That 10:10 video

2 Oct

Wowzas. That 10:10 Richard Curtis film, “No Pressure”, has stirred up quite a debate. (If you’re not sure what I’m talking about you can at least get up to speed with 10:10’s apology here.)

I don’t want to defend 10:10’s decision to go ahead with the film, I found it really hard to stomach myself and felt really a bit sick after watching it. I completely understand people who have been offended by it, or who simply don’t really know what the message was supposed to be.

But. I was very, very interested to observe today and yesterday, that quite a few of the requests asking 10:10 to take the video down referenced the bombs in Nigeria on Friday. For example, on twitter @AshleyRRB said: @1010 have scored an own goal with new campaign video. As events in Nigeria today show, blowing up people you don’t agree with isn’t funny.

Of course, I agree, blowing people up isn’t funny. It’s abhorrent, tragic, disgusting. But not one person mentioned why those bombs went off in Nigeria, which I think is important to note in this case, especially if we are to make such links.

The bombers were part of the militant group, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend). Mend come from the oil-rich southern delta, home to Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry, and have been fighting for years for a greater share of the oil revenues. The delta is also the location of huge environmental catastrophe, at the hands of companies such as ExxonMobil, BP and Shell, with oil spills and devastation that apparently dwarf even the scale of Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico. Massive corporations are going into countries like Nigeria, destroying the environment, taking the resources and then exporting them to the US, Europe etc and pocketing the profits. That is why Mend’s warning email about the bombs said, “For 50 years, the people of the Niger delta have had their land and resources stolen from them.”

I am in no way sympathetic to the actions of Mend or condoning them. It is devastating. But we are blind if we do not acknowledge that this tragedy is a clear example of the consequence of our relentless burning of fossil fuels (which is contributing to climate change) and exploitation of our natural environment.

If anything, the events in Nigeria on Friday should be spurring us on harder and faster to the clean energy future that we need, to prevent more awful incidents like these occuring. 10:10 might have missed the mark with their video, but the people that work there are some of the most hard-working, good-natured and good-hearted people I know. They are working towards the low-carbon future we need and they need more of us on board with that. That’s all they meant. And I think they’re right.

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