PRINT April 1991


Blue Planet, Green Dollars

SOMEDAY, THE HYMNS TO environmental “friendliness” sponsored by corporate polluters will be greeted with the ridicule they deserve. Like an ad in the personals from a serial killer (“dedicated, likes children and animals, quiet places”), these “green” puff jobs sound OK unless you know who wrote them. But they should be received with the same alarm that greeted the U.S. military claim that in Vietnam “we had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

Key to understanding the grim illogic of the military in the Vietnam War was that “it,” the thing to be saved, was not the village but the system of values that, in the name of democracy, allowed the use of napalm on children. In the case of eco-public relations, the logic works this way: “we” are the corporate producers of toxic wastes, the “village” is the earth, and “it” is the profit margin. Reason takes a greater beating still in this

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