Greenwash spill at the BP-sponsored National Portrait Gallery, London

On 22nd June 2010 at 6.07 PM the London brigade of the Greenwash Guerrillas got a call from a panicked pedestrian outside the National Portrait Gallery. It seemed that the prizegiving ceremony for BP Portrait Award was about to start, and toxic greenwash had begun to gush uncontrollably from the gallery’s front doors.

Arriving on the scene, armed with the latest in greenwash detecting equipment and wearing protective biohazard suits, the Guerrillas immediately identified several sources of the leak. Greenwash levels appeared to be the strongest anywhere a bright green BP logo was to be found: from the massive banners fronting either side of the grand entrance, to the microscopic embroidery on a security guard’s lapel. The Guerrillas were given the run-around by gallery security and the Metropolitan police, who escorted Britain’s cultural establishment into the awards ceremony first at the front, then around the side, then back at the front entrance again.

By 7 PM, everyone had convened at the front entrance, and the Guerrillas set to work to contain the leak, quarantine the area, and warn attendees against entering the building. Many clean-up efforts were tried, from throwing golf balls and old tires at the leak to trying to plug it with mud, but for some reason the spill just kept gushing. Meanwhile, some Guerrillas attempted to arm the attendees – most of whom, inexplicably, were determined to enter the contaminated building – with information about BP, oil industry sponsorship of the arts, and the best way to protect themselves from greenwash.

Despite the best efforts of the Guerrillas, greenwash unfortunately continues to spew forth from the BP-sponsored National Portrait Gallery and countless other oil-sponsored arts institutions across London. But resistance is growing, and this summer might just be remembered as the tipping point in the campaign to free art from oil.

More info:
Rising Tide

Art Not Oil

Press release

What’s the problem?

BP’s sponsorship of the National Portrait Award is greenwash – a way of cleaning up BP’s tattered public image and covering up its shocking environmental and human rights record.

Greenwash is as toxic as oil. With it, BP buys our approval, and hopes we’ll forget about the gusher in the Gulf, the 300 000 lives already lost each year due to climate change, and the fact that the company is poised to enter the Canadian tar sands – the most destructive project on earth.

Every pound the National Portrait Gallery accepts from BP is tainted. In response to changing public opinion, cultural institutions eventually decided that it was no longer in their best interests to take money from the tobacco industry. It’s high time we kicked Big Oil out of our galleries too.

Art Not Oil visits Shell-sponsored Oedipus

On Wednesday 15th October Art Not Oil made it’s first visit to the National Theatre to highlight Shell’s sponsorship of the autumn production of Oedipus. Shell is sponsoring the National Theatre’s new production of ‘Oedipus’, and, unsurprisingly, Art Not Oil is preparing a response on various fronts. We’re asking people if they’re up for making an artwork of some kind as a response This could be an image, song, film or poem to appear on our website, or to be printed on a postcard or something similar. We’re open to ideas. (Unfortunately, we aren’t able to pay for your work, but we have no wish to possess it!) If this is of interest, we’d love to see it as soon as possible, as ‘Oedipus’ runs until January 2009 only.

More information about Art not Oil and Shell’s sponsorship of Oedipus

Greenwash Guerrillas Embarrass E.ON

This morning, Climate Campers and friends, including Rising Tiders, put a fresh dent in E.ON’s tarnished reputation with a Greenwash Guerrillas demo outside the UK Guardian Climate Change Summit, which E.ON are sponsoring.

Protected by toxic waste hazard suits and brandishing a top-of-the-line range of greenwash detecting devices, the 40 intrepid Greenwash Guerrillas swarmed around the building (the Business Design Centre in Islington, whose marketing managers were not best pleased at their presence and who might think twice about working with a climate criminal like E.ON in future), making sure that every delegate who entered knew about E.ON’s attempt to build the first new coal fired power station in the UK for thirty years at Kingsnorth, in Kent (site of this year’s Camp for Climate Action, which has other plans – like leaving fossil fuels in the ground!).

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Greenwash Guerrillas Pie Thomas Friedman on Earth Day

New York Times columnist, war-monger, and Greenwasher extraordinaire Thomas Friedman gets pied while speaking at Brown University last week. Read on for the press release!

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Greenwash Guerrillas Target Portland Oregon’s Climate Trust on Fossil Fools Day


With a bouquet of heart shaped balloons, a group of Portland-area climate activists calling themselves the “Greenwash Guerrillas” presented a highly experimental new business model to passersby in downtown Portland on Tuesday. Drawing their inspiration from so-called carbon neutral companies like Portland’s Climate Trust, the activists claim to be launching a new company called “Cheat Neutral.”

“Have you cheated on your girlfriend recently?” Lynne Tucker of Cheat Neutral asked a passerby, “For $19.95 we can clear up your conscience with an infidelity offset, and fund someone else to be faithful and neutralize the heartache in the world.”

The prank was part of “Fossil Fools Day”, an international day of protest focused on the energy industry and climate change.

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Greenwash Guerrillas tackle major greenwash leakage at Shell HQ

On 3rd January 2008, at about lunch time, the London Rising Tide Greenwash Guerrillas discovered a major source of greenwash at Shell HQ in Waterloo, London. The Guerrillas entered the lobby for an inspection but were so repelled by the Greenwash that they had to leave (the security assisting their escape). Continue reading

International Hoax Targets US Business Consortium Amidst Bali Climate Negotiations

Climate activists with the international Rising Tide network embarrassed the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a lobby group composed of 33 prominent businesses and organizations, by distributing a spoof press release declaring that the consortium’s members had committed to a 90 percent reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In addition, the spoof release called for an immediate moratorium on the construction of all new coal-fired power plants.

“To stabilize our climate, reductions need to be based on science, not on creating windfall profits for the world’s largest polluters,” said Matt Leonard. “Leading scientists say decisive action must happen now to reduce our emissions. However, corporate interests have stymied substantive action and are derailing genuine efforts of civil society to adequately address climate change.”

The fake press release was picked up by several media outlets, including the Dallas Morning News, UK Hemscott and several blogs before journalists realized that USCAP members would never agree to such progressive reductions in carbon emissions or a moratorium on coal plants. Continue reading

Greenwash Guerrillas Disrupt Carbon Traitors (ahem, Carbon Traders) Conference

Rising Tide North America’s “Greenwash Guerrillas” paid a surprise Halloween visit to the Carbon Market Insights conference in New York City today. Posing as delegates, two protesters took the stage at the exclusive event and presented the 700 attendees with a “Deed to the Sky,” denouncing Carbon Trading as a sham approach to the fossil fuels crisis. The action was the first in the US to target the growing Carbon Trading industry.

“Carbon trading puts the most crucial decisions about the future of life on this planet in the hands of fossil fuel industry,” said protester Jessica Starr “the very industry that got us into this mess in the first place.”


Greenwash detected at British Museum

The Greenwish Guerrillas struck again yesterday at the opening of the BP-sponsored ‘Michelangelo Drawings – Closer to the Master’ exhibition.As the doors of the British Museum opened on the first day of the record-ticket-selling Michelangelo exhibition, the Greenwash Guerrillas outfoxed security guards at the outer gates and unfurled a banner reading ‘BP sponsors climate chaos’ across the front steps of the building’s entrance. After a quick game of chase-the-Guerrillas, they set up camp outside the main gates, informing the public of the greenwash threat posed by BP’s hyper-slick sponsorship machine.

‘Enjoy your visit!’ said a security guard to everyone entering the museum.
‘Enjoy your visit and ask critical questions!’ said a Greenwash Guerilla.
One woman was heard to say, as she entered the museum refusing to accept a leaflet, ‘You can’t get us – we’re from the USA!’

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Greenwash Guerrillas not welcomed at ‘Ethical Corporation’ conference

On Wednesday February 23rd 2005, the Greenwash Guerrillas (GGs) visited the second day of the ‘Ethical Corporation Business/NGO Partnerships and Engagement London 2005 Conference’, happily subtitled “How to make sure everyone gets what they want”.

The GGs, donning protective clothing and greenwash detection equipment from a safe distance, (and thus attracting the interest of local bored constabulary), timed their entry into the Swiss Cottage Marriott Hotel to coincide with a co-presentation by BP and Flora & Fauna International (FFI). Energetic hotel security and said police soon had the GGs out on their ears though, not being happy at the thought of the cosy chowdown between NGOs and corporations being interrupted by the likes of us, down-at-heel superheroes and superheroines that we are. Continue reading