Greenpeace Goes After Costco

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I started getting the emails just before nine this morning: Greenpeace was floating some kind of airship over the Costco in Issaquah, threatening terrible destruction. This surprised me for two reasons. One, I didn't think hippies woke up that early, even if there was a promise of a blimp ride in it. And two, when's the last time anyone thought of protesting by airship?

What it actually was, was the opening salvo in Greenpeace's newest campaign against Costco (and seven other large grocery store chains) over their sale of "red list" fish--those whose stocks, Greenpeace says, are threatened by overfishing or unsustainable farming practices. This is apparently part of Greenpeace Canada's "Taking Stock" campaign--an attempt by the organization to shame retailers into coming up with some kind of sustainable supply chain for their fish or (perhaps ultimately) not selling species like Atlantic salmon, swordfish or yellowfin tuna at all. And this morning, the Seattle PI was all over the blimp invasion.

The balloon itself was big and green and floating all over the Eastside early this morning, carrying the campaign slogan "Costco: wholesale ocean destruction." And while I do appreciate the steampunk stylings of crashing the skies above one's enemy by airship, it seemed an unusual way for Greenpeace to get their point across. I mean, there's only so much information one can write on a blimp, after all. The options for educating the public are rather limited.

But then, maybe flying a balloon around is better--and somewhat more whimsical--than the way Greenpeace took on a Costco location in Vancouver yesterday: hanging longlines from the front facade of the store with hooked replicas of all the at-risk fishies and a banner with the same "wholesale ocean destruction" logo. Or last year when Greenpeace went the traditional route and just sent a blitz of demonstrators to protest outside of grocery stores in cities all over Canada. Frankly, the idea of using an airship for anything is just pretty cool.

What's more, since the Taking Stock campaign seems to be a primarily Canadian endeavor, I believe that this Issaquah Costco stunt is the first action on American soil--which is unsurprising since Costco is the big bad guy on Greenpeace's list of bad seafood retailers and, just yesterday, the organization launched a website taking on the massive wholesale company called Oh No Costco.

At least you can't accuse them of picking on the little guys.

To check out Greenpeace's anti-Costco website, click here. For some info on the Taking Stock campaign or to download a whole ton of Greenpeace propaganda, click here.

And as for Costco's side? Well, as soon as they have anything to say about the matter (which they haven't as yet), I'll be sure to let you know.

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