|Kong: pissed about the Arctic. source: http://godzilla.wikia.com/wiki/King_Kong|
So last Thursday, having tuned in to watch the 'Ice Climb' unfold on TV and twitter, I had the incredibly original idea to write a blog about it - or to at least use it as the basis to cover several slightly less well-covered stories that I felt deserving of attention. As it turns out, one or two other people did too, of which the best is surely this wonderful piece from Jules Howard.
Anyway, I wasn't in London last Thursday but I followed the Ice Climb or rather the #iceclimb as it is properly known, with a genuine sense of awe and inner-hi-5ing. It was an incredible feat by those six climbers representing Greenpeace's Save the Arctic campaign, requiring immense skill and dedication to achieve. Finally, here were some people taking a very public stand on the environment, people with a message they wanted the world to see. It was exhilarating to watch, it was sexy, and by that I mean it's spirit, not necessarily that ropes and harnesses do anything for me (*coughs*) They promised that when they reached the top they would unveil an 'artwork' and I dearly hoped I would be gazing up at sunset at the sight of a giant inflatable Polar Bear clinging to the side of the building ala King Kong; as it was, they unfurled a flag reading 'Save the Arctic'. Their message.
For a little while it seemed like a worthy environmental news story would y'know, for once, make the mainstream NEWS. And it did, kind of, although most outlets I saw managed to skirt round the 'why' part of the story, because apparently it isn't a story - Shell just shuffled their feet a bit and announced it's "not new", they've been slowly polluting the Arctic for years.
In case you missed it too, here it is: http://www.savethearctic.org/ It certainly made me pause to consider it for longer than I probably would have on any other day; I looked up some stuff, I got angry and subsequently signed an online petition or something whilst pressing the keys REALLY HARD. And that made me think about their other message - the one that didn't have a flag but said 'what are you going to do to Save the Arctic?'. The answer to that isn't 'sign a petition' well, maybe that's one answer but it's not the only one.
Getting a message across is something that the RSPB are pretty good at but their latest attempt to do so is a first for them. There was lots of talk about it on twitter naturally, so I watched their new TV ad (part of the 'give nature a home' campaign) online, since there was no chance I'd see it on TV unless they somehow managed to segueway it into SkySportsNews. It's great to see a conservation organisation attempting to reach more people than ever before, it shows belief, commitment and passion - the things people want to see and, most importantly, respond to. Funny then that I wasn't that moved by it one way or the other. I can't quite put my finger on it exactly, perhaps it seemed a bit 'flat', perhaps the idyllic middle class setting of it was a rather safe bet...and while I'm rolling, what's with the new lower-case 'rspb'? Strong words and actions are worthy of Capital Letters if you ask me....But anyway, I'm hardly its market - I hope it's a massive success and they get lots of people sending off for the free nature pack and maybe signing up to become members. I love what they do.
But it's no #iceclimb is it? Where were the RSPB's flags when the State of Nature report was released - or were they already flying at half-mast?
Perhaps a comparison isn't even relevant. I guess the answer lies in the result, of what happens when the ad run ends and the media move on - when it's left to us. Ice Climbs are little sparks and maybe TV can be too, it's just not nearly as much fun. Now, lets all dress up as buzzards and build a giant nest on Defra HQ.*
*This is some pretty brutal viewing but I wanted to put a link up showing how a small (?) minority manage our land for private gain. Hard to believe this is the 21s Century. If you find it as sick as I did, you might like to say something:
Given the continuing levels of illegal persecution of birds of prey the Government is called upon to introduce a system of operating licences for upland grouse shootsPetition - Licencing of upland grouse moors and gamekeepers
Why stop there?