A good cause has become a “product” that has to be sold



Over the last two decades activist organizations have increasingly come to look, think, and act like corporations. Only a select few of the fringes, in the words of Greenpeace cofounder Bob Hunter, still struggle to “mindbomb” the world to form a new “global consciousness”. More and more activists are instead speaking in market friendly language.

Without a doubt most activists still want to speak truth to power. But nowadays they are entangled in this power, money talks. Activism is increasingly mirroring business management and echoing calls for market-based-, corporate-friendly “solutions”.

Every NGO once started small, with a clear ideal. Growth then means more money to realize that ideal. But sometimes growth also gets in the way of the goal. If an organization is successful, it grows and logically has to professionalize. NGO’s then usually (unconsciously) opt for management systems that originate from the business world. Therein lies the problem.


The director became “CEO”, “managers” came and the ideal was converted into the “product” that had to be sold (e.g. Flagship Species). They hire consultants from the corporate world, develop business plans, conduct audits, write multi-year plans and prepare annual reports with beautiful pictures, they are written as good news shows. (E.g. glossy magazine, only good news stories)
NGO’s are not open and honest about their failures (e.g. projects that did not work out as expected), which are often very imaginable. “Showing vulnerability is seen as institutional suicide”

But where a company can easily be judged on hard figures, it is more complicated for a good cause. Because the profit of an NGO says nothing about the real results.

The NGO’s are increasingly complying with the expectations of the lenders/donors, so that the goal gets more and more in the background. Futhermore because NGO’s are very often so financial dependent on governments, they will not critize that government. 


In a small community it is even more visible, a recent example is the presentation at the IUCN World Conservation Congress Marseille on September 6, 2021 where the director of STINAPA provides and exceeds government greenwashing rather than placing a critical note. 

Bonaire today (2021) is protecting and conserving Washington-Slagbaai National Park, at the most 20,6% of the terrestrial ecosystems on Bonaire.

Classifying areas in a spatial development plan as “Nature” is not the same as protecting and conserving, by saying this you take away the urgency to take action to protect and conserve nature and by doing that you steel the future of our children.

Conservation targets based on evidence of what nature and people need to thrive: Protect and Conserve at Least 30% of land and ocean by 2030!×30

Presentation at IUCN World Conservation Congress Marseille, 6 September 2021
Lt Governor Bonaire:
 “All in all, our nature reserves cover more than 30% of our island. So, when it comes to the 30×30 initiative, we have already done our duty.” NOT correct, it should be protected and conserved.

Director STINAPA:
“The Lt Governor already highlighted the issue we have protected areas on the island that covers a significant part but much more of the island which is which is ofhigh value conservation areas is classified in the spatial development plan as nature and as therefore also has a protected status.
So Bonaire’s 34% of the area falls under the classification nature and thereby thereby meets the criteria of the 30 by 30 which is an example that it is in fact possible to protect such a significant amount of land and sea 100% of the Marine areas of the island are formally protected so really an example for the world I think.NOT correct, it should be protected and conserved.


Domesticating NGO’s, through subsidy (and contracts) are the way for the government to keep NGO’s in line.

Nature/environment organizations stop being lapdogs and start acting like the watchdogs you were conceived to be! Protect and Conserve Nature!

Do not let GREENWASHING fool you! It is up to us, you and me, That’s why we do what we do.