Can you hear us yet?

Banner from Verizon Wireless's Verizon Wireless' Green Initiatives

Well, it's almost Labor Day Weekend, and no word from Verizon Wireless about its sponsorship of the Friends of America rally. See my August 31 post, "Can you hear us now? Verizon Wireless sponsors climate denial rally."

So imagine my merriment, when I read on the company's website how
Verizon Wireless works every day to protect our environment and give our customers opportunities to do the same.
Verizon even headlines one section on paperless billing
Save Trees When Accessing Account Information
There's some kind of disconnect here. Does Lowell McAdam or his guy in charge of Corporate Strategy and Policy, Jim Gerace (email, 908-559-7508), realize that mountaintop removal operations don't even take the time to harvest the timber, calling it and topsoil (and the mountain blasted to rubble) overburden--material which lies above the thin seams of coal which have caught their economic interest.

When I was writing August 31, In that post, I asked David Pogue to have his readers join in writing Verizon to complain. Dan wrote back,
thanks for the heads-up! Nicely done!
I sure wish he had joined us in getting the word out. The last time he wrote about Verizon Wireless's shortcomings, he drew a letter to his publisher from Mr. McAdam, himself.

Instead we're being dissed as a local issue. I say this because while Verizon backed down from its support of Glen Beck, in response to a campaign by Color of Change, the company was not as reponsive to questions regarding the rally by Ken Ward of the Charleston Gazette. He writes:

I asked Verizon officials for a response to all of this, and after being kicked around from office to office for a bit, I landed on the phone with Laura Merritt, a Verizon Wireless spokeswoman whose region includes West Virginia. Her response?

Basically, this was a decision at the local level to support the community. It did not involve the company’s political positions at all.

In this particular situation, we are supporting the event because it’s a local event. It wasn’t an effort to take a position on any particular issue.

Another Verizon Wireless spokesperson, Jim Gerace, went a little farther. He said his company simply paid $1,000 for the right to be able to sell its products at the rally:

It’s nothing more than that … and the groups who are trying to make it more than that are misguided. I’m definitely bothered that people are trying to put us in the middle of an argument.

I almost raised the point about Beck in the August 31 post, but ran out of time. As my regular readers know, I write this blog from the library and that imposes a deadline. But, now I won't have to spell it out, thanks to the latest post by Jeff Biggers, "Verizon Wireless Dumped Glenn Beck: Will It Dump Bizarre Big Coal Sponsorship?"

So, if Verizon Wireless still wants to back the rally, maybe it would like to replace its banner with this photoshop illustration by wag "One Citizen" of Charleston WV, which accompanied his or her post, "Verison Wireless To Unveil New Sport Featuring Its New Anti-Environmental Stance."

Meanwhile the opposition grows. The Center for Biological Diversity sent out a news release dated September 1, on how it had launched a campaign asking folks to write letters threatening a boycott of Verizon for its support of mountaintop removal. Today it came out with a letter from an additional 33 environmental groups:
  1. Broadened Horizons Organic Teaching Farm
  2. Caney Fork Headwaters Association
  3. Chesapeake Climate Action Network
  4. Christians Caring for Creation
  5. Coal River Mountain Watch
  6. Cumberland Countians for Peace and Justice
  7. Defenders of Wildlife
  8. Ecumenical Ecojustice Network
  9. Endangered Habitats League
  10. Environmental Protection Information Center
  11. Florida League of Conservation Voters
  12. Floridians Against Incinerators In Disguise
  13. Friends Committee on National Legislation
  14. Friends of the Earth
  15. Friends of the Northern San Jacinto Valley
  16. Global Exchange
  17. Grand Canyon Wildlands Council
  18. Great Old Broads for Wilderness
  19. Greenpeace USA
  20. HOPE (Help Our Polluted Environment) in Taylor County, FL
  21. Kentucky Heartwood
  22. Kids to the Country
  23. Mid South Mediation Services
  24. Natural Resources Defense Council
  25. Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility
  26. New Sustainability Project
  27. Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
  28. Public Resource Associates
  29. Rainforest Action Network
  30. Responsible Endowments Coalition
  31. San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society
  32. Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards
  33. Tennessee Environmental Council
The website adds these 11 groups who approved the letter after the 4 p.m. deadline:
  1. Allegheny Defense Project
  2. Appalachian Voices
  3. Bull Mountain Land Alliance
  4. California Chaparral Institute
  5. Clinch Coalition
  6. Energy Justice Network
  7. Highlands Nature Sanctuary
  8. Native Forest Council
  9. Rainforest Relief
  10. SustainUS: US Youth for Sustainable Development
  11. Tennessee Forests Council
Environmental Action has lauched a campaign September 2, "Tell Verizon to Dump Big Coal."

Scott Parking of Rainforest Action Network announced a campaign on September 2 and updates us on Verizon's response to the CREDO campaign against Verizon's participation in the rally in his post at It's Getting Hot in Here: Verizon Wireless: Open Mouth, Insert Mountain. (Of course I'd recommend any of the non-profit campaigns over CREDO, which can be accused of having a tiny conflict of interest in this particular case.

But I'd suggest a direct email or phone call, rather than signing a petition if you have time. You can go to any of the campaigns above and find suggested talking points. And go to my August 31 post for the contact information.

So, " reach out and touch someone" as AT&T likes to say. After all, Verizon is one of the products of the ATT&T breakup. So Verizon Wireless, can you hear us yet?