Tuesday, 5 February 2008

How to support a wildlife organisation and help destroy the world


Why do wildlife conservation organisations encourage blatant consumerism of tacky goods, many of which will be made in China, causing an accelleration of pollution, depletion of fossil fuels, etc etc etc.? It's too depressing for words.

I would be very interested to hear others' views on this. I make no claims to being a hair-shirted dark green conservationist, but I do think that some organisations have seriously lost the plot, when they use really tacky consumer goods. What are the worst examples you know of?


  1. Dominic Belfield6 February 2008 at 17:16

    Pertinent point. This is why I support you at WLT.
    Too many charidees are effectively run by their marketing dept's, which want to "sell" that feel-good factor in return for your cash.
    "Yes - just a few pieces of your loose change can save a life, save the planet, insert your most fervent wish here."
    These charidees just don't want us to have to face up to our real responsibilities, because if we did - why - maybe we wouldn't need all these charidees and their relentlessly urgent work, and all this huffing and puffing after righteousness would dissipate in its own futility.
    Have less children, reduce your consumption impact, conserve and restore existing eco-systems and think what what your grandchildren are most going to need you to have done/not done.

  2. Worst example? The one you linked to was pretty bad! (Good taste? I don't think so!)

    Not just wildlife conservation charities, but many other organisations concerned with environmental issues seem to promote products that are only green in that you support the organisation if you buy them. (Does WLT have a policy on the environmental friendliness/ethical policy of sponsors providing *products* that support the Trust?)

    Related to this, I also wonder about all the fairtrade organic environmentally and human friendly but completely pointless products that exist, and that are almost certainly only bought as gifts as nobody can possibly *need* them. They may be made with recycled materials and provide job opportunities for poor women in remote villages, but what are the long term prospects for these workers if they rely on income from silly gift items designed by European companies to appeal to environmentally conscious shoppers wanting to ease their guilt? That sort of market will surely be saturated soon. To me, it feels like just another example of pretending (hoping?) that we can buy our way out of the problems we are facing.

  3. Perhaps we could be a little competitive here.....

    Can readers send links to the tackiest environmental/wildlife conservation gifts they can find. We will create a brown list for green gifts!

  4. Again, this is not strictly related to "tacky" gifts, but to do with so-called green gifts. I thought readers might find this article interesting:

    Eco-friendly Choices are Corrupted by the Sins of "Greenwashing"

  5. Cambridgeshire, UK13 February 2008 at 21:21

    I feel this is a wee bit of a bogus story aimed at knocking other wildlife conservation organisations! I have been involved with conservation in the UK for years and have never heard of this group. The vast majority of serious conservation orgs in the UK, eg the Wildlife Trusts don't do this sort of thing.
    Admitedly those owls are pretty rank though!

  6. I am not sure what Cambridgeshire means about this being a bit of a bogus story -- and not knowing about the National Wildlife Federation; this suggests a rather parochial view of international wildlife conservation, as the latter are one of the World's larger organisations. Far larger than any of the UK's County Wildlife Trusts. My original comment was certainly not simply knocking copy, and I do think that many conservation charities (including some of the county Trusts sell some pretty tacky stuff. May be not quite as bad as the NWF, but tacky nonetheless.

  7. Surely the important point isn't whether they're tacky, as that's a matter of taste (or lack of!), but whether they are environmentally friendly or not. The best way of supporting a conservation organisation is to make a donation. If an organisation wants to attract the sort of people who feel they want to receive something in return for their money, they really should make sure the products on offer are environmentally sound. Anything else would be pretty hypocritical.