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Greenloons: Ecotourism is the New Blindfold

Posted by keith on 13th September 2011

Now that the Unsuitablog is taking a more occasional view of ethical hypocrisy (short for, “I really don’t have the time for all this!”) it takes a very special email or advert to make it to the blog. Most of them end up in my junk folder, but some of them sneak into my inbox, which usually means I haven’t heard from the agency or company in question before. So imagine my delight when something from Greenloons popped up the other day, and made me angry all over, just like the early days when I wasn’t so innured from hypocrisy. It deserves to be published in its entirety:


Eco Trailblazer Greenloons Guides Families to International Rainforests with Emphasis on Educational / Sustainable Vacations

Top Five Recommendations Span Globe for Certified Green Eco Adventures

Vienna, VA, Sept. 7 – Eco trailblazer Greenloons guides families to international rainforests that are inclusive of sustainable vacation opportunities. Its top five recommendations spanning the globe offer green eco adventures that are certified by leading third party sources.

Irene Lane, Greenloons founder, believes it’s never to early to introduce children to the “lungs of the planet”, the world’s rainforests covering less than two percent of the earth’s total surface area but are home to 50 percent of its plants and animals.

“Because rainforests are disappearing at a rate of more than 56,000 square miles each year, it’s crucial for kids to learn about how important these environments are to their everyday lives,” Lane said. “Through extensive research, we are able to offer unique family travel experiences where young and old can connect at a deeper level in a sustainable manner with the places they are visiting.”

Greenloons top rainforest destinations for families include Costa Rica, Peru, Madagascar, Borneo and Australia.

Costa Rica – Rainforest Adventure focuses on Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula that protects such endangered species (showcased by a local guide) as jaguar, puma, crocodile, tapir, poison dart frog, scarlet macaw and harpy eagle. Local beaches are major nesting sites for several varieties of sea turtles. Roundtrip ground transfers are by private taxi from Puerto Jimenez served by daily flights from Costa Rica’s Tobias Bolaños International airport in San Jose. Packages are 5 days/4 nights starting at $690 per person with year-round open scheduling.

Peru – Exploring the Amazon Rainforest showcases the world’s largest tropical rainforest with the world’s second longest river, the Amazon. A motorized canoe down the Peruvian Amazon in the Tambopata National Reserve can reveal, among other wildlife, giant otters. The Tambopata Research Center has exclusive access to untouched Amazonian forests; a local naturalist introduces ongoing projects that include visiting the world’s largest macaw clay lick. Five day/4 night trips for $999 per person depart year-round with flexible, open scheduling.

– Madagascar Experience encompasses an eco-system so isolated and unusual that scientists call it “the eighth continent.” The rainforests of the Atsinanana encompass six national parks that protect the large Indri lemur, tenrec, fanaloka and aye-aye. The ancient town of Antsirable transitions guests around volcanic lakes from upland rainforests to the semi-arid landscape of Isalo. The 10 day/9 night packages start at $1599 with monthly scheduled departures year-round.

Borneo – Borneo Family Adventure includes village home stays at Kinabatangan Jungle Camp and rainforest camping in tropical Sabah, part of the rainforests of Asia stretching from India and Burma in the west to Malaysia and the islands of Java and Borneo in the east. In addition to spotting macaques, proboscis monkeys, crocodiles and perhaps wild orangutans, guests visit Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary and meet orphaned orangutans. Elevenday/10 night trips start at $1375 for adults with departures in January, April, July, August, October and December.

Australia – Fraser Island & Reef Experience opens up the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef and Fraser Island World Heritage Site, the only place in the world where along Yidney Rainforest trails and growing on sand dunes at high elevations are towering pines, rainforest trees with giant girths, rare and ancient giant ferns, eucalypt forests, lemon-scented swamp vegetation and dwarfed heathland shrubs covered in a profusion of flowers. On the water side in addition to snorkeling guests may see shipwrecks, sharks, dolphins and manta rays at Indian Head. Six day/5 night trips are offered year-round. Call Greenloons for pricing (703.752.6270).

About Greenloons:

Greenloons ( guides families to travel experiences managed by certified third-party suppliers engaged in eco- and sustainable tourism. Lane founded Greenloons in 2010 for the global community of nature enthusiasts and wildlife conservationists interested in accessing detailed and reliable information about responsible, sustainable and certified ecotourism travel vacations both in the US and abroad.

Greenloons is a first-of-its-kind online resource aimed at answering the growing need for accredited eco-tours and sustainable holiday travel in the tourism industry. provides ecotourism education, news, comparable certified ecotour and volunteer conservation program listings, tour reviews and booking services, plus a forum for the community to share its personal vacation stories and tips for establishing ecotourism in any corner of the world.

# # #

For photos and/or more information on how Greenloons is making a difference please contact:

Sara Widness / 802-234-6704 /
Dave Wiggins / 303-554-8821 /
Website and Portfolio of Past Releases:
Follow Widness & Wiggins PR on Twitter:!/BoulderDave

Greenloons Company Contact:
Irene Lane / 703.752.6270 / /

Now, forgive me if I’m being stupid, but I had a lovely trip to the isle of Skye recently, which consisted of a 1 hour bus journey followed by about 7 hours on a couple of trains and a 30 minute ferry. I walked to the camp site. The environment in which I was camping, with a few others, and learning some useful bushcraft skills to boot, was beautiful. The journey was equally stunning. The total distance travelled: about 250 miles, which I thought was about far enough. Recently I wrote an article on The Earth Blog called, “Finding My Limit” which emphasised the importance of searching out and making the most of that which is close to you.

Such inconsequential places, and such seemingly trivial reasons to go there. Just a few words, a bite to eat, a passing smile, a friendship reignited, a love on fire. We ignore these local places because the civilized world insists that our boundaries are distant, we can achieve anything, we have no limits. The Diaspora of our mechanised, electrical, money-soaked commercial excesses has, indeed, reached round so far it hits itself on the back, and screeches past to take another lap of the little blue-green dot we live on. In universal terms Earth is a dot. In human terms it is all we can ever intimately know as a species, and as I look out of my window I can see – what? – a few hundred metres; a couple of miles if I get up high.

Why go further when what really make our days go round are those apparently inconsequential dealings with the things that are so close to us? Yet we choose to ignore them because there is a bigger world out there. I refuse to accept that and choose the places I can walk to, run through and, if I really want to open my mind up, cycle there and back. That is my limit; all I can really know, and love, and nurture.

Ecotourism is a contradiction. “Tourism” is about travel for travel’s sake – the culturally imposed “need” to explore at leisure simply because something is there. “Eco” implies ecology and the tight network within which all life is entwined. The two simply cannot go together, except in the minds of a capitalist, bent on making us believe you can have it all.

Let’s look at the quotation from Irene Lane again:

“Because rainforests are disappearing at a rate of more than 56,000 square miles each year, it’s crucial for kids to learn about how important these environments are to their everyday lives,” Lane said. “Through extensive research, we are able to offer unique family travel experiences where young and old can connect at a deeper level in a sustainable manner with the places they are visiting.”

The mass of contradictions in this statement is mind-boggling. Irene is talking about places thousands of miles away, yet she talks about the need to “connect…in a sustainable manner”. Is she implying that we can only make deep connections with places that are in exotic locations – for that is what the sales pitch seems to be implying? And does she really expect us to believe that a composting toilet and a faux-native tour justify the burning of hundreds of gallons of aviation fuel and diesel. And what about the “Because rainforests are disappearing at a rate of more than 56,000 square miles each year”? This sounds like a “see it before it’s gone” appeal.

Am I being too cynical?

Well, let’s look at a quotation from their website to check my cynicism out:

“We know that it is impossible to have a 100% carbon-offset vacation – we are humans after all!”

This is in the context of explaining how carbon offsets are used to make the travel distances no problem at all, apart from the few percent left over because “we are humans after all!” Sorry? No one forced you to travel those thousands of miles across oceans and continents. No one but civilized humans would do that. And that’s the real kicker: Irene Lane is conflating the destructive habits of civilized humanity to the whole of the human race. We do not push crap into the atmosphere because we are human; we push crap into the atmosphere because we are civilized humans, brainwashed by people like Irene Lane into thinking that it’s ok to go to Borneo, Madagascar, Australia and even Antarctica for our “eco” vacations.

The saddest irony of all is loons, an order of birds chosen to represent a migratory person that lives lightly on the land, require a pristine, food-rich marine environment to survive. The same environments that the Deepwater Horizon oil leak devastated in July 2011, and the Exxon Valdez crash coated in a thick blanket of oil in March 1989. Now what was that oil being drilled for and transported I wonder?

Posted in Adverts, Company Policies, Corporate Hypocrisy, Offsetting | 3 Comments »

ExxonMobil Biofuel Advert Officially Pronounced as Greenwash

Posted by keith on 10th March 2011

ASA Adjudication on ExxonMobil UK Ltd

ExxonMobil UK Ltd
ExxonMobil House
Ermyn Way
KT22 8UX

Date: 9 March 2011
Media: Television
Sector: Utilities
Number of complaints: 1
Agency: Euro RSCG London Ltd
Complaint Ref: 141542


A TV ad for ExxonMobil UK Ltd (ExxonMobil) featured a scientist talking about researching algae as a source of biofuel. He said, “In using algae to form biofuels, we’re not competing with the food supply, and they absorb CO2, so they help solve the greenhouse problem as well.”


The complainant, who believed that any carbon dioxide (CO2) absorbed by algae would be re-released back into the atmosphere when it was burned as fuel, objected that the ad misleadingly implied that the technology would reduce CO2 levels.


3.1 3.2 3.9 9.5


ExxonMobil UK Ltd (EM) said one of the advantages associated with second generation biofuels like algae, was their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by partial replacement of conventional transport fuels derived from hydrocarbons. They said lifecycle analysis showed that using second generation biofuels resulted in lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fuels. They said this was because biofuel feedstocks absorbed CO2 from the atmosphere and therefore the CO2 emitted during their combustion did not contribute to additional CO2 emissions.

EM also provided a study from the Joint Research Centre of the European Union, which they claimed proved that second generation biofuels achieved greenhouse gas reductions on a comparative basis. They acknowledged that the study did not specifically analyse algae. They said that algae as a source of biofuel was an emerging area of scientific analysis. However, they maintained that it was generally agreed that algae had a potential for high productivity compared to conventional biofuels.

EM provided a third-party report that concluded that the world community could slow and then reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases over the next several decades by utilising a range of public policies and current and emerging technologies. The report detailed a range of actions that could reduce emissions from key sectors, including using new and emerging technologies. It mentioned that biofuels had the potential to replace a substantial part of the petroleum now used by transport.

EM said that solving the greenhouse problem could mean many things as there were many different stabilisation scenarios being discussed by the scientific and world communities. They said that a core component of any stabilization scenario was the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; furthermore, it was generally recognised that biofuels could play a key part in this.

They provided information which they believed supported their view that fuel switching was commonly discussed among policymakers, scientists and industry as a means of helping to solve the issue of rising greenhouse gas emissions. They said the ad made no claim to the effect that advanced biofuels such as algae could achieve this result on their own.

Clearcast pointed out that the ad stated, “Algae could be converted into biofuels that we could someday run our cars on” and “We’re making a big commitment to finding out just how much algae can help meet the fuel demands of the world”. They said the ad made clear that the technology was still being developed. They said, in this context, viewers would understand the claim “In using algae to form biofuels, we’re not competing with the food supply, and they absorb CO2, so they help solve the greenhouse problem as well”, related to what the advertisers hoped the technology would achieve. They also claimed the study provided by the advertiser proved that algae produced less CO2 than hydrocarbon fuels on a comparative basis.



The ASA noted the ad referred to “unlocking the potential in algae” and considered it had made clear it was an emerging technology. Nonetheless we considered the ad made an objective claim that algae, if developed as a source of biofuel, would help solve the greenhouse problem. We noted that, by absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere and then re-releasing this CO2 when combusted, the technology would not add new greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Because of this we considered the technology could have a mitigation benefit. We noted the reports submitted by EM and acknowledged that many stabilisation scenarios highlighted the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions as part of tackling the greenhouse problem.

We also noted that the ad stated “In using algae to form biofuels, were not competing with the food supply, and they absorb CO2, so they help solve the greenhouse problem as well”. We considered that viewers would infer from this that it was because of the absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere that using algae to form biofuels helped “solve the greenhouse problem”, by acting as a carbon sink. We considered this claim went beyond stating the mitigation benefit. Because we understood that any CO2 absorbed by the feedstocks would eventually be re-released into the atmosphere, we concluded that the ad overstated the technology’s total environmental impact and was therefore misleading.

The ad breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.2 (Misleading advertising), 3.9 (Substantiation) and 9.5 (Environmental claims).


The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.

Posted in Adverts, Corporate Hypocrisy | No Comments »

Mother Nature Network: A Hypocritical Crock Of Shit

Posted by keith on 10th January 2011

I make no apologies for the title of this post: I have just spent a short while reading the biographies of the Mother Nature Network Team, and have ended up in the kind of moral position that Immanuel Kant might have struggled with if he had had the internet to contend with in his philosophical struggles.

MNN promotes itself as covering “the broadest scope of environmental and social responsibility issues on the internet. And, we do so in a way that is engaging and easy-to-understand. As opposed to scientists, activists or experts—MNN is designed for the rest of us—everyday people who simply want to make our world better.”

So who are these people referred to as “the rest of us”? Clearly not scientists, activists or experts – although I would have thought that these people would at least play some part in making “our”* world better – but perhaps people such as those on their team. Now I don’t pretend to have a squeaky clean career path leading (or rather, nothing at all to do with) my current vocation as a DIY troublemaker; but nor do I proudly exhibit all the companies I have worked for, as though this is somehow a qualification for making the world better. Unlike their CEO, Joel Babbit, who was a high-flying PR guru whose “clients have included The Home Depot, Coca-Cola, Dell, USA Today, American Express, Holiday Inn, UPS, and Citigroup [and] is especially noted for his marketing work related to corporate transitions which have included the acquisition of RJR Nabisco by KKR, BellSouth by AT&T, Georgia –Pacific by Koch Industries, and numerous acquisitions during the formation of Coca-Cola Enterprises.”

Hmm. As I say, your past is not necessarily a guide to your future, but I’m slightly worried that this is considered relevant enough to highlight on your bio page, Joel.

Go further down the list, and it seems MNN is actually a big party for PR, marketing and technical bods rather than something to make “our”* world better.

*Ah yes, the asterisk; that’s because it is not “our” world, it is “the” world. We don’t own it, just happen to misuse it.

So what of the stories on Mother Nature Network? I picked one, that looked as though it would reveal the editorial policy of MNN, something about the Consumer Electronics Show. I would have assumed that to “make our world better” it would have to include an element of criticising the nature of technology, it’s ability to consume the human soul while at the same time despoiling vast tracts of land and water with pollution, sucking huge amounts of energy in its usage and making the lives of the millions of people involved in its manufacture anything but human.

This is the crux of the article:

Slick new smartphones, ultra-thin laptops, tablet computers to rival Apple’s iPad and Web-connected and 3D television sets are expected to grab the most attention during the four-day event at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

But the show floor will also feature more smart home appliances such as ovens which can download recipes and vehicles which give drivers hands-free voice control access to their smartphone applications.

Technology titans such as Cisco, Intel, LG Electronics, Microsoft, Motorola, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba were among the firms offering a glimpse of their upcoming products to reporters here ahead of the official CES opening.

Motorola Mobility and LG Electronics both announced plans to launch touchscreen tablet computers this year powered by “Honeycomb,” the latest version of Google’s Android software optimized for tablets.

It’s just a copy and paste from Associated Press; no comment, no critique, nothing at all. What the hell does this have to do with Mother Nature?!

Skipping around the site, reveals the news pages to be little more than a catalogue of light-green, consumer and lifestyle editorial, with nary a mention of anything that would actually make a difference to human behaviour; and the reason for the complete lack of anything challenging is made clear at the bottom of the every page:

That really is their list of sponsors, each of which has paid to sponsor a section within MNN, and each of which must therefore have been approved by MNN as being appropriate for that section.

Like Southern Company, sponsor of the Energy section – with two giant animated banner ads to show for it – and whose 43 gigawatt generation plant comprises 57% coal, 16% nuclear, 23% gas and – just so they can mention it in their “sustainability” page – 4% hydro. And that hydro plant is largely river-killing dams, in case you were wondering.

Like Georgia-Pacific, sponsor of both the Business Products and Healthy Eating sections, and solely owned by Koch Industries, primary supporters of the Tea Party anti-climate change agenda, and whose own website displays a level of climate change muddle-headedness and disinformation that can only come from a company whose income is dependent upon the continual consumption of dirty energy. For their part, Georgia-Pacific have repeatedly flouted pollution laws and continue to buy timber from illegally logged forests.

Like Siemens, sponsor of the Sustainable Business Practice section, whose business interests include weapons systems, oil and gas (“one of the most important technology partners for the oil and gas industry”) and all sorts of heavy industrial managementsystems, including those for nuclear power.

Like Coca-Cola, the water snatchers. Like MillerCoors, behemoths of the brewing world.

Get the picture?

So next time a web site claims it wants to make our world better, it’s worth thinking who exactly that “our” is. Could it be the companies who give them the money they need to run the site? Could it be the interests of the people who actually run the organisation? It certainly won’t be the world that needs to be given a bit of breathing space from all these corporations in order to recover.

Posted in Adverts, Media Hypocrisy, Sponsorship | No Comments »

Brilliant Rant About Symbolic Action and 10:10

Posted by keith on 8th October 2010

I have been sent a link to this wonderful “rant” – no, it’s not a rant, it’s telling it like it is – on the Powershift forum.

Here’s the Richard Curtis video he refers to, and if Mr Curtis would like my opinions on 10:10 then I would love him to bring his little red button to my house so we can discuss it…

Yeah, but what about the climate impact of the detergents and water to clean up afterwards? ;-)

This is just sick; not the fake blood (cinematic suicide bomber chic?), but the whole belief in piffling measures like low energy lights and the like as being the way we can cut emissions. We have to offer a vision outside of the present consumer paradigm that encourages a shift in lifestyle rather than the substitution of existing consumption trends. Actions like this are a simplistic exhortation to change brand or product, not to change the nature of the human system and its impacts on the biosphere. And if, in the rhetoric of “10:10”, this is just something easy to get people interested, that’s absurd too — a lot of recent work on issues around behavioural economics demonstrate that such incantations to change only work where the change is insignificant or equivalent, but fail when it requires a real and difficult realignment of lifestyle patterns.

I’ve just been sent the blurb — AGAIN — on the Crude Awakening demo in London —

Yet another example of people who want to “save the planet” and keep their iPods (OK, I’m generalising on that point!), when in fact it’s their atrophied, consumer-oriented outlook on the potential of their lives that’s the problem. Their perception of the drivers for the “problems” they seek solutions to are wholly divorced from reality, and rely on the simplistic media-spun agenda that is shaped by the very same forces that they state their opposition to. E.g., there’s no discussion of the resource supply issues related to oil (and other) as a source of energy — why do you think the industry is drilling in deep water/the Arctic in the first place?

There is no climate solution within the paradigm of consumption; that’s a demonstrable fact. We have to shift our lifestyles to a new economic and organisational structure that restricts demand, but unfortunately none of the self-proclaimed leaders of the eco-establishment appear to have the guts to promote such a concept at the leading edge of their agenda (of course, you might find such exhortations in the small print, but they won’t lead their sound-bites on this approach).

It doesn’t matter if, at present, most people “won’t like it”; it’s the only option that is able to address the drivers of the human suicide cult called “growth economics” — physical reality doesn’t negotiate, doesn’t compromise with ‘political reality’, and for that reason the eco-establishment as much as the political and economic establishment are going to be thrown into crisis by these trends as they arrive over the next two or three decades. Personally I think I’d rather be disliked for making a case based on evidence rather than promoting an eco-delusion assimilated by market forces. More importantly, people might not “like it” today, but if that argument is not put because of the movement’s adherence to the shibboleth of growth then the public will never have the choice of considering any option other than the market-centric solutions offered by all mainstream parties/groups.

As far as I can see, initiatives like this are just spinning a delusional rope that will in the near future hang them! Clearly, in the reversal of McLuhan’s observation, “the message has become the media”; and in the process the actions that they promote are conceptual extrapolations of reality (aka. ‘hyperreality’), not a realistic commentary on our situation that the public are able to assimilate and act upon. These “environmentalists” should stop using the Web 2.0/digital media that are driving IT emissions up and resource availability down, ditch their mobile phones and other lifestyle gadgets, and start living a more simpler way of life where we reduce consumption not for the motivation of “reducing emissions” (which, by many measures, does not have this effect on the economy as a whole) but rather to avoid the need to earn income and therefore the need to work long hours — in the process creating the spare time to engage in more activities that create a less consumptive and more local/resilient system, thus creating a feedback loop that reduces their lifestyle impacts further.

Simplicity is the future, not the illusion of some carbon-friendly ecotopia.

Another 10% next year? I don’t think so.

Posted in Adverts, Celebrity Hypocrisy, Corporate Hypocrisy, Media Hypocrisy, NGO Hypocrisy, Political Hypocrisy, Public Sector Hypocrisy, Symbolic Action | 1 Comment »

Reveal Handbags : Revile Fashion

Posted by keith on 6th October 2010

> Dear Keith,

> For your next high-fashion piece, consider REVEAL, the hottest eco-luxury handbags. made of recycled plastic bottles. REVEAL just launched their new Recycled Collection, and it’s perfect for women who are SEXY with SUBSTANCE. You know which women we are referring to. it’s your super stylish and smart girlfriend who manages to look hot while she juggles the balance of life, with an amazing career, adventure, friends, and travel, all while caring about the planet. Sound familiar? Yes. we are talking about you, too.

> I’d like to introduce REVEAL bags, an innovative, sustainable handbag and accessories line. The line features eco-luxury fashion accessories for the modern and mobile lifestyle. REVEAL’s earth and animal friendly products include women’s handbags and wallets, men’s messenger bags and bamboo accessories, and eco-modern mobile accessories for your iPad and iPhone. With REVEAL, you don’t have to choose between fashion and a better planet.

> All REVEAL products are meticulously designed to represent the real you – a fashion-forward trendsetter who cares about our planet and believes that together we can make a difference. To review the entire collection, please visit:

> Rachel Wiley

> (619) 955-5285 Office
> (717) 676-8198 Cell
> 350 W. Ash St. #103
> San Diego, CA 92101

— ——–

Dear Rachel

For your next undermining piece, consider THE UNSUITABLOG, the hottest anti-hypocrisy website…made of recycled words. THE UNSUITABLOG just launched its new article called “Unfashion”, and it’s perfect for people who are RADICAL with PASSION. You know which people we are referring to…it’s your super sustainable and smart friend who manages to undermine the industrial-capitalist system while he or she juggles the balance of life, with amazing home cooked meals, rewilding, community, and localisation, all the while ignoring the fake-green corporate PR system. Sound familiar? Yes… we are talking about you, too.

I’d like to introduce THE UNSUITABLOG, an innovative, anti-capitalist website. It features articles that expose the hypocritical greenwashing of the corporate world. THE UNSUITABLOG’s radical and informative articles include monthly guides to Undermining the industrial system, guest articles from fellow anti-greenwashers, and investigative journalism to expose hypocritical organisations. With THE UNSUITABLOG you don’t have to choose between great reading and a better planet.

Reveal Handbags

Many UNSUITABLOG articles have been meticulously written to expose the true face of the fashion industry – an ever-growing, ever-destroying consumer behemoth which will stop at nothing in its hypocrisy to protect the lie that profit and economic growth are essential to society. To review the latest one, please visit:


Posted in Adverts, Advice, Corporate Hypocrisy, Subvertising | 6 Comments »

Monthly Undermining Task September/October 2010: Unfashion

Posted by keith on 19th September 2010

Fashion! Turn to the left
Fashion! Turn to the right
Oooh, fashion!
We are the goon squad
and we’re coming to town

(“Fashion”, David Bowie)

The Unsuitablog is being fashionably late in publishing the latest Monthly Undermining Task; the main reason being that I wanted leave the previous one up as long as I possibly could, particularly in light of an article by Javier Sethness, which included the following phrase that I couldn’t possibly disagree with:

“Just as the hegemonic system McKibben mystifies—capitalism—must be dislodged and abolished, so must McKibben himself come to be displaced as leader/father of contemporary movements against climate catastrophe.”

So there you go – it’s nice not to be alone.

This month (I’m skipping into the next month too, as this is so important) we are targeting something that should be the antithesis of every environmental group, and environmental activist on Earth – but it’s not and, in many cases, is embraced by so-called environmentalists for the very reason given in the above quote. Fashion is the artificially generated desire for change. Note the word “artificial”: as humans we do, to a certain extent, desire change in order to achieve fulfilment; but only in civilised society are we bound to the idea that we should change constantly, driven by a system that ensures we are never fulfilled.

Fashion exists to keep humans in a state of psychological flux: malcontents always looking for the next thing to desire. What is especially evident in the destructive monster called Industrial Civilization is that the idea of fashion is increasingly becoming the driving force behind economic growth. Where once it was enough for industry to ensure that everyone had what most people in the industrial world would consider to be basic goods, such as a shoes, a warm coat, a television and a refrigerator; the saturation of the Western economies with such “basic” goods, along with ever-shrinking profit margins (only partly supplemented by using slave labour) means that baseline consumption has to be augmented by a constant desire for different versions of the same thing.

Once you have a computer, you don’t need another one for a long, long time; unless companies bring out software that is constantly “upgraded” to ensure that at some point you will have to buy new hardware in order to run the new software. You don’t need the upgraded software, but you are sold it in a very convincing way – to such an extent that it becomes highly desirable. At some point you feel that you do need the new software; and in order to run the new software you need to upgrade your hardware. Of course, you might be given the desire to change your hardware before you “need” to, for instance to take advantage of faster performance you never realised you needed.

Remarkably, this is only a simplified version of the full story – leaving out built in obsolescence and withdrawal of support – such is the nature of computing. More transparently, but in essentially the same way, are we given the desire for new clothing and footwear; new ways of listening to and watching things; new ways to communicate; even new ways to read books – by doing away with the books themselves. The superficial driver may be practical: personal betterment, convenience, speed, scale; but beneath all of this, including the computer example, is the idea that someone, somewhere has something you have not got, and which you have become in need of.

Fashion cannot exist without this “need”. The industrial economy, increasingly, cannot exist without fashion.

Of course, once you have the thing which you desire (or rather, “need”) then a new desire has to be created. The incremental “upgrade” – be it to a different colour or style of coat, or a more convenient way of recording television shows – is readily attainable providing you are prepared to spend the money, and ideally take out a loan; and if the upgrades are just significant enough, and just affordable enough, then you will never realise that what you desire is actually completely unattainable. It must be, otherwise consumption would eventually stop.

The iPhone 3 became unfashionable immediately upon the release of the iPhone 4. There was no need for anyone to buy an iPhone 4 if they already had an iPhone 3; but very many people were persuaded in contradiction of such an obvious point. There will be an iPhone 5 soon.

So, how is this desire for the unattainable maintained in a society where we are, apparently, so market-savvy and educated? I’ve given one of the key reasons away: the idea that the unattainable is seen to be attainable. I’ve also hinted at a deeper psychological trick: the personalisation of desire, by which a “need” that is external to the individual, eventually becomes internalised, and thus what is perceived to be a genuine need. This is nothing short of psychological manipulation; and it is one of the most powerful forces existing in modern society.

The methods by which these two con-tricks are pulled off are many and varied, and you will probably be familiar with the vast majority of them.

A very powerful – possibly the most powerful – method by which fashion is imposed upon people is social peer pressure. The idea that someone important, and possibly influential, to you has something you do not have is more than enough to create personal “need”. This factor is heavily exploited by industry, most obviously in the form of advertising that suggests collective desire (notice the number of adverts that use happy crowd or friend scenes), but increasingly through virtual social networks such as Facebook, and direct viral networking.

More subtly, but on a larger scale, is the use of targeted media such as technology and clothing magazines (who will readily promote product x in exchange for advertising revenue) along with newspaper supplements, that show new products as being “essential” or at least highly desirable. Far more cheaply, as far as industry is concerned is the blanket press release to kneejerk bloggers, desperate to be the first to report on the latest big thing – well, big in terms of potential income – and extremely willing to publish these press releases verbatim.

At a more formal level, but clearly in response to the corporate desire for continued economic growth (profit), is the relentless push by civilised governments for continual consumer spending. This can manifest itself in political speeches that ask citizens to support industry and maintain a “healthy” (ironic, considering it is destroying the global ecosystem) economy; and even government policy that may give tax breaks for consumer spending – providing that spending is on new products and, ideally, the very latest of everything. On the surface this may be suggested as promoting “eco friendly” products, when it is actually ensuring we keep the economic machine grinding on.

Incredibly, despite our knowledge of these methods, we all – at some time or another – fall for them. We fall for them because they exploit some of the most primal aspects of humanity: the need to be wanted and loved; the desire to belong; the willingness to follow strong leadership. It may just seem like a small word – fashion – but it encompasses a Pandora’s Box of manipulative methods that exist in order to keep us buying, and thus allowing the ravenous industrial machine to keep eating up the very ecosystem we depend upon for our survival.

This can be stopped.

During 2010, I have detailed all sorts of methods for undermining different aspects of industrial civilization: from mind numbing television and behaviour altering advertising to life destroying debt and child enslaving school testing; from the civilised corruption of language to the all-embracing cash economy; from the addiction of mass tourism to the placatory, fake greenness of the mainstream environmental movement.

Contained within those articles, along with the three original Unsuitablog anti-greenwashing guides are literally hundreds of potential avenues for undermining a way of life that will lead to our ultimate demise. As London Fashion Week ramps up to a screaming crescendo, and the fashion world’s commercial clock makes us once again feel inadequate in a new season – one that wild nature has been happy to repeat in resplendent glory every year since humans first colonised seasonal lands – I am turning to my readers, and fellow Underminers, to say how you would undermine the system that turns artificial, unnecessary commercial change into something we feel we need to have.

How would you create a world of Unfashion?

Suggestions can be sent to, posted on the Anti-Greenwashing Action Facebook Group, or posted as comments below this article. All suggestions that have a decent chance or working, and are practical for ordinary people to do will be published here.

Away you go…

From DVD:

Anti-peer pressure: make sure you don’t perpetuate social peer pressure and act as the opposite dissenting voice for people you know. Move against the trends too, downsize and simplify rather than buy in to them.

Adbusting: consumer advertising does a huge amount to create the unhappiness in people to need constant change – consider ways to fight back against it (

From LS:

For my part I opted out of the “fashion” game a long, long time ago. My solution embodies the principle of: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. And that is pure poison for the fashion industry. I do the following

1. Buy the highest quality garments that I can find (which is increasingly difficult of course). Don’t buy clothing that is clearly rubbish, it just encourages the retailers to replace good quality clothing with more rubbish
2. Only wash clothing when it actually needs it (not just because your wore it yesterday) and dry it on a cloths line. Washing wears out clothing faster, especially if you tumble dry
3. Repair garments to increase their lifespan
4. “Retire” clothing to wear while working in the garden as it ages and becomes unsuitable for wearing in public
5. Wear garments until they can’t be repaired any more
6. Convert unwearable clothing into rags for use around the house

I have also stopped buying new clothing to a large degree. So much perfectly good clothing is available second hand that I can provide most of my needs (often in very high quality once expensive garments) just by browsing a few second hand stores.

From Knutty Knitter:

I don’t buy fashion either and my sister who loves fashion now makes her own and does lots of swap sessions with friends. As for computer stuff – if it isn’t open source I mostly don’t have it.

All my appliances including computers are old – my stereo system is 30 years plus! It works really well so why would I need a new one.

I will have to purchase a new oven because I don’t have one yet (the last one was left in the previous house as part of the fixtures). Thats a total of one new appliance every five years or so – am I annoying enough yet?

I do buy art supplies but I don’t look at ads for that – I just go with what I actually want. Anyhow I don’t watch tv unless its recorded so I can skip the ads, don’t buy magazines or papers and don’t accept junk mail so I never know whats hot anyway :)

My friends like me for who I am not what I possess and that is the way I’ve always been – just more so since I started seriously into green. Keeping up with the Joneses was always overrated anyhow :)

From Sarah:

We’re not green. We just live simply. We’ve never used a credit card, and only have a loan for schooling of debatable use and a house that we couldn’t afford otherwise.

We cloth diaper, using a plain Chinese Tri-fold and waterproof liner. We gift handmade stuff. We sell handmade, hard-wearing kitchen stuffs. We go for weeks on end buying only groceries. (I’ve heard of “Year of no stuff” people doing that, and thinking it was some great thing, but the Amish and the Mennonites in our area have been doing that forever.) For that matter, why not take a page out of the Amish handbook, and take some sort of pious pride out of being simpler than everyone you know?

Instead of shopping for relief of that marketing-induced guilt of not being worthy on our own merit, we try to spend the time making something. We’ve made bramble baskets, all sorts of kitchen and bathroom items, painted pots and vases, made up-cycled denim bags, re-buttoned dresses and coats, pillow forts with children, hats, scarfs, Renaissance Festival Gear, campfires, s’mores, pies, sheds, crackers, and baby slings (among others). The point was we found worth in developing ourselves (like ladies of accomplishment in the Jane Austen novels) rather than just celebrating how much money we could make at a job we hate to buy things we don’t think we could make ourselves because we’re too lazy or scared.

The big thing for us is that only one of us works outside of the home (by choice and a strong in-home childcare market in our area), giving us time to make things. And if it isn’t made by our hands, it isn’t cool or worthwhile.

Thanks for all these so far.

Posted in Adverts, Government Policies, Monthly Undermining Tasks, Revenge, Sponsorship | 7 Comments »

True In All But Name [Video]

Posted by keith on 14th July 2010

And that’s how brainwashing works…

Posted in Adverts, Advice, Spoofs, Subvertising | No Comments »

Monthly Undermining Task, July 2010: Escape The Tourist Trap

Posted by keith on 8th July 2010

Here is a picture of a cat in a deckchair, probably relaxing as cats are wont to do from time to time. The cat could be anywhere but I can bet you anything that the cat didn’t travel thousands of miles to wherever it is relaxing in the deckchair especially in order to relax in a deckchair; that cat is just chilled, in the deckchair, being a cat.

I know why many people take vacations (holidays, vacances…), and it’s for a reason that would be absurd if it weren’t so tragically true: it’s to get away from the place where they live. Not to go somewhere else – although that is often cited as the reason – but, to put it another way, to be in a place other than that where they spend most of their lives so as not to be reminded of what they do for the rest of the year. Oh, there are plenty of people I know – myself included – who go on vacations solely to see other places and/or meet other people, but they are in the minority.

You see, the vast majority of people living in the civilized world are stuck (so it seems) with a life that only releases them from its industrialised grip for a very short time once every year; or maybe twice if you can arrange things that way. Weekends, for most people, are spent doing the things that couldn’t be managed during the rest of the week because there wasn’t the time or energy to do them. Stuck in the spin-cycle of sleep-work-eat-watch-sleep-work-eat-watch…sleep-shop-clean-eat-watch-sleep… then the vacation becomes that slowly brightening light at the far end of a long, long shift that the industrialised and their families pinpoint as one of their few realisable aspirations.

What a bloody hopeless existence!

A few years ago I authored an essay called “The Problem With…Tourism” that set out the basic environmental and humanitarian issues of this pernicious industry. Here’s an extract:

As with many large-scale commercial ventures, the users of tourism are being promised a dream. That dream comes with few strings attached. That dream can be expensive, but the potential returns are good memories for life. And we are addicted to that dream; the one fantastic holiday that we want to repeat over and over again; the sense of “getting away from it all”, enjoying better weather, great entertainment, a chance to meet different people, and the cachet that goes with having done all this; all essentially selfish things, but none of them harmful as such.

As we continue to be enchanted by the riches that tourism has to offer, we fail to see the stream of people coming with us that grows ever wider, feeding on the same dream, taking advantage of the richly polluting cheap flights that deposit the hoards of people who engulf delicate habitats with concrete and suck dry the natural riches that so attracted them in the first place.

Does it have to be this way?

Do we ever stop and think of the reasons we go where we do? Do we actually consider the impact that our travelling, accommodation and entertainment are having on planet Earth?

The impact of tourism on the natural environment is huge, and growing at an enormous rate. With a current annual growth rate of about 5% in the western world, the emissions from flying are expected to triple in less than 25 years – far more if you consider the potentially enormous growth expected from China and other rapidly developing nations.

And on the surface, it is the act of tourism that seems to be the real problem – the pollution of travelling and the seasonal populations of travellers, along with the concentration camp-like existance of tourists, shut off from the outside world, economically unreachable by the people who are supposedly set to “benefit” from this tide of humanity. But as becomes clear when you analyse the way the civilized world is run – for the benefit of the corporate elites and their toadying political makeweights – tourism is even more sinister than this: it is a way of screwing every last drop of humanity from civilization’s willing slaves in return for a few weeks in the sun and, if you’re really unlucky, more opportunities to hand your money over to the corporate world.

And they call this a holiday?

Do you know the simplest way to short-circuit this horrible facade? Simply refuse to do what you are told.

I don’t have a detailed list of Undermining tasks of varying risks to offer you this month: just a simple set of ideas. Only you can make your mind up how risky they are, and whether you want to do them. But if you do take them, you may find yourself escaping far more than just the Tourist Trap…

If you are being sold something, don’t buy it.

If you are encouraged to go somewhere, don’t go there.

If you are offered incentives to make journeys or experience thrills you wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise, throw them back in the faceless faces of those that offer them.

If there is a way, any way, to get out of the spin cycle, slow down and take control of your life then take it!

Enjoy time your way, not the way of the machine.

Posted in Adverts, Advice, Company Policies, Government Policies, Monthly Undermining Tasks, Revenge | 4 Comments »

What On Earth Are Timberland Talking About?

Posted by keith on 8th June 2010

What is it we make better?

It is our boots. Our shoes. Our clothing. Our gear. Out communities. Our environment. And our business practices. But once you put on our gear, it is the journey. It is getting from point A to point B. And onto point C. And D. and E. And on to wherever else your purpose leads you. It is your walk to work. Your hike up the summit. Your right turn. Your wrong turn. It is getting to the top of things and reaching higher. Getting to the bottom of things and digging deeper. It is doing more seeking than finding. And inspiring more action than words. It is thinking on your feet. Giving it all you’ve got. Being resourceful. Protective. And respectful of where you go and whom you meet along the way. And it is never a question of whether or not you will make it better, only what path you will choose.

(found on the inside of a Timberland shoebox)

Please send more examples of execrable corporate bollocks to

Posted in Adverts, Corporate Hypocrisy | 3 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:

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:

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


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 »