Going For The Green

I have never done this and don’t plan to make it a practice. But a recent piece in the Sierra magazine caught my eye and in the spirit of re-blogging, I want to pass it along verbatim. It shows once again the lack of conscience exhibited by large corporations as they pursue the almighty dollar. The article is titled “Greenwashing Golf.” I will omit the parts that don’t seem pertinent.

“. . .For a mere $200 and a self-report of green virtue — no independent on-site inspection required — some 2,300 U.S. [golf] courses have tried to hitch themselves to one of the world’s most respected environmental brands: Audubon.

“The golf industry has long been hammered for wasting oceans of water, using toxic chemicals, and bullying local communities. Then along came a New York group called Audubon International (A.I.) which shares only a name with the renowned bird-focused environmental group and which offers to ‘certify’ the environmental stewardship of golf courses. Courses now happily attach the famous name to scorecards, signage, and offers for duffers to play on ‘Audubon approved’ links and to buy McMansions beside ‘Audubon golf sanctuaries.’

“‘It’s patently obvious what A.I. is trying to do,’ says National Audubon Society CEO David Yarnold. ‘It’s deliberate obfuscation.’ A.I., however, won a court judgment that the Audubon name is generic and that there’s no confusion in the marketplace. Yet, admits California golf course owner George Kelley — whose course is A.I. certified — ‘If they called themselves the XYZ Environmental Golf Company, they would not have had anywhere near the success they have had.’

“A.I. is funded by DuPont, cement maker LaFarge, Disney, and the U.S. Golf Association. Now founder Ron Dodson wants to certify chemical refineries, shopping malls, highways, even cars. Says Dodson, ‘We would not discriminate.'”

In this case “discrimination” would be a good thing! But what is most appalling about this story is the deceit, the underhanded attempt on the part of the golf courses and the corporations who support this effort to appear environmentally responsible when in fact this is not the case. Ignoring for a moment the horrible record large corporations like DuPont have in their treatment of the environment, golf courses are, as suggested above, some of the worst polluters in the country. But my objection, like those of so many others, will fall on the closed ears and minds of those who run these four corporations (and others like them) and who only see where they can make even more money. Brace yourself, you may soon be living near an “Audubon approved” Walmart.

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