Corporations vs The Public

Back in September of 2017, I met Oliwer, a Norwegian Green Peace activist looking for donations in Stockholm. He told me that they’re trying to stop the Norwegians from drilling for oil in the Arctic. He also told me about how a powerful, profitable company involved in logging is attempting to disrupt the environmental organization by suing it for a massive amount in damages to their business.

I asked him to tell me more, as it was hard to understand for me how such a thing could even work. My image of Green Peace was that of a world-wide, semi-decentralized network of agents (mostly volunteers). It’s hard to kill such an organization, especially given the volunteering aspect. Unfortunately, most money still leaves a trail (I’d switch to donations via cryptocurrencies if I were Green Peace).

I promised the man that instead of donating money, I’ll donate time and do what I do best: investigate and write. The case he told me about is only one of the many times corporations and even governments have went after Green Peace^. It is, however, one of the most ridiculous (although admittedly not as ridiculous as when the government of Australia tried to basically pay a corporation to sue Green Peace^).

The case the activist I met last year was referring to is that of Resolute^, a company in the tree-cutting business (wording intended). The firm went as far as using RICO^, an act conceived and used against the mafia, to go after the environmental organization. That’s almost as preposterous as the mafia using the act to go after the government. Fortunately, both major Resolute cases against Green Peace have been thrown out of courts, including the case the activist was talking about:

I don’t want to even imagine what would happen if a lawsuit manages to eventually kill a major organization working for protecting the ecosystem from the rampant expansion of human industry. Setting that sort of precedent is extremely dangerous. Green Peace is not without its faults^, but compare it to the mining industry^ or to some automakers^.

And since the seed for this article was planted in Stockholm and I brought up the mining industry, I’ll close with one more recent example of criminal negligence on the part of mining companies. This time it’s about a Swedish company called Boliden.

Last year, the company was sued, here in Sweden^, by Chileans who suffered due to living close to the toxic waste that had been dumped^ by a company that Boliden employed in order to move the poison from Sweden to Chile. The court ruled in favor of Boliden^, which is not surprising given that this was taking place in the city where the company was founded.

It’s a typical black & white ruling that doesn’t even offer an apology (however symbolic) to the victims; not even acknowledging that Boliden had zero interest about how its toxic waste was being stored; ignoring the fact that a well-off country conveniently dumped poison in another part of the world. By the way, this is the same Swedish company responsible for one of the worst environmental disasters in Spain^.

To ensure that our children benefit from healthy living conditions, I suggest taking part into and protecting the institutions that are concerned with the future of our ecosystem and making sure that those that disrespect the environment pay a hefty price for their negligence.

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