Walking the Green Talk
Leah Aylward submitted her resume to British Petroleum Amoco a few weeks ago. Aylward, a sophomore at Harvard University, would have been a viable candidate for the corporation but that was not why she gave them her resume. She did it to tell BP Amoco that she was just one of hundreds of college students across the country who would not work there if the company did not halt its plans to drill on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Ecopledge.com was started in 1999 as a way for students to take a more "modern" approach to protecting the environment from corporations. Each year Ecopledge.com identifies a handful of companies that are harming the environment. The list is published and student activists are asked to pledge not to work for these companies or to patronize them. What is unique about Ecopledge.com is that the organization offers solutions to the companies and works with them toward a compromise.
"I believe it sends a clear message to our targets exactly what students expect from them," said Erin Casey, the organization's northeast organizer.
Last year, Ecopledge.com used its influence to convince both Ford Motor Company and General Motors to back out of the Global Climate Coalition (GCC). Ecopledge.com believes that the GCC, an industry funded lobby group in Washington, D.C., is dedicated to undermining the science behind global warming research and devoted to halting political measures to lower carbon dioxide emissions. In November 1999, Ford resigned its membership in the GCC and General Motors did the same four months later.
BP Amoco spokesperson Paul Langland said that the protest has definitely caught the attention of the corporation. "We're disappointed that we lose those types of individuals," he said. "They are so committed to the environment and we're as committed."
However, Langland feels the students are going about the protest in the wrong way. "Why not be a force of change from within?" he asked.
Langland maintained that BP Amoco is very interested in seeking alternative sources for fuel.
Although Langland could not say how many college graduates the company hires each year, he did say that for a company like BP Amoco, which employs over 100,000 people worldwide, it would not be unreasonable to assume the company hires a significant number of new graduates every year.
BP Amoco is not the only company that will be missing out. Last week, Ecopledge.com released a new list of targets. The companies are Boise Cascade, Daimler Chrysler, Dell, Staples and Sprint. These five were added to a list that includes Coca-Cola, Citigroup, Disney, Nestle and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
To find out more or to take the pledge, go to www.ecopledge.com
Rafiah Davis is a senior majoring in print journalism at Howard University. Email her with story ideas or with the latest environmental news at RafiahD@yahoo.com