Millions of people around the world are waiting for the oil to stop flowing from the Deepwater Horizon oilrig now at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. There is no denying a general consensus of horror over the entire situation. But each individual’s reaction to the situation is different.
There have been protests across the world against BP, some have donated and raised money for the clean-up, volunteers have rehabilitated animals, scientists have tested the water, journalists have covered the events surrounding it, and some have physically watched the globs of oil wash onto their beaches.
Greenpeace UK recently responded to the oil spill, by taking advantage of its close proximity to BP’s corporate headquarters in London. Last week, members scaled the building that houses the company responsible for this environmental catastrophe and hung a flag with the words “British Polluters” and an adapted version of their logo. A large, black splotch was placed over their brightly colored logo in representation of oil.
Ben Stewart, one of the Greenpeace activists that scaled the building, was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald as saying; “It takes some cheek to go use a sunflower logo when your business is about dirty oil.”
The green and yellow sunburst was created as part of a marketing campaign in 2000 to re-brand its company as being “green.” During the same time, the company made its slogan “Beyond Petroleum.” The company is an award-winning “greenwasher.” Read more about their long history here.
The flag raising is part of Greenpeace UK’s Tar Sands Campaign against BP. Tar Sands, or oil sands, are a naturally occurring mixture of sand, water, and a very dense form of petroleum known as Bitumen. A significant amount of the material exists in Alberta Canada. According to a report from IHS Cambridge Energy Resource Associates, these reserves in particular have been pinpointed to become the largest source of crude oil imports in 2010. Exxon, Shell and BP are all sourcing from this rich region.
However, there are serious environmental consequences of sourcing petroleum from the Tar Sands. For instance, significant parts of the Boreal Forest are being cut to make room for the development; the area is the fastest growing origin of greenhouse gases in Canada, and extraction of the petroleum causes both air and water pollution.
In addition to the action that took place at the BP headquarters, Greenpeace UK is also holding a design competition as part of their Tar Sands campaign to design a logo that better fits who the company really is and the kinds of things it stands for.
Individuals can enter their new logo into the “design professionals, public, or under 18” division. An entry can be painted, colored, sketched, designed in Photoshop or created in any other innovative way. The winner of the competition will be used as the face of Greenpeace UK’s Tar Sands campaign.
See here for some of the creations entered so far.
This event, as well as the action on the part of Greenpeace UK yesterday, is both an effort to protest the environmental degradation that they are accountable for and to expose the greenwashing campaign that originally formed their misleading image.
Used to describe the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.