Ad nauseam

Effect and cause – via the Guardian (September 2009):

Alongside Christian Aid’s inspired and rather brilliant ad at the top of the page – which unfolds to reveal the rest of the iceberg, giving the whole the shape of Africa – is an advert for energy company Eon, the second largest carbon polluter in Europe and sponsor of the first proposed new dirty coal plant in the UK in 30 years, the Kingsnorth power station in Kent (now temporarily shelved following a concerted campaign of popular pressure). The paper, it’s worth pointing out, conducted a touchingly friendly interview with Paul Golby, head of Eon, earlier in the year.

And effect and cause, via the Independent – advertising car essentials and American Airlines flights to New York as the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are made known (February 2007):

… and advertising cheap Ryanair flights, as yet another study reveals just how conservative those predictions have turned out to be (from 2009):

As Professor of Media and Communications Simon Cottle writes in his Preface to Climate Change and the Media (Peter Lang, 2009, p. x):

“… sections of the mainstream media now often dramatize and spectacularize climate change as an impending peril. When they do so, however, such media representations are offered within a prevailing sea of media content that sends very different messages: whether adverts encouraging us to buy petrol-guzzling 4x4s or programs like the BBC’s Top Gear mindlessly extolling high performance cars; whether endless adverts bombarding us throughout the year to take weekend flights to idyllic destinations or the continuous stream of “feel good” holiday TV programs and magazine features that normalize the exponential rise in passenger flights each year.

“The mass media, evidently, are not carbon-neutral – whether in terms of their industrialized means of production or in their endorsement of an unsustainable culture of consumption. Could it also be that this ubiquitous culture of consumption also contributes to the comforting but simplistic hopes placed in technology? When climate change is viewed as a scientific challenge requiring technological solutions rather than as a social problem of globalizing modernity dependent on incessant growth, then producers, consumers, and governments are too easily let off the hook and the difficult politics needed to engage with questions of global social justice and sustainable futures become sidelined.”

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