Thanks to The Bru Notes for giving a heads up to this really good article from the business magazine Fast Company about Adam Werbach, a former president of the Sierra Club (at 23) who is now helping Walmart in its sustainability efforts. Needless to say, there is a figurative paradox of a lifelong environmentalist working for a company that is decidedly un-progressive in many respects. Werbach expresses his misgivings at Walmart's labor practices, for example, and finds that his political and environmental activism collides with the nature of his work on behalf of Walmart.
Werbach has taken much heat from his peers and the environmental community on this decision. I think it's a little admirable. He had issues with the environmental movement on its willingness to confront the issues and try to right its wrongs, which really echo a lot of the issues I had working with progressive movements locally. He is trying to make this large corporation, which to this point has been a huge strain on our communities, more "green" and more sustainable. Even if he can make baby steps with this, he still deserves a lot of credit. He will take Walmart further with this (that is, if they're sincere about it) than if they'd just gotten a few corporate exiles to run their sustainable development branch.