Greenpeace, with help from radical pranksters The Yes Men and thousands of volunteers around the world, produced and distributed a million copies of a paper looking exactly like the International Herald Tribune, but dated December 19, 2009 and carrying the headline: “Heads of State Agree Historic Climate-Saving Deal.”
The stunt was reminiscent of The Yes Men’s fake New York Times that came out late last year and announced “Iraq War Ends.” The difference this time around is that the paper is being used as a vehicle to launch what’s being called a civil disobedience database. According to the press release, BeyondTalk.net “is part of a growing network of websites calling for direct action on climate change.” The site asks people to consider pledging to commit acts of nonviolent civil disobedience “in order to get our leaders to make the right climate change choices.”
Here’s what Andy Bichlbaum of The Yes Men said in the press release:
Non-violent civil disobedience has been at the forefront of almost every successful campaign for change… Especially in America, and especially today, we need to push our leaders hard to stand up to industry lobbyists and make the sorts of changes we need.
The significance of the paper’s date is to show what could happen the day after the UN climate talks are scheduled to end in Copenhagen. Environmentalists consider that meeting to be the last and best chance to seriously reduce carbon emissions.
Who knows if this “hopeful news pandemic”, as some are calling it, will inspire action, but it seems to have a better chance than most appeals since it taps directly into that Gandhian philosophy of being the change you want to see.