Months ago, forest destroyer Sinar Mas told industry peers that it would formally respond to issues raised by a Greenpeace report. After mountains of bad press and losing business, many had hoped the palm oil, paper, and coal giant would use this moment to come clean, admit mistakes and move forward to improve its business.
Unfortunately, Sinar Mas is not showing any signs of doing that.
Sinar Mas was meant to publish an audit into its own activities by the end of June. They baulked and postponed until late July. Now, they are saying it will be August 10th.
In the meantime, Sinar Mas has hired PR firm Bell Pottinger to help present their greenwash. Bell Pottinger recently did public relations work for Trafigura, the oil trading company who was recently convicted and fined for illegally transporting toxic waste to the Ivory Coast. Classy clientele!
Anticipating that Sinar Mas will try to greenwash the results of their flawed audit, Greenpeace just released (more!) fresh evidence that notorious forest destroying practices continue unabated and in direct violation of the company’s own environmental commitments on protecting forests and peatlands. The report, Empires of Destruction, contains evidence that Sinar Mas is clearing rainforest and peatland areas on the island of Borneo. Further photographic evidence shows Sinar Mas recently cleared rainforest orangutan habitat. While Sinar Mas talks about protecting rainforests and peatlands, its actions speak louder, and tell a different story.
But, it is not just what Sinar Mas has done in the past that should cause alarm – it is what it plans to do in the future. In addition the report details how Sinar Mas plans to expand its empire of destruction even further. Last week, the Sinar Mas palm oil division, Golden Agri Resources, confirmed plans to expand into an additional 2.5 million acres
With wildlife like the orangutan and Sumatran tiger being pushed towards extinction, the Paradise Forests cannot afford to continue to be the victim of Sinar Mas’s ever expanding empire.
The good news is that Nestle, Kraft, Unilever, HSBC, and other prominent companies are distancing themselves from Sinar Mas. Until Sinar Mas is no longer involved in destroying rainforests and peatlands, other companies who still purchase from them – like fast food companies Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts and Pizza Hut – should take similar measures. Take a moment now to tell those companies to stop serving up forest destruction!
For the forest,
Moreover, according to Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring at the UK's Met Office, one of the agencies participating in the NOAA study, “The glaringly obvious explanation for this is warming from greenhouse gases.”
Yet within this context, a flak from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Myron Ebell, still has the gall to say, "It's clear that the scientific case for global warming alarmism is weak. The scientific case for [many of the claims] is unsound and we are finding out all the time how unsound it is."
This is what the climate deniers’ tactics basically amount to: Covering their ears and singing. “La la la I can’t hear you everything is fine we need oil and coal lalala.”
The worst part is, it works. That’s why we have to push back.
The science is settled: Global warming is happening and human activities are causing it. But the reporter who wrote this article on CNN's website didn’t bother factchecking Ebell whatsoever, meaning Ebell got away with repeating the Dirty Lie. We need you to help set the record straight.
Why would Ebell be willing to go on record ignoring hard scientific data with blatantly false talking points? Hm, let’s see… His employer, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has taken buckets of money from oil companies like Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, and Texaco. CEI has also hosted events sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute and Arch Coal. Think that maybe has something to do with Mr. Ebell’s skepticism? At the very least, these egregious conflicts of interest should be pointeded out to readers, as they should invalidate any “impartial” or “expert” opinion Ebell may have been able to provide.
Here are a few links you can drop in the comments of the article on CNN to make sure future readers know the full story about Myron Ebell and the Competitive Enterprise Institute:
Competitive Enterprise Institute – Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group
ExxonSecrets.org Factsheet: Competitive Enterprise Institute, CEI
Competitive Enterprise Institute on SourceWatch.org
This morning, starting at 5.30am, teams of Greenpeace volunteers shut down 50 BP stations across London.
The teams - each named after an animal threatened by BP's reckless oil exploration - fanned out across the capital in their electric and hybrid cars, going station to station and disabling the pumps.
Why today? Because BP is expected to announce later the appointment of Bob Dudley as the company's new head to replace the gaffe-prone Tony Hayward, who led BP during the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
But there's more. This is also about realizing what we can achieve if we set our minds to it.
We can end the oil age. We already have the tools we need to leave it behind and move towards a clean energy future. All that's missing is the determination to make it happen fast.
Tell Congress: No new drilling, period!
ABOVE: The safety switches from the BP Stations in London that were shutdown today by Greenpeace volunteers. These were removed, operating the safety shutdown and and closing the pumps. We're going to return all the switches later but until they fit new ones at the stations, the pumps will be out of action.
This blog post comes from Lisa Vickers, a webbie at Greenpeace International.
That’s the Dirty Lie: The idea, heavily promoted by coal and oil industry lobbyists and their friends in Congress, that there is no remedy for our addiction to fossil fuels. But the truth is that with today’s technology, we can continue to grow our economy while phasing out fossil fuels altogether.
Our Energy [R]evolution report lays out a roadmap for achieving a clean energy economy. It also shows that we could create over a million American jobs in the renewable energy sector alone by 2030.
So if we have the means for kicking our dirty energy habit and moving to clean, green energy, and most Americans are more than supportive, why isn’t it happening? The reason is simple: Big industry has an incredible amount of influence over our energy policy, thanks to decades of campaign contributions to the politicians who make the rules. These companies and politicians defend their planet-killing actions by saying that we need coal and oil. It’s time to call out the Dirty Lie, and break their stranglehold.
That’s where you come in. We need help watchdogging the politicians and talking heads who take money from the fossil fuels industry and then push the Dirty Lie on the American public. Whenever you catch the Dirty Lie being promoted without challenge, or find a case where someone is regurgitating fossil fuels lobbyist talking points as if they were fact, let us know. In turn, we’ll let you know when and where to help set the record straight.
There are a variety of ways you can plug in to our work to call out the Dirty Lie:
3 Ways to expose the Dirty Lie
If you have a Facebook account you can immediately mobilize your friends to expose the dirty lie. When you find an article that repeats the lie, post it to your Facebook with a status message that says something like:
“This article claims that we can’t live without fossil fuels. That is a dirty lie! Please go to the article and leave a comment saying so.”
If you spot the Dirty Lie in the media and want to report it via Twitter, just use the hashtag #dirtylie and make sure you link to the news piece in question. We’ll be searching for this hashtag regularly, so we’ll be sure to find it. You can regularly search for tweets with this hashtag as well, we'll use it to let you know how you can help call out the worst offenders.
Delicious is a Social Bookmarking service that allows you to bookmark and save web pages online, share them with other people, and see what other people are bookmarking. It's perfect for the work before us of calling out the Dirty Lie!
Delicious also allows you to tag your bookmarks with a keyword. That makes it a great tool for collaboration because we can easily look up all web pages tagged with the key word “DirtyLie.”
Here’s how to help:
1) If you’re new to Delicious, the first thing you need to do is create an account. Go to https://secure.delicious.com/login and follow the instructions. If you have a yahoo account you can use that to quickly create one. If not you’ll need to create one of those too.
2) Add a bookmarklet button to your browser’s bookmark bar. This way you’ll be able to bookmark and tag articles anywhere on the web with just a click. Go to http://delicious.com/help/bookmarklets and follow the instructions for your web browser.
3) Now it’s time to start exposing the Dirty Lie by bookmarking and tagging articles. When you read articles that repeat junk science like “We’ll never have enough renewable energy to replace oil,” click your “Bookmark on Delicious” bookmarklet button you added to your browser. A pop-up window will appear. Add the tag “dirtylie” (important: keep “dirtylie” as one word) and any other tags or info you think is appropriate and click save.
4) Find other articles tagged with “dirtylie” at http://delicious.com/tag/dirtylie. You can read and comment on these articles and find other Delicious users that are exposing the Dirty Lie.
Greenpeace staff and volunteers will be keeping an eye on all of these social networks for the instances of the Dirty Lie you report. We’ll prioritize the worst offenders and let you know how you can help set the record straight.
Of course, you can also stay tuned right here on this blog to find out when and where you can help push back on the Dirty Lie. Stay tuned.
110 million Americans live with the risk of a large-scale chemical disaster, and many of those are the brave citizens who respond when the worst happens. Ed Schlegel is a retired Fire Captain in California who has first-hand experience with responding to a chemical disaster. He was one of the brave citizens who marched into a chemical plant leaking deadly chlorine gas when the employees were running out. He is proud to protect us, but he knows than many chemical plants don't have to pose this risk.
It's hard to believe that in a post-9/11 world we are not doing everything we can to reduce terrorist targets. All over the country there are chemical and water treatment facilities that are like sitting ducks, unnecessarily storing large amounts of toxic gasses that put thousands to millions of people at risk of a disaster. As we watch the unfolding tragedy in the Gulf we should realize that hypothetical worst-case scenarios can be frighteningly underestimated when they become a reality.
The Senate Needs To Act
Congress has been wrestling with chemical security standards for over a decade and it is now the Senate's turn to pass common-sense measures that reduce the risk of a catastrophic release of poison gas. Senator Lautenberg of New Jersey (a state riddled with chemical facilities) introduced a package of legislation last week that would protect millions of Americans. Once again, though, industry is putting profits over disaster prevention by spreading unsubstantiated claims of economic disaster and job loss.
With almost 2,000 logo submissions, the competition was an amazing success! But luckily you don't have to weed through hundreds of images to make your pick. Just check out the top picks from Greenpeace staff and cast your vote today!
The categories are Best Rebranded Logo, Best Illustration, Best Wildlife, Best Slogan, and (my personal fav) WTF?!.
My picks are:
For Best Slogan
This design shows the spill in the context of the whole planet and our interconnected oceans. It reflects how the sea floor has been literally cracked open by thousands of oil rigs and how dangerously deep many companies have drilled. Recall that the Deepwater Horizon rig broke a record for drilling the deepest well in the world at one time. Are we at "breaking point"? Most definitely.
For Best Wildlife
No words... can do justice to the impact of this design. BP CEO Tony Hayward's phrase, "I would like my life back," juxtaposed with the oiled bird is utterly unforgettable. No wonder it's currently #1.
For Best Illustration
While not BP-specific, this design shows what drilling for oil and gas is ultimately doing to the planet better than any other, in my humble opinion.
And lastly, drumroll please... for Best Rebranded Logo (and the new face of BP) I choose:
The Gulf and its inhabitants, from people to pelicans, will never really recover from this catastrophic oil spill. We can't spread our oiled wings and fly into a clean energy future until we kick our oil addiction, stop offshore drilling, and get our government to end subsidies for oil and coal and invest in renewable energy.
But don't just listen to me, vote for the logo redesigns you think are most powerful. Please vote for your favs and share them widely -- what better way to contribute to BP's 'image problems'?
It’s clear BP knows this all too well, and is determined to spare no expense on the cleanup… of its image. We put together this "ScamWow" video to highlight this sad state of affairs:
We decided to spoof the original late night infomercials for the ShamWow miracle clean-up towel, which is touted as a quick fix for any cleaning problem (it's made in Germany and "You know the Germans always make good stuff"), because BP is attempting to use PR damage control as a miracle cure for its sullied image. Except, unfortunately, PR has no miraculous cleaning powers. The company's image may be less soiled as a result of the millions BP is spending on PR, but the Gulf of Mexico will be reeling from the impacts of the company's negligence for decades.
Consider the estimated $50 million BP has spent on an all-out media blitz, complete with a TV ad featuring an earnest Tony “I’d like my life back” Hayward looking into the camera and assuring us “We will make this right.” What he means is, "We will do anything to make you think we will make this right" — anything short of, you know, actually reporting the true size of the spill, allowing journalists unfettered access to spill sites and oiled beaches to provide independent coverage of cleanup operations, stopping the damn leak in a timely manner, or god-forbid taking worker and environmental safety concerns seriously in the first place so that this spill never even happened.
“The Gulf spill is a tragedy that never should have happened,” Tony “The size of the spill is small in relation to the size of the ocean” Hayward tells us in his TV ad. We can agree on that, at least, Tony!
BP has engaged multiple PR and lobby firms to help wage its PR assault, which spans all conceivable media. According to our calculations, BP spent almost $6 million through the end of June on ads in newspapers like the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today, while also purchasing Google and Yahoo ads that will display whenever people search for “oil spill” — surely an extremely pricey keyword at the moment that is generating a lot of clicks.
Considering the spill cleanup costs (estimated at $16 million a day), why would BP do this? Because public relations and lobbying is one way BP can turn public opinion in their favor and soften the blow from lawsuits, regulators, and Congress. If the public could somehow be made to feel sympathetic toward BP, or to feel that BP is really going “to make this right,” the ultimate financial pain to BP might be lessened. So from where BP’s sitting — a place where the bottom line is the ultimate concern, not Gulf Coast residents’ livelihoods, not Gulf Coast ecosystems — the decision to give their image the vigorous scrubbing they can’t give the Gulf Coast ecosystems befouled by their oil is a no-brainer.
BP made $66 million a day in profits in the first quarter of 2010. If they want to keep raking it in hand over fist like that, they gotta do some damage control. It’s just that simple.
Oil spills are an inevitability of the supremely dirty oil drilling business, especially as companies are forced to dig deeper and take more outrageous risks to reach what’s left of the world’s oil reserves. Heard about BP’s plans to drill 2 miles deep and as much as eight miles horizontally from a gravel island the company built in the middle of the Beaufort Sea up in the Arctic? No, that’s not just a sick joke.
The Exxon Valdez spill is not our only example of how impossible it is to clean up spilled oil: Ask the villagers down in Ecuador who are still battling with Chevron to try and get their traditional lands cleaned up, or the people over in Nigeria who suffer from companies like Shell spilling the equivalent of a Valdez-sized spill every year. Oil is wreaking havoc on communities across the globe, and the companies responsible always seem to treat these disasters as little more than the cost of doing business. The Ecuadorian Amazon, the Niger Delta, the Gulf of Mexico — these are collateral damage in Big Oil’s relentless pursuit for reckless profits.
The real way forward is of course to stop drilling and invest in clean energy, but oil companies cannot be depended on to drive society toward clean energy. They are OIL companies after all.
The only way to stop oil spills once and for all is to leave it in the ground where it belongs. President Obama and Congress need to ensure we kickstart the clean energy revolution and stop drilling for oil. Check out our blueprint for how America can achieve 96% renewable energy by 2050 and create over a million jobs by 2030: Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable USA Energy Outlook. Help promote our vision for the sustainable future! Then take action to tell Congress No New Drilling, Period.
As a result of the oil spill in the Gulf, people are beginning to question our dependence on oil. Though the massive leak was an catastrophic environmental tradgedy, it may have been the push we needed towards a renewable energy future. In the meantime, we personally, can take baby steps away from oil.
This entry comes by popular request. A lot of people have been asking what they can do to use less oil, and reduce demand for the sticky stuff ruining beaches everywhere. Here's my top ten, feel free to add to it in comments:
1. Carpool, cycle or use public transport to go to work.
2. Choose, when possible, products packaged without plastic and recycle or re-use containers.
3. Buy organic fruits and vegetables (fertilisers and pesticides are based on oil more often than not).
4. Buy beauty products (shampoo, soap, make-up) based on natural ingredients, not oil.
5. Choose when possible locally produced products (less transport involved).
6. Buy clothes made out of organic cotton or hemp - not from oil derivatives.
7. Use non-disposable items in picnics and summer festivals.
8. Quit bottled water.
9. Fly less.
10. Demand that your government encourage renewable energy instead of subsidizing oil.
If you're a fan of forests, you've probably heard a lot recently about the Greenpeace Paradise Forest campaign. In particular, you may have heard about the giant conglomerate Sinar Mas which dominates the palm oil industry in Indonesia. Greenpeace has documented Sinar Mas repeatedly breaking industry guidelines, Indonesian law and its own public statements, razing rainforests to the ground in its race to produce palm oil. The growing controversy around their role in destroying rainforests crucial to endangered wildlife like orangutans and Sumatran tigers has led companies like Nestle, Kraft and Unilever to start cutting Sinar Mas palm oil out of their supply chains.
Sinar Mas is a huge conglomerate, and palm oil is only one of its businesses...and only one of the ways it destroys rainforests. Asia Pulp & Paper – it’s giant paper branch – is one of the largest paper companies in the world, and one of the worst threats to rainforests and carbon-rich peatlands in Indonesia.
A new Greenpeace report released today exposes the destructive practices of APP and shines a light on the companies that are still doing business Sinar Mas. The report also counters recent APP greenwash, including its claim that its suppliers “only develop least valuable degraded forests and denuded [barren] wasteland.” Pulping the Planet shows that the company is still sourcing from critical orangutan and Sumatran tiger habitat such as the Bukit Tigapulu Forest Landscape and Kerumutan Peat Forest. The report details how that rainforest and peatland destruction is also causing huge amounts of climate pollution.
You can read the report here (you’ll need Adobe Reader and some patience to download the report since it’s a pretty big file).
The report also draws attention to companies like Pizza Hut, Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts that Sinar Mas listed as key global customers in 2009. With leading food companies like Nestle, Kraft and Unilever taking action to sever business ties with rainforest-destroying companies, you have to wonder what fast-food companies are waiting for...are they waiting for activist orangutans to show up at their door? That could be arranged!
Give fast food companies a wake up call. Click here to tell them to stop serving up rainforest destruction!
For the forests,
My son loves the water. He’s happy to run right in without a care in the world. But, as he plunges his face into the cool water and plays with little “treasures” he finds, I start worrying about what he’s being exposed to.
Our oceans, though vast and deep, are fast-becoming polluted from land-based sources. And, sadly, it’s turning our once-pristine ocean into a dumping ground. There’s an increasing number of beach closures due to pollution, not to mention the oil in the Gulf of Mexico that is still spewing and contaminating the Gulf and well-beyond.
Awareness and “action” is so important! We can’t sit around and let our oceans become contaminated cesspools. Instead, we have to work together to spread the word and speak up about ocean conservation.
One of my very-favorite bands has taken on the cause of protecting the oceans. Pearl Jam has launched a new website and dediced their “Amongst the Waves” video to ocean awareness and advocacy. The goal of this new venture is to provide all of us with a handy resource and an avenue to get involved. I crawled around this site and was happy to find easy ways for people to really help make a difference and take action to save the oceans.
Pardon me for switching songs, but I’d like to close with a line from my favorite Pearl Jam song, Rearview Mirror…“So it feels so much clearer, once you look in my rearview mirror.”
It’s my hope that the disaster of the Gulf Oil spill and constant “spew” is that it serves as a rearview mirror for all of us. We look in the rearview mirror and say, “Never Again!” It’s a constant reminder that we’ve gone awry and will work together to set a new, “greener” path for our future. Our oceans deserve better, future generations deserve better and we can make it right by deciding to never let it happen again.
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