Earlier this year, supermarket chain Iceland announced it would ban the use of palm oil in its own brand foods due to the devastation the use of it inflicts on tropical rainforests. Managing director Richard Walker said there is “no such thing” as properly sustainable palm oil and “until such a time as there is genuinely sustainable palm oil that contains zero deforestation, we are saying no to palm oil.”

This year, Iceland decided to use its Christmas advert to spread the message about the dangers of palm oil to innocent animals and the environment. Unfortunately, it was deemed “too political” to be shown on TV so the chain has been forced to only release it online.

Clearcast (a non-governmental organisation which pre-approves most British television advertising) said the advert “contravened the prohibition on political advertising”, which included “an advertisement which is inserted by or on behalf of a body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature” – this is in reference to the fact the Iceland ad was originally used by Greenpeace. This is in spite of the fact the Greenpeace logo is nowhere to be seen on the final advert…

In a time when it’s becoming increasingly important we take steps as a society to preserve our planet and its wildlife and resources, not to mention a time when everybody on the political right seems to be screaming about freedom of speech, when an advertisement that highlights important issues to do with where we get our food and the consequences that stem from our seemingly unlimited choice, one must question what forces are at play.

The politicisation of the truth has become somewhat of a zeitgeist in recent years. Undeniable truths are questioned by those in power to try and denote facts to the status of opinions. Once facts are just opinions they can be argued. Once they can be argued they can be pushed aside. By deeming an advert like this one “too political”, powerful forces succeed in stifling the ability of those who wish to make positive, long-lasting change.

By banning the advert from TV, organisations like Clearcast do the bidding of the thousands of companies profiting from the destruction of the planet, helping them divert attention from the disturbing reality of their destructive force and focus it on a the motives of those trying to make a positive change, hoping that we will cynically assume it’s all just a ploy to make sales.

But it doesn’t have to work this way.

The truth is not political. The truth is just the truth. Do not let anyone tell you the truth is up for debate – no matter how many billions of pounds are in play from the companies reaping the benefits of destroying the planet and the animals that inhabit it.

This Christmas, consider going palm oil free. If not for the hundreds of orangutans killed every year, if not so you can say you did something for the planet when it needed you the most, do it for freedom of speech. Do it because there should be no politics in truth.

“The future’s not yet written, but I’ll make sure it is ours..”

Consider signing the petition to release the advert on TV and say no to unnecessary censorship.

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Politics, TV & Film, Wildlife & Climate Change


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