Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime> Dow throws a party, mainly zombies show up
The Yes Men on Tue, 20 Apr 2010 03:16:48 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Dow throws a party, mainly zombies show up

April 19, 2010


Underattended "Run for Water" plagued by death, zombies, and dozens of  
"Dow spokesmen"; truth seems to run free

Video: Yes Men video coming soon here; other video here
Stills: Yes Men pictures coming soon here; numerous others here
Contact: Whitney Black (803)466-3786; press {AT} theyesmen.org

Brooklyn, NY -- Bucolic Prospect park in Brooklyn, NY played host to a  
bizarre spectacle on Sunday, as a dramatically under-attended Dow- 
sponsored "Run for Water" was infiltrated and turned upside down by  
hundreds of furious activists, including a hundred dressed as Dow  

New Yorkers who came to the park expecting a light run followed by a  
free concert found themselves unwitting extras in a macabre and  
chaotic scene as runners keeled over dead, Dow-branded grim reapers  
chased participants, and a hundred fake Dow representatives harangued  
other protesters and and handed out literature that explained Dow's  
greenwashing program in frank detail.

The actions called attention to Dow's toxic legacy in places like  
India (the Bhopal Catastrophe), Vietnam (Agent Orange) and Midland  
Michigan (Dioxin Contamination), and to the absurdity of a company  
with serious water issues all over the world sponsoring the Live Earth  
Run For Water.

After race cancellations in London, Milan, Berlin, and Sweden, on-site  
Dow brand managers were in damage-control mode. But their job was made  
harder by the hundred fake "Dow" spokespeople who loudly but clumsily  
proclaimed Dow's position ("Our race! Our earth!" and "Run for water!  
Run for your life!"), spoke with many runners, screamed at the other  
protesters, passed out beautifully-produced literature, and all in all  
looked a whole lot better than the real Dow reps, who seemed eager to  
make themselves scarce.

"I don't know what's going on here," said Tracey Von Sloop, a Queens  
woman who attended the race. "All I know is these people are both  
crazy, and Dow is f*ing sick. I'm outta here."

The event was the latest blow to Dow's greenwashing efforts, the most  
visible element of which is the "Human Element" multi-media  
advertising campaign, one of the most expensive, and successful,  
marketing efforts in recent history. It even won an "Effie Award" for  
the most effective corporate advertising campaign in North America.

"Effective," perhaps -- but also completely misleading. To name just a  
few examples of Dow's water-related issues: Dow refuses to clean up  
the groundwater in Bhopal, India, site of the largest industrial  
disaster in human history, committed by Dow's fully-owned subsidiary,  
Union Carbide. As a result, children continue to be born there with  
debilitating birth defects. Dow has also dumped hundreds of millions  
of pounds of toxic chemical byproducts into wetlands of Louisiana, and  
has even poisoned its own backyard, leaving record levels of dioxins  
downriver from its global headquarters in Midland, Michigan.

"We thought it must be a joke when we first heard that Dow Chemical  
Company was sponsoring a run for clean water," said Yes Woman Whitney  
Black. "Sadly, it was not. One of the world's worst polluters trying  
to greenwash its image instead of taking responsibility for drinking  
water and ecosystems it has poisoned around the world? What an awfully  
unfunny way to start off Earth Week. We decided the event needed a  
little comic relief."

Irony was piled on irony throughout the race, which Dow absurdly  
claimed was going to be "the largest solutions-based initiative aimed  
at solving the global water crisis in history. At one point,  
organizers were caught on tape dramatically throwing out excess water  
left over because of an embarrassingly low turnout.

Groups organizing the action included the Center for Health,  
Environment and Justice, the International Campaign for Justice in  
Bhopal, New York Whale and Dolphin Action League, the Vietnam Agent  
Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign, the Wetlands Activism  
Collective, Global Justice for Animals and the Environment, Kids For A  
Better Future, The Yes Men, and hundreds of assorted volunteers,  
activists and mischief makers.

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: http://mail.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} kein.org