Environmental Planning in a Capitalist Economy: How advertising can be used in nature’s favor | By: Kelsey A. Wilson


This project is inspired by Ad Busters, a self-proclaimed group of “artists, writers, musicians, designers, poets, philosophers and punks trying to pull off a radical transformation of the current world order”. The group was founded in Canada in 1989 after a large logging corporation ran advertisements in favor of clear cutting old growth forests. The founders of Ad Busters created the concept of the “uncommercial” and attempted to broadcast advertisements that were against the logging industry. Ad Busters began to advocate for changing the way people receive information and created a magazine, “uncommercials”, art and writing that expressed the concepts and ideas of anti-consumerism.

Although not specifically focused on environmental issues, the groups work regarding the economy overlaps with principles in the environmental field. The art work tackles the concepts of greenwashing and corporation’s control over the flow of information to consumers. Non-profits and other groups that advocate for environmental and social justice issues rarely have the time, money or power to have their message heard with the same force as large corporations. Ad Busters attempts to bridge this gap through their poignant, yet powerful messages.

From the readings and discussion in this class, the author has come to the conclusion that two of the major contributing factors to continued environmental degradation is capitalism as economy and the lack of education surrounding environmental issues. Let us not forget that there are other economic systems that could be implemented. It is our job as environmental stewards and people of integrity to demand changes. The status quo cannot be maintained. The continued pressure to create and consume has detrimental effects on the human psyche, the ecological systems and the stability of the human race.

Capitalism is multifaceted and these writings and analysis will focus on the aspect of advertising as a tool of the capitalist economic system. Using the tool of advertising to defeat consumerism; beat it at its own game by using “environmental advertising” as a way to educate people who do not understand the real life implications of consumerism.

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