1 Jun 2010

Green Gone Wrong: Why most environmental solutions are based on lies.

Faced with the unprecendented threat of climate change, the contemporary world has turned to a solution that is all too prosaic—consumerism. The answer, we are told, is to “go green,” to buy organic food or even a new “clean” car. In a follow-up to her bestselling and acclaimed book Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage, Heather Rogers travels from Paraguay to Indonesia, via the Hudson Valley, Detroit and London, to explore the rapid expansion of environmental production and consumption.

We are, Rogers argues, coming to rely on consumerism as the solution to the very problems it has helped to cause. Green Gone Wrong is an appeal to the reader to respond rationally to the current environmental crisis. It asks: What choices and structural forces led us to this perilous place? This book is founded on the belief that we have the capacity to find solutions that are not mere palliatives, but ways of engaging with how we live and what kind of world we want to live in.

'So do you want hope or do you want false hope...there are all these commodities that say we are fixing it,'

Green Gone Wrong: How Our Economy Is Undermining the Environmental Revolution. Verso 2010 by Heather Rogers.

Heather Rogers has researched and written a superb book. I sometimes think even in the Green Party we are so busy with our politics, we forget to look at the politics of ecology....we should not forget and 'Green Gone Wrong' is a powerful reminder of what is often forgotten.

Heather has produced a new 'No Logo', like Naomi Klein, she visits the people involved and finds out how otherwise abstract notions have a real effect on real people at the grassroots. She looked at BedZed in Britain, an ecological community, talked to 'green' car producers in GM and investigated biofuel production in Indonesia and 'organic' production in Paraguay.

In Indonesia, Dyak people who live in the rainforests have seen their land stolen for oil palm production. Heather talked to Dyaks who were on trial for 'stealing' oil palm seeds. They had simply picked up discard seeds on land that was taken from them.

They are being made extinct, their lives and communities under severe threat. Palm oil is sweeping away the rainforests and accelerating climate change, yet this is seen as a green solution.

Regulations are ignored and those who actually are 'green' are being driven out of existence by a green solution, in the video above Heather explains their story.

Unless we respect the planet and construct an economy that puts nature first, we will fast destroy our society in just the same way the society of the Dyaks and other indigenous is under threat.

Green Gone Wrong shows how solutions like biofuels that seem green are amazing destructive.

Heather looks at some green solutions that do work but argues we can't just shop our way to green and regulation often fails, more profound change based on justice is essential.

I wish though she had gone to Peru to meet the indigenous of the Wampis and the Awajun and their friends who have successfully fought attempts to steal their rainforest land. Or it would have been great if she had looked at the success of people like Roberto Perez in introducting permaculture in Cuba....may be she could write a third book on these visionary people entitled 'Green gone right'.

Nonetheless if you care about climate change and social justice i.e. real green politics, please read this book and spread the word, in a sea of greenwash, Heather Rogers has constructed a little island of genuine green.

You can buy it from Verso here

Her previous book on rubbish Gone Tomorrow is also extremely interesting and important.

You can catch up with Heather who will be speaking about her book at the end of June in Britain

Location: ICA, Cinema 1, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH

Date & Time: June 30, 2010 - 6:30 pm

Tickets here


Ben Courtice said...

There is an old greenie slogan which appears somewhat individualist but I think it's quite a good rule of thumb for consumption of goods.

Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Make stuff to last longer (reduce). And make stuff to be reusable before it is recyclable. Of course this undermines the economy of growth because it means far less being produced and sold. C'est la vie. You can't have your cake and eat it, capitalists...

rolly said...

Globally 1.73 Million people stood up against poverty in 2009, a Guinness World Record!

Let us break this record in 2010!

Be the voice for the millions of poor people living across India.

~ Aamir Khan stood up against poverty! ~

~ AR Rahman stood up against poverty! ~

~ Rahul Dravid stood up against poverty! ~

~ Rahul Bose stood up against poverty! ~

~ Kiran Bedi stood up against poverty! ~

Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/unmcampaignINDIA and check out the photo album section for the event pictures.

Follow us on Twitter at www.facebook.com/unmcampaignIND

Rupert said...

I hope Heather realises that folk in the Green Party like you (Derek) and me and Andrew Boswell and Dee Rughani have been speaking out against agrofuels for YEARS.
Her book is good, but it is of course 100% important to distinguish greenwashers from true Greens such as (thankfully) us lot.

Derek Wall said...

Yes, if I have one criticism her book suggests the need for structural change and political action but does not review how various people and organisations are doing this.

Nonetheless an excellent book and she did some excellent research on the ground....

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