Recently, the Australian government has started to review laws that would make it illegal to campaign against companies based on the fact that they damage the environment. Many members of the Australian government are arguing that campaigns against numerous companies claiming they destroy natural habitats, are spreading false information while at the same time damaging the company. Essentially, if this law is passed, people will be unable to boycott companies for environmental reasons, and citizens will have another restriction placed on their right to free speech.
In response to this, Australian citizens are outraged. Many people are stating that the government is putting unnecessary restrictions on their right to free speech in order to protect the forestry and fishery industries.
Boycotting can be a useful protest tool because it often brings attention to an issue that most people aren’t aware of. If environmental boycotts are made illegal in Australia, it’s hard to determine whether or not companies will continue to plunder the environment in a harmful way.
Since environmental boycotts may become illegal in the near future in Australia, we thought we should take the time to reflect on some of the most memorable boycotts from the past year. These boycotts are a reminder that if you have a noble cause, and if you make a big enough fuss, no matter how ridiculous, people around the world will start paying attention to you.
6.Vancouver boycotts Russian vodka over Anti-Gay laws.
Just one week before the 2013 Vancouver Gay Pride Week, numerous clubs and bars decided to pull Russian Vodka off of their menu. The Vancouver bars decided to boycott all vodka that was exported from Russia to send a message to the country, after a new law was passed that bans the promotion of homosexuality.
While this particular boycott barely affected the Russia based liquor companies, it was more about sending a message than it was about anything else. Andrew Watling, a manager of a bar that was taking part in the boycott, said he was sick to his stomach when he read that Russia passed a law that prevented members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ) community from being openly gay, and same-sex couples were strictly forbidden to adopt babies.
Members of the LGBTQ said that it was upsetting to see Russia work against the gay rights movement, especially because they would be hosting the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi the following year.
5. Stephen Hawking joined an academic boycott of Israel over treatment of Palestine.
Stephen Hawking, 71, is a renowned theoretical physicist and is considered to be one of the smartest men alive. Although he was in poor health, Stephen Hawking made a political statement in May of 2013 by refusing to participate in a conference hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres.
Stephen Hawking backed out of the conference in an act of protest because he felt that Israel was treating Palestinians poorly. This movement is known as an academic boycott, and Stephen Hawking was one of the first world renowned scholars to join the cause.
After being bombarded by Facebook messages and e-mails of people asking him to reconsider his position on the matter, Stephen Hawking said that he is following the advice of his colleagues, who all agreed he shouldn’t attend the event.
Unfortunately, this boycott was met with backlash from people across the globe. He was sent abusive messages on Facebook with many people focusing on his physical disabilities, and accusing him of anti-Semitism.
Stephen Hawking’s resilience, and ability to face harsh criticisms of him while being in poor health, is just a testament to how strongly Stephen Hawking feels about this issue. It is because of his passion that his activism is one of the most memorable boycotts in recent history.
4. Nobel Prize winner is boycotting science journals.
Randy Schekman is an American biologist who won a Nobel prize for physiology or medicine late in 2013. However, instead of basking in his own intelligence and achievement, Randy Schekman took his brief time in the limelight to announce that he was boycotting top tier scientific journals.
According to Schekman, top tier science journals are distorting the scientific process. His reasoning behind this is that many scientists are being pressured to pursue fields that are considered trendy, rather than more important fields that still have things to be achieved. Furthermore, Schekman stated that researchers cut corners in the scientific process in order to get their work published in science journals around the globe.
Specifically, Randy Schekman said that the journal Cell, Science and Nature, restricts the numbers of papers they accept for publication, which can be related directly to “fashion designers who create limited-edition handbags.”
After Randy Schekman announced his boycott publicly, many other scientists have publicly admitted that they have been trying to cut corners and rush their studies so that they can be published in a magazine as prestigious as Cell, Science and Nature.
The point of this boycott was to raise awareness about the publication system in top tier science journals, and how it is interfering with the scientific process. Thanks to Randy Schekman, the world is starting to become aware that this problem exists.
3. Women in Tokyo boycotted sex with any man who voted for Yoichi Masuzoe.
In February of 2014, a group of women in Tokyo began threatening a sex boycott towards any man who voted for Yoichi Masuzoe, who was the leading candidate in a gubernatorial election. The women threatened this boycott in reaction to a statement Yoichi Masuzoe made in 1989, where he said that menstruation makes women unfit to work at the highest level of government. Furthermore, he said that a woman’s menstrual cycle makes her irrational.
Before you start to think that the women are overreacting, Yoichi Masuzoe’s exact words were “Women are not normal when they are having a period…You can’t possibly let them make critical decisions about the country, such as whether or not to go to war,”.
While this boycott gathered international attention, and a website dedicated to preventing Masuzoe from becoming governor received 75,000 hits per day, Yoichi Masuzoe was the winner of the election with more than 2.1 million votes. He had more votes than the men who had the second and third most votes combined.
2. The Ministers from Britain boycotted the Sochi Paralympic Games over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
When Russia sent troops to occupy Crimea, which was at the time a part of Ukraine, countries around the world were outraged for numerous reasons. Some of these reasons are that countries like the United States of America, and the United Kingdom felt as if Russia has no place intervening in another countries foreign affairs. Russia defended the invasion stating that people in Crimea wanted to be a part of Russia, and that he was keeping Russians living in Crimea safe.
In the meantime, the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics had just ended, and the 2014 Winter Paralympics were just beginning. However, British Prime Minister David Cameron stated that it would be wrong for members of the British Government to attend any Olympic events, because of Russia’s behaviour in Ukraine.
While this boycott could be considered inconsiderate towards British Paralympic athletes, David Cameron was desperately trying to put political pressure on Russia. While the Olympics is supposed to be completely separate from politics, history has shown us that is never the case, and this boycott is no different.
1. The Mayor of Boston skipped the 2014 St. Patrick’s Day Parade because a Gay Rights group was excluded.
Marty Walsh, Boston’s Irish-American mayor announced that he would be skipping the annual St Patrick’s Day parade because he was unable to make a deal with organizers of the parade to allow gay and lesbian activists to march openly.
This boycott came after devout Catholic organizers said that members of MassEquality, one of the largest gay activist groups in Massachusetts were not allowed to march in the parade. The organizers argued that allowing homosexual behaviour to occur during the parade is inappropriate, because the Catholic church claims homosexuality is immoral.
While Marty Walsh was applauded by the international LGBTQ community for his boycott, the St Patrick’s Day Parade still featured members of the gay community. However, it appears that more and more political figures in the United States of America are starting to openly accept, and fight for the equality of homosexuals in society.
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