Still dirty after all these years. E. Bruce Harrison, head of his own international PR agency, has actively derailed environmentalists’ efforts for more than three decades. In 1962, Harrison, then PR director for the Chemical Manufacturers Association, led the industry’s campaign to discredit “Silent Spring,” Rachel Carson’s book linking commercial pesticides to numerous health dangers. Activists claim his work set back efforts to understand the environmental roots of many diseases, including breast cancer, several years.
Today, companies such as Dow, GM, RJ Reynolds, and Monsanto pay him big money for help with “greenwashing,” PR posturing that leads consumers and lawmakers to believe the businesses actually care about the environment. He also champions “astroturf groups,” faux grassroots organizations driven by industry interests. Business is good–last year, Harrison’s agency netted more than $6.5 million.
In a new book, “Going Green,” Harrison declares that environmental activism is dead, and that “corporate environmentalism” should take the opportunity to dominate the field. May he fall through an ozone hole.