This week: Take action to #BanFossilAds

The Adfree Cities network are taking part in a European week of action to ban adverts that fuel the climate crisis, in particular, ads that drive up demand for air travel.

Adblock Bristol will be hosting a community paint-by-numbers event alongside an open letter to Bristol’s mayor asking for a ban on airline ads and other high-carbon adverts. Other Adblock groups including Norwich, Lambeth and Lewisham will be organising “six-sheet cover ups” to repurpose advertising boards for community conversations, while also making similar local policy demands.

We know that advertising has a huge influence on what we buy, and how we choose to live – it has been called the ‘cultural water we swim in’. So why, in a climate crisis, are we still seeing adverts that normalise some of the most polluting products and activities, such as traveling by plane and driving SUV cars?

Andrew Simms from the Badvertising campaign has said thatpromoting fossil fuel companies, SUVs and airlines in a climate emergency is like advertising cigarettes in a hospital.” And, as recognition of the role advertising has to play in driving up emissions takes hold across the world, the movement to #BanFossilAds is gathering momentum with a recent deluge of tobacco-style bans on these types of adverts.

We don’t see adverts for tobacco…
So why do we see ads for products that are destroying our health and the environment?

The city of Sydney has just voted to end adverts for fossil fuels, President Macron has banned fossil fuel advertising across France, and Amsterdam, Norwich and The Hague are also among cities that have also banned adverts for flights, fossil fuel companies and petrol and diesel cars. Just last week, the Dutch city of Haarlem banned high carbon adverts in public spaces, including ads for meat.

More than 300,000 people have signed an EU petition to ban fossil fuel advertising and sponsorship. If you’re in the EU, you can sign here: www.banfossilfuelads.org.

Why take action against aviation ads? Aviation advertising is pushing extra flights in a climate emergency, using greenwash and promises of false solutions to drive up ticket sales, airport expansions and aviation industry profits. Aviation is one of the most climate-harming sectors with no meaningful commitments to reduce emissions or to securing a just transition for workers. Flying is also an elite activity; this week, Adfree Cities as part of the Subvertisers International network, will call out the contradiction of advertising a polluting activity that is accessible to a minority of people but is harming so many more.

Take action in the UK

Take action from 10th-17th September to oppose advertising for fossil fuels, particularly airlines and airports:

You can also make a complaint to the advertising regulator about recent greenwashing adverts for BP and Shell.

Adfree Cities raised a mass complaint about greenwashing ads by airline Easyjet and their ad agency VCCP, in November 2021.
Artwork by Matt Bonner via Brandalism

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