Santas Against Excessive Consumption take to the streets of London **new pictures added**
We at London Rising Tide love Christmas – reconnecting with family and friends, the rosy glow of happiness that spreads through the country as people have a chance to get closer to whatever and whoever’s most important to them. The frosty weather that envelopes us and makes us appreciate what we have all the more, and the sound of people drawn out of their houses to play in the snow. We can’t spend all our time scheming plans to topple the climate criminals working to turn our world and environment into a machine for their profit, and Christmas comes as a welcome break.
But wait! Just as we were starting to feel that festive spirit crystallise around us, we couldn’t help but notice the jarring note of adverts and high street chains clamouring for our attention. We are forced to ask ourselves, does Santa Claus ride on a big red Coca Cola truck now? Is the value of our relationships with our loved ones measured by the price tag on the present we give them, and that they don’t want? No! The businesses are here again invading our Christmas cheer, and in the process turning us into cogs in an unsustainable economic machine. We never get any rest at London Rising Tide.
So on the last Saturday before Christmas 2010 we enlisted the help of some cheerful Santas Against Excessive Consumption, and took to the streets of London. Moving along Oxford street with our banner and leaflets, we sung some excellent carols to the poor people caught driving the millstone of Consumerist Christmas, on the busiest shopping street in London. Our carols followed the tunes of the everyday ones we are familiar with, but with new lyrics to help bring people’s minds back to the real things we all value at Christmas. Armed with our nifty lyrics, we reminded people that they risked the true beneficiaries of their love this Christmas being the super-rich business owners, if they struggled through the queues in search of the perfume an advert told them to buy.
Half way through our day, we ran into some of the UK Uncut protests, who had successfully stopped Vodafone, HSBC and a variety of other places from trading, in protest against the huge amounts of tax revenue these businesses are avoiding paying our apparently poverty-stricken government. As they headed to Marks and Spencers for another blockade, we decided to join them and give them a little cheer against the lines of police that followed them. It also gave us an excellent opportunity to serenade the large crowd that built up waiting to get into M & S, and to give them a little more in depth info on what we were doing.
Our efforts (and our outfits) brought a few smiles to the people who encountered us, which made us feel cheery inside again. We hope it lifted some people out of the gloom of shopping and maybe helped people think again about whether there might be something a little more meaningful they could give for Christmas. Most importantly, we also helped make clear to some the connection between the rampant consumption that the businesses want to make Christmas about, the consuming of our planet’s resources, and the pollution and alterations we are foisting on our environment. Our resources are not infinite, and our climate is not infinitely resilient to pollutants produced by our factories and transport systems. The non-stop drive to produce crap for the sake of store-bought Christmas cheer and year-round consumerism, is one part of the short-sited economy that is currently driving our planet towards severe climate change. A recent estimate of the carbon emissions from the UK’s advertising ‘industry’ suggests they alone produce around 2 million tonnes of CO2 annually, the equivalent to heating 364,000 UK homes for a year.
All in all, another successful action by the Santas Against Excessive Consumption. We hope everyone else got the best out of their Christmas, despite big business trying to steal it from us‼