The corporation and our environment

(system) #1

By Alexander Carpenter

Sunday is Earth Day. Lately we've had some good discussions about science, creation and how reasonable people integrate skepticism and evidence. It's pretty clear that all bodies of climatologists and the major international consortia agree that human transportation, industry, and energy production warm our earth's temperature. I know that some readers of this blog are pretty convinced by the evidence, some don't care and some - I'm smiling at you Bob - disagree with the IPCC. If people want to debate the evidence that's fine, although I'd suggest that the burden of proof is on the climate change doubters since there is a lot of easy-to-read, peer-reviewed evidence available online. Just poking holes is not a debate. Unlike some theologies, scientific theories are testable without claiming all the answers.

One of the reasons that doubts continue is that energy and industrial corporations have spent millions through the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and some of the most prominent lobbying firms. Last summer in DC I hung out with a friend who graduated from an Adventist college who works for one of the firms, Berman & Co, recently featured on 60 Minutes. I talked with the mostly recent college grads who worked there. Their jobs include planting op-eds and quotes in newspaper articles around the country raising questions about green technology, drinking and driving, animal cruelty, workers rights, second hand smoke, and climate change. As they pointed out, their job is to create doubt about the messengers and the evidence.

Of course, all corporations are not evil, but the the bottom line is their bottom line. Money matters most. Thus change that cares for creation has not seemed good for their business as usual. But that is changing, especially out here in Silicon Valley. I just listened to a panel discussion sponsored by Google among major venture capitalists who say that green energy and sustainable-living are the profit wave of the future. We see this with Toyota quickly passing Detroit in profits due to their hybrid foresight. Tomorrow I'll post some ideas on why climate change matters to people of faith - anyone preaching on ecology on Sabbath? - but here's a well-regarded documentary, based on legal scholar Joel Bakan's book The Corporation, on how corporations create demand and fuel human consumption habits that corrupt creation.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at