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Finnish climate contradictions
by Asa Butcher
2007-03-18 09:39:49
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Last night I caught the latest Greenpeace advertisement and it left me breathless. A mother places her baby into a bathtub, turns on the tap and leaves the child unattended. Even though the whole advert was in Finnish I could understand the symbolism of rising sea levels and flooding caused by environmental changes. Unfortunately some people, namely mothers of young children, have found it to be offensive.

The ‘it’ that has offended them is the advert and not the fact that the world’s foremost environmental organisation is fighting to ensure a safe and clean future for these young children. My own response to the advert was applause at such a brave approach to a subject that is a concern to many parents across the planet.

In fact, as bizarre as it may seem, on the very same day, only a few hours later, YLE English news published another story about a poll commissioned by the Ministry of Trade that discovered climate change has replaced terrorism as the primary threat seen by Finns. The poll also suggests that people in Finland are now more ready to work to prevent climate change. Pardon?

Now which one is it? If you are so worried about the environmental future of Finland, why the hell are you interfering in the approach taken by Greenpeace? I can only imagine there were rather strange banging noises coming from Greenpeace Finland HQ as its staff simultaneously banged their heads against the walls in frustration. Oh Greenpeace, please save the world from the nasty polluters, but do it nicely…

If I am exasperated I can only imagine how they are feeling at hearing this news. It gets worse, these mothers have taken to the streets…actually, no, they started an online petition so expect that to spam your inbox in the next few days. Finland’s Advertising Ethics Board will determine if the advertisement needlessly uses fear for greater impact, as opposed to the fact that the real fear was Finland’s late and short winter, which is physical proof of actual climate change in action.

Greenpeace has stated that they understand the mothers' reaction, but I think they swore silently under their breath at the idiocy of the general public. Greenpeace actually said that they are not worried about misconceptions arising about the organisation because of the television spot, plus Kaisa Kosonen, advertising campaign organiser, explained that the organisation always ‘generates strong opinions’.

Yes, Kaisa, but the opinions are usually connected to the environment and not over the content of an advert, whose soul aim is to change public opinion and conceptions, plus raise awareness, over the future of this planet. My disbelief at this commotion stems from my own position as a father of a young daughter and my impotence at effecting real change with climate change. I have no direct number to the polluters or governments, so my hopes for my daughter’s future lay in the hands of environmental organizations.

So, Finns see climate change as the primary threat, second is floods, storms and heavy rains (see the first), number three was an economic downturn and terrorism now sits in fourth place. However, after reading the reaction of those mothers today it seems to me that Finland’s greatest threat is abject stupidity and don’t forget that they even have a vote in Sunday’s General Elections…oh God!

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Asa2007-03-17 19:00:52
Here is the advert:


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