June 7, 2011
GREENWASHING: false expressions of environmental concern especially as a cover for environmentally-unsound products, policies, or activities (adapted from Merriam Webster).
“Join 60 leading thinkers as they explore the future of water for our world today. Covering global systems and specific “megatrends,” featuring personal stories from the frontlines as well as reflections on the human dimension of water, The Future of Water will examine how different fields, sectors, and stakeholders can meet the challenge of supplying a growing global population with clean and sustainable water.” http://www.futurewecreate.com/
Sounds benign, even commendable, right? The so-called leaders asked to join the conference were in fact perpetrators of drinking water contamination and unjust privatization of water worldwide. Involved parties in the conference included Coke, BottledWaterWeb.com, and the infamous Dow Chemical. Surprisingly, Dow Chemical had contacted Anna Lappe, world-renowned author, public speaker and activist, with a request for a 60-second video for the virtual conference. Her response was more honest then the company would have hoped for, and obviously was rejected:
Read the full press release here.
Their attempts at greenwashing were met with opposition from individuals and organizations like Lappe’s Small Planet Institute, Corporate Accountability International and the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (us!).
Where does the Bhopal Gas Disaster fit into this story? Dow acquired Union Carbide in 2002 and thereby acquired its assets and liabilities. You can read more on the legal background of Dow’s liability. By refusing to clean up in Bhopal, and allowing water and soil contamination to seep deeper into an aquifer, Dow is committing crimes against humanity.
As for the Future We Create conference, the “personal stories from the frontlines” it advertises should sound more like young Bhopali Amir’s story. “The Human dimension of water” in reality looks more like these picture I took at the eerie Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal this past February, where it continues to leak its water toxins:
Don’t let these greenwashing attempts go unnoticed. To take action, tweet something clever @Futureswecreate or post something on its Facebook page. Check out Justice4Bhopal’s twitter account for ideas.