially catastrophic 2°C average global temperature increase (Spash, 2016a). Meanwhile, the
United Nations, the European Commission, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and similar international bodies have continuously pushed market approaches that fail to address  biophysical reality, permitting exploration for and exploitation of fossil fuels leading to emissions that should never have been allowed. Thus, there is no surprise that recent moves by the airline industry to justify its plans for 700% expansion by 2050 rely on carbon offsetting, while numerous governments (e.g. Austrian, British, French, Turkish) support airport expansion as an economic necessity to create domestic jobs and growth.

Sadly, over the last two decades, in the midst of our ongoing ecological and associated geo-political crises, a range of environmental non-governmental organisations (ENGOs), rather than opposing such schemes, have formed alliances with some of the worst corporate polluters and resource extractors in the world and now actually promote them (Spash, 2015a). Greenwashing has become a major occupation for ENGOs. Many have become apologists for corporate self-regulation, market mechanisms, carbon pricing/trading and biodiversity offsetting/banking, while themselves commercialising species ‘protection’ as eco-tourism. Foremost amongst the neoliberal ENGOs is The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Its President and CEO is Mark Tercek, previously a managing director at Goldman Sachs. Its Vice President until recently was Peter Kareiva, a key player in the Stanford University flagship ‘natural capital’ project with its mission to convert ecosystems into environmental services that can be traded off. Together Tercek and Kareiva have promoted capitalism as natural and berated conservation biologists for not allying with corporations. In a revival of social Darwinism, Kareiva has even claimed that corporations are a keystone species!

ENGOs have been deliberately targeted by corporate strategists and in several cases they have been captured at management level. For example, Holmes (2011) reports on some of the boards of American ENGOs that include large numbers of current or former directors of major transnational corporations:

TNC 15 out of 26; Conservation International 26 out of 36; WWF-USA 13 out of 21. In addition, ‘these NGOs each have a business council, made exclusively from corporate directors, to advise the board of directors’ (Holmes, 2011: 9). Besides TNC, Conservation International and WWF, Hari (2010) cites the National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, and the Natural Resources Defense Council as all suffering from corporate capture and conformity to the basic tenets of neoliberalism. This is the spread of what I have referred to as new environmental pragmatism (Spash, 2009). The inroads into conservation by corporate interests are deep. Recently, Adams (2017) has analysed the pragmatic reasons behind this alliance, terming it ‘sleeping with the enemy’ and a ‘Faustian bargain’, that is sold as promoting the mythical Green and growing economy. There is, then, much to concern environmentalists about the role of environmentalism today and whether it can help or will hinder the achievement of a more just, ethical and equitable future.

In this issue of Environmental Values the state and direction of the environmental movement are at the fore. The extent to which conformity to current institutions and their values is regarded as pragmatic is the topic addressed by D’Amato et al. They contrast such pragmatism with the need for revolutionary change and consider which will achieve social ecological transformation. That ‘business as usual’ might no longer be an option leaves open what that implies for the existing political economy (from high-tech competitive corporate growth to low-tech cooperative community degrowth). However, as mentioned above, the hegemonic approach is techno-market optimism with the promise of preserving and  protecting the current capital accumulating economic system.

Productivist rhetoric is dominant in government circles and provides an imaginary that can fit with liberal, neoliberal, social democratic welfarist, socialist and centrally planned political systems. While some things must change the utopian vision of a ‘sustainable growth economy’ will not be surrendered.

The sustainable development agenda, from Norwegian premier Gro Bruntland onwards, has seen no conflict between achieving social and ecological goals and maintaining the growth economy. The United Nations has spent decades pushing various brands of ‘sustainable development’ as economic growth, with the Green Economy its latest incarnation (Spash, 2012). The basic aim is to make capital accumulation resilient, whether in the West or East, under democracy or despotism, whether state or corporate owned and run. How then should the environmentally concerned address this hegemony?

D’Amato et al. provide a new classification of the debate based upon qualitative interviews and a focus group with twenty young researchers working in the area of social ecological transformation. They  contrast perceptions of the role of research as extending from promoting a simple form of pragmatism through to radical change based on strong value commitments. The mode of social change regarded as necessary is described as extending from a gradual evolution to a radical revolution. The concept of the Green Economy was classified by respondents as falling within the pragmatic and evolutionary. The  majority (60%) of respondents themselves held the pragmatic revolutionary position, followed by those classified as radical revolutionary (25%) and pragmatic evolutionary (15%). Thus, while 85% of these young researchers felt revolutionary social change was necessary, 75% believed research should be  pragmatic. While qualified by this being a small convenience sample, the findings do indicate the   potential prevalence of new environmental pragmatism and supports previous work indicating that this  is a wider phenomenon amongst researchers (Spash and Ryan, 2012). More generally, D’Amato et al.’s work raises some serious questions over the general direction of environmental research and how far researchers are prepared to make their work conform to hegemonic values, norms and practices, including those they in principle oppose.

Yet, those who stick to their principles are often described as fundamentalists or uncompromising radicals who deny democratic process. Amongst environmentalists, animal activists have typically been painted as such extremists with their claims based on contentious rights based arguments. In some (supposed) democracies they are even regarded and treated as terrorists. Parry raises the issue of how animal activists should operate within an idealised deliberative democracy and what they could then legitimately justify doing to further their cause. The arguments for and against the use of different campaigning tactics are raised with specific attention given to the example of using video footage showing animal suffering. Such tactics are described in terms of creating a moral shock. Can this be legitimate in a democracy?

Parry makes the case that deliberative democracy offers a justification for representing animals in decision making, but that this does not require appeals to claims about moral worth. Instead existing democratic political principles and institutions are invoked. Three principles are then given, namely that deliberative democracy should be inclusive, authentic and consequential. Parry’s article evaluates animal activism on these grounds.

Inclusion refers to the right of representation in a decision on the basis of having interests that are subject to being affected by that decision. Political theorists have criticised animal rights activists for using undemocractic/deliberative approaches, which they claim are unjustified because these activists are just another group of humans seeking to promote their own interests. Such theorists believe animal activism should be undertaken through ‘normal’ democratic processes. However, as Parry points out, this is a conversion of human to non-human relations into a human to human relationship. Central to the politics of non-human Nature is the representation of silent voices (O’Neill, 2001). How the non-human get a voice in the human world is the central question here.

One aspect of the problem is the tension between attribution of value on the basis of possessing human-like qualities and possessing value despite clearly being non-human like (see for example Coyne, 2017; Vetlesen, 2015). The value basis of interests is then a core concern. Contra Parry, the application of deliberative democratic principles does not then seem to avoid the need for adopting a value basis, nor the need for moral reasoning. Notions of value are employed both in arguments for moral standing and rights of political representation.

A common approach in determining such attributions is to appeal to sentience and the ability for non- humans to suffer pain like humans. One reason is the search for generalisable and common interests, which are regarded as constituting authentic deliberation. Here there is an implicit appeal to Kantian moral criteria for establishing a valid moral argument, so once again contention over moral positions appear unavoidable.

Parry’s second concept, authentic deliberation, aims to encapsulate the desired qualities of democratic deliberation, namely: truthfulness, mutual respect, non-coercive persuasion, constructively seeking acceptable outcomes, reflexivity and prioritisation of generalisable interests. Parry then explores how far different tactics of animal activists match such qualities, and the same is undertaken for the third concept, that requires deliberative democratic criteria be consequential. The latter entails identification of discernible impacts of tactics on decisions, where the consequences are evaluated at a systemic level (i.e. taking into account various aspects of repercussions). Put more crudely this is an assessment of ends justifying means.

The question Parry debates is the extent to which the tactics of animal activists are non-democratic and yet still might be justified. Two tactics classified as non-democratic are imposing costs on others and the rhetorical exaggeration of moral disagreement. The former covers the making of an action (unwanted by activists) financially more costly for the actor, but is also extended by Parry to include imposing psychological costs on such actors. The latter concerns highlighting moral differences to emphasise what is deemed unethical. Such tactics are problematic for deliberative democrats – being termed exaggeration’ and ‘rhetoric’ – because of their commitment to political process as a consensus-seeking compromise. As Parry notes, in passing, there are those arguing that the worth of democracy lies in allowing for contestation over values, and that would involve the recognition of differences held as moral principles rather than seeking compromise and reasons to justify why everyone make trade-offs. A possibly related issue (not addressed) is the apparent contradiction involved in evaluating a social movement that emphasises deontology, community responsibility and duties on the basis of consequences and individual action.

Parry concludes that some of the non-democratic tactics of animal activists may have a role, but should be employed with reflection and moderation. In reaching this conclusion some aspects are only briefly mentioned, but seem central to any justification for radical action within the social reality in which we live today. Perhaps most important are the inequity in power relationships in society and the undemocratic state of the institutions empowered by the idea of a neoliberal economy. Such things as corporate power, greed and the capital accumulating economy lie behind the prevalence of threats to the nonhuman world. The associated institutions perpetuate and legitimise a range of practices against the interests of both non-human and human animals. In the struggles of indigenous communities, who are on the frontline of the extractivist economy and its accumulation by dispossession and land grabbing, there are few signs of legitimate democracy let alone the deliberative democratic ideal. How to live up to the ideals of deliberative democracy, in seeking to right some wrongs, seems of lesser relevance than asking how and by what means can the transformation of such an undemocratic system be achieved? Related to this is the question: what are the legitimate grounds for the institutionally powerless to fight institutionalised power?

Quist and Rinne are concerned with the challenges that disenfranchised groups face in building shared agendas and expressing themselves in their struggles to protect the environment and their ways of life. Their particular context is the conflict between different forms of resource exploitation and specifically fisheries versus oil extraction. They present a case study from Mexico that investigates media (two regional newspapers) representation of the conflict over access to the sea after Pemex, the eleventh largest oil corporation in the world, was empowered by the Mexican State to create marine exclusion zones. They reveal how the media operates with implicit rules of newsworthiness that play to the dominant moral discourses promoted by political and economic elites. In addition, they expose how this has played up divisions within the fisher community (e.g., between licence holders and other fishers working for them or independently).

The central concept in their case study is ‘patrimony’, or regarding natural resources as an intergenerational heritage that creates a community understanding and sense of common purpose. Under patrimony the community is typically the nation state, with patrimony operating as national heritage, but the study identifies how the concept is also applied at the fisher community level by its leaders. However, rather than being empowered, the fishers appear to be captured by the discourse of patrimony, while their own discourse, expressing ecological values that include their way of life, is excluded. Fisher leaders are shown to adopt the patrimony discourse against the interests of the wider fisher community, even to the extent that the prospect of fishers becoming oil workers is considered. Oil is judged superior in patrimonial value and for the national collective compared to the value of fishing for the local community. In this discourse, there is no questioning of the oil industries right to exploit the resource. There is a clear underlying productivist logic that excludes environmental concerns and narrowly frames the social as national.

How natural resource extraction issues are framed by the media is also the concern of Davies et al. Their particular case study is Greenland, where the population of 57,000 live in the twelfth largest country by land area. That 90 per cent of the people claim Inuit ethnicity adds to the distinct character of the society, as does having 80 per cent of the country under ice. In this last respect, climate change has been presented by some as an opportunity for opening-up territory for resource extraction. Indeed, this forms one of the major discourses revealed by Davies et al. in their analysis of 1000 English language media articles about Greenland. The potential for extracting oil, gas and rare Earth metals to supply the fossil fuel economy and its high-tech industries means climate change is not denied but accepted as an actual phenomenon by corporate fossil fuel and resource extracting interests. Rather than being a problem, climate change is seen as an opportunity. The media being reported here seems clearly focused on serving the speculations of corporations, bankers and financiers over where to make money. Such media coverage regards risk purely in financial terms of returns on investment (not strong uncertainty over climate change), and on the same basis the potential for oil spills due to new extraction is addressed as a risk to corporate investors’ returns, not the environment.

Other aspects of the media coverage over extracting Greenland’s resources relate to the geo-politics of a small Inuit led country facing the likes of China and the European Union, and multi-national corporations. The vulnerability of Inuit culture is also raised, including the potential impact on the relatively small existing national population being swamped by incoming labour. Yet, somewhat paralleling the case of Mexico, coverage also regards investment in resource extraction as a necessity for ‘development’ that promises jobs and the eradication of social problems through material wealth.

The idea of wilderness, so antithetical to advocates of the anthropocene (Baskin, 2015), appears in the media in both its positive form as pristine and untouched, as well as its negative form of waste land. The absence of human use is bemoaned by the latter as resources going to waste, while for the former this is where the environmental value lies. However, what is interesting in the reported media coverage presented by Davies et al. is how human–nature interactions are so easily turned into, and exclusively discussed as, human to human value relationships (e.g. human induced climate change having consequences for humans). Nature then has no voice in this media coverage.

Therein lies the failure of the environmental movement in its pragmatic neoliberalism. That the mainstream media is obsessed by framing its reportage in terms of financial and economic consequences is hardly a secret (see Chalmers, 2012). What is less readily admitted is the extent to which ENGOs have done likewise and so lost their connection to the non-human world that environmentalism aimed to represent in the first place. In the appeasement of presumed state and corporate economic interests, the language of environmental values is commonly reformulated to actually deny the existence of value in nature, non-human to non-human value and even the importance of human to non-human relationships. There is only the human-to-human relationship and associated values, and clearly some humans are more equal than others.

Issues of power, inclusion and representation in the environmental movement also concern the paper by Fenney, but from a different perspective. The argument is made that the disabled are subject to both oppression (disablism) and also the assumption of a non-disabled norm as valid and desirable (ableism). Evidence from interviews with disabled people in the UK is presented to illustrate the issues. In particular, Fenney highlights discourses on cycling and self-sufficiency as problematic. The former is criticised as specifically focussed on the able bodied, while the latter is seen as promoting a form of independence that is unavailable to many disabled people. Both are then loosely associated by Fenney with a neoliberal agenda in environmentalism.

The broader concern raised by Fenney is where in the environmental movement’s vision of the future will the disabled find themselves, how will their voice achieve inclusion and their concerns over social justice be met? Implicitly, alternative systems and their conceptualisations of freedom underlie this discussion. The modern (neo)liberal model of ‘freedom’ might be characterised as the individual holding others at a distance with dependency on high technology, machines, biotech and chemicals. The environmental movement has traditionally rejected this in preference for a low technology world based on community and explicitly recognising interdependence, where labour substitutes for capital. There are clearly many questions left unanswered by the environmental movement concerning diverging visions of the future, including the absence of implications for the disabled. However, environmentalism, especially eco-feminism, has strongly advocated a caring society in which issues of dependency and interdependency are made explicit, rather than hidden by production chains, technology and patriarchy.

In addition, the case made by Fenny does not establish any necessary link between environmentalism and abelism/disablism. For example, why does cycling need to be regarded as so exclusionary? Whether two, three, four or more wheeled there are many forms of locomotion that can be powered by humans singly or in numbers and be inclusive of different (dis)abilities as well as passengers. Perhaps the UK remains unfamiliar with the variety of machines available, but the idea that recommending cycling need necessarily be problematic and discriminatory appears to be in part based upon a limited conception of the options. The structural limits in the current infrastructure that favour cars also affects the imagination of what is possible and creates dependencies. That cars are part of our environmental problems is indisputable.

I take Fenny’s point as being that too little thought is given to the implications of getting rid of cars in terms of the implications for disabled people who have lives currently dependent upon cars. Their concerns need to be voiced and addressed when cars are targeted or bikes promoted, but such polices should alsonot simply be equated with discrimination per se.

Fenny notes that there is a growing (physically and mentally) disabled population and states that it is already approximately one-fifth of the UK population. Clearly the able do become the disabled as population ages, and there is an element of denial of this basic fact in Western society with its emphasis on health and beauty as youth. While Fenny presents the case for why transformation to environmental futures is inadequately addressing the issue, there is also a more general problem for the environmental movement here.

Social ecological transformation is discussed as requiring major systemic change, and for many that means changing away from modernist utopias (Spash, 2015b). The scale of change required in removing fossil fuels from the economy is far-reaching and involves major distributive impacts. All those with dependencies on the structures of modernity, its technologies, energy and material intensive devices are vulnerable. The environmental movement needs to seriously consider and address the implications rather than pretending everything can be substituted and energy transition will be straightforward. Environmental policy is no more a win-win than any other policy; different polices change winners and losers. For the environmental movement, some specific groups, practices and ways of life are deliberately the target of change because they are deemed exploitative, unjust and unethical. Societal change is an inherently value laden and political issue.

Currently major societal change occurs through undemocratic imposition of technology and infrastructure at the behest of minority interests, while the majority are just along for the ride, whether they like it or not. The rise of nationalism accompanied by militarisation and securitisation justifies exploitation of others who must be outcompeted in the fight for resources to maintain national and corporate economic growth. The depoliticising pragmatism of the environmental movement means loss of both direction and voice. The central issue, which was the reason for an environmental movement in the first place, is: how can different people live together and find meaning in their lives without engaging in the environmental degradation and mistreatment of others, both human and non-human, that is central to the currently dominant economic system?

Download the paper:

2017 Spash Env_Nationalism_Corporate_Capitalism EV_24_4

References

Adams, B. 2017. ‘Sleeping with the enemy? Biodiversity conservation, corporations
and the green economy. Journal of Political Ecology 24: 243–257.

Baskin, J. 2015. ‘Paradigm dressed as epoch: The ideology of the anthropocene’.
Environmental Values 24(1): 9–29. Crossref

Chalmers, P. 2012. Fraudcast News: How Bad Journalism Supports Our Bogus
Democracies. Milton Keynes: Lightning Source Ltd.

Coyne, L. 2017. ‘Phenomenology and teleology: Hans Jonas’s philosophy of life’.
Environmental Values 26(3): 297–315. Crossref

D’Amato, D., N. Droste, S. Chan and A. Hofer. 2017. ‘The green economy: Pragmatism
or revolution? Perceptions of young researchers on social ecological transformation’.

Environmental Values 24(4): 413–435.

Davies, W., S. Wright and J. Van Alstine. 2017. ‘Framing a “climate
change frontier”: International news media coverage surrounding
natural resource development in Greenland’. Environmental Values 24(4): 481–502.

Fenney, D. 2017. ‘Ableism and disablism in the UK environmental movement’.
Environmental Values 24(4): 503–522.

Hari, J. 2010. ‘The wrong kind of Green’. The Nation. https://www.thenation.com/
article/wrong-kind-green-2/.

Holmes, G. 2011. ‘Conservation’s friends in high places: Neoliberalism, networks, and
the transnational conservation elite’. Global Environmental Politics 11(4): 1–21.

Crossref
Kapp, K.W. 1978. ‘The Social Costs of Business Enterprise. Nottingham: Spokesman.
O’Neill, J.F. 2001. ‘Representing people, representing nature, representing the world’.
Environment & Planning C: Government & Policy 9(4): 483–500. Crossref
Parry, L.J. 2017. ‘Don’t put all your speech-acts in one basket: Situating animal activism
in the deliberative system’. Environmental Values 24(4): 437–455.
Quist, L.-M. and P. Rinne. 2017. ‘The politics of justification: Newspaper representations
of environmental conflict between fishers and the oil industry in Mexico’.
Environmental Values 24(4): 457–479.
Spash, C.L. 2009. ‘The new environmental pragmatists, pluralism and sustainability’.
Environmental Values 18(3): 253–256. Crossref
Spash, C.L. 2012. ‘Green economy, red herring’. Environmental Values 21(2): 95–99.
Crossref
Spash, C.L. 2015a. ‘The dying planet index: Life, death and man’s domination of
Nature’. Environmental Values 24(1): 1–7. Crossref
Spash, C.L. 2015b. ‘Tackling climate change, breaking the frame of modernity’.
Environmental Values 24(4): 437–444. Crossref
Spash, C.L. 2016a. ‘The political economy of the Paris Agreement on human induced
climate change: A brief guide’. Real World Economics Review 75(June): 67–75.
Spash, C.L. 2016b. ‘This changes nothing: The Paris Agreement to ignore reality’.
Globalizations 13(6): 928–933. Crossref
Spash, C.L. and Ryan, A. 2012. ‘Economic schools of thought on the environment:
Investigating unity and division’. Cambridge Journal of Economics 36(5): 1091–
1121. Crossref
Vetlesen, A.J. 2015. The Denial of Nature: Environmental Philosophy in the Era of
Capitalism. Abindgdon and New York: Routledge.

The Most Valuable Players of the Natural Capital League: Part 1

WKOG

August 30, 2017

 

The Natural Capital League (NCL) traces it’s roots to the 1982 Wallenberg Symposium titled ‘Integrating Ecology and Economics’.

35 years later we can share with you the 8 MVPs who have made the biggest contribution to the final capture of nature to under-write the “new economy”, an achievement of unprecedented scope under neoliberalism.

Here are the first 2 of the well networked and high performing NLC MVPs.

Gretchen Daily

Bankers love Gretchen Daily, and we can see why. When she was a research scientist at Stanford in the late 1990’s she edited a journal called ‘Nature’s Services: Societal Dependence on Natural Ecosystems’. She later went on to become a board member of The Nature Conservancy and a founding director of the Natural Capital Project (a joint effort with WWF) where she deals with governments and financiers. She recently received the Blue Planet Prize for her work to harmonize people and nature.

The Natural Capital Project has been working in China with funding from the Ministry of Finance of China, the Paulson Institute, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop eco-mapping software to assess available and potential ecosystem services.

Here’s a quote from Gretchen Daily that shows how she sees the significance of her work.

“The future of human civilization depends on getting this right,”

[source] http://news.stanford.edu/2017/02/02/china-protect-areas-high-ecological-importance-identified-stanford-researchers/

(ALL RIGHTS, ALL USES) Gretchen C. Daily; conservation biologist, Department of Biological Sciences and Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford, co-lead of the Natural Capital Project, member of TNC board, photographed at her home on the Campus of Stanford University in California. PHOTO CREDIT: ©Mark Godfrey/TNC

 

Links:

Mark Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy interviews Gretchen Daily

http://marktercek.com/dialogues-on-environment/gretchen-daily/

Mark Tercek on Hank Paulson and Gretchen Daily

https://www.naturalcapitalproject.org/natural-capital-symposium-sets-new-agenda/

Gretchen Daily honored with Blue Planet Prize for her work to harmonize people and nature

http://news.stanford.edu/thedish/2017/06/14/gretchen-daily-honored-with-blue-planet-prize-for-her-work-to-harmonize-people-and-nature/

Bob Costanza

Nobody has done more to advance the objectives of the Natural Capital League than Bob Costanza.  He was there at the 1982 Wallenberg Symposium and he contributed the practice of ‘shadow pricing’ for corporations and non government organisations who want to prepare for implementation of the natural capital agenda. He co-founded the journal Ecological Economics and co-founded the International Society for Ecological Economics. He also founded the journal Solutions and along with several of his colleagues is associated with the Next System Project which works on ‘new economy’ issues.

In 1997 he published a paper called ‘The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital’. It is the best known attempt to put a monetary value on the earth’s systems. It was widely reported that the figure Costanza came up with was 33 trillion USD per year.

Here’s a quote from Bob Costanza that shows where his priorities lie.

“I do not agree that more progress will be made by appealing to people’s hearts rather than their wallets.”

[source] https://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/journal/past-issues/issue-2/the-rise-and-fall-of-ecological-economics#body54

Links:

Bob Costanza – ‘The Early History of Ecological Economics and the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE)’

http://isecoeco.org/pdf/costanza.pdf

NY Times 20/05/1997. ‘How Much Is Nature Worth? For You, $33 trillion’

http://www.nytimes.com/1997/05/20/science/how-much-is-nature-worth-for-you-33-trillion.html

Beautiful Delusions [McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part XVI of an Investigative Report]

June 27, 2017

By Cory Morningstar

Part sixteen of an investigative series

 

Breakthrough Capitalism and Volans

Breakthrough Capitalism – where business is referred to as an ecosystem:

“The first thing to say is that this website is one of several that are part of our close business ecosystem. These include: Volans, Breakthrough Capitalism, The Zeronauts, SustainAbility” — John Elkington Website

“A revolution of capitalism”:

“We need a revolution of capitalism,” said Peter Bakker, former CFOI and CEO at TNT and now President Of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.” – Volans Press Release, Breakthrough: How Business Leaders Can Create Market Revolutions, March 7, 2013

In the 2012 David Blood lecture (video),”Breakthrough Capitalism Forum – David Blood”, one notices the sponsorship in the background. At the top of the screen we can identify speakers/sponsors Jeremy Leggitt of Solar Century & Carbon Tracker, and Jennifer Morgan of WWF, to name two. [See full list of partners.]

Breakthrough Capitalism  is a key project of Volans, a driver of market-based solutions. On the growing list of Volans partnerships, one finds Shell Foundation, Dow, Generation, GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) (Ceres, UN), Tellus Mater, The B Team (A Richard Branson NGO now being operated/managed by public relations firm Purpose, sister org. of Avaaz) and many others. On the Volans Board of advisors we find none other than Robert Massie, former President and CEO of New Economics Institute. [“Our early relationships with partners and clients have critically informed our evolution; the Skoll Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Allianz and HP, Atkins, Bayer, F&C, Nestlé, PPR and Recyclebank.”] [Source] [Note: Jeff Skoll co-founded EBay with Pierre Omidyar.]

“As public money gets pulled out of health care and education and all of this, NGOs funded by these major financial corporations and other kinds of financial instruments move in, doing the work that missionaries used to do during colonialism—giving the impression of being charitable organizations, but actually preparing the world for the free markets of corporate capital.” — Arundhati Roy, REVEALED: The head of Omidyar Network in India had a secret second job… Helping elect Narendra Modi, May 26, 2014

Showmanship over Science and Facts

Of interest regarding the influence these men have on the environmental movement is that both Skoll (Participant Media) and his EBay co-founder/partner, Omidyar financed the film, “Merchants of Doubt” (acquired by Sony Pictures) [2]

To illustrate how these institutional relationships develop and explain the mainstream media representations we need to look no further than Omidyar. Omidyar’s ties to the previous Obama administration run deep [Source] as does his vast network within the humanitarian industry complex. Humanity United is one such example. Consider that the Omidyar Network has made more investments in India than in any other country since 2009, according to its portfolio. [Source] More recently, Omidyar was a key player in the 2014 coup d’état carried out against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych having co-funded Ukraine “revolution” groups with USAID and National Endowment for Democracy. [Source] [Source]

The Skoll-Omdiyar film, Merchants of Doubt, which is a condensed cinematic representation of the book it is based upon (published in 2010), focuses on the web of highly financed climate change deniers. The press release states: “Filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the curtain on a secretive group of highly charismatic, silver-tongued pundits-for-hire who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities – yet have the contrary aim of spreading maximum confusion about well-studied public threats ranging from toxic chemicals to pharmaceuticals to climate change.” Note that this same description also aptly describes those at the helm of the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC). It is of interest that at this late juncture in anthropogenic climate disruption, billionaire “philanthropists” decided to highlight the players who reap the profits by burning carbon, rather than the players who stand to make trillions under the guise of an illusory “new economy.” The same new economy both Skoll and Omdiyar stand to reap further profits and market share from. A main prerequisite of the liberal left is that an “other” must always exist. For the divestment campaign the “other” is the fossil fuel industry – the said enemy. For Western imperial states, the “other” is the “terrorist”. For this particular film, the “others” (plural) are the deniers who can shoulder all the blame. For the NPIC as a whole, it matters little, who the “other” at this moment may be, just as long as it means not looking at our own reflections in the mirror.

“Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives.”– Omidyar Network, “A World of Positive Returns”, website

In the Variety September 4, 2014 film review, the author observes that “Kenner is particularly fascinated by the phenomenon of self-described “grassroots” organizations that are actually shilling for specific corporate and political interests (the Koch Brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity, the Exxon Mobile-financed Heartland Institute, etc.).” This blatantly obvious (and accurate) observation, “the phenomenon of self-described ‘grassroots’ organizations that are actually shilling for specific corporate and political interests…” is one that could easily apply to the movements manufactured by and belonging to the NPIC. The shilling in this instance for The Rockefeller Foundation, The Clinton Global Initiative, etc. In the same review, the author writes that by “[P]roviding an accessible, somewhat facile framing device, professional magician Jamy Ian Swiss describes how all sleight-of-hand (including the card trick he performs and demystifies onscreen) is predicated on the audience’s willingness to be deceived.” This same predication fits America’s self-described environmental activists like a velvet glove.

The authors of Merchants of Doubt  found that “one way to effectively remove public fear around a particular issue is to create fear elsewhere — something the tobacco industry managed by aligning itself with the flame-retardant industry, as if unprotected furniture, not cigarettes, were to blame for house fires.” This same tactic is utilized in the building of acquiescence for the “new economy”. It is not the industrialized capitalist economic system causing our environmental crisis, ecological collapse and the Sixth Great Extinction. Rather, it is the lack of technology via “clean energy” infrastructures global in scope (which in reality would/will only further industrialization, thus accelerating both greenhouse gas emissions and planetary environmental degradation).

In a final observation, the reviewer concludes that “There’s perhaps a necessary element of hypocrisy in this approach, given the film’s point that too many Americans, by and large, prefer showmanship over science.”

Above: “Showmanship over science.”

Today’s ever-devolving Western society continues to demonstrate its preference for showmanship over science, celebrity over substance, technology over nature, liberal ideology over radical ideology, human life over all other life, white skin over non-white.

Volans

 

“It’s all very well for me to say the future is environmental excellence, green consumerism, the triple bottom line or breakthrough capitalism, but the many movements and communities of which we are part deserve a deeper explanation of the thinking and experiences that brought us to these conclusions.” — John Elkington, Co-Founder of Environmental Data Services, SustainAbility and Volans

 

“We see signs of breakthrough in … Generation Investment Management CEO David Blood’s spotlighting a five key steps to sustainable capitalism, and in the alliance between Richard Branson of Virgin and former PUMA CEO Jochen Zeitz—who are building The BTeam.” — Volans Press Release, Breakthrough: How Business Leaders Can Create Market Revolutions, March 7, 2013

Partners publicly disclosed upon announcement of “The Breakthrough Capitalism” Program are listed as follows: Generation, Tellus Mater Foundation, Autodesk, HewlettPackard, The Value Web and Innovationarts.

The first “follows” chosen upon the set-up of twitter accounts are always revealing and Breakthrough’s twitter account is no exception. The first four follows are founders, co-founders, directors and the social media outreach of Volans. The fifth person chosen to follow is a partner at Generation Investment. Number six is John B Elkington? (founder and Executive Chairman of Volans and author/creator of zeronauts; a project of Volans). Seventh is Jeroen van Lawick, international consultancy for “transformative CSR” (“corporate social responsibility”) and organization development, as well as founder of Zijn Werkt!. Eighth is David Willans, marketing director at Futerra. Number nine is none other than 350.org’s Naomi Klein who was chosen ahead of number ten: Jeremy Leggett (Solarcentury, SolarAid, and Carbon tracker).

“Breakthrough Capitalism” asks the question as to how to engage the “1,100 or so companies that now control half of the world’s market capitalization.”

Whereas Volans and Generation would have us believe we should give these corporations even more power, the truth is that these very 1,100 corporations more than likely represent the first ones that should be targeted for dismantlement.

“Volans is part think-tank, part consultancy, part broker and part incubator. Based in London and Singapore, Volans works globally with entrepreneurs, businesses, investors and governments to develop and scale innovative solutions to financial, social and environmental challenges. Our Pathways to Scale program aims to identify, map and remove barriers that slow the scaling of innovative solutions to governance, economic, social and environmental challenges.” [Source]

John Elkington is the founding partner and Executive Chairman of Volans, as well as the co-founder of SustainAbility (1987) and Environmental Data Services (ENDS, 1978). He is recognized as a world authority on “corporate responsibility” and “sustainable development.” In 2004, Businessweek described him as “a dean of the corporate responsibility movement for three decades.” In 2008, The Evening Standard named Elkington “a true green business guru,” and “an evangelist for corporate social and environmental responsibility long before it was fashionable.” Of course, only those who serve to benefit from such false narratives bestow these titles and accreditations. For example, “corporate responsibility” is the strategic means to increase corporate domination via marketing.

In addition to the aforementioned credentials, Elkington is identified as a B Team “expert” on The B Team website. [Full bio.]

Elkington’s latest book utilizes/promotes Branson’s The B Team organization. The book titled Tomorrow’s Bottom Line: The B Team Playbook for Market Gamechangers, co-authored with B Team co-founder and former PUMA CEO Jochen Zeitz, was released in 2014.

Elkington has served as a juror for the first Gigaton Awards, developed by Richard Branson’s non-profit Carbon War Room – dubbed the ‘Oscars of sustainability.’ As well, he has completed a Fellowship at the Bellagio Centre awarded to him by The Rockefeller Foundation.

Elkington serves/has served on 70 boards and advisory boards. He co-chairs the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Breakthrough Innovation Advisory Council, chairs the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Technology Consortium, and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Global Commission on Business & Sustainable Development (GCBSD). He is a member of the Board of the Social Stock Exchange (SSX), and chairs its Admissions Panel. He is also a member of the Boards of organizations such as the Biomimicry Institute and The Ecological Sequestration Trust (TEST), and a member of Advisory Boards for organizations such as 2degrees Network, Aviva, The B Team, Nestlé, Tesco, Guardian Sustainable Business, and Zouk Capital (cleantech fund). [Source]  Elkington has also served as strategic advisor to Bayer Material Science, Gaia Energy, Instituto Ethos, One Earth Innovation, Polecat UK; senior Advisor to the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre; board member of EcoVadis, Recyclebank Sustainability Advisory Council; the Evian Group Brain Trust and the Newsweek Green Rankings Advisory Board.

Elkington’s first involvement in the corporate environmental sector was raising funds at the age of 11 for the newly formed World Wildlife Fund (WWF), where he has for many years served on the Council of Ambassadors. He has written or co-authored 17 books, including The Gene Factory: Inside the Genetic and Biotechnology Business Revolution (1985), Double Dividends? US Biotechnology and Third World Development (1986), The Green Capitalists: Industry’s Search for Environmental Excellence (with Tom Burke , 1987), and The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets That Change the World, co-authored with Volans co-founder Pamela Hartigan (2008).

In 2005 Elkington received the “Social Capitalist of the Year” award from Fast Company, later to be awarded a 3-year, $1 million field-building grant from the Skoll Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, at SustainAbility and Volans.

In September of 2016 Elkington launched “The Breakthrough Innovation Platform” to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in partnership with UN Global Compact. “The ultimate target of the SDGs is the privatization of Indigenous and public resources worldwide.” [Source]

“Aligned with the UN Global Compact’s priority of translating the new SDGs into business action, the aim of the Breakthrough Innovation Platform is to challenge and stretch prevailing business mindsets into the opportunity spaces offered by the SDGs.” — UN Global Compact and Volans Announce Strategic Partnership on Breakthrough Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals, May 31, 2016

Beautiful Delusions | Zeronaut

Illustration by Stephanie McMillan for Wrong Kind of Green

“Zero offers a powerful key to unlocking tomorrow’s growth markets.” – Zeronaut

Zeronaut was launched in April, 2008. It was founded by John Elkington.

Sophisticated and seductive marketing which appeals to an audience comprised of privilege is of critical importance. The marketing strategist executive, set with the task of selling an illusory “new economy”, employs both market-centric and human-centric terminology, which is alluring when paired with an underlying white saviour pretext – a prerequisite to successfully gloss over and elude the true extent of capitalism’s inherent violence and destructiveness. Market-centric language is strategically enticing as it invokes a “new’ economy” avec with new profit centres, inclusive of carbon emissions credits,  carbon capture storage, and most critically, today, the financialization of nature.

It is important to note that the Zeronaut mission/philosophy/marketing scheme is beguiling: “a new breed of innovator, determined to drive problems such as carbon, waste, toxics, and poverty to zero.” Yet, such beautiful delusions can only be afforded by the privileged. Not those who are oppressed under the capitalist economic system. Not the earth herself whose natural resources are destroyed in the creation of commodities for capital. Not for those now referred to as “human capital”. Not for those murdered by empire in the race for what’s left of our planet’s rapidly declining rare Earth minerals and resources.

Those praising the Zeronaut book include (in the order that they appear) Paul Hawken, David Blood (Goldman Sachs, Generation Investment), Jochen Zeit ( The B Team co-founder/Chairman of PUMA), David Grayson, Chair and Director of the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility and Peter Bakker, the President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The Zeronaut 2012 Roll of Honor list includes Bill and Melinda Gates (GMO seeds), Al Gore and David Blood (Generation Investment, environmental markets), Ban-Ki Moon (environmental markets, carbon markets, methane extraction, REDD+), James Hansen (nuclear), Paul Hawken (“natural” capitalism), Pavan Sukhdev of TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity – commodification of the commons) and many more of those in elite positions of power and influence. [Full list.]

An example of the ideology espoused by Zeronaut, is highlighted in the sample chapter formerly found on its website. The author tells the reader that the Kraft Corporation has achieved “zero waste” at 36 food plants, thus “it’s happening.”

In the Kraft Beaver Dam plant in Wisconsin (that manufactures Philadelphia Cream Cheese) Kraft built an anaerobic digester – the digester processed waste into energy that was fed into the local grid. Yet, this is hardly a solution for Kraft’s toxic waste. Rather, it is a mechanism that serves to perpetuate the production of excess waste, because the excess waste has become profitable.

Kraft plants in Cikarang and Karawang, Indonesia, where plastic packaging film creates most of the waste, found a recycler that turns the material into bags and buckets. Yet another market was found. Yet, what about the oil required to produce the film in the first place? The planet continues to be drilled and decimated. The bags and buckets which need infinite growth, to consume the infinite waste, also require infinite consumptive patterns.

Kraft plants in Fresno and San Leandro, California that make a variety of Kraft products including Cornnuts, Capri Sun and Kool-Aid (toxins in, toxins out), have collected more than 100 tons of food waste like corn skins to be used as animal feed since 2009. Yet this food, not fit for human consumption, is therefore certainly not fit for animal consumption either. Further, one can be almost certain that these corn skins are derived from genetically engineered corn, as will be the soy, sugar beet and canola. In addition, we must take into account other hazardous, chemical intensive, biodiversity destroying industrialized crops.

The deluge of half truths and misinformation propagated by the NPIC is the reason why it is necessary to analyse and define what the term “zero waste” truly means. In that regard, what is not mentioned is the mandatory mass-consumption of the product leaving the manufacturing plants and warehouses. Of no mention or consideration is the waste of energy to produce this “food” and transport this “food” that very likely has little to no true nutritional value. In fact, one could quite easily make the argument such processed foods and “edible” oils, key products/ingredients of Kraft, actually poison whole societies, inducing cancers, sickness/disease, and obesity. (In essence, products under the guise of “food” that amount to no more than toxic sludge.)

Of course reducing waste may add to Kraft’s bottom line, but even more so if they can achieve this by finding markets for their waste – which they have. In 2012, at a Kraft coffee plant in Vienna, Austria, the facility sent 250 tons of used coffee bean husks to a local biomass plant that generates heat and electricity. Yet biomass is a false solution with the waste externalized onto our health. “Biomass incineration is one of the most expensive, inefficient and polluting ways to make energy — even dirtier than coal in some ways. Forests are destroyed, the climate is cooked, crop lands are wasted, resources are destroyed and low-income communities and communities of color suffer increased health problems from this unnecessary dirty energy source that poses as renewable energy.” [Source]

Kraft’s direct and/or indirect support of the corporations that push monoculture and/or genetically engineered crops, is complicity to the immense social and environmental impacts destroying both communities and life of every form.

In 2012 a Kraft coffee plant in St. Petersburg cut waste sent to landfills by 90 percent by reusing coffee bean shipping bags and pallets and by sending off 15,000 tons of coffee grounds to be turned into fertilizer for farms in the area. The reusing of the bags and pellets is common sense and good practise. Yet, one must also remember this same 15,000 tons of coffee contained pesticides and chemicals which would have leached into the earth’s soil, underground aquifers, water systems, our air and inevitably, our bodies and the bodies on non-human life. This is not to mention Kraft, like all multinational food corporations, make billions on the backs of farmers. Starbucks five dollar lattes are full to the brim with the blood and sweat of the farmers that barely survive under the industrialized capitalist system. Support of corporate power dominating agriculture ensures the continuance of exploitation while furthering negative social and community impacts.

Therefore, beneath the layers of Kraft’s zero waste “feat” is little more than green washing with highly evolved and a most sophisticated marketing.

http://killercoke.org/

According to the excerpt, Coca-Cola has also achieved “zero waste”. Yet corporate media fails to report Coca-Cola distributing free “fertilizer” in India, later analyzed to be nothing more than toxic waste. Does the BPA (a known carcinogen) that lines the Coca-Cola cans not qualify as waste? How much one-time use, disposable (including recycled) packaging by Kraft and Coca-Cola alone, ends up in landfills and oceans once it leaves the processing plants? Recycling, a billion dollar energy intensive industry which also creates massive volumes of waste, is not a true solution to the real problem: that of producing items that are simply not necessities in any way shape or form. As a further concern to the environmental issue which is the human rights violations committed by this corporation, do the union leaders assassinated under Coca-Cola’s reign of terror in Columbia constitute waste – or is “human capital” nothing more than a tax write-off under the “third industrial revolution”, that being the “new economy”?

The idea that the same corporations that have brought the apocalypse to or doorstep are the same corporations who will now usher in a new green utopia is just that – a utopian fantasy.

Under an industrialized capitalist economic system, zero waste cannot and will not ever be achieved. To varying degrees, every one of these corporate entities, and the junk they produce (which are things we do not need to survive), have to go. Bare essentials in the most radical sense must be our collective goal.

Next up: Part 17

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation and Counterpunch. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can support her independent journalism via Patreon.]

Edited with Forrest Palmer, Wrong Kind of Green Collective.

 

The Bankers at the Helm of the ‘Natural Capital’ Sector

January 26, 2017

by Michael Swifte

 

bankers-at-the-helm

Let’s put a spotlight on four bankers who positioned themselves in the ‘natural capital’ sector around the time of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Let’s have a look at some of their networks.

The reason these bankers have positions at the intersection of big finance and the conservation sector is because of their intimate knowledge of financial instruments and what some call “financial innovation”. They follow the edict ‘measure it and you can manage it’. They are the perfect addition to decades of work – as part of the sustainable development agenda – aimed at quantifying the economic value of nature in order to exploit it as collateral to underwrite the new economy.

Banker 1

fullerton_pes_small

John Fullerton is a former managing director at JPMorgan, he founded the Capital Institute in 2010, in 2014 he became a member of the Club of Rome, he has written a book called Regenerative Capitalism.

“No doubt the shift in finance will require both carrots and sticks, and perhaps some clubs.” [Source]

The first of Fullerton’s key networked individuals is Gus Speth who consults to the Capital Institute, he sits on the US Advisory Board of 350.org and the New Economy Coalition board and is good buddies with the godfather of ‘ecosystem services’ Bob Costanza. He has a long history supporting sustainable development projects and has some seriously heavy hitting networks. He founded two conservation organisations with which he was actively engaged up until 2o12, both organisations continue to support ‘natural capital’ projects among other diabolical efforts.

The second networked individual is Hunter Lovins, an award winning author and environmentalist who heads up Natural Capital Solutions and is an advisor to the Capital Institute. She is a long term cheer leader for green capitalism, climate capitalism, and sustainable development.

Banker 2

tercek_pes_small

Mark Tercek was a managing director at Goldman Sachs and became the CEO of The Nature Conservancy in 2008, he has written a book called Nature’s Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature.

“This reminds me of my Wall Street days. I mean, all the new markets—the high yield markets, different convertible markets, this is how they all start.” [Source]

One of Tercek’s networked individuals is conservation biologist Gretchen Daily, the person Hank Paulson sent him to meet when he accepted the leadership of The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Daily co-founded the Natural Capital Project in 2005 with the help of  WWF, TNC and the University of Minnesota.

Another prominent figure in TNC is Peter Kareiva, senior science advisor to Mark Tercek and co-founder of the Natural Capital Project, he is also the former chief scientist of TNC and its former vice president.

Taylor Ricketts is also a co-founder of the Natural Capital Project, at the time of founding he was the director of conservation science at WWF. He’s now the director of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics which was founded by Bob Costanza.

Banker 3

tall-paulson-misconstrued

Hank Paulson is the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, he was US treasury secretary during the GFC, he’s a former chair of the TNC board and the driving force behind the 2008 bail out bill. In 2011 he launched the Paulson Institute which is focussed on China, he has written a memoir called On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System.

Even before he was made treasury secretary by George W Bush, Paulson had an interest in conservation finance and greening big business. He was a founding partner of Al Gore and David Blood’s, Generation Investment Management which operates the “sustainable capitalism” focussed Generation Foundation. He has worked with Gus Speth’s World Resources Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council to develop environmental policy for Goldman Sachs. In 2004 he facilitated the donation from Goldman Sachs of 680,000 acres of wilderness in southern Chile to the Wildlife Conservation Society and in 2002-04 he and his wife Wendy donated $608,000 to the League of Conservation Voters. He has also worked with the second largest conservation organisation on the planet Conservation International.

“The environment and the economy have been totally misconstrued as incompatible,”[Source]

 

“[…] It is is clear that a system of market-based conservation finance is vital to the future of environmental conservation.” [Source]

Banker 4

pavan-maxresdefault

Pavan Sukhdev is a former managing director and head of Deutsche Bank’s Global Markets business in India, he was the study leader of the G8+5  project, he founded the Green Accounting for Indian States Project, he co-founded and chairs an NGO in India called the Conservation Action Trust, he headed up the United Nations Environment Program – Green Economy Initiative which was launched in 2008, he has written a book called  Corporation 2020: Transforming Business For Tomorrow’s World 

Sukdev’s work cuts across more than a dozen UN agencies and scores of international agencies and initiatives. Here are just some of them: IUCN, ILO, WHO, UNESCO, IPBES, WEF, IMF, OECD. Every kind of commodity and economic activity has been covered through his work.

“We use nature because she’s valuable, but we lose nature because she’s free.” [Source]

There are only a one or two degrees of separation between these bankers and the environmental movements with which we are very familiar. Looking at key networked individuals connected to the representatives of the financial elites – bankers – helps to highlight the silences and privately held pragmatic positions of many an environmental pundit. “Leaders” of our popular environmental social movements don’t want to be seen or heard supporting the privatisation of the commons, but they remain silent in the face of a growing surge towards collateralization of the earth. Perhaps they too believe that using nature to capitalise the consumer economy is preferable to the toxic derivatives that precipitated the GFC. Either way the underlying motivation – for anyone who might feel that ecosystem services thinking is useful for the earth – is the desire for the continuation of our consumer economy.

 

nature-bar-code