Individualised Environmentalism(s): The Deadly Sins of Environmental Organisations
Hibbs, David Donald
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This study utilises the theories of Harold Innis to discern how environmental organisations in Toronto, Ontario are impeded by consumer capitalist biases toward mechanisation, individualisation, quantification, and the price system. It develops a preliminary knowledge base of the environmental organisation community in Toronto. Seventy-two environmental organisations were surveyed and the content on their websites was analyzed using a discourse analysis. Organisations appeared to be highly influenced by the biases of consumer capitalism, exhibiting tendencies towards sway by funding sources; individualisation of environmentalism; describing their actions hubristically; incentivisation and recognition of environmental action; and promoting simple and passive environmental actions. Few organisations escaped these problems, but those that did tended to adopt democratic structures, social justice ideals, and strive for inclusion of unheard voices. The conclusions drawn from this analysis point out ways environmental organisations can and must change to be better mediators of environmental change and challenge anti-ecological identities.