Weblog Archives

  Wednesday  August 21  2002    12: 02 AM


Corporate Capture
Next Week's Earth Summit Will Not Only Fail to Tackle the Ecological Crisis. It Will Make It Worse

The German election could be the second this year to be won or lost on the environment. In New Zealand, the Labour party failed to win its anticipated overall majority, partly because of its determination to approve the planting of genetically modified crops. The Greens, who did better than expected, have threatened to bring the government down if it lets the plantings go ahead. In Germany, Edmund Stoiber seemed certain of victory, until the floods exposed the fact that his shadow cabinet contains no environment spokesman. Now that the Germans are rediscovering their dependency upon the natural world, Stoiber's anti-environmentalism could be fatal. As the Indian proverb says, if you drive nature out of the door with a broom, she will come back through the window with a pitchfork.

The environment is a long-term issue which has always suffered from the short-term imperatives of the political cycle. It has been treated, by governments all over the world, as a problem which can be endlessly deferred to the next administration. Now the problem is catching up with the politicians, but most of them have yet to notice. The fourth earth summit, which begins at the end of this week, looks certain to be a disaster. [read more]