I've written previously about 'green' non-governmental organisations and their penchant for protectionism. But as the European Environmental Paper Network met over the past few days in Portugal (my invite must have been lost in the post), I thought I'd bring to you a video worth watching and sharing.
The 'green army' seen marauding over a board game in this video is a suitable analogy for what exactly is going in terms of international markets and development. Arbitrary standards established by the Forest Stewardship Council and WWF among others are leading to increased barriers to entry for developing nations and pushing up prices for consumers in the West.
The rationale is supposedly to ensure 'green' credentials by protecting whatever forest land these unelected NGOs deem important. But these standards are not only questionable from a scientific perspective, but also from an ethical one.
Imagine you're a Kenyan wood carver, minding your business, harvesting the resources Mother Earth endowed upon your sovereign country when suddenly the WWF corporate jet lands on an adjacent runway and out pours the gaggle of unelected representatives (calling them bureaucrats would be an insult to bureaucracy) who start making demands as to where you farm. Sounds an awful lot like what Native Americans and colonised countries have already endured in the past, doesn't it?
Nevertheless, with compensation in the form of otherwise closed markets, backed by international governments seeking to burnish their green credentials, you as a Kenyan wood carver give way. In the meantime, because you've started travelling further, had to change your gathering methods and export criteria, the prices on your products rise. No bother, the Western consumer will pay for it, then he'll pay again in tax which will prop up the NGOs who established this process in the first place - right?
All the while your local competitors who can't now keep up with this subsidised process are going out of business, starving, leaving the area and looking for other means of earning a living. If the 'Occupy' movement and their kindred spirits on the other side of the debate are truly opposed to corporate welfare and corporatism, I suggest we take a look at the grand scale that on which this is taking place internationally, rather than simply focusing on Wall Street and the London Stock Exchange (though I agree, corporatism must be shunned across the board).
So I commit to you this video - perhaps you'll take a moment to watch it, share it and take action against what is truly an unfair process. Or perhaps you'll just ignore it. Your choice. But at least you have one.
Follow Raheem Kassam on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@RaheemJKassam