Tag Archives: Community Campaigns

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007: Protest at Dow-sponsored “Blue Planet Run”

On June 3rd, the non-profit organization “Blue Planet Run” held an event in Boston Common as the participating long-distance runners were arriving in Boston. The blue planet run goes across 16 countries and covers 15200 miles in 95 days. At each stop, the organization holds a media event to promote their message. However, some might wonder what exactly this message is. According to the organization, the event promotes safe drinking water across the globe. However, many activists feel that the honesty of their message is encumbered by the fact that the main sponsor of the run is Dow Chemical, which products and factories are a major source of water contamination across the world.

Boston Common, June 3rd, 2007

An interview with AID Boston volunteer Sudarshan Vasudevan about the “Blue Planet Run” (WMBR MIT Campus Radio, 06/13/07) can be accessed (the entire program) at WMBR’s archive at: http://www.wmbr.org/www/sched-wed under the program titled “What’s Left”.

On June 3rd, the non-profit organization “Blue Planet Run” held an event in Boston Common as the participating long-distance runners were arriving in Boston. The blue planet run goes across 16 countries and covers 15200 miles in 95 days. At each stop, the organization holds a media event to promote their message. However, some might wonder what exactly this message is. According to the organization, the event promotes safe drinking water across the globe. However, many activists feel that the integrity of their message is encumbered by the fact that the main sponsor of the run is Dow Chemical, which products and factories are a major source of water contamination across the world.

Dow Chemical is spending $10 million to sponsor the run, while at the same time it is avoiding to pay for the clean-up of the water sources it has contaminated.

Dow’s involvement in water contamination:

  • Bhopal India
  • Gulf of Mexico
  • Mississippi River
  • Brazos River, Texas
  • Myrtle Grove, Louisiana Acquifer
  • Vietnam
  • Lake Huron & Saginaw Bay, MI
  • Tittabawassee & Saginaw River, MI
  • 3,500 waterways in the United States

Read more about Dow Chemical’s history here.

What is behind Dow’s new PR campaign?

The sponsorship of the Blue Planet run is part of Dow’s new PR offensive, which promotes the company’s commitment to social responsibility and environmental sustainability. However, how are we to interpret this campaign if more money is spent on advertising their commitment than on cleaning up the sites they’ve poisoned?
In 2006, Andrew Liveris, chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company, spoke at the UN to describe Dow’s commitment to sustainable water solutions and announced their partnership the Blue Planet Run Foundation. Read more about Dow’s announcement here.
One could say that all this sounds very promising, however, here a few issues to investigate for those who are sceptical about the corporate good heart:

nterestingly, one of the intial sponsors of the BluePlanetRun was Coca Cola (read more here) – another company with a fantastic record in terms of ensuring safe drinking water: Coca Cola has been widely criticized for causing water shortages in many Indian communties located near the company’s bottling plants. Read more about Coca-Cola here.

Dow Chemical makes money through selling water purification technologies, materials for water piping etc.. So could they possibly have any other interests in promoting their new interest in clean water solutions?

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2006, Cambridge City Council Campaign

GOOD NEWS! All three resolutions have been passed by the city council on September 25th, 2006. Thanks to the groups that endorsed the resolution (below).

As residents of Cambridge, we are deeply concerned about the ongoing human rights abuses in Bhopal, India due to the conduct of Union Carbide Corporation and its current owner, Dow Chemical Corporation.

On December 3, 1984, the world's worst chemical disaster took place in Bhopal, India, when a Union Carbide Corporation chemical plant unleashed a cloud of deadly chemicals that killed more than 3,000 people in a single night, and has been responsible for over 20,000 deaths since. In Bhopal, 22,000 people are drinking water contaminated with mercury, benzene, and chromium because of Dow Chemical's refusal to clean up the factory site. Over 100,000 people are permanently disabled and many more are unable to earn a living because of injuries suffered from the 1984 disaster. Despite this, Dow refuses to face the criminal charges brought against it in India for the disaster or to aid in clean up, medical care, and economic rehabilitation of the survivors.

Amnesty International has highlighted the Bhopal case as one of the most horrifying instances of human rights abuse that has gone unresolved.

We respectfully request that the Cambridge City Council resolve to:

  • Recommend the Board of the Cambridge Retirement System use their Dow stocks to co-file all future Bhopal shareholder resolutions in support of the disaster survivors and divest of any Dow bonds
  • Recommend that the City Manager report on safe substitutes for Dow products being purchased by the city (list of Dow products and alternatives is available)
  • Declare the Anniversary of the Bhopal Disaster – December 3rd – to be a Day of Remembrance for Victims of Industrial Disasters and Pollution
  • Send copies of any such City Resolution to Dow Chemical's CEO and Board

 

Sign the petition here

Current endorsers of the resolution:

  • Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia
  • Alternatives for Community and Environment
  • Amnesty International Group 133
  • Area 4 Coalition
  • Association for India's Development – Boston Chapter
  • Cambridge United for Justice and Peace
  • Clean Water Action, Massachusetts
  • Dollars and Sense Magazine
  • Environmental Health Fund
  • Groundwork USA (Environmental Justice organization)
  • Harvard Initiative for Peace and Justice
  • Healthy Building Network
  • Mass Global Action
  • Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health
  • Massachusetts Jobs with Justice
  • Student Labor Action Movement
  • South Asia Center
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April 20th, 2007: Get on the Bus

Every year, hundreds of human rights activist travel to New York City as part of "Get on the Bus", organized by Amnesty International group 133 in Somerville, MA, to protest against different human rights violations across the world. This year, one of the protests focused on Bhopal. Members of the Boston Coaltion for Justice in Bhopal organized a protest outside of JP Morgan Chase's World Headquarters, a major holder of shares in Dow Chemical. The protest's aim was to pressure JP Morgan to vote in favor of the Bhopal resolution at the Dow Shareholder meeting in May, 2007. For more information about Get On the Bus go here

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December 2nd & 3rd, 2006, 22nd Anniversary of the Bhopal Disaster Day of Action

On December 2nd, we gathered on Boston Common and staged a “funeral march” carrying coffins and bearers representing those who died and are dying daily. From Boston Common we marched to State St. Bank, which is the 5th largest Dow shareholder and hold voting authority for 24.8 million shares of Dow stock as of 9/30/06. That is stock worth almost a billion dollars ($994 million). We wanted to remind them that they have a responsibilty for human rights as much as they do for profit, and they have an obligation to vote in favor of the Bhopal Resolution at a minimum to assure that Dow Chemical does take action in Bhopal.

Join us! Everyone is welcome!

Saturday, December 2nd, 2006 11:30am
Funeral March in Remembrance
Meeting outside Park St. T-stop at 11:30am
March, Rally and Outreach from 12-2pm

Join us in a “funeral march” carrying coffins and bearers representing those who died and are dying daily in Bhopal to raise awareness about this ongoing disaster. At the end of our march, we will hear from Klare X. Allen of Roxbury Safety Net who is working to prevent parallel injustices from taking place in Boston with the BU Biolab.
Our current route is from Park St. to State St. Bank and back to Park St. State St is the 5th largest Dow shareholder and hold voting authority for 24.8 million shares of Dow stock as of 9/30/06. That is stock worth almost a billion dollars ($994 million). We want to remind them this Saturday that they have a responsibilty for human rights as much as they do for profit, and they have an obligation to vote in favor of the Bhopal Resolution at a minimum to assure that Dow Chemical does take action in Bhopal (Map of Walking Route).

Register here!
Download the Media Advisory here!

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006 3-5pm
Bhopal Survivor & Former Carbide Doctor Speaks
3-5pm, MIT, 77 Mass. Ave. Cambridge, Room 4-231

Dr. KumKum Modwel quit a promising career at Union Carbide because she recognized the catastrophic threat that the plant posed to its workers and to the city of Bhopal. She was exposed to the gas during the disaster and will talk about her experiences at Union Carbide, as a survivor, and her return visit to Bhopal 20 years later.

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Past Actions

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007: Protest at Dow-sponsored "Blue Planet Run"

On June 3rd, the non-profit organization "Blue Planet Run" held an event in Boston Common as the participating long-distance runners were arriving in Boston. The blue planet run goes across 16 countries and covers 15200 miles in 95 days. At each stop, the organization holds a media event to promote their message. However, some might wonder what exactly this message is. According to the organization, the event promotes safe drinking water across the globe. However, many activists feel that the honesty of their message is encumbered by the fact that the main sponsor of the run is Dow Chemical, which products and factories are a major source of water contamination across the world.

May 3rd, 2007: Bhopal Disaster Lecture at MIT

A panel discussion with Gary Cohen, Aquene Freechild, and Prof. Ron Willey.
Often cited as the worst industrial disaster to date, the gas leak at a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India in 1984 killed 7,000 within days, and 22,000 to date.  The panelists include a chemical engineer who has worked in Bhopal and has affiliations with Union Carbide and Dow Chemical, and Boston's Environmental Health Fund Associates who have traveled to Bhopal and worked in the health clinic there.  What happened that night? What are the implications from an engineering perspective, a social perspective, and a corporate perspective?

April 20th, 2007: "Get on the Bus"

Every year, hundreds of human rights activist travel to New York City as part of "Get on the Bus", organized by Amnesty International group 133 in Somerville, MA, to protest against different human rights violations across the world. This year, one of the protests focused on Bhopal. Members of the Boston Coaltion for Justice in Bhopal organized a protest outside of JP Morgan Chase's World Headquarters, a major holder of shares in Dow Chemical. The protest's aim was to pressure JP Morgan to vote in favor of the Bhopal resolution at the Dow Shareholder meeting in May, 2007. For more information about Get On the Bus go here.

January 22nd, 2007: "We all live in Bhopal" – a talk by Rachna Dhingra

Rachna Dhingra is working in Bhopal with survivors from the world's worst industrial disaster – the gas leak from Union Carbide's plant that has killed 20,000 people since 1984 and impacted over 200,000 people. A compassionate, determined and resourceful woman, Rachna moved to Bhopal from Ann Arbor in January 2003. Since then, she has immersed herself in getting the balance of compensation to survivors, initiating efforts for clean drinking water, generating employment, and mobilizing local and global communities. She has become a key organizer for the campaign, and her enthusiasm and energy is an inspiration to all.

December 2nd & 3rd, 2006, 22nd Bhopal Anniversary

On December 2nd, we gathered on Boston Common and staged a “funeral march” carrying coffins and bearers representing those who died and are dying daily.

From Boston Common we marched to State St. Bank, which is the 5th largest Dow shareholder and hold voting authority for 24.8 million shares of Dow stock as of 9/30/06. That is stock worth almost a billion dollars ($994 million). We wanted to remind them that they have a responsibilty for human rights as much as they do for profit, and they have an obligation to vote in favor of the Bhopal Resolution at a minimum to assure that Dow Chemical does take action in Bhopal

Cambridge City Council Campaign

GOOD NEWS! All three resolutions have been passed by the city council on September 25th, 2006.

Thanks to the groups that endorsed the resolution:

  • Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia
  • Alternatives for Community and Environment
  • Amnesty International Group 133
  • Area 4 Coalition
  • Association for India's Development – Boston Chapter
  • Cambridge United for Justice and Peace
  • Clean Water Action, Massachusetts
  • Dollars and Sense Magazine
  • Environmental Health Fund
  • Groundwork USA (Environmental Justice organization)
  • Healthy Building Network
  • Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health
  • Massachusetts Jobs with Justice
  • South Asia Center
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