From Dustin’s office came the call: “Laura? Your dad’s day is about to be ruined.”
I immediately started worrying about more deaths in some national park somewhere, or a foreign park administrator challenging my dad to a drink-off. It was nothing so heinous as either of these things.
Greenpeace had managed to climb to the top of Mt. Rushmore and hang a banner stating “America honors leaders, not politicians. Stop global warming.” They were streaming live video to their site, and I got to watch the last ten minutes or so as the banner flapped in the breeze and was finally cut down by park rangers.
From the voice-over on the video I learned that they had put up a couple barricades to try and keep the authorities at bay as long as possible, including a bike-lock around a gate and a human chain somewhere along the way. Sounds like they succeeded for about an hour, which is pretty impressive.
The Black Hills fan page over on Facebook got wind of it early and put up a link to the video stream which started generating a lot of exciting debate. There are folks raging agains Greenpeace for daring to “deface” a nationa monument, then other people smacking on them for honoring a monument that defaces the Black Hills, other people railing about misguided patriotism, and a few lonely souls who think Greenpeace is doing a wonderful thing. It’s really a pretty educational and entertaining.
Personally? I couldn’t care less about either side of the debate, but I can’t help but be impressed with Greenpeace’s organizational skills. It’s no small feat to get (illegally, I might add) to the top of Mt. Rushmore with a banner that big, which is just big enough, manage to somehow strap it in place, keep the authorities away for an hour, and get the whole thing on live video. Certainly many of the participants will be arrested, as they should for breaking various laws, but I imagine Greenpeace expects that, and that their volunteers go into it with their eyes open and willing to make that sacrifice for the public awareness they mean to generate. As long as they’re willing to accept those consequences of their actions, I say good for them! No lasting harm was done to the monument, and they are certainly getting their (current) fifteen minutes of fame.