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Climate Change Protestors ‘Hijack’ More Than 500 Billboards Across Europe to Denounce Role of Airlines in ‘Climate Crisis’

Climate Change Protestors ‘Hijack’ More Than 500 Billboards Across Europe to Denounce Role of Airlines in ‘Climate Crisis’

Brandalism “hijacked” over 500 corporate advertising spaces, replacing adverts with satirical artworks denouncing the role of aviation industry advertising in the ‘climate crisis’
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Brandalism “hijacked” over 500 corporate advertising spaces, replacing adverts with satirical artworks denouncing the role of aviation industry advertising in the ‘climate crisis’

An international collective of artists and activists that go by the name Brandalism have ‘hijacked’ more than 500 billboards across the UK and Europe in what the group calls a “massive coordinated subvertising action” to draw attention to the role of airline and the aviation industry advertising is having on the ‘climate crisis’.

The campaigners are calling for so-called ‘fossil advertising’ from companies that “fuel the climate emergency” to be banned. Several cities, including Amsterdam and The Hague in the Netherlands, as well as Sydney, have already banned high carbon ads.

“The allure and glamour of high carbon lifestyles such as frequent flying has been purposefully crafted by the advertising industry and shows no signs of relenting – despite one of the hottest summers on record,” commented Brandalism spokesperson Tona Merriman.

Merriman called out specific ad agencies that have worked with airlines and implored individual employees to refuse to work with “high carbon” clients.

Amongst the artworks created by eight Brandalism artists was one that, at first, glance appeared to be from Ryanair. The artwork accuses airlines of trashing the world in pursuit of low fares, while another accuses Lufthansa of “frying the planet”.

“Advertising plays a crucial, but often overlooked, role in fueling the climate crisis,” commented Andrew Simms from Brandalism’s UK campaign. “By pushing high-carbon goods, such as cheap flights, advertising is complicit in driving carbon emissions higher at a time when we need to see an urgent reversal”.

Earlier this year, Dutch airline KLM was served with a lawsuit by climate activists over allegations that the airline is misleading consumers by claiming they can “fly responsibly” by paying to offset carbon emissions.

Central to the lawsuit brought by Fossielvrij NL is KLM’s ‘Fly Responsbily’ campaign which gives passengers the opportunity to buy carbon offsets or contribute towards sustainable aviation fuel.

Like many airlines, KLM has committed to achieving carbon net zero by 2050. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) claims this goal aligns with the Paris Agreement aim for global warming not to exceed 1.5°C.

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