View Full Version : The Philanthropic Roots Of Corporate Environmentalism

Magda Hassan
10-27-2009, 08:28 AM
A very interesting article on the connections of various elite front organisations and the control of the environment and environmental movement. Well worth a read as are any article by Michael Barker.

The Philanthropic Roots Of Corporate Environmentalism

by Michael Barker

"Big money wants control; it's as simple as that."
Thomas Kimball (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Thomas_L._Kimball) (1991) Former President of the National Wildlife Federation
"[T]he master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change."
Audre Lorde (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audre_Lorde) (1984)
(Swans - November 3, 2008) Perhaps the first environmental historian to critique the influence of ostensibly progressive philanthropic foundations (big money) on the environmental movement was Robert Gottlieb (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Robert_Gottlieb). (1) (http://swans.com/library/art14/barker07.html#1) Writing in 1993, Gottlieb noted in his influential book Forcing the Spring: The Transformation of the American Environmental Movement that foundations "[a]s much as anyone else ...had become part of the process of creating the environmental policy system of the 1970s," which in turn, created a "new breed of environmental organization, with expert staff, especially lawyers and scientists, and a more sophisticated lobbying or political presence in Washington." However, of the subsequent work critically examining how liberal foundations have affected the evolution of the environmental movement, (2) (http://swans.com/library/art14/barker07.html#2) none provides more than a cursory investigation of the involvement of liberal foundations in shaping environmental developments throughout the 1960s, despite the fact that even prior to the 1960s such foundations had been active in funding all manner of conservation and preservation organizations. This article fills this gap in the environmental literature by focusing specifically on the role of the two foundations that gave the environmental movement the most monetary support during its early days, the Ford (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Ford_foundation) and Rockefeller Foundations (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Rockefeller_Foundation). (3) (http://swans.com/library/art14/barker07.html#3) Indeed, despite the lack of critical studies, in 1973, a pioneering study of environmental philanthropy noted that three foundations, the Ford, Rockefeller, and Mellon, (4) (http://swans.com/library/art14/barker07.html#4) "constitute[d] the biggest national force in private foundation philanthropy." (5) (http://swans.com/library/art14/barker07.html#5)

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