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Olympic Resistance on the Global Day of Action against Climate Change

From: Alex Hundert, Narrative Resistance

It was not out of place for us to protest the Olympics today, as one might potentially suggest, on the Global Day of Action against Climate Change. For one thing, the City of Kitchener was holding a pre-torch Olympic celebration yesterday on public property at City Hall. Second, because Olympic sponsor RBC and the country of Canada are using the Olympics as a greenwashing campaign, to cover up their true record on climate change and the environment.

For several years now, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympics (VANOC) has been touting the upcoming Games as the “greenest ever.” However, as activists on the West Coast and in the Callaghan Valley have been saying, the claim is a lie.

This week, Gordon Campbell, the premiere of so-called British Columbia, is in Copenhagen, selling the world on the Province’s alleged record of environmentalism. He went armed with a publicly available website and document called Super, Natural British Columbia: Climate Action for the 21st Century [pdf].

Climate Action for the 21st Century even available as a “brochure” [pdf], is a textbook case example of Greenwashing. According to the Centre for Media and Democracy,

Greenwashing is the unjustified appropriation of environmental virtue by a company, an industry, a government, a politician or even a non-government organization to create a pro-environmental image, sell a product or a policy, or to try and rehabilitate their standing with the public and decision makers after being embroiled in controversy. [link]

According to a press release from the Office of the Premiere last week, Gordon Campbell will be using the Climate Action document to convince the world that “British Columbia has been at the forefront of efforts to work collaboratively on climate initiatives.”

The final section of the document titled 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games: Building Sustainable Communities boasts that “three billion viewers will witness how British Columbia is setting a new Olympic standard with its commitment to host the greenest Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games ever.”

The part about “greenest ever” is, in truth, nothing but a lie. The part about the Province using the Olympic spotlight to inundate “three billion viewers” with their lies is precisely what we are worried about. Canada, like Gordon Campbell, is telling lies in Copenhagen; greenwashing our international image at the same time as being one of the primary obstacles to any kind of meaningful dialogue on climate change and climate justice.

More (with hyperlinks) at: Narrative Resistance

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