The Unsuitablog

Exposing Ethical Hypocrites Everywhere!

Archive for January, 2010

Alex and Ani Can’t Resist The Lure Of Disaster Capitalism

Posted by keith on 28th January 2010

Disaster Capitalism is the name given to the process by which natural or purposefully contrived human disasters are exploited in order to impose a free-market system upon a population. The most extreme examples are those that have been contrived: these include the 1954 military coup in Guatamala, orchestrated by the CIA at the behest of the United Fruit Company (now Chiquita) to open up markets to the industrial West, and the afternath of the first (in Kuwait) and second (in Iraq) Gulf Wars, specifically to benefit US oil and construction companies. Natural disasters – and even that term is being questioned in relation to the Haiti earthquake of 2010 – have tended to result in a more subtle, but nonetheless significant change in conditions, such as the period following the Indian Ocean Tsunami in which the restoration and expansion of the tourist industry in Thailand seemed to be more important than the rebuilding of peoples’ lives!

I have been watching the developments in Haiti with an overriding sense of distrust, recording some of the more disturbing ones in a blog called Haiti Watch. The imposition of military rule seems to be inevitable, followed by free trade agreements and the installation of a US-friendly President. But it is not just the big guns (pun intended) that are taking advantage of the chaotic situation that, let’s not be coy here, has already left at least 200,000 people dead, hundreds of thousands more injured, and millions of people homeless. Wherever there is a market there shall be an opportunist; that’s how capitalism works, and I have seen a perfect example of this in a press release I received today from a fashion chain that, up to now, I had never heard of:

Contact: Megan Benson
megan@alexandani.com
212-385-1075

ALEX AND ANI SUPPORTS THE VICTIMS OF THE HAITI EARTHQUAKE
WITH LIMITED EDITION CORNELIAN EXPANDABLE WIRE BRACELET
-All Proceeds to benefit Doctors without Borders-

(New York, NY – January 2010) – In an effort to lend support to the victims of the Haiti earthquake, Alex and Ani, designer of couture and contemporary jewelry, has created the “Cornelian Bracelet” featuring its patented, expandable wire bangle™ with 100% of proceeds donated to Doctors without Borders.

The Alex and Ani Signature Expandable bracelet is an innovative wire bangle bracelet that adjusts and expands for a customized fit on any wrist. This exclusive piece features Russian or yellow gold finish plated over a brass etched wire and is adorned with a Cornelian stone. Wear Cornelian to increase energy, self motivate and take action. This stone is also a symbol of protection and peace.

This limited edition bracelet is available at www.alexandani.com and retails for $18 USD. Buy one for a friend, loved one, or yourself.

Alex and Ani was created by Carolyn Rafaelian. The line, which is made in the USA from recycled materials, is named after her two daughters. Their collections are sold at fine retailers such as Henri Bendel, Scoop, and e-commerce sites such as Shopbop and Saks.com. Alex and Ani’s pieces have been featured in publications such as Vogue, Lucky, In Style, Marie Claire and Glamour.

“Alex and Ani…Where Glamour and Consciousness Co-Exist.”

So, let’s get this right – rather than just donate a portion of their profits, or quietly stock a special item in their stores, they instead choose to send a press release out to everyone on their huge mailing list to show exactly how wonderful and full of conscience Alex and Ani is?

The correct term for this is “Opportunistic Marketing”; in the case of Alex and Ali, the “opportunity” is the death of 200,000 people so they can tell the world about their high couture range of jewelry.

If this is what “conscience” means then I need a new dictionary.

Disaster Capitalism is alive and well, and coming to a country near you.

Posted in Corporate Hypocrisy, Human Rights | No Comments »

Public Eye Awards – Vote Now For The Worst Greenwasher

Posted by keith on 24th January 2010

The Public Eye Awards (formerly Public Eye on Davos) are a critical counterpoint to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. Organized since 2000 by the Berne Declaration (BD) and Pro Natura (the latter replaced by Greenpeace in 2009), Public Eye reminds the players of the global economy who impact people and the environment with destructive business practices that actions have consequences – in this case for the image of the company. We present shame-on-you-awards to the nastiest corporate players of the year. Two of these (in the categories „Global“ and „Swiss“) will be awarded by an in-house jury of experts while winner of the people’s award will be chosen by the people, who can vote online (http://www.publiceye.ch/en/vote).

The deregulation of world markets has greatly expanded the range of transnational corporations. This change has come about at such a rapid pace that national laws have long lost their ability to impose an orderly framework. The voluntary restraint or social/environmental commitment pledged by companies is often not worth the glossy paper it is printed on. Patents that price life-saving drugs out of reach of poor populations, natural resources exploited without regard for the local environment, or workers exploited ruthlessly in a race to the bottom, you name it – there is nothing that the global players assembled in Davos will not do to improve their bottom line. In the second year of a major world economic recession it is more important than ever to remind corporations of their social and environmental responsibility. We want a legal framework that will hold them accountable for their practices.

Starting this year, Public Eye also presents a „Greenwash Award“ to account for the rapidly growing number of institutions that fabricate social-environmental fig leaves in an attempt to make inveterate corporate players look greener than they are.

As the “Mother of all Window Dressers,” the WEF would naturally be a serious contender for this special award. The shortlist for the most dubious eco or social distinction includes the the highly-diluted CEO Water Mandate, a greenwashing project launched in 2007 within the framework of the UN Global Compact by (then) Nestlé boss Peter Brabeck to tackle the water crisis. But instead of doing so, CEO Water Mandate pursues systematic water privatization without meeting mandatory environmental or social criteria . Other nominees for the Greenwash award are he Round Table for Responsible Soy, co-initiated by WWF, and the partially state-owned Health Promotion Switzerland foundation.

Nominees for the Public Eye People’s award include Roche for organ transplantation from executed prisoners in China, the Royal Bank of Canada and the International Olympic Comittee. Voting takes place online on www.publiceye.ch/en/vote until January 27th. The more people vote, the more powerful the message!


This is a guest article, written by Annina Rohrbach of Public Eye, Switzerland.

Posted in Astroturfs, Company Policies, Exposure | No Comments »

Potential Murderers Of Amazonian Tribe Win Survival International Greenwashing Award

Posted by keith on 21st January 2010

Impinging upon an uncontacted tribe is, by any stretch of the imagination, culturally the most destructive thing it is possible to do: the tribe not only lose their landbase – the source of everything they need to live – but they become subject to foreign diseases to which they have no immunity, and their cultural identity becomes diluted, almost certain to be swallowed up by industrial civilization’s “growth at any cost” mentality. In short, if civilization impinges upon an uncontacted tribe, the tribe dies.

Survival International never let up in their efforts to prevent this kind of thing happening. Their “Greenwashing Award” may be symbolic, but it is a vital way to publicise the awful things that corporations and governments do in order to make money; just money, as though it is more important than life…

A Brazilian company bulldozing an uncontacted tribe’s land in Paraguay has won Survival’s ‘Greenwashing Award 2010’.

The company, Yaguarete Porá S.A., has won the award for ‘dressing up the wholesale destruction of a huge area of the Indians’ forest as a noble gesture for conservation’, says Survival’s director Stephen Corry.

Yaguarete owns 78,549 hectares of forest that is part of the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode tribe’s ancestral territory. After satellite photos were published around the world revealing that it has destroyed thousands of hectares of the tribe’s forest, the company issued a press release announcing it intends to create a ‘nature reserve’ on its land.

But plans submitted by Yaguarete to Paraguay’s Environment Ministry reveal that the amount of ‘continuous forest’ in the reserve will be just 16,784 hectares out of the 78,549 hectares total, and the company in fact plans to convert around two thirds of the land to cattle ranching.

Some of the Totobiegosode have already been contacted and vehemently condemned the plans for the ‘reserve’, pointing out that it violates their rights under both Paraguayan and international law. The contacted Totobiegosode have been claiming legal title to this land since 1993, but most of it is still in private hands.

The Totobiegosode are the only uncontacted Indians in the world having their territory destroyed for beef production.

Survival director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘This is textbook ‘greenwashing’: bulldoze the forest and then ‘preserve’ a bit of it for PR purposes. The public won’t fall for it. Yaguarete should stop playing games and pull out of the Totobiegosode’s territory once and for all.’

Survival’s Greenwashing Award is presented to Yaguarete Porá S.A. for dressing up the wholesale destruction of a huge area of the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode’s forest as a noble gesture for conservation.

The following video shows what is likely to happen to the Totobiegosode people, using the terrible example of the Akuntsu:

Posted in Company Policies, Corporate Hypocrisy, Human Rights, Offsetting | No Comments »

Monthly Undermining Task, January 2010: The Great TV Turn-Off

Posted by keith on 15th January 2010

“Out-of-Home impact plus the power of television to a captive audience. Reach 5.8 million monthly Atlantans, commanding attention during the entire ride.”

You don’t really notice it, but it’s there, filling your subconscious with a thousand different messages; broadcasting its commercial dominance to an entrapped population. Television is the primary method by which civilized humans are manipulated into carrying out the instructions of the industrial machine; this is no Orwellian fantasy, it is now and it is real, and don’t you feel pissed off that you can’t go anywhere without having your eyes and ears assaulted by this garbage?

The Monthly Undermining Task was instigated in order to remove greenwashing from the world, but because television propagates so much more than just the greenwashing messages of the industrial world, taking down the commercial public television network also removes all sorts of other insidious messages: promises of material fulfillment; political spin; embedded journalism; commercially sponsored “education”. By switching off a television you do nothing less than give people back their ability to think for themselves.

So, are you up for it?

From today, throughout 2010, I would like you to switch off televisions and other electrical hoardings whenever you get the chance. As I explained in the opening article, the risk you take is up to you; you can do this in an almost risk-free environment, or you can take a few chances and do something more permanent. Risk is relative, of course, and the first time you do something like this it always feels a bit dangerous – as though someone is about to walk up behind you and say, “Excuse me, what do you think you are doing?” before escorting you away from the premises.

Not that it really matters if you are asked to leave; but in all my time switching sets off I have never once been escorted away or even caught. The point is: no one expects anyone to switch these damn things off!

Low Risk

Remote Switch Off Opportunity

You see these everywhere now: plasma or LCD screens littering the walls and ceilings of shops, pubs, railway stations, libraries, schools. So insidious yet so fragile. With a wave of the hand you can switch these off. I’m going to recommend a product to do this; if you don’t want to buy it then you will need to take a little more risk (see later).

TV-B-GONE is the product you need; it is available in kit or ready-made form. The link for the ready-made versions is below:

https://www.tvbgone.com/cfe_tvbg_buy.tvbg.php

Check it works, attach it to a keyring or just hold it in your hand, and when you see a television that is in a public or commercial place – keeping the LED pointed at the screen – just press the button. It’ll take a while to get used to the order in which televisions are switched off, but in general the most popular models (like Sony, Toshiba and Samsung) go first.

I had great fun sitting on a bench outside a Sony Store, eating a sandwich, while switching off all the televisions within range; I have walked past shops with huge screens inside and knocked them out much to the incredulity of the staff; and I even walked around a music store, “shooting” the TVs off which were situated above the salepeoples’ heads. Great fun and, as I say, I have never been suspected: who would dream of switching televisions off?

Medium Risk

Manual Switch Off Opportunity

The next level of risk is essentially doing the same as for the Low Risk, but without the remote. Obviously there are fewer opportunities to do this, you being limited to what you can physically reach, but there are a few reasons why this might be a better option: first, you don’t have a remote control; second, the display is a computer monitor or other custom display that doesn’t respond to remote controls (these are often in small stores or office-type areas); third, you might want to just make a point of switching the screen off, as described by a correspondant:

My dentist recently instituted an *enormous* widescreen telly in their previously very lovely Georgian house conversion waiting room. It had some trashy Hollywood comedy playing on it when my partner and I were there last year. In fact, it had finished so it got stuck in the irritating sound loop that DVDs go into when they are in their menu screen.

Anyway, later on, we were both back in the waiting room while our xrays and so forth were being attended to, and there was one other middle-aged woman there too reading a magazine and sitting where she couldn’t see the screen. So I switched the TV off. A while later someone who worked there stormed in and switched it back on. I explained that we’d switched it off because noone wanted to watch it and was told off.

The reason for the telling off, I suspect, was not because anything had been damaged, but because the employee of the dentist had the idea in her head that THE TV MUST STAY ON! Why? Because it must. That’s it. Talk about brain death!

You might simply just say to the people in the room: “Is it ok if I turn the TV off?” Chances are no one will object, even if they were blankly staring at the screen. While we’re on the subject of reaction, the thing I have noticed most is that when an “ambient” (a.k.a. subconsciously brainwashing) television goes off, people don’t react at all; if anything they simply switch back into communication mode, and get on with their lives.

See, you are freeing people up. Well done!

High Risk

Now we’re getting into voluntary territory: if you want to take the high risk options then you need to follow the basic rules of Sabotage, as explained in this article:

- Carefully weigh up all the pros and cons, and then ask yourself, “Do the benefits far outweigh the costs?” Only act if the answer is “Yes”.

- Plan ahead, and plan well, accounting for every possible eventuality.

- Even if you value the worth of your actions, don’t get caught.

For legal reasons, I have to write that I don’t condone any breaking of the law nor anything that could potentially harm a living being.

Now, in the case of the displays that you can’t switch off remotely or by pressing a button, more drastic action has to be taken. You really have two options that are practical.

In the case of units that are immobile, like in the image above, it’s not generally practical to simply obscure the picture, so you will need to find the power source. I’m not going to go into any details, and it is highly inadvisable to mess around with breakers and wires if you don’t know precisely what you are doing; nevertheless, if there is a plug socket or obvious rocker switch connected to the unit, then you could just disconnect it. Whether you go further is up to you; but if you can disable a very large display, such as those in major railway stations, then you are a bit of a hero in my eyes.

UPDATE: On a little walk around I found that many of these units, at least in the UK, are controlled using keys that you insert into key switches (also known as “Secret Switches” or “Grid Key Switches”). You can buy the keys online, for instance at this UK outlet. It’s a bit more obvious than hitting a switch, but still something that can be done quickly and easily.

Cover Up Or Power Off 2

For display units on public transport, like the really creepy one in the image above, you will need to be more up-front. Don’t mess around with the power unless there is a switch on the back – you won’t find the source anyway because it has to be hidden well away – I would suggest covering the screen up, perhaps using a professional “Out Of Order” sign or something like this one:

Unsafe Image
(click for large version)

If you have a high visibility jacket or smart suit then you can probably get away without anyone saying anything. You may raise a smile from some of the people who didn’t even realised their eyes were glued to the set. You might even give someone the motivation to do something similar themselves.

And speaking of which; make sure you pass this article to your own networks, Facebook friends, Twitter feeds and put it on your blogs – here’s the link:

http://thesietch.org/mysietch/keith/2010/01/15/monthly-undermining-task-january-2010-the-great-tv-turn-off/

I have a funny feeling we will be seeing fewer usable televisions in 2010…

ACTION UPDATE:

Just so you know I’m not asking people to do anything I wouldn’t; yesterday I walked the length of Oxford Street in London, and switched off approximately 50 TV screens both in shop windows and in-store, some of which were being watched at the time! No one had a clue what was happening, and most simply walked away. The biggest coups were switching off the 2 metre tall vertical flat-panel in Benetton, and the wonderful silence after switching off a bank of blaring screens in HMV. Go on, you know you can do it!

Posted in Adverts, Advice, Monthly Undermining Tasks, Sabotage, Sponsorship | 12 Comments »

Swimming in Natural Gas: The Greenwashing of an Industry

Posted by keith on 13th January 2010

Gas Flaring

From COMMON DREAMS, January 4, 2010

There has never been a better moment for natural gas. It is the “other” fossil fuel, touted as a clean alternative to coal and oil. It may be non-renewable, proponents argue, but it is a bridge or transition fuel to a happier future. Not surprisingly, the industry has gone to great lengths to persuade local residents, members of congress, and the public at large that there’s nothing to worry about. Chesapeake Energy Corporation, one of the major players drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, which stretches from New York to Tennessee, has successfully billed itself as an environmentally friendly operation.

So when Cabot Oil and Gas, a Houston based energy company, was fined for several hydraulic fracturing fluid spills in northeastern Pennsylvania last year, Chesapeake took the opportunity to distance itself from what had become an embarrassing situation. In addition to the frack fluid spills, there were numerous reports of contaminated drinking water wells in Dimock, PA. On New Year’s Day 2009, a resident’s drinking water well exploded, ripping apart an eight by eight foot slab of concrete. The Dimock experience had the potential to become an industry nightmare, perhaps even derailing efforts to drill in New York State. “Certainly, when an operation isn’t meeting the regulations laid out by the state, it doesn’t reflect well on the industry,” Chesapeake’s director of corporate development for the company’s eastern division told a group of executives at an event in November.

The natural gas industry has had little trouble attracting powerful and influential boosters. It has been championed by oil and gas executive T. Boone Pickens, who happens to own Cabot and Warren Buffett, the oracle himself. At the inauguration of the Congressional Natural Gas Caucus in October, Pickens, the keynote speaker, declared, “We are swimming in natural gas.” Residents of Dimock, many of whom have sued Cabot for poisoning their water, may take a slightly different view of natural gas’s potential. In December, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection issued a consent order requiring that the company provide clean water or filtration devices to 13 families within a nine-square -mile area. They also slapped them with a $120,000 fine.

More recently, according to the Wall Street Journal, Chesapeake’s chief executive, Aubrey McClendon, has been touring the country alongside the Sierra Club’s Carl Pope trumpeting the benefits of natural gas. Its biggest selling point is that it burns cleaner than coal and oil, though the impact of extracting it from deep shale formations is highly controversial. It also requires the use of large amounts of diesel fuel to keep compressors and other machinery operating 24/7. Responding to criticism from local affiliates, particularly in New York and Pennsylvania, Pope asked, “Will the 20% of the membership that happens to live in places where drilling is happening be unhappy? I’m sure that’s true.” So much for grassroots organizing.

In early December I drove through Bradford County, PA and stopped in Towanda, the county seat. The small town of about 3,000 people, located on the Susquehanna River, is humming with activity. The Towanda Motel, on the northern edge of town, has been entirely occupied by Chesapeake employees since April. No Vacancy signs hang from the office window and a security guard keeps watch over the premises. The company’s fleet of shiny white pick-ups and SUVs can be seen everywhere, harbingers of what seems to be a very important mission. Nearly everyone I met had leased their land, from the young man who owned the Victorian Charm Inn where I stayed to the woman who worked in the county clerk’s office (open late now on Tuesdays and Thursdays to accommodate “abstracters,” company reps who comb through deeds going back to the early 19th century to find out if there might be any obstacles to acquiring mineral rights from local landowners). When I asked the owner of a local diner if things had improved in Towanda since Chesapeake came to town she replied curtly, “Sometimes.” Meanwhile, Chesapeake has opened a regional office in what was once an Ames Department Store on the south side of town.

On my way through I picked up a copy of the local paper, The Daily Review. Chesapeake had taken out a full page ad on the subject of hydraulic fracturing, describing the process as one that “pumps a pressurized mixture of 99.5% sand and water with a small amount of special purpose additives,” into a well bore to shatter the rock and release the gas. The ad goes on to note that, “The additives…include compounds found in common household products.” They fail to acknowledge, however, that the fracking formula, which varies from well to well depending on the geology of the region, is considered proprietary and we still do not fully know what is being pumped underground. The industry, which has been exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and CERCLA since 2005, has never been forced to publicly disclose the contents of the fluids it uses to fracture wells. The so-called Halliburton Loophole, inserted into the 2005 energy bill, was a gift of the Bush-Cheney administration (Halliburton invented the process of hydraulic fracturing), and essentially said that the EPA no longer had the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing.

Dr. Theo Coburn of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX) has compiled what is probably the most comprehensive list of both drilling and fracturing chemicals based in part on samples from a well in Park County, Wyoming where a breach in surface casing released drilling fluids in 2006. They have uncovered 435 fracturing products that contain 344 chemicals including ammonium nitrate, ethanol, methane, and diesel. According to the TEDX Web site, “As natural gas production rapidly increases across the U.S., its associated pollution has reached the stage where it is contaminating essential life support systems – water, air, and soil – and causing harm to the health of humans, wildlife, domestic animals, and vegetation.”

Chesapeake has done a pretty good job of maintaining its environmentally friendly image, though two recent infractions reveal that accidents are perhaps inevitable and that Cabot Oil and Gas is not necessarily the exception.

On New Year’s Eve, evidence of a spill or contaminate release at a drilling site in Wayne County, PA was reported after aerial photos taken by an environmental watchdog group, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, uncovered damage to trees near a well pad. The photos show a row of dead, leafless trees extending from the drill pad. Chesapeake had not reported the spill, which would be a violation of state law if indeed they were aware that it happened. According to the Times Tribune, a “weathered petroleum product” was discharged into a forested area and soil samples show that it contained elevated concentrations of barium and chloride.

Perhaps more damaging were reports in early December of a large hydrochloric acid spill in Asylum Township not far from Towanda. The spill was said to have released 295 gallons of acid into the surrounding soil. According to the DEP’s consent assessment the acid contaminated soil was neutralized with soda ash and hydrated lime, 126 tons of impacted soil was excavated, and approximately 13,817 gallons of hydrochloric acid/water mixture were removed from the well site. According to a DEP spokesman, the contaminated soil was taken to a landfill in New Springfield, Ohio. Although Chesapeake reported the spill to the DEP in February when it occurred the clean up and investigation was only publicized in December after the company was fined a civil penalty of just over $15,500.

When I reached Asylum Township supervisor Kevin Barrett, who happens to grow corn just below the drill site, he said the company dealt with the spill responsibly. It was in a remote area of the township about a half-mile from a major water source or residence on land owned by a family that does not live there. Asked if he was worried that his corn might be contaminated with hydrochloric acid, he said the spill was small and posed no threat to humans, wetlands, or wildlife.

However, according to the DEP report, the estimated leakage rate was 7.5 gallons per hour, though “Chesapeake personnel did not know how long the tank had been leaking.” Chesapeake notified the DEP on February 9, 2009 that a leak had been discovered at around 9 a.m. A DEP representative arrived at 1 p.m. and Chesapeake’s emergency contractor six hours later. If we take the company’s figure of 295 gallons of spilled acid that means the tank was leaking for close to 42 hours. Presumably the tank was leaking hydrochloric acid for nearly 30 hours before anyone knew anything about it or bothered to report it to the DEP. So was all of the contaminated soil contained and removed?

Accidents do happen, Barrett told me. It’s part of the price of doing business. Something McClendon and the Sierra Club’s Pope might like to acknowledge as they make the case for an industry whose green credentials are far from certain.

“But we have to find a cheap alternative to coal!” Scream the denizens of Industrial Civilization, scared that perhaps the foundations of their beloved, energy-hungry world are starting to crumble. Keep screaming, one way on another it’s going to end in tears.

Posted in Corporate Hypocrisy, NGO Hypocrisy, Should Know Better, Techno Fixes | 4 Comments »

It’s What You Put In The Bags That Counts

Posted by keith on 11th January 2010

Empty Bags

Unless you are, by some remarkable turn of events, completely self-sufficient in food — which, believe me, I would dearly love to be, except that I live in a society that doesn’t want me to be — then you will have to go out and buy stuff from time to time. Today was one such time; so after walking my younger daughter to school (or, to be accurate, walking about 30 metres in front of her while she chatted to a friend) I continued slipsliding on the surface of pavements covered with just-melting ice, and eventually reached the small National Trust property where I do some wardening two or three times a week. The gate was locked due to the snow and ice being quite treacherous, so I let myself in and spent a happy 30 minutes walking around picking up the odd piece of litter, and generally enjoying the bewhitened landscape, replete with squirrels, crows, chaffinches and a slightly confused mistle thrush.

I left through the top gate, then continued my slidey walk through the town in search of a charity shop woolly hat (£1 from Cancer Research), a mug of coffee (to accompany the planning of The Unsuitablog’s next major campaign), some potatoes and onions from the corner veg shop, and various food items from the Co-op (formerly Somerfield). It was while putting the porridge oats, vinegar, butter, bread flour etc. on the conveyor belt at the till that I noticed the woman in front, dutifully packing all of her items into a range of “bags for life”, that had been bought at Tesco, Sainsburys and Marks & Spencer.

After you’ve clicked on the links in the last sentence, see if you have the same thoughts about bags as me…

See what I mean, especially that last one?

I can’t remember exactly what she was putting in the bags, but it was an awful lot, and most of it didn’t look like staple foods; more the kinds of things bought to satisfy the endless cravings brought on by a life spent in front of advert-strewn television sets. Now, I don’t want to bash this particular person: look at any supermarket queue and you will see the same thing, and far worse in the form of two-litre bottles of Coke and spring water, multi-packs of crisps, loaves and loaves of sliced bread (especially when the weather’s cold, for some reason), ready meals and prepacked meats and pre-washed vegetables and pre-peeled potatoes and pre-grated cheese, bars of chocolate, boxes of cakes…piles and piles of food in shopping carts, of which about 30% will be thrown away, and the rest gorged upon in an orgy of consumer loyalty. This is normal; perfectly normal.

And it’s fine, because it’s all neatly packed in eco-friendly reusable bags.

Posted in Adverts, Company Policies, Corporate Hypocrisy, General Hypocrisy | 2 Comments »

One Action A Month To Undermine Ethical Hypocrisy

Posted by keith on 6th January 2010

2010 Calendar

There’s no time for a review of 2009, it’s happened, we are in deeper shit than we have ever been in, but one of the very few points of light is that the term “Greenwashing” has become common currency. It’s not so easy to greenwash now without being at least identified as a hypocrite; but in all sectors of civilised society, the waves of hypocrisy continue to ensure we still implicitly trust the industrial machine as the litmus test for what is “right”.

Across the UK, as I write, snow is beautifully enveloping the land, producing a swath of picture postcard images that will stay in the minds of so many children for years to come; not to mention the slide rides downhill,the snowball fights and the snow scuptures that feed ordinary people both young and old with excitement and imagination.

For the civilised, adult world, snow is simply a barrier to economic activity: the roads must be gritted, the airports must be kept clear, the shopping malls must remain open, we must all get to work. Our growing, pulsating economy depends upon it, so snowy weather is “bad” weather.

Nothing demonstrates the priorities of this destructive culture better than the twisting of a natural, seasonal phenomenon that can imbue such joy, into a blight upon society that must be dealt with — and now! This is a message that comes directly from the press packs, policy measures and editorial regimes of the corporations, politicians and broadcasters that run Industrial Civilization.

Angry? You bet I am!

2010 was, up to a few hours ago, going to be much of the same for The Unsuitablog, but then I started writing a message to the members of the Anti Greenwashing Action Facebook Group, and realised that there was so much we, and you, could do to undermine the system that tells you how to live your lives; often under a cloak of greenery and false hope. One action a month, by every person who reads The Unsuitablog: that’s a lot of actions that could really drive some terminal nails into the coffin labelled “Hypocrites”, helping to free up the minds of a mislead and brainwashed public.

Here it starts. Very soon, the first Monthly Undermining Task will be posted. I ask, implore you, to carry out this action, and repeat it as often as you feel comfortable doing so. It will not be difficult, and I will provide different levels of risk to account for all sorts of personal situations.

In February there will be another action, and another in March, and so on. Please tell me what you have done (you can remain perfectly anonymous) and if you send me photos, recordings, links to web pages and any other evidence, then I am willing to give them pride of place on The Unsuitablog so that others will be inspired to act themselves. If you have any ideas for MUTs then let me know at news@unsuitablog.org; and also take a look at this article if you want to understand why this is so important.

In 2011 you won’t need to look back and say: “Why didn’t I do something?”

You will be able to say: “Look what I did!”


MONTHLY ACTIONS POSTED:

January 2010 : The Great TV Turn-Off
February 2010 : Time To Break The Ads
March 2010: Throwing Off The Shackles Of Debt

Posted in Advice, Sabotage, Spoofs, Subvertising, Unsuitablog News | 2 Comments »

The Sky Is Falling…Tony Abbott Is A Confusing Man

Posted by keith on 5th January 2010

Tony Abbott - Wait And See

Freshly extruded Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has challenged the Prime Minister to debate him over the Government’s response to next week’s looming asteroid impact, saying that the science isn’t in on whether the planet’s collision with the 90 kilometre-wide clump of frozen iron, nickel and basalt will be nearly as apocalyptic as the Intergovernmental Panel on the Impending Asteroid Apocalypse is predicting.

While the Prime Minister pointed to his referral of the most recent emergency findings of the Federal Government’s Emergency Crisis Response Sub Committee to the Steering Committee of the National Crisis Coordinating Reference Group as evidence of how seriously his government took the threat of asteroid-related global extinction, Mr Abbott insisted that although he accepted there would be ”some impact” from the asteroid impact it remained to be seen whether this would be any more serious than ”the large number of other things that routinely bump into the earth from time to time, indeed every day”.

“Logs, quite big logs and branches, fall out of trees and directly impact the surface of the earth all the time,” said Mr Abbott. “People drops things, really very heavy things on occasion, and they almost always hit the earth in exactly the same way this so called asteroid is supposed to, that is, you know, vertically … and yet we don’t run around saying the sky is falling or imposing great big new taxes on the people of Australia.”

Arguing that it would be madness to saddle the economy with hundreds of billions of dollars in extra taxes before the asteroid even arrived and the extent of the impact and apocalypse was actually known, Mr Abbott unveiled the Coalition’s new position which he described as a “very prudent wait-and-see approach”.

The centre piece of his strategy was to respond to any possible asteroid impact without raising taxes or doing anything.

“While some scientists have been predicting the seas will rise up in five mile-high tsunamis, others have said the killer waves might only be two miles high,” Mr Abbott cautioned. “And when you have that sort of disagreement and then you get those leaked emails from that British university which openly questioned whether everyone would die immediately or a little bit later, well, you’ll excuse me if I regard all this end of the world stuff as a little hysterical and certainly not settled.”

Denying that he was an asteroid impact-denier, like his Minister for Denying Asteroid Impacts, Senator Minchin, Mr Abbott said that there were many people of good faith who remained sceptical about whether the impact would mean the end of all life as we know it, or simply the end of civilisation as we know it and they deserved to have their views debated too.

Unfortunately, according to the Government’s Minister for the End of the World, Senator Penny Wong, with the Coalition filibuster in the Senate likely to string out debate on the asteroid impact until well after the asteroid impacts next week, it is unlikely Mr Abbott will realise his desire to debate those views after all.

This beautiful spoof — in case you hadn’t guessed; after all, it’s close enough to be true — was written by John Birmingham (AKA Blunt Instrument) for the Sydney Morning Herald and deserves to be reposted because Tony Abbott is one of the most dangerous kind of sceptics. Without going into the background of his position too much; to the more radical of us in the environmental / ecological space, he actually comes across as a useful ally: by opposing a measure that toadys up to industry and allows traded emissions to masquerade as emissions cuts, he has done the right thing.

Then you look again and find he is using a scattergun approach to climate science, while also taking utterly discredited writers like Ian Plimer at face value:

If you look at Roman times, grapes grew up against Hadrian’s Wall – medieval times they grew crops in Greenland. In the 1700s they had ice fairs on the Thames. So the world has been significantly hotter, significantly colder than it is now. We’ve coped.

As I said, it is quite concerning but we have to remember that these are computer models and we also have to accept that there is… there are certainly some reputable scientists, Tony, who don’t accept that the most important element in climate change, to the extent that it’s occurring, is man-made carbon dioxide.

Well, look, if man-made CO2 was quite the villain that many of these people say it is, why hasn’t there just been a steady increase starting in 1750, and moving in a linear way up the graph.

These three quotes from the same interview demonstrate, in order, that (a) Tony Abbott is reading from the same song-sheet as the real old-school deniers, like Fred Singer; (b) he is trying to suggest that there is significant disagreement within the climate science community; and (c) he hasn’t a clue how natural climatic systems work at all. In other words, he appears to not have an original thought in his head and is thus extremely manipulatable. In a nation that really needs to take radical action to undermine the power of the fossil fuel and other industrial interests, Tony Abbot is rapidly becoming a potent player — acting the part of “confuser” quite brilliantly.

The industrialists must be grinning all the way to the bank / coal mine / clearcut.

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National Farmers’ Union Calls For Cattle Cull To Prevent Bovine TB

Posted by keith on 2nd January 2010

NFU Logo

Farmers have accused UK ministers of doing nothing to prevent the spread of Bovine TB in cattle in England and Wales. The National Farmers’ Union, which represents the interests of farmers throughout the UK said that government policy for dealing with the disease was “unacceptable” and that farmers would be forced to take matters into their own hands in order to prevent the spread of the disease.

In a surprise move, the NFU said that it would be pushing for cattle culls in the worst affected areas in order to prevent the disease passing to other animals.

NFU president Peter Kendall said unless the disease was tackled in the cattle population, it would never be eradicated.

He said: “For years the NFU has pushed for a cull of badger populations in the worst affected areas, including the South West of England and parts of Wales. It has recently become clear that this policy would simply deal with a few isolated disease vectors while still leaving the root of the problem unmanaged.”

“Therefore, in recognition of the fact that without cattle there can be no Bovine Tuberculosis, we are calling for the government’s help in culling cattle herds where Bovine TB is a significant problem, and will be encouraging farmers to move away from this highly inefficient source of protein. Early signs are that farmers will welcome converting land to the growing of legumes, small-scale soya and nut orchards.”

“We have also, as a mark of respect, embarked on a process of returning some parts of our members’ arable farms to the kinds of habitats in which badgers can thrive — safe in their natural environment.”

Commenting on the radical u-turn, a government spokesman said: “Well, it certainly came as a surprise, but anything that reduces the amount of methane in the atmosphere is probably a good thing.”

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