Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise has been watching the climate world since 2009. What she sees isn't pretty.

Keeping the ‘No Pressure’ Video Alive

It’s no longer easy to locate the splattergate video on YouTube.

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A year-and-a-half ago a high-profile, UK-based green group released a video that was intended to be shown in cinemas prior to the main attraction. Titled No Pressure, it featured people – including school children – being summarily executed. Exploded, in fact, in a shower of blood and gore. Their crime? They’d expressed insufficient enthusiasm for reducing their carbon footprint.

While the creators of this film apparently thought they were being funny, others were horrified. In the words of Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic magazine, the video was “a complete catastrophe for environmentalism.” Australian blogger Joanne Nova called it the ‘marketing disaster of the century.’ Environmental studies professor Roger Pielke Jr. described it as “the worst climate PR stunt ever.”

Most of us who viewed this video had no trouble figuring out that people who regard four-minute massacres as helpful to their cause are downright scary. Such people should be kept far away from any positions of power.

Unfortunately, much of the media declined to report on this video. Six weeks after the fact, I could find only two instances of it even being mentioned in Canadian newspapers. One was in the business section of the National Post. The other was in a small local paper.

These days it’s getting harder to find this video. If you attempt to view it via my older blog posts (or via the ethically challenged coverage over at the Guardian) this is what you see after clicking the Play button:

The account of the person who’d reposted it has been terminated. Allegedly, there were multiple copyright infringement issues.

But what happens if you simply search for “No Pressure” – keeping in mind that many young people now use YouTube as their substitute Google? The list of results includes annoyingly annotated versions of the video (see here and here) – and those┬áthat incorporate bits and pieces from it (for example, here).

If you use the search term “10:10” – the name of the 10-percent-per-year C02 reduction campaign with which this video is associated – the same thing happens.

After a good deal of trial and error it appears that the only YouTube search term that will now point you directly to the video in its intact, original state is “10:10 video.” After clicking the Play button in many posts around the web I’ve discovered that the version of the video embedded in The Atlantic story still functions. So does the one embedded in the Pielke blog. You can view those copies here and here.

The No Pressure video is an important historical document. It sheds light on the mindset of the people who created it and on the green groups that failed to condemn it (come on down Greenpeace, Earthjustice, Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council). It tells us important things about what mainstream journalists consider news and not news.

I’ve attempted to back up the video here, but it isn’t clear that the WebCite service I’ve used works in the event that content is later removed from YouTube.

Those who know more about these matters than I do may wish to undertake their own archiving efforts.

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