The Underwater Cabinet Meeting and 5 Other Global Warming PR Stunts



The Maldives government pulled the ultimate global warming PR stunt this past weekend when it held a cabinet meeting on the sea floor. The stunt, meant to highlight the issues facing the lowest-lying country on Earth, received plenty of attention. All of which got us thinking: what other global warming PR stunts have made an impact? Below, we look at some of our favorites.

1. Earth Hour

Contentious? Yes, but that’s the point. This World Wildlife Fund-organized annual event asks businesses and homes to turn off all lights and electrical appliances for an hour in protest of climate change. The global event has hundreds of participating countries and cities.

2. The Chamber of Commerce Statement

Activist group The Yes Men pulled a fast one on the Washington Post, The New York Times, and Reuters yesterday when group member Andy Bichlbaum impersonated a Chamber of Commerce executive at a press conference and delivered the following statement: “We at the Chamber have tried to keep climate science from interfering
with business. But without a stable climate, there will be no business.” At the end of the press event, Chamber spokesman Eric Wohlschlegel burst into the room and angrily declared that the statement was fraudulent.

mt. rushmore

3. The Mt. Rushmore Stunt

This past July, Greenpeace activists climbed Mt. Rushmore and put up a banner saying, “America Honors Leaders, Not Politicians. Stop Global Warming”. The stunt was a success, with Twitter users picking up on the story en masse.

Vancouver lifeboats

4. Lifeboats

Canada’s Marketing Magazine gave a 2009 Marketing Award to this stunt, which saw ad agency Rethink put hanging lifeboats up in downtown Vancouver, complete with live lifeguards. The stunt was put on in support of Offsetters‘ carbon offsets.


5. Glacier Nudity

If nothing else, Greenpeace has mastered the art of the publicity stunt. This time around, the organization brought 600 nude protesters to the Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland. The event, photographed by installation artist Spencer Tunick, was intended to mimic the ways in which “Global warming is stripping away our glaciers and leaving our entire
planet vulnerable to extreme weather, floods, sea-level rise, global
decreases in carrying capacity and agricultural production, fresh water
shortages, disease and mass human dislocations.”


About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more