SERIOUS MONDAY: BIG CORPORATIONS UNDER SCRUTINY

I’m not usually one to defend big business  but lately it seems that whatever the corporates do, they face criticism from somewhere.

Usually, they are accused of putting the environment at the bottom of the agenda – but  when they do make some kind of  effort, they are still in trouble!

Take Earth Day 2008, for example. (It happened 2 weeks ago for those who may have missed it)    http://ww2.earthday.net/

Millions of people all over the world got involved in events or took some personal environmental action to mark the occasion.  But many environmental campaigners condemned attempts by big business to take part and there were accusations that corporate America was hijacking and monetizing Earth Day.

According to one advertising critic, the corporate view was “It’s nearly Earth Day. Time to consume more to save the planet.”

And environmentalists claimed that promises from large retail chains to donate a percentage of sales to green causes to mark the occasion – or the introduction of new ‘eco-friendly’ products – was just a cynical attempt to make us buy more when we should be buying less.

Well, it’s possible that you might buy from a company offering a green donation rather than buy from their competitors –  but I’m sure they don’t believe that people will make unneeded purchases just because they are making a tiny contribution to a good cause somewhere.

This brings me to another point –  the recent claim that many of us are now overly obsessed with little green measures like switching off lights and re-using plastic bags while burying our heads in the sand about major issues such as new coal plants or developers decimating areas of natural beauty.

Sadly, I think this is probably true of a large percentage of Britons – and I’m ashamed to say that I’m forced to count myself amongst them. 

When was the last time I took part in a really important campaign or project that could make a real difference to the future of our planet – or at least our little bit of it?

Last plant-a-tree day, I didn’t plant so much as an elder twig!

(What, you’ve never planted an elder twig? They’re brilliant if you want a little greenery really fast. Trust me, I’ve planted quite a few in my time, to provide cover for our feathered friends and to reduce the North Sea wind that howls across our garden.

It really works.  Just cut off a long twig from an existing elder, cut it into two and simply push both pieces into the soil. Within a season, at least one of them will have turned into a good-sized elder bush, although actually they are so large, they’re more like trees.)

Susan (who has resolved to do more for the environment in future)

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