Environmentalism of the Rich

by Dauvergne

ISBN: 9780262336239 | Copyright 2016


What it means for global sustainability when environmentalism is dominated by the concerns of the affluent—eco-business, eco-consumption, wilderness preservation.

Over the last fifty years, environmentalism has emerged as a clear counterforce to the environmental destruction caused by industrialization, colonialism, and globalization. Activists and policymakers have fought hard to make the earth a better place to live. But has the environmental movement actually brought about meaningful progress toward global sustainability? Signs of global “unsustainability” are everywhere, from decreasing biodiversity to scarcity of fresh water to steadily rising greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, as Peter Dauvergne points out in this provocative book, the environmental movement is increasingly dominated by the environmentalism of the rich—diverted into eco-business, eco-consumption, wilderness preservation, energy efficiency, and recycling. While it's good that, for example, Barbie dolls' packaging no longer depletes Indonesian rainforest, and that Toyota Highlanders are available as hybrids, none of this gets at the source of the current sustainability crisis. More eco-products can just mean more corporate profits, consumption, and waste.

Dauvergne examines extraction booms that leave developing countries poor and environmentally devastated—with the ruination of the South Pacific island of Nauru a case in point; the struggles against consumption inequities of courageous activists like Bruno Manser, who worked with indigenous people to try to save the rainforests of Borneo; and the manufacturing of vast markets for nondurable goods—for example, convincing parents in China that disposable diapers made for healthier and smarter babies.

Dauvergne reveals why a global political economy of ever more—more growth, more sales, more consumption—is swamping environmental gains. Environmentalism of the rich does little to bring about the sweeping institutional change necessary to make progress toward global sustainability.

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Contents (pg. vii)
Acknowledgments (pg. ix)
1 Introduction: Is Environmentalism Failing? (pg. 1)
Making a Difference (pg. 2)
The Diversity of Environmentalism (pg. 6)
The Chapters Ahead (pg. 9)
I Global Unsustainability (pg. 17)
2 Sailing into the Anthropocene (pg. 19)
The Story of Captain Queirós (pg. 20)
Colonizing New Hebrides (pg. 23)
Being Traumatized (pg. 25)
Being Colonized (pg. 26)
Being Globalized (pg. 28)
3 By No Means Pleasant (pg. 31)
Murder and Mayhem (pg. 32)
The Phosphate Rush (pg. 33)
Independence (pg. 34)
A Colony of Refugees (pg. 37)
Turning Back Time (pg. 39)
4 The Business of More (pg. 41)
A Different Game (pg. 42)
The Corporate Style of Sustainability (pg. 44)
The Golden Sleep (pg. 46)
Selling More (pg. 48)
The Economy of Growth (pg. 49)
The Inequality of Wealth (pg. 50)
Buy Nothing (pg. 52)
5 Consuming the Earth (pg. 53)
Unsustainable Consumption (pg. 54)
The Footprint of Consumption (pg. 57)
6 Gambling with the Future (pg. 63)
The Genius of Midgley (pg. 64)
The Slow Awakening (pg. 66)
The Need for Precaution (pg. 68)
The Business of Preventing Precaution (pg. 70)
II Global Environmentalism (pg. 73)
7 The Rise of Environmentalism (pg. 75)
A Movement of Movements (pg. 76)
The Dynamism of Environmentalism (pg. 78)
Citizens Keep Marching and Raising Awareness (pg. 82)
Defenders of the Natural World (pg. 85)
8 Fighting for the Rainforests (pg. 91)
Saving Paradise (pg. 92)
Rainforest Activism (pg. 95)
Ending Deforestation? (pg. 97)
9 Radicals and Rebels (pg. 101)
Patrick Moore: The “Greenpeace Dropout” (pg. 102)
Captain Watson: A Life on the “Front Lines” (pg. 104)
Liberating the Earth: Ecotage or Eco-Terrorism? (pg. 107)
Radical Environmentalism (pg. 109)
10 Mindbombing the Wealthy (pg. 113)
Eco-Warriors of the (pg. 114)
Greenpeace International (pg. 117)
Greenpeace’s Barbie-Box Campaign (pg. 118)
Greenpeace’s Palm Oil Campaign (pg. 120)
The Power of Eco-Consumerism (pg. 123)
11 Million Dollar Pandas (pg. 127)
WWF (pg. 128)
Coca-Cola Pandas (pg. 133)
The Rise of Corporate Partnerships (pg. 135)
12 Conclusion: The Allure and Illusion of Riches (pg. 139)
The Appeal of Environmentalism of the Rich (pg. 142)
The Limits of Environmentalism of the Rich (pg. 144)
As If Consumption Matters (pg. 148)
Notes (pg. 153)
Chapter 1 (pg. 153)
Chapter 2 (pg. 156)
Chapter 3 (pg. 160)
Chapter 4 (pg. 163)
Chapter 5 (pg. 166)
Chapter 6 (pg. 169)
Chapter 7 (pg. 172)
Chapter 8 (pg. 178)
Chapter 9 (pg. 180)
Chapter 10 (pg. 182)
Chapter 11 (pg. 186)
Chapter 12 (pg. 188)
Further Readings (pg. 191)
Activism (corporatization of) (pg. 191)
Activism (crackdown on) (pg. 191)
Anti-Environmentalism (corporate) (pg. 191)
Capitalism (critiques, for a general audience) (pg. 192)
Climate Change (politics of) (pg. 192)
Consumption of Natural Resources (pg. 193)
Consumption Politics (pg. 193)
Corporate Social Responsibility (business of) (pg. 194)
Degrowth, Sufficiency, and Steady-State Economics (pg. 195)
Discount Retailing (pg. 195)
Eco-Certification (pg. 196)
Eco-Consumerism (pg. 196)
Eco-Efficiency, Eco-Technology, and Ecological Modernization (pg. 197)
Ecological Imperialism (pg. 197)
Environmental Activism (“insider” critiques of) (pg. 198)
Environmental Discourses and Movements (varieties of) (pg. 198)
Environmental History (general) (pg. 198)
Environmental Justice Movements (pg. 199)
Environmental NGOs and Transnational Networks (pg. 199)
Environmentalism (developing countries) (pg. 200)
Environmentalism (overviews) (pg. 200)
Environmentalists (biographies) (pg. 201)
Environmentalists (memoirs) (pg. 201)
The Global Ecological Crisis (pg. 202)
Global Environmental Governance (pg. 203)
Global Environmental Politics (overviews) (pg. 203)
Global Environmental Politics (collections of readings) (pg. 204)
Global Environmental Problems (politics of) (pg. 204)
Global Environmentalism (seminal books) (pg. 205)
Globalization (critical accounts) (pg. 205)
Private Environmental Governance (pg. 206)
Sustainability (pg. 206)
Tropical Rainforests (global politics of) (pg. 207)
Voluntary Simplicity, Localization, and Eco-Villages (pg. 207)
Index (pg. 209)

Peter Dauvergne

Peter Dauvergne is Professor of International Relations at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of The Shadows of Consumption: Consequences for the Global Environment and Eco-Business: A Big-Brand Takeover of Sustainability (with Jane Lister), both published by the MIT Press.