I can't verify Hari's claims, but what he reports fits the general impression many of us have been getting for few years now.
When corporate creep started, many warned of its corrupting influence, but few thought it could penetrate environmentalism's soul. We twisted ourselves to see the wisdom of partnering with polluters--under the impression that change from within is possible, that one can shift practices by being friend rather than foe. With Hari's piece, we learn that change from within is possible: the corporates have taken the "long walk through the institutions," and have left some of our most venerable environmental groups shells for the moneyed green world.
Hari's article is painful to read. As he points out, those of us who care about the earth's ecosystem services and its most vulnerable must now add environmentalism itself to our list of things to save. It is a sad day when the very movement we've built to breathe ecological reality into our politics is in need of resuscitation.
But this is our call. Let's publicize Hari's critique, and demand accountability. Let's send hard copies of his article in all of those post-paid envelopes we receive asking for our donations. Let's continue to pay our rent on the planet by giving only to those groups who refuse polluters' money, and let's support political efforts that speak on behalf of ecological and social justice realities.
Environmentalism is one of the most profound and generous human expressions. There is no question that witnessing the ecological dismemberment of the earth is and will continue to be a sorrowful experience. Imagine witnessing this without a movement committed to bringing a dose of genuine humanity to our descent, and the road forward becomes downright agonizing.
Let's swerve. There is a battle for environmentalism's soul being played out as two paths diverge in a darkening and warming wood. Turn left.
[The writer is the author of Living Through the End of Nature: The Future of American Environmentalism (MIT Press 2010).]