Conservationists wrong to exaggerate threats

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    Interesting article in the Ecologist, inc on green groups going too far in public relations efforts, which are well-intentioned, but can use ridiculously over-the-top claims. Includes:

    Instead of making exaggerated claims about species becoming extinct, NGOs could make progress on issues like deforestation by collaborating more closely with companies, claims a new report

    The continued expansion of palm oil plantations means orangutans are just a few years from extinction, if you accept the predictions of various environmental groups, including Friends of the Earth.

    One group, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), has gone further in claiming, 'orangutans are predicted to become extinct as early as 2011.'

    Neither claim is likely to be true and may in fact be evidence of 'blackwashing', a term used to describe environmental scaremongering and propaganda.

    A report published recently in the journal of tropical biology and conservation analysed the publicity tactics used by both NGOs and palm oil companies on the issue of tropical deforestation.

    It is openly critical of groups, including FOE and RAN, for making, 'exaggerated claims in their campaigns…misleading and unverified accusations of avoidable environmental degradation by corporations.'

    in the longer term, blackwashing exposed for what it really is could, 'diminish the trust invested in environmental groups and more generally undermine public support for conservation.'

    Blackwashing: do NGO tactics risk long term public trust?

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