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Ecosexploitation 350

Written By: - Date published: 11:05 am, November 1st, 2009 - 22 comments
Categories: activism, Environment, Social issues - Tags: , ,

One of the many problems facing people who want to grow popular awareness of matters ecological is that for the large part, it’s bloody depressing if you start to get the reality of it.

So I imagine director Cameron Russell sold the pitch for this vid with an argument something like “we need to catch peoples’ attention, make global warming ‘sexy’ for the meatball audience that wouldn’t know a tipping point if it ran them over”. As long as it helps raise awareness of such an important issue, the ad men would say, it’s a good thing.

On the other hand, even leaving objectification issues to one side, I can’t help but wonder how much the ego driven consumption-maximizing ethos of the supermodel advertising industry is the very essence of why there’s so much need for ecological reform, so much resistance to any real change, and so little awareness of its importance.

Of course there would also be plenty of arguments to link objectification, diminished humanity and diminished environmental responsibility. And I guess if you couldn’t leave the objectification issues to one side it would raise further questions about what sort of advertising means are justified to achieve what ends.

As a vegetable, I just wonder about the crass commercialization of green activism and where that’s going. I also find it difficult to understand the logic that links global warming bad and people taking their clothes off because “it feels good to use less” and “this [women in their underpants] is what 352ppm looks like”.

22 comments on “Ecosexploitation 350 ”

  1. trademark 1

    Indeed, the push is to maintain the existing way of doing things as much as possible while dealing with climate change as an issue unconnected to other areas of society. The right’s position is often that the market is the best means of solving global warming (it just needs a wee nudge, that’s all), and in this case marketing is used to add sugar (eye candy) to a somewhat bitter message through the common language of advertising, and in a very cringeworthy, bourgeois manner. It’s a bit sad, really.

  2. rocky 2

    Great post. PETA have a habit of using sex to sell their message too, and I remember a few years ago when SAFE had those awful billboards up.

    The billboards showing a bunch of models with breast implants wearing fake feather bras to somehow convince people not to buy battery caged eggs is one of the few things SAFE have done that made me rethink my involvement. However as it turned out the models had approached SAFE with the money to do the billboards, and they couldn’t see any reason to turn it down. I guess for the “celebrities” it’s often as much about their own profile as it is about the cause.

    • George D 2.1

      PETA started off with a campaign that was at least somewhat related in its pitch: “I’d rather go naked than wear fur”. It worked, to some degree.

      Now it’s just meaningless sexism everywhere.

  3. Herodotus 3

    Very eye catching advert. Yet like many people pushing this the effects of the warming, or is it climate change (as the readings did not follow the ever modified theories so we had to change the headline wording.) Yet many of the symptoms have ships sailing around Canada, settlements in Greenland have occurred within the last 1000 years.

    • lprent 3.1

      So? You’re talking about minor changes in climate, a few degrees C in a local region of the North Atlantic. We’ve already long exceeded those limits in that region where there has been at least a 5C increase in temperatures in the last 50 years above the arctic circle.

      At present we are on course to get an average 4C or higher worldwide over the next century at least with whatever local variants make that up. Temperature changes in the order of 15C or higher above the arctic circle are predicted.

      Only a fool like you would look at these two different sets of change and conclude they are in any way similar.

      • Herodotus 3.1.1

        On course for a 4C change please show on what basis and theory?
        The planet is dynamic and there have been and is a motion of temp, influenced by such factors as the Earths wobble, suns influence our variantion in distance of orbit around the sun, and even potentially within the Milky Way.
        I have no problem with protecting our environment i.e. You do not crap upstream of your water supply!, yet I believe that the climate change and protection of the environment are 2 issues that have been mischievously linked as 1. Anyway the Earth will end in 2011/12 (Mayan time) so what is the problem in what could happen in 50 years time. Or is that the time when NZ comes 2nd in the RWC again (So the world will have ended !! haha)

  4. BLiP 4

    When I see advertisements like this I wonder if humans actually deserve the planet. Sure, there are a few of us concerned enough to raise the science and seek a change in behaviour but then it turns out most “clean green” Kiwis can’t even be bothered taking their own bags to the supermarket. Check out the latest Stuff-Up poll on “Are you sick of being told we’re killing the planet?”.

    100% Pure New Zealand?

  5. Brett 5

    God,you lot are a bunch of self righteous wankers.
    You really need to learn a bit of marketing.
    Rule 1: Nobody likes to be told what to do.

    • felix 5.1

      Then why are you telling us what to do, Brett?

    • jeez bretty, you really are an unreconstructed reactionary.
      no question it’s ‘clever’ (although deeply uncreative) conventional marketing.
      but the post isn’t about that.

      also pretty sure that if you were to read the post you’d find that unlike yourself, i wasn’t telling anyone what to do. although i think you’ll find you’re quite wrong in your blanket declaration about people that none of them like being told what to do. quite the contrary.

      open your mind bra, it won’t hurt. promise 😉

  6. vto 6

    Oh I like that.

    Just shows how mainstream and accepted the issue has become.

    Very effective. More please.

  7. Brett 7

    Open my mind?
    Mate I spend years reading websites such as peakoil.com etc and I saw the same topics discussed ad infinitum.
    What was interesting was the range of people that were there, you had out and out doomers as well as full on cornucopians so the discussions were quite interesting.
    No offence it makes the discussions here look pretty lightweight.
    What I took away from it was the fact that nobody really could predict jack shit so why bother stressing out about something that is so unpredictable.

  8. Brett 8

    Banging on like your some sort of messiah really doesn’t go done to well either.

    • yes i suppose i was taking the piss a bit suggesting you open your mind. it’s just what i figured a wanky liberal would say 🙂

      and i’ve no doubt you’ve read more sophisticated writing on the topic than you have here. while some of the writers are inclined towards that sort of thing, i’m not. i do this for fun, not to relieve stress.

      and i couldn’t agree more that prediction is a largely pointless exercise – learnt that one the hard way.

      but how is declaring yourself a vegetable ‘banging on like a messiah’? 😆

  9. Brett 9


    I have no problem with what you believe, man if every body thought the same way it would one farken boring existence.
    My only complaint is when peoples view points take on quasi -religious overtones, I then get a bit pissy

    • BLiP 9.1

      Banging on like a messiah? You can’t be referring to Our Lady of the Immaculate Brassica Oleracea, surely? You’re the one attempting to throw his weight around, giving orders, bossing people about, acting like some sort of divine messenger, the sole source of all truth.

      Have you come across the term “projection” when used in its psychological sense?

    • well fair enough on both those counts bretty, but i honestly don’t get which parts of the post sounded messianic? was it the “ego driven consumption-maximizing ethos” bit?

  10. Patrick 10

    I really don’t see what is so wrong with this advert.

    Many Labour and Greens people unfortunately seem to hate women’s sexuality and also men who find women attractive.

    If a women isn’t plain looking and wearing a dowdy cardigan buttoned up all the way to her neck, she is supposedly ‘objectifying herself’.

    As a Greens supporter, I think this is a real problem. The vast majority of women I know like men and love dressing up. The dowdy brigade seem to think these women are ‘stupid’.

    I’m not saying all women have to look like the women in the adverts (or dress like them) but the people on the supposed left of the political spectrum should stop treating them as if they are stupid or ‘objectifying themselves’ or other such patronising nonsense.

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