The Sponsor Trap
Marketing significantly affects representations of the natural world. In an era when most learn about the wild from television rather than from direct observation, the mass media's allegiance to advertising threatens all creatures that do not contribute to industrial consumption. As habitats deteriorate, accuracy in reporting becomes less and less entertaining. A few photogenic endangered species continue to be of some value in the calculus of public relations, but the light of sponsorship shines far more brightly on the escapist terrain of special effects, soft porn, gaming, and sports.
A parallel and related failure of representation permeates global trade agreements that barely respect human rights and leave other species to hang in the wind. Corporations eager to fast track the appropriation of dwindling natural resources continue to craft laws behind closed doors, while environmentalists are excluded from discussions by cyclone fences and legions of cops.
With the intensification of global marketing, the consequences of obscurity loom large over the voiceless, both human and otherwise. In the economy of attention, every visible surface has a market value, and images of products tend to eclipse and supplant glimpses of flora and fauna. This fierce competition for attention overtakes natural selection, and elevates consumption above conservation. With attention trained on the daily spectacle, the disappearance of species proceeds apace. Hardly noticed.
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