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Friday, April 02, 2010

Greenwash Guerrillas

By Environment Man

The Greenwash Guerrillas is a movement of people using non-violent confrontational tactics (throwing pies could be assault) to expose the widespread use of greenwashing in our society. The Greenwash Guerrillas draw from a long tradition of social justice street theater and humorous performance art. Greenwashing is running rampant, particularly in Washington, D.C. Every industry has formed its own 'clean, safe, green, reliable something or other' in order to completely control its 'green' message.

Hey. This takes potential money away from groups such as ours. If you're sympathetic to capitalism and accept the need for corporate industrial production, greenwashing targets should contract it out to 'real' groups. After all, the foundation community will not fund you if you do not drink their Kool-Aid. So if corporate America greenwashes their own operation, that weakens the potential for real alliances with sympathetic groups. And you open yourself up to attacks by the Greenwash Guerrillas. They even pied Tom Friedman for goodness sakes (see video below).

Greenwash (a blend of green and whitewash) is a term that is used to describe the act of misleading the public regarding the environmental practices, dishonest attempts to appear beneficial to the planet. Individuals, companies, or practices may use greenwashing in products, practices, events, journalism, and of course advertisements.

Guerrillas use unconventional tactics where a small group confronts a larger and less mobile foe. The Guerrilla may draw their opponents into terrain unsuited to them or alternately use mobility, advantage and surprise to expose power holders within their own areas of comfort.

The Greenwash Guerrillas 'got' the DC/Maryland utility Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) on April Fool's Day by sending about 3,000 fake letters to customers that appeared to show Pepco swearing off coal from "mountaintop removal" mines. The letter directed customers to http://www.pepco-green.com/, a Greenwash Guerrillas Web site that carried similar messages. The Guerrillas also posted a fake PEPCO Web site (looks very official too).

Thomas Friedman, the author and NY Times columnist, was invited to Brown University to give a keynote speech on Earth Day in 2008 and was pied by the Greenwash Guerrillas.

(Greenwash Guerrillas Wordpress, Wash Post, 2/1/10)

Link to this article