Greenwashing in the environmental sector

Georgian Young Greens believes that the environment should be prioritized over economic profits

Georgian Young Greens protests against a new hydro power plant project, which they mean will damage the environment, lead to socio-economic consequences and environmental migrants.

Georgian Young Greens has always seen themselves as the most obvious voice in environmental politics due to their independence, flat organization and non-profitable structure. There is a misbelieve towards other environmental organizations due to their hierarchical structures, questionable contacts with officials and lack of independence in their environmental impact assessments that they are assigned to make by companies in connection to various projects. Some are making profit from these analyses on behalf of companies and are adapting their results to be able to get future profitable assignments.

Georgian Young Greens goes all in to protest against the hypocrisy in the environmental sector and by the ministry of environment as regards the hydro power project. Hydro-power is a relatively environmental friendly way to produce electricity. However, if it´s not managed in a sustainable way, it could have devastating consequences. In Georgia, the use of hydro-power is already widespread and contributes to 75% of its total production of electricity. With its 26060 rivers and 860 lakes, there is a huge potential for Georgia to have a 100% supply of renewable energy. However, there is now an unnecessary conflict between the supply of hydro-power and the conservation of biological diversity and the needs of the local communities. Water is being polluted, villages are being depopulated and wide areas of forest are being cut down due to constructions of new hydro-power plants. It could destroy whole eco-systems.

To be able to use the positive sides of hydro-power, it has to be controlled, companies shouldn’t be able to initiate project without any regulations that sees the environment as more worth than economic profit. Energy security is important, but not as important as environmental security since everyone are dependent on it in the long run. There are ways to use hydro-power in a more sustainable fashion, but due to higher costs, this is not an option if the only interest is economic profit.

In this plan for protests, Georgian Young Greens means, for example, that the environment should be prioritized instead of economic profits, that the legislation should be developed, that environmental impact assessments should be made independently with transparent methods and results, and that broader analysis of socio-economic consequences should be provided. The environmental sector and the ministry of environment should start to listen to science instead of using greenwashing, not only initiate clean up campaigns, but to get to the roots of the problems. Time for some anger.

/Per Lundberg, Green Forum intern