At the same time as the first tar balls started washing up on the beaches of Florida, Reporters without Borders released a report stating that environmental damage reporting is the most dangerous job in media. To top it off, today is World Environment Day.
Much of the danger of reporting lies in rhetoric. For example, look at Rwanda today. As the Kagame administration plays host to World Environment Day, the ceremonial naming of Gorillas upstages the human rights crisis underlying the mass oppression of political opposition. Hence, environmental reporting must speak to a positive sense of progress, outlining special policies of compassion and respect towards Earth and biodiversity. When reporters indulge in muckraking industry—in pointing out environmental hazards and the suppression or ‘greenwashing’ of information—they often fall victim to State vengeance.
Another example of environmental reporting that feeds the establishment occurred today, as Russia’s President called for a global environmental fund. President Medvedev proclaimed that Russia, a country with terrible environmental regulations, should lead the charge in creating a fund for environmental problems, and that Russians should feel free to protest the government for its deficient environmental standards in spite of the police brutality that has violently and viciously suppressed virtually all public assemblies.
In reality, these terms come off as threats—feel free to protest, but you will be punished if you do (go ahead, I dare you); let the ones who don’t seem to care about the environment bottom-line the environmental protection fund (oh, we’ll give you reform alright). This is similar to an underlying logic of global power today—BP is in charge of the clean-up of Deepwater Horizon spill; Israel is in charge of the investigations of malfeasance concerning the attack on the Free Gaza flotilla. Here, we find the ultimate “saving face”—the perpetrators conduct the investigations, the abusers insist on fair play, the violators of human rights show off their healthy connection to the environment, and the media plays into the circus by lionizing these “special efforts towards progress.”
The hidden truth is that no-one is behind the wheel; the State supposed to be in power is a mirage projected by the media. The ones who really change human history are we—the human race, itself. No one can take responsibility over our lives but ourselves, and no one can change the world, restore the world, resurrect the fading embers of life on this planet but us—me and you.
Speaking of Deepwater Horizon, by the way, BP has announced that it is “cautiously optimistic” that it has successfully begun another siphon project, sucking 1,000 gallons of oil out of the broken pipe in the Gulf of Mexico. That’s 1,000 gallons per day compared to the ~17,000 gallons leaking every day. Forgive us if we’re not so optimistic…
Today is World Environment Day, it’s true. And maybe this project raises some awareness somewhere about what the environment is, and why we are killing it. The sea is dying, Earth is hemorrhaging, the sky is filling with toxic gas, but if someone tells you “Happy World Environment Day” today, try to look on the bright side—you have the power to make a difference. From legal work to campaign work to direct action, we can all chip in to take the power back, and oppose the greed of environmental destruction.
Posted in News.