Should We Pay Corporations to Destroy the Planet?

Pricing the Planet Episode 1

Al Jazeera (2018)

Film Review

This documentary is about an endangered species trading scheme in which banks like J P Morgan and Goldman Sacks invest in projects that protect endangered species (eg bees, coral reefs, orangutans) or ecosystem services (eg (rain forests, clean water, wetlands clean air, topsoil). They then sell credits in these projects to corporations who wish to engage in mining and development that kill these species or destroy rain forests and wetlands.

In 1988, Bush Senior was the first to promote this model of environmental protection with his No Net Wetlands Loss policy. It enabled corporations that were destroying wetlands to purchase credits in wetlands that being set aside for preservation. This model was later employed in carbon trading schemes in which industries are allowed to emit CO2 pollution if they purchase credits in reforestation projects that capture CO2. After nearly 20 years of operations, this scheme has made speculators in carbon credits fantastically rich while allowing CO2 emissions increase exponentially.

Bankers and corporate executives argue that endangered species trading is the only way to save the planet because government regulation hasn’t worked (largely because banks and corporations have blocked effective environmental regulation). Most grassroots environmentalists oppose species trading. They argue that bees, reefs, orangutans and rain forests can only be saved with a total ban on activities that endanger them.

Globally Malua BioBank runs the largest “mitigation” project. They recently purchased the Malua Forest in Borneo for $64 million. They sell credits in the Malua Forest to palm oil companies to enable them to destroy other Indonesian rain forests, as well as companies that use palm oil products.

The Nature Conservancy (whose current CEO is a former Goldman Sachs banker) and other large environmental NGOs support “species banking” because they rely on large corporate donations to cover their staff salaries.

The video can be viewed free at the Al Jazeera website: Pricing the Planet


9 thoughts on “Should We Pay Corporations to Destroy the Planet?

  1. Humans are species too. You are engaged in the human trading scheme when you trade anything made by humans or sell your labour. With or without money, as long as you valuate something in something you initiate artificial self-selection process or evolution, whatever you call it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are a multitude of different ways that we are paying corporations to destroy this planet. We are the enablers of corporations destroying this planet and we are all hypocrites, even the so-called ‘environmentalists’ because how are they heating their homes? Solar? Every single one? I’m not THAT naive. Those who eat only ‘organic’ foods are fooling themselves, as well. Talk is cheap.

    Also, by “Consume baby, consume,” we are aiding and abetting the corporations in their quest to destroy this planet; hence how we became the enablers. How many of us can seriously take the ‘high road’? I can’t because if I was serious about ceasing and desisting in my role in helping to destroy this planet, I would unplug myself from the matrix, literally, by telling the electric company to shut off my service. I would not drive a car, but would instead, hitch a horse to a buggy and “Amish” my lifestyle, but I don’t do that and so that makes me not only a hypocrite, but an enabler of corporations who are out to do nothing but destroy this planet. Only the so-called ‘animals’ can take the ‘high road’ in this instance. They are the truly blameless. Meanwhile, we are charging billions of smartphones many times a day, everyday, running refrigerators, turning on heating and cooling systems, driving next door to the store and bitching about how many storms we’re experiencing and how we have got to rebuild our home that floated down the river, five times already.


    • I could be wrong, Shelby, but based on what you have written about yourself I think you have a pretty small environmental footprint compared to most Americans – as I recall you don’t eat animals and had pretty much stopped driving. That’s a pretty big difference from most Americans to start with.

      Also environmentalists come in many flavors. Watching this film gave me new reason to be skeptical of big non-profit environmental groups – most of them, like the Nature Conservancy, seem to have sold out.

      One thing that has always troubled me about the environmental movement is that people have to be quite well-to-do to afford solar power in their homes, electric cars and even organic food. This is one thing that has attracted me to the environmental justice movement – they are committed to addressing the plight of low income communities, who always suffer the most from corporate greed.

      Thanks for your comment.


  3. Shelby, so true; half the world lives on less than 2 dollars a day; they are forced to destroy the renewable resources; the other half consume the non-renewable resources;

    The strange thing is that environmental chaos brings about biodiversity; we may strive for “heaven”, but without chaos, change and competition, a species withers; its called senescence;

    Now, there are people from all walks actively changing their habits; this brother has lived for 7 years without car, home, fridge, bank accounts, etc.
    No need to be so radical, but do make changes; as Gandhi said: “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”


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