Cloak of Green: Business, Government and the Environmental Movement


498 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55028-450-9
DDC 363.7'0525




Reviewed by Simon Dalby

Simon Dalby is an assistant professor of geography at Carleton
University in Ottawa.


Cloak of Green is written in the style of a “mystery.” The reader
follows the author around the world as she unravels conspiracies on
three continents involving global environmental politics. We soon
discover that environmental organizations are not the unsullied paragons
of virtue that they appear to be in the early stages of the book;
rather, under the guise of environmental philanthropy, they are
connected to government agencies and businesses promoting their own
interests. Canadian corporations and the Canadian International
Development Agency are behind many fundraising and organizing efforts in
support of indigenous groups in Brazil—efforts, the author suggests,
that are in serious violation of Brazilian sovereignty.

Apparently there is a secret agenda at work behind the scenes in
Brazil, North America, and Europe, and it all comes together at the 1992
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). There,
chairman of the conference and Canadian business tycoon Maurice Strong
pulls lots of strings to line up support for his “Global Governance”
plan. His agenda diverts attention away from domestic environmental
issues and focuses it on international campaigns and the dubious uses of
their supporters’ money and efforts.

There are serious problems with Dewar’s attempt at telling this story
as a conspiracy mystery. One is that the story is never really
convincing, not least because the key villain, Maurice Strong, gave
lengthy interviews to the author, which suggests that the conspiracy is
not mysterious at all. Another is that the style itself distracts the
reader from the real story—the co-option of environmental politics in
the UNCED process—which is too bad, because this very important story
needs to be told.


Dewar, Elaine., “Cloak of Green: Business, Government and the Environmental Movement,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 28, 2024,