Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Protesting Exxon Mobil’s Sponsorship of Go Green Greenpoint

April 20th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Yesterday’s protest against Exxon Mobil’s role in helping to sponsor the Earth Day event in McCarren Park, was quite visually interesting and attended by some media and the police. Here are a few photos posted to flickr by amc_. The company’s role was controversial, of course, given the huge spill of oil under Greenpoint that Exxon is responsible for cleaning up. One of the people involved in the protest emailed us to say:

We went to the event and held our political theater right in front of the exxon mobil booth. Most people were supportive, but the funniest part of the day for me was when the exxon employees tried to mitigate the seriousness of their company’s actions by assuring us that they had already cleaned up less than a third of what has been seeping into the greenpoint community for 50 years!

There was also an interesting email exchange about the protest from an unidentified person that appears connected to the organizer of the Go Green Greenpoint event:

It is extremely poor form to try to disrupt what promises to be a very nice, grassroots event put on by your and my friends and neighbors. While there is certainly a place for protest and disobedience, I do not think that a positive, community-focused event is the appropriate place. Perhaps a more constructive action and presence would be to have worked with the event organizers to set up a booth educating Greenpointers and others of the hazards associated with the Exxon (and other) spills, and the oils companies’ responsibility (both moral and legal) to clean it up. The Town Square group has been working day and night for months to put this event together, to provide a positive, ecologically-oriented event for Earth Day. It is a shame that you are trying so hard to mar and counteract their efforts.

An there was this response from one of the organizers of the protest:

I respect the work of the Town Square Group, and in addition to static informational booths we will offer a roving street theater performance with informational fliers about the oil spill and the greenwashing epidemic. We are artists and this is how we can positively contribute to an ecologically themed event for Earth Day – educating the public in a non-didactic way. Nothing in my email implied “disobedience”, and please put it in perspective. It’s not ok for some of the very worst environmental offenders in the US to sponsor Earth Day in a community where they are responsible for incredible environmental disasters. This is the very definition of greenwashing. I don’t believe that their aide is necessary to pull off a local environmental celebration. They do not deserve positive publicity when so many of local community groups are engaged in a lawsuit with them for the harm that they’ve done.

Just another day in North Brooklyn.

Tags: Environment · Greenpoint Oil Spill · McCarren Park

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