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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Corporate Camouflage

Air Date: Week of

Jim Hightower comments on names of wildlife organizations that sound too green to be true — and are.


CURWOOD: Camouflage is common in the environment, from the tiger's stripes to the chameleon changing its color. All sorts of animals take on disguises to protect themselves or gain an advantage on their prey. As commentator Jim Hightower points out, disguise has also become common among advocacy groups.

HIGHTOWER: There is a town in West Texas named Knot. K-N-O-T. For their official slogan, the locals brag that they are, quote, "the only town in Texas that is Knot, Texas." Well, things get a little slow out there. But now that we know what's Knot and what's not, let's ask what these things are. The National Wetlands Coalition. Friends of Eagle Mountain. Californians for Balanced Wildlife Management. Global Climate Coalition. Wilderness Impact Research Foundation. And one of my favorites, Northwesterners for More Fish. Of course, they're all environmental organizations. Aren't they? Not! Even in nature, not everything is as it appears to be, and in the unnatural world of politics, hardly anything is what it appears to be. The National Wetlands Coalition? It consists of oil drillers, developers, and other corporations that want to drain America's wetlands. Friends of Eagle Mountain is the political front for a mining company that wants to create the world's largest landfill in -- you guessed it -- Eagle Mountain California. Some friends. Californians for Balanced Wlidlife Management want to balance wildlife with death. It's a group that hopes to kill more mountain lions. The Global Climate Coalition is made up of and by corporations that cause global warming. And the Wilderness Impact bunch represents loggers in Nevada who want to have their own unique impact on the wilderness: cutting it down. Oh -- Northwesterners for More Fish? This is a PR front created in Washington, DC, by a half dozen former Republican Party hatchet men. It is funded by utilities, aluminum companies, oil and chemical corporations, the timber giants, and others whose industrial activities actually result in less fish. The front is organized to oppose Federal efforts to protect fish habitats on the Columbia River and other waterways of the Pacific Northwest. It is a testament to the deep popularity of the environmental cause that these polluters feel they have to masquerade as pro-environmental groups. Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery. But this isn't flattery. It's fakery. I don't think it's going to work for them, though. It's kind of like putting earrings on a hog. They just can't hide the ugliness.

CURWOOD: Former Texas Agricultural Commissioner Jim Hightower is a political commentator based in Austin.



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