Recently I was back at NYC green nightclub Greenhouse (the one decorated with all the leaves inside), this time at the swank kick-off party for Waterkeeper's "Clean Coal is a Dirty Lie" campaign. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. gave one of his trademark rousing speeches (you can see it in three parts on YouTube.)
Kevin Bacon and his wife Kyra Sedgewick had invited me (according to the email invitation), though I didn't see them there. They made an appearance, with Matthew Modine, according to these photos. The night was mc'd by Gloria Reuben of ER fame (who knew she was Canadian? That makes me feel dirty) -- though she seemed a bit uncomfortable in the role.
What's wrong with the coal industry's recent $40 million clean coal advertising blitz (not to mention lobbying)? Plenty, according to Waterkeeper, who apparently was not amused with the recent Clean Coal Carolers. The group claims clean coal "simply doesnt exist. And it never will." They add:
The truth is that coal pollutes our water, devastates our communities, forests and mountains, kills wildlife and contributes to climate change. Coal has poisoned our drinking water and our fish, contaminating our bodies and babies with mercury and other toxins. Coal causes a long inventory of serious illnesses, including asthma, kidney and heart disease, cancer and premature death. Coal kills its own workers through irresponsible mining practices.
Instead, Waterkeeper promotes energy conservation and ramping up renewable energy. Here's their promo video:
Waterkeeper isn't the only green game in town, and others have taken to targeting clean coal as well. The well-produced site Coal is Dirty has been making waves, a joint effort of the DeSmog Project, Rainforest Action Network and Greenpeace USA. Check out their recent video:
Not to be outdone, Al Gore has thrown his 100-gallon hat into the ring. His Alliance for Climate Protection has joined forces with the League of Conservation Voters, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club on the topnotch Reality Coalition, which has a simple message: in reality, there is no such thing as clean coal. (At least until its carbon dioxide emissions are fully captured and safely stored through sequestration, something that currently seems out of reach, expensive and risky). The multi-million dollar ad campaign has been hitting Internet, print and broadcast media.
Get Your Clean Coal Out of My Beach Community, Dude!
In fact, none other than the brilliant creators of No Country for Old Men, Fargo and The Big Lebowski -- Joel and Ethan Cohen -- have lent their considerable talent to the Reality cause. Check out their whimsical commercial below. The Dude abides, and will not stand for coal company aggression, man. Nobody messes with the Greens!
It's a war for U.S. energy policy even Edward Bernays might not have predicted.
Also check out this making-of video with the Coens, and don't forget to submit your own dirty coal video for a chance to win $500!
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