Alaska NOT Conservation Trust: Greenwashing Comes to Alaska

Peddling Astroturf

Peddling Astroturf

The Anchorage Daily Dispatch reports there is a new charitable organization in Alaska, calling itself the Alaska Conservation Trust. The new kid has about as much to do with conservation as “clean coal.”

ACT’s president is Greg Bell. Its single, part-time employee is Curtis Thayer, who was former Governor Sean “Captain Zero” Parnell’s Commissioner of Administration. Thayer is also a former aide to U.S. Rep. Don Young.

It is Mr. Bell’s thesis that small businesses and “the little guy,” especially in the timber industry, are being overwhelmed by “the other side.” The claim is borderline delusional. As recently as the 2012 referendum on Captain Zero’s oil tax giveaway, Mr. Bell’s “little guy” outspent the referendum’s supporters $14,221,602 to $488,090. The true conservation community was outspent by nearly 30 to 1. So much for the true conservation community “overwhelming” anyone.

The last time WC checked, there were “Chambers of Commerce” in every community of any size in Alaska. They exist mostly to support resource extraction industries. But there weren’t any “Chambers of Conservation.” Not one.

Even Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation is embarrassingly tight with the mining, timber and hydrocarbon industries.

No, Mr. Bell’s Big Idea is a reworking of the tenets of the Merchants of Doubt: if you can’t win legitimately, create an organization that causes confusion. Give your little sock puppet a name that sounds like the opposition. It will confuse folks and confusion is the primary tool of the Merchants of Doubt.

In fact, Mr. Bell’s shabby little stunt even has  name: greenwashing, an effort to use the conservation meme for a non-conservation purpose.

WC is a card-carrying member of the Alaska Conservation Foundation. ACF has been around for more than 35 years. The opinions in this post – the opinions in this blog – are exclusively those of WC. But if Mr. Bell sought to annoy ACF by stealing two-thirds of its name, he has failed. He’s just embarrassed himself, trying to be something he isn’t: A responsible citizen. He’s just another greenwashing merchant of fraud. If he was sincere about giving a voice to “the little guy,” he wouldn’t start by stealing anyone’s name.

Sincerity doesn’t start with thievery. Theft is the exact opposite of sincerity.