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23 OCTOBER 2002





Kinnu presents the jhadoo to a nonplussed Parker

Kinnu & Co ruin poor Michael Parker's award lunch, and present Dow's bewildered CEO with two Bhopali jhadoo.

HOUSTON 23 OCTOBER, 1:30PM: JUST SPOKE TO AN EXCITED KINNU (G. Krishnaveni) who at the instant of writing is sitting dressed in sari, bindi and sundry finery in a downtown Houston photo-shop waiting for pictures of the coup she and friends mounted against Dow Chemical CEO Michael Parker at what was trumpeted by its organisers Nature Conservancy as: "Largest Annual Nature Conservancy Luncheon Event in Nation".

Parker, who had gone to a $75 a head luncheon in the city's upmarket Hyatt Hotel to receive an award for - if you can believe it - Dow's contribution to the environment, was stunned when a camera-woman taking pictures of him at the foot of the stage turned out to be none other than long term adversary Diane Wilson, famed shrimp-boat-captain-turned-activist and merciless scourge of Dow.

Diane interrupted Parker's remarks about Dow's commitment to the environment and said she had an important announcement to make. At this point local Dow staffers (including their Seadrift plant's foot-in-mouth specialist Kathy Hunt) recognised Diane and began gesturing frantically at their hapless chief, but Diane, utilising the power of lungs fortified by years at sea, told Parker that he had no business accepting an environmental award when his company had yet to clean up its toxic mess in Bhopal. "We have someone here from Bhopal with a better award for you," she told him in front of 500 bemused guests.

The Dow contingent at tables near the stage were booing and shouting "siddown", but fell silent when Kinnu appeared in her sari bearing two genuine Bhopali jhaadoos. Kinnu made her way to the stage and held out the brooms to Parker who, at this point, was as much at sea as ever Diane had been. Kinnu told Parker that he was a liar to say that Dow had no liabilities in Bhopal. She told him that women living near the abandoned factory have mercury and other toxins in their breast milk and demanded that Dow take immediate action to clean up its mess.

Parker flapped, and began repeating his old formula about remembering where he was in 1984 when he heard the news about Bhopal. Any activist who has written to Dow about Bhopal will be able to quote it word for word. Meanwhile, Nishant Jain mounted the stage and stood silently beside him holding a banner that read DOW, CLEAN UP YOUR TOXIC MESS IN BHOPAL. Greenpeace's Jackie Downing displayed another saying DOW, THE PEOPLE OF BHOPAL DEMAND JUSTICE.

Solving the problem would be so much better than useless PR

"Karla Aguilara, a local Houston activist had the most fun", Kinnu reported. From the moment Diane began the interruption, Karla started leafletting all the tables starting right at the back. By the time the organisers noticed - their attention was fixed on the plight of poor Michael Parker - Karla had done thirty tables, including the Dow tables which she had marked from the outset (placards bearing company names obligingly identified each table.) Says Kinnu, "So Karla made sure she not only distributed quite a bunch of leaflets on both these tables but also gave them a piece of friendly advice 'Investing a bit of capital in taking care of this issue would be so much better than this useless PR'."

Two people, neither of whom were at the Dow tables, threw back the leaflets at Karla, everyone else just took them! When Karla was finally escorted out to the parking lot, she leafletted the fancy cars parked there.

Nature Conservancy believes in the "Polluter Pays" principle. Polluter Pays Nature Conservancy.

Nature Conservancy is a creature of the corporate PR industry - an organisation funded by rich, polluting corporations to praise their token gestures (Dow paid $30,000 to fund the luncheon) and gloss over their misdeeds. It does this by selling its name and endorsement to corporations which give it money.

"Brand Identity Partners," says the Conservancy's own literature, "can align their products or corporate image with the Conservancy. The strategic marketing efforts help raise awareness of environmental issues and the Conservancy, and also help partner companies garner consumer support and loyalty." Oy vay.

Today's Dow-sponsored luncheon was being hosted by Nature Conservancy Texas to honour its "Brand Identity Partner", that well-known champion of the environment General Motors. What - we hear you ask? - the same General Motors which is a top-three Superfund polluter and which with other air polluters has conspired to "gut" U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to protect and improve air quality in and near national parks. Yes, that General Motors.

Apparently, over the past eight years, GM has donated over $5,800,000 in cash and more than 140 trucks to Nature Conservancy. It has also of course donated approaching $1 million just in Anti-Superfund PAC Contributions to Members of Congress from 1991-1998, let alone other anti-green PR expenditures.

On a web-page decorated with blue and yellow macaws Nature Conservancy describes its mission as "To preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive."

"How about protecting the land and water Bhopali women and children need to survive?" Kinnu asked the shell-shocked Parker, whose response was to shake his head and claim that Dow had no liabilities in Bhopal and that Carbide's liabilties had been fulfilled.
Even as he was uttering these old, tired stock-responses, Karla was distributing to the 500 guests material which showed him to be a liar.

Part of the material distributed at Michael Parker's luncheon.
Click on the pictures for high res jpegs. Please feel free to print the postcard and send it to everyone you know.