Created By: Iamabrawler on May 28, 2013 Last Edited By: StarSword on June 15, 2013
Troped

Toxic, Inc.

A company brings an environmental problem by causing massive pollution.

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In many of the Green Aesop shows, it seems like the big corporations just want to ruin the environment. That's not true; corporations usually exist to offer a product or a service to the population... right?

This trope applies to every fictional company that causes pollution to extreme levels. It of course applies to companies owned by people fully aware of what they're doing and who keep going anyway. Sometimes, what they sell isn't even known; at other times, we know what they're producing, and it could be an aggravating factor, depending on the product.

At other times, the owner of the company is barely aware of all the destruction caused by the enterprise. It might come off as a surprise, or be discovered by that owner in a dramatic manner. The fact that this person was unaware of the full extent of environmental damage makes the situation even worse.

The owner of such a company is usually rich, so that he can hire villains to get rid of the heroes, or pull himself out of any lawsuit thrown at him with his Amoral Attorney.

Contrast Muck Monster where a creature is the source of pollution. If the enterprise is also a factory (and it most likely is), it can also be dangerous for the workers. Such enterprises usually appear in and heavily contribute to Crapsack Worlds. These can become Anvilicious due to the strong relation to green aesops. Again, those enterprises don't necessarily pollute the environment and might instead damage the ecosystem of a part of the world. It doesn't have to be in a Green Aesop-centered work of fiction, either.

No Real Life Examples, Please!

Examples:

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[[folder: Comics]]

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[[folder: Film]]

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[[folder: Literature]]

  • The Lorax and its animated adaptations: The Once-Ler pretty much destroys the whole environment through his Thneed factories. It is of course even more precise in the animated adaptations, as much of the torts are shown on-screen.

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[[folder: Live-Action TV]]

  • In the MacGyver episode "The Spoilers", Mac and and a hermit from the mountains work to try and stop a group from illegally dumping radioactive and toxic waste into a stream.

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[[folder: Newspaper Comics]]

  • In Dilbert, there was a strip in which the Pointy-Haired Boss showed concern that kids were spending too much time outside to care about their company's product. Dilbert suggested that the company diversify their product base, but the PHB decided that he'd just pollute.

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[[folder: Tabletop Games]]

  • Many Pentex subsidiaries in Werewolf: The Apocalypse. The small fries think they are just doing it to cut the cost. The leaders know they are doing it entirely on purpose, because the whole company is under control of an Eldritch Abomination.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games]]

  • The ClueFinders 6th Grade lists several generic companies and cross-references them with a list of pollutants. The objective is that the player is supposed to identify which companies are putting out which toxins by knowing which industries use a particular toxin and whether the company is reported as innocent or not. Once that's finished, the Cluefinders intervene and convince them to stop.
  • Never mind the demons from Hell, the UAC from Doom cannot be doing anything good for the Martian enviroment with all the deadly radioactive waste they have lying around. As the DOOM Guy himself notes in the Doom comic:
    "Even if I personally stop this alien invasion, what kind of planet will we be leaving to our children?"
  • Astex Mining Corporation in Escape Velocity, a Mega Corp. allied with the Confederation whose sole purpose in the plot is dumping toxic waste into the oceans of planet Diphidia II.
  • Half-Life: Black Mesa's extreme lack of concern for safety extends to the environment as well. They have so much glowing green toxic sludge that it can form a waterfall.

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[[folder: Western Animation]]

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender had an episode about the Fire Nation's machine factory causing pollution that mutated the fish in the river.
  • In Ben's City, Minister of Environment Henry Wallet and his counselor Ben face twice the owner of an enterprise named Toxicompany, which heavily pollutes the air. Only in its second appearance do we learn they are manufacturing paint thinner. Aggravating factor for sure.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers is pretty much built around this trope. The show is already a heavy Green Aesop series and most villains are polluters. In all these villains, there's got to be quite a few that are companies bent on polluting. Probably an Enforced Trope, as a more realistic characterization would cause young viewers to think poorly of real adults working in similar industries.
  • The Cramp Twins has Hazchem, Soap City's premier manufacture of heavy-duty cleaning products and despoiler of the local swampland.
  • Family Guy
    • Santa's workshop in the episode "Road to the North Pole". Its chimneys are spreading pollution in the air, and large pipes spill even more pollution in the North Pole. Oh, and considering this part of the world is already directly affected by all the pollution, it only makes things worse...
    • In the episode titled ""It Takes a Village Idiot, And I Married One", Lois discovers that Lake Quahog is severely polluted and that a local oil refinery is responsible, and since Mayor Adam West authorized their dumping toxins into the lake, she runs for mayor against him. When she wins, she has the lake cleaned up and prohibits further dumping, but embezzles the leftover cleanup funds, and is soon blackmailed by the company executive into allowing them to dump toxins in the lake again. There's even a ribbon-cutting ceremony re-opening the pipe dumping the toxins.
  • Not necessarily a company, but in Futurama, one of Professor Farnsworth's inventions serves a nearly-useless purpose yet creates tons and tons of toxic waste.
  • In The Oblongs, Poison company Globocide. Aside from their products, the company is implied to be responsible for the squalid conditions and deformities of the people living down in the valley.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. Destroido is responsible for a lot of pollution; it turns avocados into monsters.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "The Old Man and the Lisa", Mr. Burns discovers thanks to Lisa the joys of recycling, and to thank her, he builds a factory that bears her name. However, Little Lisa's Patented Animal Slurry uses millions of six-pack plastic holders stuck together to clean up the seafloor, grabbing plants and animals, and turning them to a multi-purpose compound. He destroyed the ecosystem of the seas surrounding Springfield. Definitely an aggravating factor.
    • Burns' power plant is responsible for a lot of environmental disasters surrounding Springfield, and all the jokes the staff can think up to go with the mutations caused to the fish. Remember Blinky?
    • Burns does get a taste of his own medicine, though. As he was participating as a candidate in an election, he goes for dinner at Homer's house, except... Marge serves him Blinky. Unwilling to eat it, Burns loses the election. Though, you can't blame him. That fish would be deadly.
  • Super Friends (1973-74) episode "Dr. Pelagian's War". The title ecoterrorist uses his control of the weather and the oceans to try to convince the owners of three companies to stop polluting the environment.

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Community Feedback Replies: 34
  • May 28, 2013
    glisglis
    There's the fictional pollution company in Emilio Estevez's seminal tour de force, Men at Work that really just existed as a pretty transparent plot contrivance "so that he can hire villains to get rid of the heroes." This is a great trope, BTW.
  • May 28, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    I read an old Dilbert comic where the Pointy-Haired Boss showed concern that kids were spending too much time outside to care about their company's product. Dilbert suggested that the company diversify their product base, but the PHB decided that he'd just pollute.
  • May 28, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    The driving force for all the villains in Captain Planet And The Planeteers. Invoked because a more realistic characterization could cause young viewers to think poorly of real-life adults employed in similar industries.
  • May 28, 2013
    glisglis
    I like the name, too.
  • May 28, 2013
    Iamabrawler
    There's that Simpsons episode where Burns creates a factory with a method of cleaning up the seafloor. That's damaging the ecosystem, for what I know. I just don't remember the episode.

    I created this trope because I found an example in Bens City. The villainous enterprise is called Toxicompany. (That could be another name for the trope.)
  • May 28, 2013
    TheTitan99
    • While it technically did serve another, albeit useless, purpose, in the episode of Western Animation/Futurama, "Leela's Homeworld", Professor Farnsworth makes a machine that makes an absurd amount of toxic waste.
  • May 28, 2013
    StarSword
    Video Games:
  • May 28, 2013
    Iamabrawler
    I'm thinking about adding a part about the even more Anvilicious Aesop in which a company did not intend to pollute the environment, but its production ultimately causes irreversible or near-irreversible damage to the environment. Best example is from The Lorax and its animated adaptations. I'd also count in there Santa's workshop from Family Guy's two-parter episode Road to the North Pole. For this, I'd need to change the Laconic description, though.
  • May 28, 2013
    Larkmarn
    How about Pollution Inc?

    And yeah, I think that the laconic could be changed to "A corporation whose sole contribution to the plot is their massive pollution." It's entirely possible, nay, probable that they do do SOMETHING (... except for Captain Planet), but from the narrative's point of view their sole purpose is to be a polluter.
  • May 28, 2013
    DracMonster

    I wish trope namers were still allowed, because that would be a perfect title.
  • May 28, 2013
    StarSword
    ^Trope Namers are still allowed, as long as they're also demonstrative.

    Cleaned up the draft (formatting, link fixes, oh, and "the Confederation" in my example was supposed to be potholed to The Empire).
  • May 28, 2013
    foxley
    In the Mac Gyver episode "The Spoilers", Mac and and a hermit from the mountains work to try and stop a group from illegally dumping radioactive and toxic waste into a stream.
  • May 29, 2013
    foxley
    Destroido in Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated. It's pollution manages to mutate avocados into dangerous monsters.
  • May 29, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    Cluefinders 6th Grade lists several generic companies and cross-references them with a list of pollutants. The objective is that the player is supposed to identify which companies are putting out which toxins by knowing which industries use a particular toxin and whether the company is reported as innocent or not. Once that's finished, the Cluefinders intervene and convince them to stop.
  • May 29, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Another one from Family Guy:

    In the episode "It Takes a Village Idiot, And I Married One", Lois discovers that Lake Quahog is severely polluted and that a local oil refinery is responsible, and since Mayor Adam West authorized their dumping toxins into the lake, she runs for mayor against him. When she wins, she has the lake cleaned up and prohibits further dumping, but embezzles the leftover cleanup funds, and is soon blackmailed by the company executive into allowing them to dump toxins in the lake again. There's even a ribbon-cutting ceremony re-opening the pipe dumping the toxins.
  • May 30, 2013
    Surenity
  • May 30, 2013
    Mozgwsloiku
    Many Pentex subsidiaries in Werewolf The Apocalypse. The small fries think they are just doing it to cut the cost. The leaders know they are doing it entirely on purpose, because the whole company is under control of an Eldritch Abomination
  • May 30, 2013
    arbiter099
    Video Games
    • Never mind the demons from Hell, the UAC from DOOM cannot be doing anything good for the Martian enviroment with all the deadly radioactive waste they have lying around. As the DOOM Guy himself notes in the DOOM Comic:
      • "Even if I personally stop this alien invasion, what kind of planet will we be leaving to our children?"
    • Half Life: Black Mesa's extreme lack of concern for safety extends to the environment as well. They have so much glowing green toxic sludge that it can form a waterfall.

    Western Animation

    In The Oblongs, Poison company Globocide. Aside from their products, the company is implied to be responsible for the squalid conditions and deformities of the people living down in the valley.

  • May 30, 2013
    sunlitgarden
  • May 30, 2013
    Iamabrawler
    Thanks for these additional examples! I changed a bit the laconic description, and made a few modifications to the desccription Nothing major, though. This is starting to look great!
  • May 31, 2013
    glisglis
    Change the sentence, "The fact that this person had no idea of all the torts caused to the planet makes the situation even worse" to "The fact that this person was unaware of the full extent of environmental damage makes the situation even worse." 'Tort' is an abstract, legal term for damages. It can't be used in the sense that you're trying to use it.
  • June 1, 2013
    arbiter099
    Compare Smoke And Fire Factory for an apparently industrial place that seems to actually produce nothing of value.

    EDIT: nevermind. I swear that was a separate trope for "Just what exactly does this giant factory actually make anyway besides lots of noise and effects for a Fight Scene?" at one point, but seems now to be No OSHA Compliance which is a different trope in my head...
  • June 6, 2013
    timscorpion
    Bn L from Wall-e could qualify. It did pollute the entire earth.
  • June 6, 2013
    Larkmarn
    But it did ''everything''. Plus, it did leave robots behind to at least try to clean up its damage.

    Plus, that's not all industrial waste. People did that, too.
  • June 6, 2013
    Iamabrawler
    Nah, Bn L doesn't work as an example. It's really about a company whose production causes a lot of pollution.
  • June 7, 2013
    kouta
    In Star Trek:DS 9 Capt. Sisko renders a planet unihabitable to the federation.
  • June 7, 2013
    Arivne
    ^ @kouta: I think this is limited to companies, not individuals.

    Western Animation
    • Super Friends (1973-74) episode "Dr. Pelagian's War". The title ecoterrorist uses his control of the weather and the oceans to try to convince the owners of three companies to stop polluting the environment.
  • June 8, 2013
    Skylite
    • Avatar The Last Airbender had an episode about the Fire Nation's machine factory causing pollution that mutated the fish in the river.
  • June 8, 2013
    StarSword
    The Simpsons:
    • Mr. Burns does this kind of thing a lot. In one episode he nearly wins a gubernatorial election, only to destroy his poll numbers when he can't force down a fish dinner made of one of the mutated fish from the area near his power plant (the headline, "Burns Can't Swallow Own Story"). In another, he blots out the sun with a giant shield so it won't compete with him, and someone (Maggie Simpson) shoots him and nearly kills him for it.
  • June 8, 2013
    Astaroth
    The Cramp Twins has Hazchem, Soap City's premier manufacture of heavy-duty cleaning products and despoiler of the local swampland.
  • June 13, 2013
    Iamabrawler
    Thanks for the additional examples!
  • June 14, 2013
    arbiter099
    Launch?
  • June 14, 2013
    StarSword
    Cleaned up the draft.
  • June 15, 2013
    Iamabrawler
    Okay, it was launched!

    However, the only downside is that the title has come out as Toxic Inc, without punctuation.

    ...anyway, thank you everyone for helping with this page!
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=rtk1tx2xulwjvgkadl7dcyh5&trope=ToxicInc