Corporations Co-opt Earth Day

"Earth Day, which began 33 years ago today as a nationwide rally to clean up the planet, has become the latest victim of the corporate takeover. From Houston to Hong Kong, companies are seeking to polish their green image by sponsoring Earth Day events, which grass-roots groups and cities struggle to fund. This year, garbage haulers, coffee companies and even missile manufacturers are underwriting Earth Day festivities, a public relations strategy that has divided environmentalists and led to protests of Earth Day itself. ... Houston Earth Day 2003, held this past Saturday ... was made possible by a $15,000 donation by [Houston-headquartered] Waste Management. ... 'Waste Management sponsoring Earth Day is similar to Enron sponsoring a seminar on corporate responsibility,' said John Stauber, [co]author of Toxic Sludge is Good for You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry, which examined how companies disguised poor environmental records beneath glitzy green advertising and marketing."