Dirty Jobs Boycott Campaign Plan
by Ann Nickel
Earth Day's creation in 1970 marked the transition of students from verbal protestation to activists for the environment. Since that time, students have provided key leadership and support for environmental issues. Although this student activism won major victories for environmental protection including the Clean Water Act, the creation of the EPA, the Endangered Species Act, and theClean Air Act, the positive steps taken since Earth Day have not kept pace with the rate of environmental destruction. In the new millenium, the global community faces major environmental threats like global warming, wilderness destruction, water pollution, and air pollution. These destructive forces are not only the result of recent years; water pollution and air pollution have been years in the making. These conditions do not disappear as quickly as weak excuses. The environment is at risk largely due to polluters who neglect to take simple actions to protect the environment. Minor steps can be made to reduce major damage done to our environment, but every year environmental reforms do not make it onto the corporate balance sheets. Companies with annual budgets larger than many nations often refuse to make modest efforts that are clearly within their means. As students of the new millenium, it is this generationıs time to be activists. New strategies must be employed to make effective reforms, and include accountability beyond the lobbyist-filled halls of Congress for corporate polluters. The corporate idea of profit must change to include the continuing welfare of public health and the environment. Protecting the planet requires a renewed activism among youth and strategies that use studentsı power in the economic arena. With the economy booming and unemployment at record lows, many corporations are desperately seeking bright, creative, skilled college students to join their teams. Being in high demand, we have the power to influence the priorities of large companies. By prioritizing corporate environmentalism as a requisite for a potential employer, the recruiterıs company will have to compete with each other on their environmental record if they want to succeed in the campus career. Our generation will be the first to boycott employment with polluters and say, "If you continue to threaten our future, we will not work for you." Corporations can then be induced into an environmentalism that will begin to solve the problems many of their operations began. This campaign is beginning here on campus focusing on legislative victories for the environment and our public health by forcing polluters to meet specific demands for environmental protection. When polluters realize that they canı t hire the best and the brightest while destroying the environment, they will have no choice but to clean up their acts. Right now, we are targeting Coca-Cola, GM and BP-Amoco. Coca-Cola has not kept their promise of using post-consumer recycled plastic in their bottles. Coke sells 25 million plastic soda bottles in the U.S. each day. Two out of three of these plastic bottles end up in the trash or as litter. This also implicates the plastics industry, as they continue to use up valuable natural resources, creating more toxic pollutants in the process. BP-Amocoıs continued drilling of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has created an intolerable disturbance for the inhabitants of this ecosystem. GM is the third corporation targeted because of their membership with the Global Climate Coalition. This industry front group works legislatively to weaken global warming environmental regulations. The strategy of the student group Dirty Jobs Boycott is to inundate these corporations with the pressure of hundreds of thousands of students. After meeting our demands, the corporation is removed from the list, and another target is added. This student-run systematic approach will work towards gaining victories for the environment and forcing corporate reform. On campus, there will be tables where students are invited to organize a pledge signing committing Davidson students to withholding employment from the Dirty Jobs Boycott targets until they meet our demands for environmental protection. Other grassroots action will include resume mail-ins, where we will mail or fax resumes to the hiring department of GM. An example of the message included in these mailings is "I would like you to keep my resume on file until you withdraw from the Global Climate Coalition. Please do not contact me for an interview before doing so. I am one of millions who are boycotting working for you until you withdraw from the GCC."
Check the Dirty Jobs Boycott website, http://www.dirtyjobs.org for new targets and more information. The Environmental Action Coalition meeting this Thursday in the Morrison Room at 8pm is another place where you can learn how to get involved, as well as contacting the on-campus organizer, Jill Neumayer.