Wednesday September 6,
Dam the report
Soundings' millennium award for imaginative accounting goes to
international firm Ernst and Young, which was asked to do an environmental
impact study for an Indian power company wanting to build two
hydro-electric dams. These would flood hundreds of acres of forest next
door to two wildlife reserves in Karnataka. The hot shot accountants'
report was nodded through by the government, but it has now been found to
be extraordinarily similar to an earlier report submitted by another
company about a different dam project 90 miles away. Indeed, it is two
rivers, two types of dams, two forest types, two locations but one report
with only the names changed. Ernst and Young are deeply embarrassed. "It
was written and submitted in haste - we will be preparing another report,"
says a spokesman.
Thunk. A new report from Monsanto lauding the
corporation's achievements. No mention of the recent court case in
Philadelphia where Monsato was forced to pay $90m for selling defective
and toxic PCBs that left an office building contaminated after a 1994
fire. Monsanto argued that they stopped making PCBs in the 1970s and could
not therefore be held responsible. Perish the thought that they would ever
have to use that defence over GMs.
Market know how
Farmers' markets are the rage. More than 200
are up and running and many more in their pilot stages. Now the Soil
Association is running a one-day course on September 20 for anyone who
wants to find out more. Call 0117-914 2425 for details.
Splendid September edition of the Ecologist
magazine, made memorable by a spat over corporations between Sir Jonathon
Porritt and George Monbiot, both regular contributors to these pages. The
personal invective is priceless. Monbiot, says Porritt, is "absolutist",
"morally superior", "holier than thou", with "flawed" views. Porritt,
counters Monbiot, is little more than a "collaborator" with a "naive and
dangerous" approach, a man who is irredeemably "compromised" and "used" by
corporations. Ouch, ouch.
The US has reached an environmental and social
milestone. There are now more prisoners (2m) than farmers (1.9m). We have
some catching up to do. For the record, Britain has 593,000 farmers and a
mere 75,000-odd prisoners.