Archives for posts with tag: Direct Action

95 Plastic-Bomb

Preserve Planet aims to influence Costa Rica to choose reusable glass bottles over plastic.

A 40-foot tall missile disrupted Monday morning in the Avenida Central shopping district in downtown San José.

An environmental group, Preserve Planet, created the 12-meter high sculpture to highlight the environmental damage of the missile’s material — plastic bottles.

The sculpture’s artist, Francesco Bracci, oversaw the installation of his piece above the walkway on Avenida Central, near the National Theater. A crane and a crew cordoned off half of the avenue, while the missile suspended over pedestrians with the help of wires attached to buildings on both sides of the street.

“It’s a direct statement,” Bracci said in an interview. “It is a direct bombardment, a bombardment that affects beaches, seas and everything.”

Bracci said the organization’s goal is to convince Costa Ricans to pressure businesses to switch from plastic bottles to glass bottles.

“Recycling is one option, but it is not the only option,” Bracci said. “Reusing is the No. 1 option.”

The site of the sculpture is one of the major shopping centers in Costa Rica, attracting thousands each day to its clothing stores, beauty salons and restaurants.

Bracci, from the San José’s southwestern suburb of Escazú, created a similar work to highlight air pollution. His “Urban Lung” sculpture sits behind a row of bus stops in the central neighborhood of La California, only slightly east of the site of his latest work.

In Costa Rica, the options for a consumer to recycle, even glass bottles, are few. Trash pickup does not have options for separating recyclable material from garbage such as in the United States. The government does not sort through trash to separate recyclables as in some other Latin American countries, such as Argentina.

Páginas Verdes, a yellow pages for eco-conscious consumers, has a posted list of recycling centers in Costa Rica — called “centros de acopio” in Spanish.

Luis Marín, regional coordinator for Preserve Planet, said projects like the giant missile are aimed at public education.

“If the people push for returnable bottles, it will get businesses to change,” Marín said in a phone interview.

The missile sculpture is composed of 8,000 plastic bottles, Marín said, only a fraction of the estimated 666 million consumed by Costa Ricans every year.

Marín’s group will continue to plant striking images to affect the public’s perception, and their next project aims to address air pollution in Costa Rican schools.

Caption: A 40-foot-tall sculpture composed of bottles hovers above pedestrians in the shopping district along Avenida Central in downtown San José on Monday morning. Francesco Bracci made the sculpture at the request of environmental group Preserve Planet.


After four years of campaigning (including bearing witness and taking direct action by Greenpeace activists on the Rainbow Warrior against bottom trawling fishing vessels in the Tasman Sea) to bring an end to deep-sea bottom trawling, an international agreement has been made to protect just under 25 percent of the high seas from this incredibly destructive fishing method.

Representatives from countries around the world gathered in Chile to carve out a fisheries agreement for the South Pacific region. Following a resolution made by the UN in 2006, the countries at the meeting responded strongly with measures to stop destruction of deep water corals, seamounts and other sensitive habitats by vessels that  are bottom trawling in international waters.

From September 2007 bottom trawling vessels in the South Pacific will not be able to fish in areas that have or are even likely to have vulnerable marine ecosystems, unless they’ve completed an assessment to show they won’t do any damage.

The New Zealand fishing industry is responsible for 90 percent of bottom trawling in the region. New Zealand delegates told the meeting these measures would “severely constrain the ability of their fishing industry to continue bottom trawling on the high seas around New Zealand”  and suggested that it may even have the effect of putting an end to bottom trawling.

We’ll be watching to make sure that New Zealand – and all the member countries – put the agreement into action, and implement the measures that will protect the irreplaceable biodiversity of deep sea ecosystems.

Image: Crewman on the New Zealand bottom trawler dump a large piece of ‘Paragorgia’ coral dredged from the deep sea in their net.


OutRage! is a broad based group of queers committed to radical, non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to:

ASSERT the dignity and human rights of queers;
FIGHT homophobia, discrimination and violence directed against us;
AFFIRM our right to sexual freedom, choice and self-determination.

Established in May 1990, OutRage! is the world’s longest surviving queer rights direct action group. Our witty, imaginative, daring, and irreverent style of nonviolent civil disobedience has elevated activism into an art form: protest as performance. Some of our most famous stunts include the Queer Valentine’s Carnival, Kiss-in, Queer Wedding, Exorcism of Homophobia, and Queer Remembrance Day. OutRage!’s radical direct action has included ambushing the Prime Minister’s motorcade two days after Parliament voted to maintain the discriminatory age of consent for gay sex in 1994, and invading the Vatican Embassy and Westminster (R.C.) Cathedral in 1992 to protest at the Pope’s support for antigay laws.

More notoriously, in 1994 OutRage! named ten Church of England bishops and asked them to “Tell the Truth” about their sexuality. This generated more public discussion of gay issues than any campaign ever conducted in Britain, and resulted in the Church issuing one of its strongest ever condemnations of homophobic discrimination. Activism gets results! Unapologetic and provocative, OutRage!’s remit is to challenge antigay discrimination, confront the perpetrators of homophobia face to face, promote the public visibility and media debate of queer issues, and articulate a radical agenda for sexual freedom, (which will ultimately benefit everyone). Rejecting the assimilationist and conformist politics of the mainstream lesbian and gay rights movement, OutRage! has pioneered a critical, sceptical attitude towards the values, laws, and institutions of straight society. Equality is important but is not enough, since equal rights alone inevitably means equality on straight terms. That’s why, for example, instead of aping heterosexual marriage, OutRage! campaigns for an Unmarried Partners Act, to give legal rights to all unwed couples, gay and straight. We affirm the sexual rights of all young people and we have distributed condoms and leaflets about homosexuality and safer sex to school students, to combat censorship in the classroom. While other groups campaign for new laws to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation only, OutRage! is working for an Equal Rights Act that protects all citizens (including lesbians and gay men) against all forms of discrimination, harassment, and incitement to hatred. Our agenda seeks to reformulate lesbian and gay human rights in ways that liberate people of all sexualities.

Direct Action Works!
Just one of our many successful campaigns has involved direct action against police harassment of gay and bisexual men. Years of polite negotiations with the police had done little to lessen victimisation. Because dialogue wasn’t working, from 1990 onwards OutRage! felt that direct action was the only realistic alternative. We began invading police stations, busting police entrapment operations, publicly identifying undercover agent provocateurs, warning cottagers and cruisers with leaflets and stickers, and deafening New Scotland Yard with foghorns and whistles. Suddenly the police sat up and listened. Working alongside a wide variety of other queer organisations, we demanded that the police create an official lesbian and gay community liaison forum where our constructive proposals could be discussed. We succeeded in radically changing police priorities, from persecution to protection (against queerbashers). The result of our actions? Between 1990 and 1994 the number of men convicted for consenting gay behaviour fell by two thirds. So we saved thousands of a gay men and bisexual men from being hauled up before the courts for victimless “crimes”.

Other OutRage! Activities
OutRage! takes up the cases of individuals suffering discrimination. A Cambridge postal worker complained to us that he was receiving harassment at work. He was given no help by his union or manager: so we occupied his local sorting office and the national headquarters of the postal service. By doing this, we managed to get the harasser disciplined and also secured a major revision of the Post Office code against workplace harassment, thereby benefiting all employees.

OutRage! provides information, advice and referrals to the many callers who cannot get through to Lesbian and Gay Switchboard when it is engaged, e.g. advice on finding a gay friendly solicitor, lodging claims for unfair dismissal, and getting help for alcoholism and depression.

OutRage! promotes awareness and education about lesbian and gay issues, by providing speakers to schools and colleges all over the country. We write press articles and letters, and give radio and television interviews (national and international) to complement our campaigning. Our interviews with the foreign media in countries where there is no organised gay rights movement is an indirect way of supporting isolated queers in those countries.

OutRage! investigates and researches antigay discrimination, providing vital information for journalists and radio/television programmes highlighting inequality and the need for law reform. Investigations of ours include revealing the activities of antigay Christian fundamentalist cults which try to “cure” queers; exposing the previous lack of condoms suitable for anal sex in gay bar vending machines (now they are freely available over the counter); and publicising the fact that many well known British companies did not include homosexuals in their equal opportunities policies, (which has now produced some hasty amendments).