Corporations Tried To Blame You For The Plastic Crisis

If you’ve ever tossed a plastic water bottle in a trash can and felt a wave of guilt wash over you, well, judging by its marketing campaigns, that’s exactly how the packaging industry planned it.

Consider this recent public service announcement, where two uncanny squirrel puppets sit in a tree, watching passerby on the sidewalk and cheering when they put plastic bottles in the recycling bin. A man nearly throws a bottle in the trash (gasp!), but at the last moment, puts it away in his bag to “recycle later.” “Way to go, Mr. Brown Shoes!” one squirrel says. Then a message pops up on the screen: “Recycle your bottles like everyone’s watching.”

This ad is from Keep America Beautiful, a nonprofit backed by big corporations (think Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonald’s, Nestlé) that’s been delivering versions of that message for more than half a century.

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Courts Can No Longer Protect Companies Over Climate Flak

United Kingdom – Last month, six people stood trial in Southwark Crown Court, charged with causing criminal damage to Shell’s London headquarters on April 15, 2019. The trial received little coverage at the time: although all six pleaded not guilty, it appeared to be an open and shut case. That the building was damaged was not in doubt; nor was the identity of the perpetrators.

But then, surprisingly, all six Extinction Rebellion activists were acquitted. This verdict deserves attention as it raises big questions about how far the law can protect companies that do not take real action to deal with the climate emergency.

The defendants were instructed by Judge Gregory Perrins that they could enter as evidence only who they were, what they had done and a brief explanation why.

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