Archive for the ‘Green Gone Wrong’ tag
Peter Aldhous writes:
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, the epicentre of smug green consumerism, where self-proclaimed environmentalists drive to wholefood shops to load their fuel-inefficient hybrid SUVs with too much organic produce. They should read Heather Rogers’s stories and weep.
Rogers traveled a long way to investigate the emerging green economy. Her destinations included supposedly organic sugar-cane plantations in Paraguay and tracts of rainforest in Borneo that are being felled to produce palm oil for biofuel.
Having flown all over the globe, Rogers did not try to salve her conscience by buying “carbon offsets,” which are supposed to negate air miles by funding tree-planting or renewable electricity projects in developing countries. When you read her account of the problems with auditing these schemes in India, you’ll understand why.
Green Gone Wrong is primarily a fast-paced travelogue, which leads to some loose ends and an uneven structure. In India, for instance, we are told that a carbon-offsetting project is “perhaps” composting ash into organic fertiliser, “but I saw no trace of it”. (Having done my share of “touristic” journalism, I've experienced similar difficulties: on a flying visit, it is hard to tell whether you're looking at part of the problem, or part of the solution.)