Took me out to the ballgame …

Last evening, amid gorgeous weather, a call to action sent me out to the ballgame. While the 14-inning game was great (GO NATS!), play on the field wasn’t the only action.

The Strike Out Exxon campaign began yesterday. The Washington Nationals new stadium is the “greenest” baseball. And, who is one of their principle advertisers: that great friend of the environment Exxon-Mobil. A coalition has come together to call attention to this absurdity and to Exxon-Mobil’s roadblocking of action against Global Warming.

Washing Up some DC Greenwashing

The Washington Nationals truly have a beautiful new stadium. A tax-payer paid stadium. A stadium patting itself on the back for its green attributes. This beautifully green stadium is plastered with: advertisements for that every so environmentally friendly Exxon-Mobil, including Exxon-Mobil’s purchase of naming rights for the 7th inning stretch.

Yes, that Exxon-Mobil that has so happily (and generously) supported global warming denialists as a path to keep the taps running as long as possible on their ability to dump their trash into the atmosphere without financial constraints.

Exxon-Mobil’s greenwashing efforts are going further: visitors to the stadium have the ability to work their tightened muscles during the Exxon-Mobil 7th inning stretch. Wonder whether they hand out some black massage oil to work out those kinks and knots built up during tense games? By the way, this is seems to be the first time an oil company has bought the 7th inning stretch rights

Take Exxon out of the ball game
Take them out of the park
Tired of Four-Dollar Gas-O-Line
Global Warming is Making Us Scream

Let’s root, root, root for the Nationals,
And strike Exxon out of the game
For it 3-2-1 Polar Bears
And we know who to Blame!

And, the eighth inning has banner advertisments for the “Energy Efficient Partnership” of Nationals Stadium, Exxon-Mobil, the Alliance to Save Energy, and YOU!! Now, ASE is a good organization, facilitating and promoting quite real efforts to change the national energy picture through critical (and often large-scale) movements toward greater energy efficiency. Despite platitudes and some efforts in this domain, do you and does ASE seriously thing that Exxon-Mobil is seriously desiring of fostering energy efficiency to a great enough extent to help wean America of its oil addiction? Or, is ExxonMobil’s participation with (more accurately, likely, funding of) ASE in efforts like the drive smarter challenge (Drive Smarter Challenge.ORG) enough such that we should ignore Exxon-Mobil’s determined efforts to undermine serious action to deal with global warming and serious action to move for the United States to Get Energy Smart! NOW!!!?

Sigh …

As per the ever-great David Sassoon at SolveClimate

If ever there was a venue ripe for greenwashing potential of outsize national visibility, this is it.

And if ever there was a corporation in need of greenwashing, arch-climate criminal ExxonMobil is the wealthiest of them all. So the company has plastered the eco-diamond with its advertisements and bought the sponsorship for the seventh inning stretch

Whether advertising at Nationals’ games or funding ASE, this is, of course, all part of Exxon-Mobil’s greenwashing efforts, to use their $10s (and growing) of billions of profits to influence the discussion and debates to keep the window open as long as possible for ever more excessive profit making off their serial polluting.

leaders from three concerned climate groups met with Nationals officials in April to demand the team stop accepting Exxon’s ad dollars in this supposedly “green” park. But the Nationals have refused.

The time has come to call more attention to this absurdity and to make it counterproductive.

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) has decided to take up the mantle along with several other organizations. While Exxon-Mobil has a lot of cash in hand (and getting more every day), CCAN has motivated grass roots activists: motivated over concerns over our path forward and whether there will be a world of seventh-inning stretches for future Americans or whether catastrophic climate change will so disrupt the economy and society such that “America’s pasttime” will become something of the past.

Why worry about Exxon-Mobil?

ExxonMobil is the single biggest contributor to global warming of any corporation. Period.

There will be a

sustained, summer-long campaign to publicly demand Exxon voluntarily discontinue advertising at Nationals Park. We will begin with a well-publicized press conference outside the park on June 20th. This will be followed by the presence of volunteers – including lots of folks in polar bear suits — distributing literature and broadcasting anti-Exxon messages at EVERY remaining home game in 2008 until the advertising stops. Our goal is to get fans to boo loudly during the ExxonMobil 7th inning stretch. Our goal is tag the company as highly controversial from the opening press conference forward so that we end this practice.

The protests began at last night’s game, with over 30 concerned citizens there handing out literature and beginning an education process. There might already have been a bit of a victory in this campaign. The Exxon-Mobil logo did not actually appear on the scoreboard during the 14-inning game last night (even as it appeared on the banner ads and Exxon-Mobil has a prominent ad in the Inside Pitch (the ‘free’ game program). Now, this doesn’t solve Global Warming. This doesn’t reverse a single pound of CO2. This doesn’t … but can it still feel good?

A question for you: Are you up to wearing a polar bear suit?

If so, CCAN and its partner organizations will fit one to your size.

They found one my size. (To figure out who’s who, note the orange …)

To be honest, the anonymity behind the mask provides a somewhat different crowd perspective. Walking past were those who parroted Republican talking points to Drill Here! Drill Now! Pay Less (maybe, 20 years from now). More than one person claimed to work for Exxon-Mobil. Anonymity, of course, works both ways, with a few feeling it their right to be rude and, in one case, to throw a punch into the solar plexus.

Of course, there were breathtaking moments of comments from those who have abandoned reality. A few ‘I love Global Warming’, ‘global warming makes beaches’, and ‘these are all lies, there is no Global Warming.’ Perhaps the most breathtaking: there was actually someone who asserted that Exxon-Mobil is the biggest investor in renewable energy worldwide. A moment for some truth:

Exxon Mobil Corp

The world’s largest non-government-controlled oil company by market value sold its solar power business in the 1980s and now has no investments in renewable energy.

Exxon does not believe renewables are commercially viable on a significant scale without government incentives and opposes such incentives.

There were far more, however, who took pamphlets with great interest, expressed anger at Exxon Mobil, and found it absurd to hear that Exxon Mobil was being associated with the “green” baseball stadium. The children who waved, gave a high-five or wanted a hug. And, okay, there were some spontaneous hugs from not-quite children when a polar bear might have wished not to be wearing a layer of fur. In any event …When the 7th inning stretch came about, the booing was noticeable. (Not as loud as for George W’s appearances, but there …)

Not into wearing fur in Washington, DC, summer weather? That’s okay, there are plenty of other volunteering opportunities.

PS: This is one of those sign-up early opportunities that goes on all summer long. First five volunteers at any game get free tickets at each game. Join activism with a couple hours at America’s national pasttime. And be prepared to lead others in chanting: “Boo Exxon, Go Nats!!!!”


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