Dow Chemical, the company behind such atrocities as Agent Orange in Vietnam and major dioxin pollution in cities across the U.S., somehow thought they could sponsor something called the “Live Earth Run For Water” – and no one would notice the hypocrisy. On Sunday, April 18th, Dow Chemical sponsored the Live Earth Run For Water in New York, as a “shameless attempt to cover up the company’s role as a major polluter of drinking water and aquatic ecosystems, its failure to take responsibility for its toxic legacy around the world, and its ongoing efforts to undermine environmental protection.” Sadly for them, and great news for activists, many people did notice what Dow was trying to do…and showed up to “participate“:
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 spokespeople.
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 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.
In Bhopal, India roughly 30,000 people are still drinking water contaminated with heavy metals and organochlorines, resulting in an epidemic of health problems and birth defects while Dow refuses to take responsibility. And in the North America, Dow is responsible for dangerous dioxin contamination around its global headquarters in Midland, Michigan, vinyl chloride contamination in Louisiana, dioxin & furan contamination in Western Canada, while Dow toxins are poisoning people and ecosystems in Vietnam, South Africa, New Zealand, Brazil, and Central America. http://www.bhopal.net/liveearth
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Want to see some of the environmental damage Dow Chemical has contributed to? Check out this map and prepare to get angry. Don’t let companies like this get away with their greenwashing attempts!