Harrison Ford, Dixie Chicks, Jimmy Buffet: Conservation International Would Greenwash Arms Co for a Hefty Fee


Conservation International boasts some nice celebrity names: Its board of directors includes actor Harrison Ford, Queen Noor of Jordan, President of Botswana Ian Khama, Skydance Production’s David Ellison (the company behind True Grit and the new Mission Impossible) and HRH Prince Charles. Jimmy Buffet and the Dixie Chicks are supporters.

As are a vast number of corporations like BP, Shell, Monsanto and Chevron. The charity has an over 62% rating from Charity Navigator. But CI also seems to have some eyebrow-raising  business practices. Don’t Panic magazine decided to see what would happen if they posed as corporate wonks from “Lockheed  Martin” looking to improve their corporation’s image by adopting an endangered animal species as a mascot. Preferably from the Middle East.

Lockheed Martin’s bombs and rockets have featured prominently in the Gulf Wars and the war in Afghanistan, as well as other conflicts around the globe. The week the video was shot a damning video of Lockheed Martin missles was released to British TV.

CI’s representative suggested not only a species (birds of prey because you know, that aviation tie-in is so brilliant), but also some expensive corporate programs for “Lockheed Martin” (including access to a list of fragile ecosystems which Don’t Panic says can be viewed for free through the United Nations!). But when the Don’t Panic rep asked if someone form CI could help make the LM corporate office more green and explore ways to make their munition recycling program (bombs and small arms!) more efficient, CI had no suggestions or referals.

But CIhad no qualms about trying to sell “Lockheed Martin” a chunk of rain forest in Madagascar to help offset the pollution, damage, environmental and human, along with loss of lives, caused by the company’s weaponry.

Greenwashing? Yes. Does CI make deals with the devil, with attempts to save some areas and species by taking corporate money form major polluters? Do companies actually gain anything but looking good and feeling fuzzy from the hundred of thousands of dollars of pretty stamps of approval,  seminars and information CI provides about environments, ecosystems and lifeforms affected by corporate activities like tar sand reclamation, oil drilling, fracking and blowing stuff up?

Well gosh, BP had plan of action to save the walruses if there was an oil spill in Gulf of Mexico….


[HT: Ecologist]

Greasy Mess: Stephen Baldwin Sues Kevin Costner over Oil Clean Up Deal

Actor/reality TV guy Stephen Baldwin who filed for bankruptcy a year and half ago–fans launched a website for donations to help him out– has filed a lawsuit against  Academy Award winning actor/director Kevin Costner.  Per TMZ, the suit accuses Costner and his business partner Patrick Smith of securities fraud and misrepresentation.

Baldwin says he and a friend Spyridon Contogouris, were

clandestinely, secretly and wrongfully

tricked into selling their shares of Ocean Therapy Solutions, which manufactures a centrifugal device to separate oil from water that Costner spent years developing after the Exxon Valdez spill.  The suit alleges that in April Costner and Smth lead Baldwin and Contogouris into believing ther was no interest in the company, so the duo sold their 10% stake.

But BP licensed the devices from Ocean Therapy Solutions for $52 million, and Baldwin claims the company misrepresented that there was no deal to sell the contraption to BP at the time he sold his shares.

Costner hasn’t commented. Baldwin made no mention of his documentary Will to Drill about the BP spill and its effects on the Gulf region.

Bad Day: Kevin Costner’s Secret Movie Hits the Web

UPDATE: Modi Frank and a special guest will be with us on Movie Night, Firedoglake.com’s  live, interactive typed chat Monday Aug 9 5pm-6:30pm PDT/8pm-9:30pm EDT. Please join in.

Before he danced with wolves, Academy Award winning actor/director Kevin Costner made a never-before-seen movie that’s being released today after nearly 25 years in a vault:  Bad Day, directed by the award-winning rock video director Modi Frank and photographed by punk rock queen, singer, poet and visual artist Exene Cervenka, co-founder of the seminal band X. The duo are releasing the cowboy-themed short  as a digital downloaded for a “you decide” amount. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Gulf charities providing aid to both people and the environment. Exene and Modi said:

We are both so proud of Kevin and grateful for all he’s doing to help in the Gulf.

Costner has spent $25 million dollars over the last decade to develop centrifuge clean-up machinery which can mitigate the damage from oil spills. BP bought 32 of the machines marketed by Ocean Therapy Solutions. The centrifuges, which can clean 6 million gallons of oily water a day, separating the oil from water by spinning, will be ready to be deployed by the first week of August, according to John Houghtaling, Costner’s chief partner in the project . The salt water can be returned to the ocean and the oil can be used by industry.

Bad Day–the legendary but unseen until now 20 minute silent film, co-written by Exene and Modi, with a soundtrack by Dave Alvin and DJ Bonebrake–also stars John Doe, Chris (Chris D) Desjardins from the Flesheaters and the Divine Horsemen, and Julie Christensen of Stone Cupid who has also collaborated with Leonard Cohen, artist-photographer Peter Haskell, and Los Angeles poet Doug Knott.

Bad Day is also a collaboration of formats–punk rock and two-reel Western silents, black and white film stock meeting the Internet at a time when digital is the format du jour. The advent of downloading videos provided the perfect format to release Bad Day, allowing this moment of artistic collaboration to reach its target audience. Says Exene:

It was a blast to write, envision and then film.  We have talented friends, all up for a project, and we froze a moment in history. It was one of the best times Modi and I have ever had…We’ve talked about releasing Bad Day over the years, but now with the internet we have control over distribution with digital downloads. We want the world to see it and enjoy.

Gulf Benefit Beer Banned in States It Could Help

Louisiana-based Abita has brewed up a “charitable pilsner,” Save Our Shore, to benefit relief efforts in the Gulf sates impacted by BP’s Deeepwater Horizon disaster.  Post-Katrina, Abita created  Restoration Ale, with some proceeds going to hurricane recovery.

But the SOS’s sale is banned in two of the four states that will benefit from the sudsy funds.

Neither  Mississippi nor Alabama can sell Save Our Shore Charitable Pilsner. The beer’s 7% alcohol content is above Alabama’s limit, while Mississippi has an even more arcane reason for prohibiting the SOS’s sale: The 22-ounce single container size is illegal.  Weirdly, it’s perfectly okay to buy a case of 12-ounce beers all at once. math isn’t my strongest suit, but I think there is more beer in twenty-four 12-ounce bottles than in one 22-ouncer….

Abita is bottling SOS in the 22-ounce bottle because the larger size is more cost- and time-efficient. The 12-ounce bottles require three labels, one each for front and back and a third on the six-pack container, while the bigger bottles needs only to have information printed directly on the bottle.

Save Our Shore Charitable Pilsner retails for $5, and Abita will donate 75 cents to Gulf aid charities.

FINALLY! Gulf Benefit Tonight, CNN: Justin Beiber, Sting, Cameron Diaz

It’s about time! Finally there’s large scale national benefit for the Gulf region. The spill may not have injured orphans and displaced families like earlier telethons, but the BP spill’s impact  affects hundreds of thousands of people–oil workers, fishermen, shrimpers, support workers, the tourism industry–in at least four states, as well as millions of non-human life forms: Coral, crabs, fish, dolphins, manatees,  sea birds, plants. And all our oceans are connected…this could flow across the globe. Buh bye, world.

So Larry King is devoting two hours tonight, beginning at 8pm Eastern time for a telethon/concert/fundraiser for humans and the environment devastated by the BP Deepwater Horizon spill. Sting has signed on, along with teen sensation Justin Beiber, Cameron Diaz, Ryan Seacrest, and Robert Redford, Deepak Chopra, Philippe Cousteau, Ted Danson, Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler, Randy Jackson, Kerry Kennedy, Lenny Kravitz, Jenny McCarthy, Tim McGraw, Alyssa Milano, Aaron Neville, Edward James Olmos, Victoria Principal, Gloria Reuben, Tyson Ritter, Richard Simmons, Ian Somerhalder, Sam Trammell, Melania and Ivanka Trump, Pete Wentz, Herbie Hancock and India.Arie.

CNN states that the event will benefit

United Way, The National Wildlife Federation and The Nature Conservancy, organizations working directly with the families, individuals and wildlife affected by the Gulf oil spill.

The Nature Conservancy lists BP as a member of its International Leadership Council.

(shoop: commentary/fair use/creative commons by K.Baird)

New Orleans: Krewe of Dead Pelicans March in Protest

During New Orleans monthly art walk, the newly formed Krewe of Dead Pelicans staged their first parade through Julia Street, New Orleans’ gallery district, to mourn and protest the BP oil spill. Traditionally krewes parade for Mardi Gras, itself a final celebration before the sorrow of the Lenten season.  The KoDP was organized by real estate agent and carnival costume designer Ro Meyer in late May who told the Times-Picayune

The thing is out there in the Gulf circulating and we don’t have any power. We’re not even able to go anywhere to get out of the way. Nobody appears to be doing anything about it, and I don’t have the power to do anything about it, and I don’t know anyone who’s stepping up, saying they have the power to do anything about it…

I just needed a place to channel my frustration and I felt like, ‘If I feel that way, other people must feel that way.’

Ro set up  Facebook pages for the krewe and march which now has over 6000 friends from around the country. Several hundred–some in costumes, others dressed in black and blue to represent the ocean and oil and wearing shrimp boots–participated in the march which included a coffin, banners recycled from Katrina tarps, signs, flags featuring pelican (the state bird) and of course jazz bands. The parade permit was paid for by  country music singer Sammy Kershaw a conservative candidate for Louisiana Lt. Governor (seems there are some Republicans who are putting “conservation” into the conservative platform…).

The krewe will be marching again, and a wing has formed in Tennessee. Expect to see other wings and supporters in Halloween parades across the country as well.

all photos: Infrogmation,via flickr creative commons

Caught on Tape: Hollywood LAPD Bash Bicyclists During BP Protest Ride

Okay, I admit that  I did laugh during that scene in Golden Eye when James Bond whizzes by a peloton and they all fall over. But I really admire the guts it take to ride a bike in Los Angeles. Especially after what happened this weekend.

On Friday night Critical Mass–a loosely organized, nationwide group of bicyclists which advocates for pedalers’ rights–staged a large group bike ride in protest of British Petroleum and the Gulf oil spill, and to celebrate the end of Bike Month in Los Angeles, with a larger than normal turnout for their regular last-Friday-of-month ride.

The peloton fluctuated in size, with 200 to 1,000 riders, moved northeast through Los Angeles after converging at the architecturally-acclaimed, futuristic ARCO/BP gas station near the border of the cities of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.

The WeHo Daily reports:

Many calls came in to the LAPD about the group, with one frustrated driver complaining that some riders around Olympic and Fairfax were hitting their vehicle as they passed, perhaps with their hands as the driver attempted to pull into their path.

Several hundred riders, escorted by patrol cars arrived at Pan Pacific Park, and from there a splinter group of approximately 200 headed into Hollywood where things got ugly.

In an email a rider told LAist:

The *vast majority* of the police along the way were helpful and accommodating. Even firefighters were out on the sidewalks outside of their stations giving high fives and waving hello. But for whatever reason the police in Hollywood were extremely aggressive and were harassing riders for no reason other than to get their kicks (I presume).

BikesideLA reports that riders:

were met with a contingent of LAPD Officers armed with batons kicking and tackling cyclists off their bikes. Officers drove squad cars into the crowd of riders. Some cyclists were even stopped in their tracks and flung from their bike with a baton stuck in the spokes (a la Breaking Away). These cyclists were then brutalized, handcuffed and then cited for small infractions such as no lights or not obeying traffic laws…

At no point was the mass of riders identified as an illegal assembly or addressed with a formal dispersal order. In fact: officers employed the use of force to effect dispersal (which is against LAPD policy and illegal).

Well, yeah, but riding without lights is against the law, same as not driving with headlights. And bicyclists should obey the traffic laws, especially since Critical Mass is trying to show the benefits of bike riding and make bicycling a more accepted thing in Los Angeles. But knocking over bicyclists then shouting conflicting commands

“Get up!”

“Stay down!”

is a pretty assholic way enforce traffic laws.

Especially when LAPD Chief Beck made special public service announcement about bike riders.

  • Social Web
  • E-mail