Advocating for Social and Environmental Justice in Stanislaus County and the Central Valley
Tomorrow, Saturday April 19th, Valley Improvement will be holding the monthly “Free Market and Bike Workshop” at Enslen Park (behind the city’s corporate Earth Day in Graceda Park). Join us from 10am-4pm while we raise awareness of the earth un-friendly sponsors of the City of Modesto’s annual Earth Day Festival.
The first Earth Day in 1970 was inspired by the ravaging effects of an oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA. In 2014 oil companies sponsor Earth Day in Modesto, CA. Along with the growth of the environmentalist movement came the big-business strategies of marketing and promoting a “greener image.” Now almost every big corporation from Chevron to Wal-Mart has a multi-million dollar public relations campaign aimed at convincing us that they are somehow helping the planet, when in reality polluting and all around earth-destroying is their business as usual.
From the New York Times: “So strong was the antibusiness sentiment for the first Earth Day in 1970 that organizers took no money from corporations and held teach-ins ‘to challenge corporate and government leaders’… Forty years later, the day has turned into a premier marketing platform for selling a variety of goods and services.”
The City of Modesto and their business/developer friendly tendencies have completely bought into the idea that Earth Day is for selling sponsorships and vendor booths while showcasing businesses that have little to do with creating the changes needed to become a sustainable society.
Modesto Earth Day Sponsors that actively harm the environment:
– Covanta: This company is known nation-wide for its pollution, violating emission standards, and unsafe conditions. Locally it runs a waste incinerator that burns trash on the West-side of Stanislaus County and emits heavy metals and toxic chemicals such as dioxin, one of the deadliest chemicals known to science, adding to the already high asthma rates and health problems in West-Stanislaus communities and the San Joaquin Valley.
– Boyett Petroleum: What is a petroleum company doing sponsoring Earth Day? Their web-site says it all. Their Vision Statement is includes being a “Fuel Supplier and Retailer” and part of their Mission Statement is obtaining “profitable growth.” If they’re agenda is growing the petroleum industry to make more money then they have no business at an Earth Day Festival. Their web-site also states that “Boyett Petroleum is also a distributor for Valero products throughout the State of California and Arco Products and ConocoPhillips in Northern California.”
– Power Talk 1360AM: As Modesto’s home for conservative talk radio, this Clear Channel-owned station broadcasts climate-change deniers Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh. Every weekday Power Talk’s audience gets told that global warming does not exist (sometimes just because it’s cold outside) and that environmental degradation should not be a top priority in public discourse.
– Modesto Toyota: Sure, Toyota make the Prius, but it also makes the Tundra and Tacoma trucks which get about 15-20 MPG. The bottom line is, like Boyett, their goal is to make a profit by selling as many products as they can, they are motivated to put more cars on the road. Period.
While this year’s Modesto City Earth Day poster makes no mention of solar power or air quality, it is sure to mention a demonstration by the Modesto Police K9 attack dogs!
Pictures of gas powered generators and a truck running all day at Modesto’s corporate Earth Day: