I love my public radio station. I’ll admit I even drive to work some days just to listen to the morning news (note: I live in New York City, where driving to work takes more time, costs more, and is just plain silly). On the way home, I’m usually back in the car just in time to hear the tail end of Marketplace, the daily broadcast of the day’s economic and financial news. Marketplace is a great show – they explain complex content simply and with humor (I have a radio crush on the host, Kai Ryssdal) and they always play good music between the segments.
Lately, however, I’ve found myself cringing with disgust as I listen. It’s not the bleak financial news day after day or the fact that Kai and I mostly likely will never date that causes my reaction, but the fact that Marketplace is now sponsored by Monsanto – the biotech company responsible for Round-Up, Agent Orange, GMO corn and soy, and all hosts of other types of evil. And as if it couldn’t get any worse, the announcer, in a smug and confident voice, informs me that Monsanto is “committed to sustainable agriculture.”
If someone asked me to name a corporation that epitomized the opposite of sustainable agriculture, the name Monsanto would be out of my mouth before they even finished the question. But I’m not going to rant about Monsanto here, you can read all about how they’re destroying the planet here. And if that’s not enough, go here.
What I want to rant about here is Greenwashing. Greenwashing is the process by which a corporation disseminates a false or misleading picture of environmental friendliness in order to conceal or obscure damaging activities. Now, I’m not green about greenwashing. I know it’s all over our food packaging in terms like “all natural” or “made from the best stuff on earth,” but Monsanto’s blatant usurping of the term “sustainable agriculture” makes my blood boil. Why? Well, for one, they’re insulting our intelligence. And for two, I’m scared. Really scared. Scared that people will believe them. Allowing Monsanto to piggyback on public radio, which is seen as a credible, reliable – albeit left-leaning (which, let’s face it, makes it worse) – suggests that their message is all these things.