Mar 26, 2010

8 Strange Environmental Protests

Passion can cause people to do some pretty wild things. Protesting something is a rational thing. Protesting something in a crazy or stupid way isn’t. Over the years we’ve seen some pretty wild and original protests. Below is collection of the strangest.

1. PETA Blow-Up Dolls

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PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, for those of you who may somehow be unfamiliar with the group) is nothing, if not absurd. Traditional protests are rarely their thing. Often labeled as extremists, PETA tends to go for the gusto when trying to spread their message about animal rights. Horribly gruesome comic books, naked lobster women and lettuce bikinis are the norm for them, so trying to narrow down which of their many protests is the most bizarre is akin to asking which ocean is the most damp. Still, this one should be in the running: PETA placed nude blow-up dolls outside of a Thailand KFC. The dolls held up signs that read “Animal Abuse Blows! Boycott KFC!” The dolls themselves looked pretty terrifying, causing many a passer-by both unsettled and slightly aroused.
2. Green Peace Giant Toilet

The toilet was erected on Los Muertos Beach in Pietro Vallarta, Mexico. Mexico has been struggling with pollution issues for years but ocean dumping has become a tremendous problem: the World Health Organization’s clean water standards were exceeded by the beach water sixteen times. What’s more, the National Water Commission reported that over 40,000 cubic meters of wastewater are contaminate the Banderas Bay everyday. Greenpeace hoped to send a simple message with their toilet: cut the crap.

3. Butter Bombs
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society protests the whaling industry in very direct and disruptive ways and are often referred to as an extremist group. In fact, the media and members of the group alike use the term “pirates” to describe Shepherd Conservation Society. With a resume build on scuttling, boarding and even ramming “enemy” vessels, the label seems to fit, though actual robby and stabby pirates most likely resent the association.

Above: Whale fan?
The groups most creative, if not ineffective, protests took the form of butter bombs. Containers of rotten butter were lobbed onto Japanese whaling vessels. The effort wasn’t entirely in vain; three of the whalers became physically ill at the smell of 24 liters of bad butter. However, the Japanese whaling industry remains one of the largest in the world, so it’s probably going to take a little more than butter to change the course of things.

4. Nude Cycling

One easy way to go green is to ride a bicycle whenever possible. Cycling is great for your health and bicycles cost much less to manufacture than other vehicles while being powered entirely by the rider’s strength. Of course, the best way to make people aware of this is to cycle completely naked.

Not at all a dangerous distraction to other drivers.
Nude cycling protests are becoming much more common. Generally taking place during the warmer months (because, you know, everyone is naked), these protests take place all over the world in countries where police officers don’t have the drive to chase down and club nude cyclists for indecent exposure. During the protest the cyclists come together as a mob for maximum exposure.

5.Polar Bears Hate Oil

When traveling in Vancouver it’s not odd to see a polar bear or two roaming around. Okay, so it is odd, but these polar bears are actually protesters in suits protesting oil drilling by raising awareness of the impact drilling can have on environment.

Seriously, they really hate oil.
What began as a protest against the Alberta Oil Sands industry has become a global effort. Protesting polar bears have popped up all over Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and more. Their primary concern is the misuse of natural gas and the damage it’s caused in the past. A group maintains a Facebook page and photo gallery of their unique efforts

6. Robbing a Train

Train robberies are an art form lost on modern man. In a simpler time when cowboys roamed the wild Texas landscape, sandblasted criminals clad in gaudy hats and bandannas would coordinate a massive robbery of trains while they were in transit. It’s sort of like robbing a bank, if a bank were coal powered, moved a seventy miles an hour and could only be escaped via horseback.

Apparently no one told them that banks were stationary
In June of 2008, climate change campaigners managed to stop a train carrying a load of charcoal by using its own cargo against it. Protestors dressed as emergency personnel flagged down the train, motioning it to come to a complete stop before a group of thirty people swarmed the train with shovels. Once the dust had settled the train’s cargo of coal was lining the tracks, preventing further movement, and the protesters themselves were camping out on the train and the tracks. They stood off with police for a few days, some going as far as to chain themselves to the train before eventually leaving the scene. The train was bound for Drax, which supplied Britain with seven percent of the nation’s power. Despite the tremendous show, Drax was ultimately unaffected by the train’s seizure.

7. Changing Your Name

What are you willing to change about yourself to advocate animal rights? Your diet? Your clothes? What about your name? One Virginia rights activist did just that, presumable because she’s never seen a sandwich board in her life. But rather than change her name to something like “Stopskinningbadgers McKenzie” or “Seriouslysealsaren’tforclubbing Williams,” Jennifer Thornburg changed her name to CutOut Those of you with a keen eye may recognize that as a web address, otherwise known as a URL, otherwise known as a terrible form of a name

Seriously, this would have been easier.
CutOut advocates not only poorly thought out decision making but the removal of animal dissection from classrooms. Many of the animals used for dissection are killed strictly for that purpose. CutOut proposes that schools adopt dissection software instead to simulate the act rather than support the continual killing and processing of animals.

8. Getting Stuck on the Prime Minister

The UK based group Plane Stupid prides itself on non-violent protests and, unlike PETA, do not rely on shock tactics to get their message across. The group opposes what it sees as rapid and unnecessary airport expansion. When confronting British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Plane Stupid member Dan Glass took a more hands-on approach. Specifically, the he glued his hand to Brown’s arm

Fight the power.
Glass informed Brown that it was a form of non-violent protest and that he simply wanted to talk. However, Glass must have done his shopping at a Price Chopper because the “super glue” only held for about thirty seconds or so. Brown took it all in stride but Glass was probably eligible for a refund or something.
Author: Ben Dennison — Copyrighted ©

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