7 Eco-Criminals

(1) Lee F. Raymond

CEO of Exxon from 1993 - 1999 and then of ExxonMobil until 2005 as well as vice-chairman of the neoconservative think-tank AEI, Raymond is a paragon of short-term profit. As late as June 14, 2005 he equivocated, "it's yet to be shown how much of this [global warming] is really related to the activities of man." Oil Daily (Dec. 13, 2000) describes him as a "vehement campaigner on behalf of the fossil fuel lobby".
After the Exxon Valdez dumped 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound in 1989, he advocated rejecting the court's compensation decision, dragging out the case for years and saving Exxon a handsome chunk. Moreover, thanks to his penny-pinching, the majority of ExxonMobil tankers today remain single-hulled.
A relentless advocate of profit enhancement, Raymond has squelched many alternative energy measures he deemed fiscally unviable. Under his leadership, ExxonMobil profits stood solid and research into "green" energy solutions were underfunded. At a time when gas prices were soaring, Raymond got the largest retirement package in U.S. history: a juicy $400 million. Soon after that George Bush, Jr. (a greasy oilman himself) appointed Raymond to chair the Committee for America's Alternative Energy Future. Can you think of a better parody?

Sources:

Exxpose Exxon Coalition. (2008). What's at stake? Don't let Exxon decide our energy future! Retrieved March 11, 2008 from http://ga3.org/campaign/lee_raymond/explanation

Krugman, Paul. (2006, April 17). Enemy of the planet. New York Times (Opinion Column). Retrieved March 11, 2008 from http://select.nytimes.com/2006/04/17/opinion/17krugman.html

Lee Raymond. (2008) In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 11, 2008 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_R._Raymond

ReferenceForBusiness.com. (2007). Lee R. Raymond 1938— forum. Retrieved March 11, 2008 from http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/biography/M-R/Raymond-Lee-R-1938.html



(2) Hugh Grant

In many ways Hugh Grant doesn't seem like an eco-criminal. He espouses worthy causes such as ending world hunger and eradicating AIDS. However, the way he advocates making life itself a form of "intellectual property" will have far-ranging (and I believe ultimately adverse) impact on the health of this planet. Under his leadership, Monsanto has shifted from chemical manufacturing to bio-tech. They now control 91% of the world's GM seed market and have been developing "terminator" seeds that produce sterile crops. This will pave the way for a sort of "hi-tech serfdom" in which farmers must purchase their seeds from multi-national corporations such as Monsanto each year. Such dependency does not bode well for small-scale independent farmers. Nor does it bode well for the planet's bio-diversity and food security.
Intelligent and eloquent, it would be a mistake to paint Hugh Grant entirely as a "baddie". Many of the decisions from his desk would likely be made by anyone leading a company focused on profitability. The fact that Grant was partly responsible for bribing Indonesian officials in 1 997 - 2002 is not particularly noteworthy: after all, aren't government leaders up for sale? Nor should there be any surprise that Monsanto silenced some Fox news reporters who suggested that their transgenic bovine growth hormone might be linked to cancer. Why let bad news get in the way of profits? Moreover, the fact that Monsanto spent $3,640,000 for lobbying in 2006 is hardly astonishing. Isn't it obvious that most politicians' listen closely only when coins are jingling? Should the fact that Monsanto received the lowest possible environmental rating by Innovest in 2006 be a concern? Well, I guess all ratings are just a matter of opinion – right? Yet when taken together, a picture emerges of an individual (or more accurately, of a corporation) who will do almost anything to insure that market shares remain foremost.

Sources:

Akre, J. & Wilson, S. (2008, February 8). World Views: How Fox News and Monsanto killed a story on BGH. Retrieved March 12, 2008 from http://worldviewsblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/how-fox-news-and-monsanto-killed-story.html

Brown, P. (2003, April 30). Monsanto may face disaster – Greenpeace report. The Guardian. (Environment Column). Retrieved March 12, 2008 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2003/apr/30/gmcrops.gm

Grant, H. (2007, October 18). Executive speeches and interviews: Beyond food and fuel, the role of 21st century agriculture. Retrieved March 12, 2008 from http://monsanto.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=57&item=114

Monsanto Watch. (n.d.). Factsheet: Monsanto's sordid history. Retrieved March 12, 2008 from http://www.monsantowatch.org/

Peck, J. E. (2007, March 18). Monsanto – How now brown cow? Retrieved March 12, 2008 from http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20070318074922402



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