On Tuesday March 4, 2014, Cincinnatians on lunch break near the Procter and Gamble Headquarter got an eyeful at the Twin Towers. Cincinnati locals jokingly call it the Dolly Parton Towers for reasons that are obvious looking at the building.
Nine activists with the environmental advocacy group Greenpeace rappelled down the 17-story twin towers of the Procter & Gamble headquarters in downtown Cincinnati today and unfurled two enormous banners to protest deforestation linked to palm oil.
One of the 60-foot banners read: “Head and Shoulders wipes out dandruff and rain forests.”
The other read: “Head & Shoulders: Stop putting tiger survival on the line.”
One of the Greenpeace protesters rappelled from the building in a tiger suit. From the Greenpeace website:
Only 400 Sumatran tigers are left in the world.
Fewer tigers than sheets in a ream of paper. There are no tigers to spare not one. And there’s no time to spare if we want to save them.
In 1930, there were three subspecies of unique, majestic tigers found in Indonesia. Today, two of them are extinct – and the last one is in real trouble.
The Sumatran tiger is classified as “critically endangered” – on the brink of extinction and barely hanging on.
They’ve lost 93% of their habitat because companies like Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) are destroying their forest homes. Tigers are left to roam barren tracks where they are easily slaughtered by poachers for their body parts or shot by the people moving in.
We can’t wait another day – not when we're dealing with a population of only 400 tigers. If we don’t act now, every one of these beautiful animals will soon be dead.
Proctor and Gamble's official response:
"Today's protest at our General Offices ended peacefully and our primary concerns were the safety of our employees, the security of our facilities and the safety of the protesters. We agree that deforestation is a significant issue which is why we are committed to the sustainable sourcing of palm oil. We have already pledged to reach 100% sustainable sourcing of palm oil by 2015 and we will continue to drive to that goal with urgency. Today's protest is now in the hands of local law enforcement."
Translation: We already knew about the damned tigers, and this is ridiculous. As long as those dirty hippies are locked up, we wash our hands of the whole affair, really.
Cincinnati local media, and of course law enforcement, are less concerned with "why" the protesters risked their lives and freedom to carry out the protest. That's not half as important as ginning up fear about "how" the protestors carried out their protest.
It was not immediately clear how the protesters got onto the building. Police said they pulled off the stunt by walking into the building, breaching security police described as, “Fort Knox.”
Fort Knox? P&G and many other office buildings are probably on special alert now, and for a good long time in the future. However the truth is nothing any office temp worker or intern doesn't know: Most downtown buildings in Cincinnati make an outward show of "security" but people are people and there are a million ways around "security." If you live and work downtown for any length of time you know them all. P&G may think they're special in that regard but they're not. So much for Fort Knox.
Still, it was an amazing feat and very gutsy. The Twin Towers are huge buildings and they do belong to Procter & Gamble, one of the most powerful corporations on the planet. Despite their claims to "care about the safety of the protesters" you can be certain that "Fort Knox" is going throw their full weight behind making sure the protesters will be charged with anything they throw at them and see what sticks.
Cincinnati police said about an hour later, the three men and six women were taken into custody from the premises. They are all charged with burglary and vandalism, trespassing and inducing panic.