Perhaps one of the most famous recent cases of greenwashing were the pink drill bits distributed after the Susan B Komen foundation received a very big donation from Baker Hughes. Komen works to find a cure for cancer, Baker Hughes provides technology and various services to the oil and gas industry - including fracking. See the problem?
And now Ventura County is seeing a prelude to a greenwashing campaign from local oil and gas companies and the oil lobby - events funded by the industry in communities that have been overly burdened by the impacts of oil and gas extraction for decades. Below is a letter to the editor submitted to the VC Star, written by Manuel Bustamante, a resident of Ventura.
AERA Pollutes Lincoln Elementary with Toxic Greenwash
Polluting AERA Energy, one of California’s largest oil and gas producers, is greenwashing its image in Ventura in Lincoln Elementary School and, now, in Kellogg Park. My grandson is a 3rd grader at Lincoln Elementary and I’m disgusted every time I see the sign in front that says “AERA Supports Lincoln Elementary.”
Imagine if we had signs outside a school or park that said sponsored by Marlboro Cigarettes. Oil Companies and Cigarette companies both produce products that cause cancer, and both lied about science showing that their products were harmful for years, sacrificing our children’s health and future for their profits. AERA Energy is a subsidiary of Shell and Exxon mobile – two companies which deliberately withheld information on climate change to increase their bottom line.
AERA cultivates an image of friendly local oil company which supports the community by donating to local non-profits. This practice of donating to worthy causes, including environmental ones, is known as “greenwashing.” Non-profits, schools and parks need funding, but they should not help from an industry which poisons our air, water and public health in order to maximize profits clean up its image.
AERA Energy was sued in Kern County for illegally dumping 2.4 billion barrels of wastewater into unlined ponds. These ponds leaked into the water basin – polluting the ground water and harming local agriculture. AERA has had many leaks and spills locally as well, most recently one that required the evacuation of residents on Ventura Avenue in November 2016 after a major gas leak. It’s time for community leaders to say enough—we won’t greenwash Aera’s image any longer!
-Manuel Bustamante, Ventura Resident
And tomorrow an oil company (CRC is part of Occidental Petroleum a global company) and an organization funded by the oil lobby is hosting an event in Oxnard - Oxnard residents, how do you feel about this?