On Campus

How to spread the word: lessons from Greenpeace

Dangerously scaling buildings costs lives

Twenty Greenpeace members were arrested yesterday after staging a protest at Parliament Hill. At 7:30 a.m., 19 individuals–in hard hats and jumpsuits–scaled two buildings and unfurled banners from the rooftops.

“Harper, Ignatieff, climate inaction costs lives,” read the banners, in both English and French.

Emergency vehicles were called to the scene, and protesters were helped down one by one. They were then arrested, along with an organizer from the ground.

I could deconstruct the merits of such a demonstration, but (as Obama would say) why not look at the situation as a “teachable moment?” We all have something to say, right? Why not tell it the Greenpeace way? Here are the points I’ve extracted:

  1. Make sure your method upstages your message. That’s right; loud, brash and unapologetic. That way, everyone will be talking about what you did, not what you said.
  2. It’s always best to break the law. You can later use your being-led-to-police-cruiser photo as your new Facebook profile picture. I predict 10 new friend requests. At least.
  3. Nothing says, “take me seriously” like matching uniforms.
  4. Make sure you identify to whom your message is directed. Spell it out in 7212 point font. Just to make sure they don’t miss it.
  5. Take a holistic approach. For example, incorporate physical activity in delivering your point. That way, you subtly lament the physical decline of our nation, while broadcasting your primary message. Talk about killing two birds. <Insert inoffensive idiom>

On a more serious note, Greenpeace did effectively reveal the gross security inadequacies at Parliament Hill. Pretty good for a protest that was supposed to be about..  um.. ya, pretty good!

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