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Funny thing happened on my way to work...

This morning as I was walking down Boylston ST on my way to Office Nomads I saw a bunch of bedroom furniture sitting on the sidewalk. When I got nearer I realized it was the contents of someone’s bedroom. I overheard the three people that were moving the stuff from the apartment building to the street say, “well that’s most of it, all that’s left is some clothes that need to be bagged up.”

I can’t help but wonder, who’s stuff was that? Did someone skip out on rent and will they be coming home to find they have been kicked out of their house? Or maybe it’s just an impromptu garage sale in time to raise rent for the month?

In any case I think the incident that I witnessed this morning is endemic of what’s happening all over the US. People are losing their jobs and are late on rent. Although I doubt a lot of us are living with the kind of roommates that will move your stuff out in the morning. Can you imagine coming home from a night of partying and fun to find your whole wardrobe on display along with all your other stuff?

I bet this is kind of like how Vivienne Cox, Executive Vice President of Alternative Energy at BP, felt when she showed up at work and found out that BP had reduced the funding to her department by as much as 64 percent. In a recent Guardian Article it was reported that BP had closed its Alternative Energy Headquarters in the UK and cut funding from $1.4 Billion to $500 Million. Which, is odd considering that BP has been re-branding itself since 2000 as being “Beyond Petroleum.”

In July of 2000 BP launched a massive $200 million public relations and advertising campaign aimed at re-branding the company as “Beyond Petroleum.” The campaign was a perfect case study in how to co-opt the environmental movements rhetoric and image. It is not a coincidence that the new logo resembles the Green Party of Canada logo. One of the biggest claims the company makes it that it’s the world’s leader in solar cell production. Although this claim is true it is also highly misleading. If you think it’s the companies intention to switch from oil to sun you would be wrong. The reason that BP can make this claim is because it bought Solarex for $45 Million in 1999. When you compare that to their acquisition of Arco in 2000 for $26.2 Billion it really causes you to stop and reflect.

Has BP spent enough money on Greenwashing that people won’t care that they are not backing up their claims? Or will the court of public opinion render a negative verdict? Well in any event, time will tell how this plays out.

In any event it would seem that coming home to find her belongs strewn across the lawn – metaphorically speaking – proved to be too much for Vivienne Fox to tolerate. It was also reported in the Guardian Article that she has resigned her position at BP after a 28-year long career at the company.