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As the world turned their attention to the spectacle of the 2010 Olympics, Greenpeace International played another kind of game, appointing Tzeporah Berman as their new energy and climate campaign director. As a result, she will inherit their “Stop the Tar Sands” campaign and take responsibility for 110 Greenpeace climate campaigners in 28 countries. In the last few years Berman has been known to accommodate corporate interests, provided they make minor concessions and release joint statements. Greenpeace itself, by teaming with Olympic corporate sponsor Coca-Cola, has made clear this strategy also falls within their overall corporate strategy.
Berman, a former a Greenpeace BC campaigner, was recently appointed to the BC Liberal government as an “adviser” on free market-based “green energy” initiatives. She immediately conferred an award to BC Premier Gordon Campbell’s “leadership” in fighting climate change while at the Copenhagen negotiations. This, even though BC was the only province in Canada whose tally of greenhouse gas emissions for the year 2009 was higher than the year before. While Berman was on the inside at Copenhagen handing an award to Premier Campbell (whom she now worked for), tens of thousands of activists calling for real action on climate change were being arrested, beaten and tear gassed. According to the Vancouver Sun, Berman “decided to apply for the job after reconnecting with Greenpeace representatives at the Copenhagen climate conference last December.” Her decision came roughly the same time as Greenpeace International was releasing their statement with Coca-Cola.
On February Fifth, Berman, whose birth name was Suzie Faye Berman, carried the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Torch Indigenous and grassroots environmental activists have been blocking, through Brackendale, near Squamish BC. In a statement released prior, she said she carried the torch to “make the connection between the hope and inspiration of the Olympics and the promise of electric vehicles and clean energy.” Berman rode an electric scooter with the torch, escorted by police.
Greenpeace itself has refused to oppose the 2010 Winter Games despite their massive carbon footprint and the dynamiting of mountains to expand a highway from Vancouver to Whistler for the same Games.
She has previously demonstrated in both word and deed that her strategic deployment is to work in tandem with corporations and neo-liberal governments, not to oppose or resist them in any way. Berman’s likely corporate engagement strategy, which could include tar sands giants and experienced greenwashers Shell and Suncor would negate the possibility of carrying out the chant of anti Olympics demonstrators to “shut down the tar sands.”
In December of last year Greenpeace released a joint press release with Coca-Cola, one of the larger corporate sponsors of the 2010 Olympic Games. The announcement was timed as world attention shifted to Copenhagen, Denmark for the international climate change discussions. The release, among other things, stated: “This announcement is a direct result of work with Greenpeace that began in 2000, and a demonstration that phasing out the use of HFCs is a tangible and near-term action corporations can take to protect the climate.” There is no way to determine if this was a part of a push from Coca-Cola to get official endorsement rights to the COP15 negotiations.
While the press release ignored Cokes record of complicity in the murder of multiple trade union activists in Colombia, it was said to show however that the release was “a direct result of discussions with Greenpeace that began in the run-up to the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Greenpeace challenged Coca-Cola to go HFC-free in all of the equipment it supplied to the Games. By the Torino Games in 2006 and the Beijing Games in 2008, the Company was using all HFC-free technology at Olympic venues. For the past five years, the relationship between Greenpeace and Coca-Cola has become increasingly cooperative [...]”
Greenpeace & Coca-Cola also had zero comment on the destruction of clean water aquifers within India, notably Kerala, rendering the land where much of global Coke's bottling plants fill up parched of water and contaminating what's left.