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Calling Out the 'Greenwashing' Lies

"Greenwashing" lies by governments, businesses, international organizations, and even celebrities mislead consumers and weakens efforts to take meaningful, effective action in the fight against climate change.

That's the message from John Pabon, a Melbourne, Australia climate author and business advisor, who has just published a new book, “The Great Greenwashing: How Corporations, Governments, and Influencers Are Lying to You,” in an interview for The Lean to the Left Podcast, now streaming.

In fact, says Pabon, "greenspeak", misdirection, and "green scamming" are now more prevalent than ever as even businesses, organizations, and celebrities, who claim to support efforts to protect our environment actually are taking actions that contribute to the climate crisis that we all face.

"Those are the three tried and true ways that greenwashing happens," Pabon says. "So the first is all this marketing speak around being eco friendly, being green. So you'll see green packaging. They love to do that as if that means anything or saying, we, we care about the earth, but not backing it up with any real meaningful statistics." That's "greenspeak."

"Misdirection is another," he says. "So look over here, not over here. Look at this cute picture of kids on the front of our sustainability report, but not the child labor we have going on in Bangladesh, right? Don't look at that part. So then that's another way they love to do that."

"And the final way is green scamming. And this is the most insidious and probably the scariest part of greenwashing that I didn't even know was going on, but big cashed up organizations, usually the big dinosaurs like oil and gas, they'll actually fund front groups that on the surface look like they're doing something good for the planet, but really they're lobbying groups to throw people off the scent."

Such groups, he says, discredit climate change, "posing as if they are scientists and expecting nobody to actually do the research and realize these aren't scientists. These

are marketing teams pushing out BS statistics," he says.

Here are some surprising conclusions shared by Pabon during the interview:

  • The climate crisis is too serious for "kumbaya", "feel-good" claims about progress being made. "Converting people to actual action is the missing piece."

  • He's disappointed in climate efforts of the Biden administration, saying "they've not had a strong a performance as one would assume those from the left hand side of the political spectrum would actually have had."

  • To uncover greenwashing lies, consumers should research "green" claims before purchasing related products or supporting candidates.

  • Consumers can make a big difference in the choices they make. "We're not talking about having to do everything all at once. You don't have to be a perfect environmentalist, just making these actions that move the needle in the right direction. That's good enough. There's plenty, there's billions of other people doing the right thing. You don't have to do it all."

  • Some major car companies, which he declined to identify, are looking to the future and considering how they can diversify so they are not exclusively reliant on selling motor vehicles.

  • Responsible businesses will do more than government to effectively combat global warming.

Listen to the podcast:

View the interview:

Read the AI-generated transcript:

Exposing the Climate Greenwashing Lies
Download DOCX • 19KB

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