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Viral Video: LEGO, Everything is Not Awesome
[Editor's note: Greenpeace's viral video LEGO: Everything is NOT Awesome has been suspended by YouTube, following a copyright claim from Warner Brothers. Greenpeace quickly transferred the film to Vimeo (see below). The video has reached more than 3 million views in less than three days. Greenpeace will challenge the copyright claim, arguing the video uses satire and parody, is in the public interest and thus protected under the right to free speech.]
Greenpeace released an online film today to expose LEGO for promoting the controversial Shell brand on its toys. Shell has plans to drill for oil in the Arctic threatening the people and unique wildlife that live there.
“Every company has a responsibility to choose its partners and suppliers ethically," said Mel Evans, Arctic campaigner at Greenpeace. "LEGO says it wants to leave a better world for children, yet it's partnered with Shell, one of the biggest climate polluters on the planet, now threatening the pristine Arctic. That's a terrible decision and its bad news for kids. We're calling on LEGO to stand up for the Arctic, and for children, by ditching Shell for good."
The video begins by revealing a magical and playful Arctic wonderland made of LEGO, but as Shell moves in to drill, things begin to change. The soundtrack for the video is an evocative cover version of the theme song from The LEGO Movie, 'Everything is Awesome.'
"We love LEGO. Most of us spent hours as children letting our imaginations run wild with just a few bricks and a couple of odd-shaped things that looked like spaceship engines," said Don't Panic's Creative Director Richard Beer. "That's why it's so sad to see LEGO being used by Shell to advertise to children like this. We hope our video strikes a chord. We hope it captures the sadness we all feel that one of our fondest childhood icons is now being used to pollute children's imaginations."
Greenpeace launched the campaign targeting LEGO last week, which flooded LEGO's Facebook and twitter pages urging them to stop lending support to Shell.
LEGO responded to the campaign by posting a statement online from Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, president and CEO of the LEGO Group, that justified LEGO's partnership with Shell as a way of putting “LEGO bricks into the hands of more children" and that LEGO “expect(s) that Shell lives up to their responsibilities wherever they operate." He said LEGO “intend(s) to live up to the long term contract with Shell."
Greenpeace responded with a statement shortly after asking, “Does the world's most profitable toy company have to put aside its stated values in order to increase its sales? Would LEGO partner with a cigarette company to help bring its bricks to the masses?"
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Global Banks, Led by JPMorgan Chase, Invested $1.9 Trillion in Fossil Fuels Since Paris Climate Pact
By Sharon Kelly
A report published Wednesday names the banks that have played the biggest recent role in funding fossil fuel projects, finding that since 2016, immediately following the Paris agreement's adoption, 33 global banks have poured $1.9 trillion into financing climate-changing projects worldwide.
By Patti Lynn
2018 was a groundbreaking year in the public conversation about climate change. Last February, The New York Times reported that a record percentage of Americans now believe that climate change is caused by humans, and there was a 20 percentage point rise in "the number of Americans who say they worry 'a great deal' about climate change."
England faces an "existential threat" if it does not change how it manages its water, the head of the country's Environment Agency warned Tuesday.
By Jessica Corbett
A new analysis revealed Tuesday that over the past two decades heat records across the U.S. have been broken twice as often as cold ones—underscoring experts' warnings about the increasingly dangerous consequences of failing to dramatically curb planet-warming emissions.
By Madison Dapcevich
Ask any resident of San Francisco about the waterfront parrots, and they will surely tell you a story of red-faced conures squawking or dive-bombing between building peaks. Ask a team of researchers from the University of Georgia, however, and they will tell you of a mysterious string of neurological poisonings impacting the naturalized flock for decades.
The initial cause of the fire was not yet known, but it has been driven by the strong wind and jumped the North Santiam River, The Salem Statesman Journal reported. As of Tuesday night, it threatened around 35 homes and 30 buildings, and was 20 percent contained.
The unanimous verdict was announced Tuesday in San Francisco in the first federal case to be brought against Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, alleging that repeated use of the company's glyphosate-containing weedkiller caused the plaintiff's cancer. Seventy-year-old Edwin Hardeman of Santa Rosa, California said he used Roundup for almost 30 years on his properties before developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"Today's verdict reinforces what another jury found last year, and what scientists with the state of California and the World Health Organization have concluded: Glyphosate causes cancer in people," Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement. "As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up."
Judge Vince Chhabria has split Hardeman's trial into two phases. The first, decided Tuesday, focused exclusively on whether or not Roundup use caused the plaintiff's cancer. The second, to begin Wednesday, will assess if Bayer is liable for damages.
"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer," Bayer spokesman Dan Childs said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer."
Some legal experts said that Chhabria's decision to split the trial was beneficial to Bayer, Reuters reported. The company had complained that the jury in Johnson's case had been distracted by the lawyers' claims that Monsanto had sought to mislead scientists and the public about Roundup's safety.
However, a remark made by Chhabria during the trial and reported by The Guardian was blatantly critical of the company.
"Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue," he said.
Many regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have ruled that glyphosate is safe for humans, but the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer found it was "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. A university study earlier this year found that glyphosate use increased cancer risk by as much as 41 percent.
Hardeman's lawyers Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said they would now reveal Monsanto's efforts to mislead the public about the safety of its product.
"Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup," they wrote in a statement reported by The Guardian.
Hardeman's case is considered a "bellwether" trial for the more than 760 glyphosate cases Chhabria is hearing. In total, there are around 11,200 such lawsuits pending in the U.S., according to Reuters.
University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias told Reuters that Tuesday's decision showed that the verdict in Johnson's case was not "an aberration," and could possibly predict how future juries in the thousands of pending cases would respond.