Protection racket

A note from the editor

Vanessa Baird

The United Nations says the global earth summit it is holding in Rio this month ‘is a chance to move away from business as usual and to act to end poverty, address environmental destruction and build a bridge to the future’.

Splendid aims. However, a great many of those involved in shaping the outcome are from the fossil-fuel, mining, banking and carbon-trading sectors.

So we reckon a reality check is in order. This month’s issue gives you the ‘unofficial guide’ to Rio+20, as the summit is called. Writer and activist Danny Chivers also removes the fig-leaves from a selection of corporate miscreants in his exposé of ‘Eight Great Greenwashers’. Some on the list are household names; others may be new to you.

Also this month, Richard Swift answers the tricky question of why the political Right gained and the Left lost ground in the wake of the financial crisis. This essay won him the prestigious US Daniel Singer Millennium Prize. Time will tell if the tide can really be turned, in Europe at any rate, following the French and Greek elections.

Elsewhere, intrepid filmmaker Nadia El Fani explains why she had to leave her native Tunisia. Outspoken US scholar Norman Finkelstein posits that Jewish Americans are falling out of love with Israel – and discusses what that could mean for peace in the Middle East. Charismatic Indian activist Bunker Roy talks about ‘granny power’, and British comedian Jeremy Hardy reflects on being a Marxist at the tender age of 10.

Vanessa Baird for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

The big story

What price a gliding treefrog in the costing of 'eco-system services' that the Rio+20 process seems to be heading towards?

What price a gliding treefrog in the costing of 'eco-system services' that the Rio+20 process seems to be heading towards?

Stockphoto

Big business goes to Rio

With the Earth Summit just days away, Danny Chivers chronicles the urgent battle to stop corporates from hijacking the green agenda.

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Many people don’t even know it’s happening. But from 20-22 June more than a hundred heads of state, along with an estimated 50,000 representatives from businesses, NGOs, trades unions, local government and others will gather in Rio de Janeiro for the 2012 UN Earth Summit.

The conference’s official website makes it look like a friendly gathering of world leaders and other ‘stakeholders’ from business and civil society. However, underneath the surface layer of polite discussion documents and o...




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