Here's something odd. Someone with a Master's degree in sustainable development that doesn't find a definition of sustainability helpful.
Solitaire Townsend has a passion for professional green communications. She founded a public relations company which boasts 'we've only worked on corporate responsibility and sustainabilty'. Clients claiming these worthy virtues include Shell Unilever and EOn of Kingsnorth power station fame. She also has links with BP(about to plunge into the Canadian tar sands) , South African mining goliath Anglo-American , child slavers Nike, and the Chinese Government . Her stated goal has been 'to revitalize the way businesses view sustainability, using the tools of marketing and PR to make the message of sustainability more appealing.' Making sustainability more appealing to businesses that is.
Human rights campaigners might want to ask how her work for the Chinese Government squares with her stated claim to "never work on an account that doesn’t directly contribute to environmental or social sustainability" . Don't expect a reply any time soon though, because this blog has found responding to enquiries from the public is not in this particular communication professional's skill set.
Solitaire Townsend's position perfectly invites the same criticism that she doles out. Manipulative and deceitful motivations. In her case that does not prevent getting a platform on the BBC though and on Radio 4 (25.01.10) she claimed to have met with hardcore environmentalists, significant in number with false motivations which compromised the environmental movement's approach to the urgent problems of climate change. She bases this on her exclusive account of the lack of response to a hypothetical question in her monologue in which she pretends to be a 'carbon fairy' with a magic wand that could eliminate carbon emissions. Science no, bollocks yes. This is at a time and place undisclosed . Contextual information also undisclosed.
I asked where and when this happened and for other contextual information, substantiation in other words. Beyond the counter-intuitive reply 'I believe the anecdote referred to a speech at a public event, so I’m afraid I’m unable to give you any more information' her office declines to enter into any correspondence. Her denunciation is based on her quarry's abstention from her question, but when asked (by this writer) to whom she was referring , abstention becomes her prerogative. Hypocrite!
Perhaps that is what her company Futerra Sustainability Communications means by Public Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility. Using privileged access to the media to develop a straw man argument against a movement they claim sympathies with.
It is extrapolated in the BBC documentary she takes part in to allege fascism.
On the plus side Townsend is nothing if not thick-skinned. In her blog Townsend bemoans being called a 'compromised sell-out' by the left, thereby implying some left leaning background. Elsewhere she is careful to say "I'm not an environmentalist really ". No surprise there, but she declines to say why not. After all Solitaire Townsend is never shy of lecturing the environmental movement. One of her central tenets is to promote green consumerism over environmentalism . At heart she is a businesswoman and an imposter.
That Townsend is concealing the truth can be proved . What that truth is can only be guessed at , but that would probably be to miss the point. Let's just say, that were they to exist , the 200 or so environmentalists she speaks of would not be pleased to learn that Shell and EOn's mouthpiece reckons she has been elected to speak on their behalf.
Her failure to substantiate deprives the environmental movement of any opportunity to exculpate itself from her scurrilous slur. Solitaire Townsend is at ease with that. Any environmentalist or civil libertarian who heard the broadcast will not be.