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Climate Enemies


I need your help.  Or, rather, your opinion.  I have been motivated by a variety of factors (including Bill McKibben’s current “Do the Math” tour) to do something that may be stupid.  I am thinking of going around and posting the following:

Climate Enemies - Shell

Climate Enemies – Shell

Climate Enemies - Irving

Climate Enemies – Irving

Three questions:

1. Is this stupid?

2. Could I get in trouble?

3. If your answer to questions 1 and 2 is “No”, how can I improve the text in small print (I don’t like it…)?

I’d truly like some feedback.


12 Comments leave one →
  1. 2012/11/24 9:42 pm

    1. I don’t think it’s ‘stupid’. But the problem is that it’s not really possible to identify individual companies as ‘the enemy’… If you feel the need to point fingers at corporations, might it be better to have a cluster of logos (for instance, both ‘shell’ and ‘irving’ together rather than singling them out). In my view, if there is ‘an enemy’ then it’s ‘the system’ that we’ve all grown up with and have come to accept as ‘normality’. We, or rather, our world view, is the foe we need to fight.

    2. “Get into trouble?” I don’t think so; you’re just expressing an opinion. But IANAL, and you might want to seek advice of one who is.

    3. I hear you; that small print doesn’t read at all well! I’m assuming the text in bold is a direct quote, which would mean you shouldn’t mess with those words. Maybe cut from “the internationally…” to “climate change”, and, instead of beginning a new sentence, run on with ” — but the fossil fuel industry…” ? This would give you a slightly more punchy:

    According to the International Energy Agency, “No more than one third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2°C goal” — but the fossil fuel industry is determined to extract all of those reserves.”

    • 2012/11/27 6:32 am

      Thanks Pendantry. I appreciate your input and much prefer your “small” print!

  2. Laura permalink
    2012/11/24 10:40 pm

    Question for you J: anytime an illegal, immoral, or unethical supply and demand economic situation exists, who is driving it? The party supplying the product/service? Or the consumer?

    Which has been more effective thoughout time? Targetting the supplier or the buyer? When you remove the buyer, the purchase cycle collapses. When you remove the supplier, a new one steps in. As long as a buyer exists, a supplier will materialize. Supply and demand.

    It is easy to target the industry–and perhaps effective; I do not have the answers–but the industry could not over-supply if we did not over-demand.

    I do not want to see you get in over your head and those posters have strong words. Potentially liable words.

    Again, I sure do not have the answers. Just posing some conversation ideas to consider.

    • 2012/11/27 6:34 am

      Great points. And that’s why I decided to post the signs up and get some feedback 🙂
      I had the same concern: that these “potential liable words”. And something tells me that Bill McKiben has more money for lawyers and than I do!
      Thanks for your input.

  3. Hallie permalink
    2012/11/25 6:02 pm

    I don’t think you caring is stupid. I don’t know if you can get in trouble. How much do your efforts co-align with what or Climate Reality Project or Greenpeace might say about companies? However, my “personal” opinion is yes ! of course we want to stop them BUT the part we all forget is we support them while we are trying to stop them. We still buy and drive vehicles. We still buy and use the products that are made from those resources. So in my humble opinion “We” are our worst enemy. I personally, have made many changes. I do still have a gas powered vehicle. I cannot afford electric or even a hybrid right now but when I can? I will be purchasing differently. I personally believe that we have to face what we are buying as consumers. When we stop buying those things that are made from resources such as “oil” ….. then they have no reason to extract those resources. Until we are? Until they get “moral”? about what they are doing? and even if they do get “moral”? and all decided to stop right now what they are doing? What replacement resources do we have in place in our personal lives to make up for what is no longer there?

    • 2012/11/27 6:38 am

      Interesting and compelling argument. And that is why I support some kind of carbon fee or tax. We can either FORCE people to consume less (or differently) or we can affect the market to change the consuming behaviour. God knows that forcing people to do something won’t go over well. So putting a fee on carbon which reflects its environmental impact would be a better alternative.
      Thanks for your input!

  4. 2012/11/26 3:59 am

    Hi JP,
    My answer has to be brief because I am travelling and typing is cumbersome.
    1. No!!!! I value your energy and willingness to do something! And that can’t be stupid!!!
    2. I have no idea. But I would follow the argument that picking only one company might be a problem.
    3. What impact do you want to achieve?
    Raising awareness? Giving information? Motivating action? …
    McKibben did a very good job in raising awareness, he achieved pretty good media coverage around the world. Honestly, I doubt that your posters will have the same effect.
    If you want to inform or motivate people the text currently lacks hints on where readers could find more information or what people could do in order to fight global warming.
    Creating an external enemy is always good to strengthen group cohesion, but if the enemy so far away and so mighty, it might be more impactful to show them ways how to fight the enemy inside ourselves.
    But we also have to tackle the question of societal, political and structural change. Someday – somehow.

    • 2012/11/27 6:41 am

      Thanks Silke!
      I also agree with the “don’t pick on on company” argument.
      And I also thought of adding at the bottom of the page: “for more info, visit…”. Thanks for pointing that out.

  5. 2012/11/29 10:24 am

    Bill McKibben promotes Biofuel. For Biofuel more than 100 million people suffer and all rainforest’s disappear to grow biofuel crops. So what is the reason you get inspired by this man?

    • 2012/11/29 7:50 pm

      I have never heard Bill McKibben speak about biofuels. Could you share some information that supports your claim. I would interested to read about it. But, to directly answer your question, I’m inspired by Bill McKibben because he and his group ( have the guts to take the fight to the fossil fuel industry. He takes every opportunity to speak out about climate change at a time where we seem to hear so little about it. That’s why.

  6. 2012/12/04 9:00 am

    Have to add my 2 cents re: biofuels – I’m not sure why Mr. Blom connects Bill McKibben with biofuels, but by far the most interesting/hopeful development in that area is work with algae biofuels. This doesn’t disrupt our food system, which Mr. Blom is rightly concerned about, and clearly not rainforests are cut down because of them.
    As for your ads, Greenpeace and RAN all have really good graphics re: Big Oil’s part in destroying our climate and pristine areas of the world. Check out their websites, and if you still can’t find them message me and I’ll send you what I have.
    Keep up the great work!

  7. 2012/12/06 5:01 pm

    Kind of tangential, but you may find this of interest: The 38 degrees guide to spotting UK tax dodgers.

    A little less current, but still on the theme of naming and shaming, I would point to McLibel, the film directed by Franny Armstrong (of The Age of Stupid fame).

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