Conservation Groups and Corporate Cash

By Staff

The Nation story “The Wrong Kind of Green” by Johann Hari, excerpted in the July-August 2010 issue of Utne Reader as “The Big Business of Conservation,” kicked up a flurry of letters to the magazine from green groups. The magazine went a step further and invited all the groups mentioned in the article to respond to the piece, then published the responses in a forum, “Conservation Groups and Corporate Cash: An Exchange.” The full online forum is now available only to Nation subscribers, but here are excerpts from the responses:

Hari, who did not contact the National Wildlife Federation, has written a work of fiction that hardly merits a response, except that it stoops to a new low by attacking the reputation of the late Jay Hair, a former CEO of the National Wildlife Federation whose powerful legacy of conservation achievement speaks for itself. … What will The Nation do next, blame polar bears for global warming?

Christine Dorsey, communications director
National Wildlife Federation

Johann Hari has made outrageous and false statements about my late husband, Dr. Jay Hair, who died in 2002 after a five-year battle with cancer. Jay devoted his life–and his considerable passion, courage, and intelligence–to protecting this planet. He never betrayed that mission to “suck millions” from oil and gas companies.

Leah Hair

Thin on solutions, Johann Hari’s story was so plump with distortions of reality that it might have been written by Lewis Carroll. … [The Sierra Club has] supported the deepest emissions cuts in line with the science and the need to convert to a new clean energy economy.

Carl Pope, executive director
Sierra Club

“The Wrong Kind of Green” offers an inaccurate and incomplete picture of the role deforestation plays in climate change and the way environmental and conservation organizations are fighting for policies to address global warming.

Karen Foerstel, director
Climate media relations
The Nature Conservancy

For forty years, Greenpeace has maintained our financial independence, refusing money from corporations. … It is difficult to imagine a way forward on global warming that gets at the root of the problem–coal, the number-one cause of global warming pollution–without a plant-by-plant fight to shut down coal.

Phil Radford, executive director
Greenpeace

Many thanks to Johann Hari for his kind words about our work. … One key battle that lies ahead for American groups is passing legislation to finally do something about our enormous contribution to global warming. … The lobbying in Washington will go better if there’s a real movement pushing senators–and that movement can only be built behind legislation that would truly change the system.

Bill McKibben, 350.org

The Center for Biological Diversity has joined groups such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and 350.org to establish 350 parts per million as a bright-line criterion for endorsement of any climate-change legislation, policy, or international agreement. It is not negotiable, because the conditions that support life on earth are not negotiable.

Kieran Suckling, executive director
Center for Biological Diversity

Congratulations to Johann Hari for the courage to “out” what many have been whispering about for a long time.

Kevin Koenig, Ecuador program coordinator
Amazon Watch

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