Article updated 7th May 2021
This morning Ramon Salgado-Touzon sprayed the windows of The Guardian London offices with pink paint in protest at their climate coverage. He is an activist with Burning Pink and was campaign manager for Valerie Brown’s candidacy as Mayor of London.
Valerie Brown was one of nine women who recently shattered the windows at HSBC bank in Canary Wharf. The HSBC event gained extensive media coverage, but mysteriously The Guardian gave it little attention despite their environmental correspondent Damien Gayle attending the action (one of a few mainstream journalists tipped off by the group). Is it any coincidence that HSBC is one of The Guardian’s largest advertisers?
Ramon points at The Guardian’s Climate Pledge which promises truth-seeking journalism that’s free from commercial and political influence and questions whether they are living up to it. He is also angry at their coverage of the Burning Pink mayoral campaign, claiming they did not even speak with Valerie Brown despite the fact the Burning Pink Party are completely focused on the climate and ecological emergency with one simple policy: to give the People of London control over the decisions that are made in their city. Burning Pink say that politicians have catastrophically failed and only legally binding Citizen’s Assemblies will empower people to safeguard our future.
Ramon is angry that The Guardian made no attempt to make this clear in any of their election reporting.
Valerie Brown says “In a democracy the freedom of the press is one of the cornerstones of a just society. The media needs to be fair and balanced and if it’s not then it’s propaganda. The so-called liberal paper The Guardian is no longer upholding a balanced and fair style. Or upholding their Climate Pledge.“
Before the action, Ramon released a statement saying “It is time for Deeds Not Words. We all have a duty to do what must be done as ancestors to future generations. Our names will not be remembered but our actions will.”
This rest of this article was originally published in May 2019 after we interviewed four climate activists outside The Guardian / Observer offices two years ago, about the newspaper’s questionable credentials as a flagship for climate change news, and before we also covered a protest over the paper’s coverage of Julian Assange.
The supposedly left-leaning broadsheet (which supported the Iraq war, continues to give regular platform to Tony Blair, seems to have lied about Julian Assange, and is no longer a Trust but a private company) is widely regarded as one of the better corporate outlets for climate change news.
But all four of our interviewees point out the paper’s hypocrises and short-comings, starting with this from the director of the Climate Media Coalition, Donnachadh McCarthy.
He describes how on the day that the Guardian proudly announced it was switching its magazine wrapper to a non-plastic starch, it also carried dozens of pages of high-carbon related advertising.
Next up is Dr Larch Maxey, who is standing as an independent candidate in the South West constituency of the European elections, one of several Climate & Ecological Emergency Independents using the platform to highlight the need for rebellion.
He talks about research which shows how our brains work on a non-rational level, and are fooled into passivity due to the disjuncture between alarming articles on the urgent need for radical change, against pages and pages of carbon-intensive ‘business as usual’.
Next, we spoke with Claudia McDowell, a young Guardian reader who is also standing as an independent Climate and Ecological Emergency candidate, this time in the London constituency.
She believes a “so-called liberal newspaper” should be in rebellion against a government which is committing genocide on her generation. Instead, she sees a paper betraying the people by promoting a high-carbon lifestyle, despite its articles on, for instance, the 60% loss of all species on our planet since 1970.
Claudia wants The Guardian to do more, and to stop backing or advertising any thing which is contributing to the end of life on our planet.
We finish, with an uncompromising call to rebellion by Roger Hallam, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion and the Burning Pink Party and was also a ‘Climate & Ecological Emergency Independent’ candidate as a London MEP in 2019. He speaks about his demands from a supposedly climate-friendly newspaper. At the very least, the paper should be holding public meetings all over the country to discuss the climate emergency, but better still, its editors and sub-editors should be ‘leading from the front’ in open rebellion against a government that is so ineffective on this existential issue.
The Climate & Ecological Emergency Independent MEPs used the election as a platform for further civil disobedience, and asked people NOT to vote for them, but to vote for Daze Aghaji, a 19 year old who wanted to bring a young and ecological-focussed perspective into the European parliament.
Until our media is funded in ways that don’t rely on fossil-fuel and high-carbon sponsors, or on state-controlled ownership, then we have a serious problem in conveying the urgency of the climate and ecological crisis.
It’s time to support and expand the independent media sector as part of the battle against human extinction.