When protecting the environment is made taboo

When protecting the environment is made taboo

How is it that in 2018 talking about protecting the environment is still taboo or too political to put on our screens?

Just this week a UK supermarket’s Christmas ad was banned from TV. Why? It shows the destruction of an orangutan’s rainforest caused by palm oil growers.

Clearcast, the organisation that banned the Iceland Food’s ad, is responsible for clearing ads for on behalf of the UK’s main broadcasters including Channel 4, ITV and Sky.

A Clearcast spokeswoman told The Guardian that the ad doesn’t comply the Broadcast Code of Advertising Practice political rules.

“The creative submitted to us is linked to another organisation who have not yet been able to demonstrate compliance in this area,” said the spokeswoman of the ad which is a repackaged short film by Greenpeace.

Founder of the Iceland Foods, Malcom Walker, said repackaging the Greenpeace short film was a conscious decision.

“We got permission to use it and take off the Greenpeace logo and use it as the Iceland Christmas ad. It would have blown the John Lewis ad out of the window. It was so emotional,” he said.


Malcom’s son, Richard Walker, who leads Iceland’s environmental campaigning said that they are “not anti-palm, we are anti-deforestation.”

“We think this is a huge story that needs to be told. We always knew there was a risk [the clip would not be cleared for TV] but we gave it our best shot,” he said.

Realities about environment destruction needs to be shared more than ever, as last month’s UN report warned that we only have 12 years to limit catastrophic climate change. This means that countries have to work together to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5C, well below the Paris Agreement maximum of 2C. Oh and let’s not forget that for the last 14 years there has been an ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that no one talks about. Or the bleaching of our Great Barrier Reef.

On a global scale, it’s enough to make you have an environmental breakdown. But there is ways that you can help now.

What can you do?

Make your church a green church

The Uniting Church in Australia supports the global initiative “Living the Change: faithful choices for flourishing world”. The campaign challenges people of different faiths to commit to living more simply. Learn more here.

The Uniting Church Synod of NSW/ACT has also made significant commitments around sustainability and since 2014 has divested from fossil fuels. Along with this, a number of Uniting Church congregations have also committed to be sustainable and environmental friendly churches, this includes conducting energy audits, reducing paper use and hold environmental awareness events. Uniting Church congregations also participate in the ‘Season of Creation’, which is a month long focus on worship and reflection around eco themes.


Walk it, bike it and choose public transport when possible, which if you live in the city is not only the environmentally conscious option but all round more efficient option (minus train delays).

Shop smarter

Like the Iceland Food’s ad highlights, it’s important to be conscious of the products you are buying/endorsing. Look at the ingredients, were the product was produced and make a smarter choice. To make it easier there is a free app POI (Palm Oil Investigations) barcode scanner that scans to see if the product contains palm oil. The app is available for IOS and Android phones in Australia and New Zealand.

Community engagement

Ask what is your community doing to reduce their carbon footprint? Talk to your local MPs and make it clear that effective environment policies is important to you and your electorate.

And finally continue to share and create awareness about the damage to the environment and ways we can make meaningful change.


Melissa Stewart


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