Unhappy Earth Day, Mom

Since the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, there has been precious little progress toward creating a greener planet. Mounting instances of severe weather across the globe underscore the importance confronting climate change and its causes.

But efforts to limit environmental damage have disappointed this true believer again and again and again.

There’s plenty of blame to distribute for this futility now in its fifth decade, including industry, government and consumers. But I reserve special scorn for environmental advocacy organization that have repeatedly proven themselves no friends of the earth. As I wrote in Asia Times in 2009:

Environmental groups are most skilled at failure. Mother Earth faces the same issues it did when the first Earth Day was declared in 1970. The biggest development over these decades is that we’ve discovered in global warming a deadly new effect of the unabated pollution and profligacy that these groups so ineffectually opposed over all these decades.

For most environmental NGOs, “corporation” remains a dirty word, as do “America” and “wealth”. Deeply confident of their own righteousness, they reject compromise with friends and foes as scornful deception. They simply expect developed countries to accede to demands, not negotiate.

To borrow a phrase from the 1970s, environmental groups have to decide if they want to be part of the solution or remain part of the problem.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

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