Big Green.
May 7, 2003 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Big Green. After two years’ research, the Washington Post has printed a special series on how The Nature Conservancy, the world’s largest and wealthiest environmental non-profit, has “transform[ed] from a grassroots group to a corporate juggernaut.” Despite the organization's (alleged) full cooperation, the articles without exception portray TNC as top-heavy, misguided, hypocritical, overly image-conscious, and aligned too closely with corporations. They beg to differ.
posted by gottabefunky (8 comments total)
i am so disappointed by the Post ... the issues raised are valid but the presentation is the most slanted series i've ever read. and geez 3 front-page top-half articles to rip the TNC a new one? what other organization has ever been subjected to such treament. if TNC's cooperation with exxon deserves this....why not attack exxon instead of the victim?
posted by danOstuporStar at 10:13 AM on May 7, 2003

They beg to differ.

I really don't see them begging to differ. They call seem to want to call large donors using them as a discount real estate agency a few isolated problems.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:32 AM on May 7, 2003

It is interesting that the articles almost completely gloss over an of the positive aspects of TNC.

However, TNC and other environmental organizations such as the Wildlife Habitat Coucil, are becoming more like greenwashers than environmentalists.
posted by batboy at 10:36 AM on May 7, 2003

TNC has gotten grief from deeper-green environmental organizations for being too "uncle-tom"-ish for a long time now. If you donate your exurban farm to TNC, they're likely to sell it and buy actual wilderness. They'll happily take donations of land or money that are tainted with corporate GREEEEEEEED and buy land with it, and so on.

It'll seem like a real problem to me when other, bitchier environmental groups do something as useful as buying the Channel Islands.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:57 AM on May 7, 2003

I agree xenophobe-my parish (county) is the fastest growing in Louisiana and there's 4 new TNC preserves here-on the ground-visible-preserved wilderness-and TNC is always looking to expand them. In contrast, not too long ago Greenpeace showed up and protested pollution by hanging banners off a bridge over the Mississippi. I know who's doing more for the environment around me.
posted by quercus at 12:26 PM on May 7, 2003


However, TNC and other environmental organizations such as the Wildlife Habitat council, are becoming more like greenwashers than environmentalists.

Let's not forget the Sierra Club. I think the obvious problem is that any not for profit group that grows beyond a certain size cares far more about raking in the tax free cash than doing the work that is their supposed reason for being. . .

Let's not forget that the Washington Post is desperately trying to reinvent themselves into the New York Post, much like MSNBC wants to be Fox News Channel lite. I'm willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, to a point.
posted by mark13 at 5:41 PM on May 7, 2003

People in other countries end up hungry and marginalized in the name of nature conservation:
Principally, A Kalahari Family is a story of struggle against the myths and misconceptions that are held about "Bushmen" and the outside economic interests that try to exploit them. Most importantly, the series provides the Ju/'hoansi with an opportunity to speak for themselves and to counter the stereotyped notions of "wild, primitive Bushmen" with images of the real work Ju/'hoansi are carrying out in Nyae Nyae and the development they have accomplished.
Namely, US/AID and World Wildlife asked the Bushmen to become tourist attractions by running around in loin-cloth while elephant were brought in for trophy hunting. The short of it is that elephants destroy farms and water pumps so food is very very difficult to grow.

I firmly believe in nature conservation, but not the type that occurs to the bushmen of the Kalahari.
posted by ericrolph at 5:53 AM on May 8, 2003

large donors using them as a discount real estate agency

this is one the most one-sided aspects to the series - when one of these deals is made, the decision to protect lands by selling them with easements is made out of financial necessity

if the TNC wants to protect a $3 million piece of property but can only spend $2 million, then the choice becomes either a) do nothing and allow the land to become a SUV-riddled subdivision or b) buy it and then sell it back to someone who can afford it with the stipulation that it never be developed or exploited for resources.

such a stipulation brings down the value of the property and thus the TNC suffers a net loss on the deal. yet they still have, in their view, fulfilled their mission by protecting the land. and they've done it in a manner they can afford.

the cost/benefit of the policy is certainly debatable, but the Post did a horrendous job of portraying the actualities of the program....a job nowhere near its journalistic standard. the motivation behind publishing the series of real curiosity to me.
posted by danOstuporStar at 9:38 AM on May 8, 2003

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