Santas Against Excessive Consumption invade Oxford Street

London climate santas 2
19.12.2005

On Saturday, the busiest shopping day of the year, activists from London Rising Tide dressed up as Santas and elves and invaded Oxford Street to make the point that excessive Christmas consumption is causing climate chaos.

Brandishing placards and banners (reading Lapland is Melting! Santas Against Excessive Consumption! Help, I'm a Reindeer; I can't Swim!, etc.), and singing subverted Christmas carols (Welcome to Consumer Wonderland, Oh Little Town of Oxford Street, etc.), the army of Santas made their way from Bond Street to Oxford Circus and back again. They paid visits to a few of the consumer temples on the 'naughty' list, and were unceremoniously ejected from John Lewis, the GAP and Selfridges - but not before disrupting consumer wonderland in their cheesy Christmas grotto.

Back out on the street, the Santas got loads of attention as they sang their own version of Jingle Bells with a brass band as back-up. As the sun began to go down over the shopping madness, the Santas left Oxford street to join hundreds of other chaos-causing Santas in making merry around the city.

The above text was taken from London Rising tides site http://www.londonrisingtide.org.uk/?q=node/33

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Leaflet handed out on the day:

CHRISTMAS CONSUMPTION CAUSES CLIMATE CHAOS!

Today is the busiest shopping day of the year. Oxford Street is crammed with consumers all scrambling for the latest must-have item, the perfect present that will buy Christmas joy. Most of us find this part of Christmas incredibly stressful - there's never enough time, tensions run high, and the obligation of gift-exchange rules the season.

So why do we buy in to Christmas shopping madness? Maybe it's time to start figuring out why we so desperately need a 5-speed electric toothbrush in the first place, or why our children will be devastated if they don't get the latest McNikeSoft Godzilla Action Figure that tops The List. It might well boil down to the fact that we are each exposed to 3,500 adverts per day. (No really, try counting!) Corporate advertising can actually be seen as the largest single psychological project undertaken by the human race. We are told from the day we are born that increasing our material wealth will make us happier people, and if we want to show someone that we love them, we must buy them something - the more expensive, the more we love them.

LAPLAND IS MELTING!

The problem is, corporate consumer culture doesn't just breed stress - it creates environmental catastrophe. If everyone in the world were to consume at the level we do in the West, we would need 5 extra planets. But it's not just about disappearing rainforests and mountains of rubbish. Our excessive consumption is also causing climate chaos, with disastrous effects like hurricanes, flooding and other freak weather patterns. We all know that climate change is directly caused by the burning of fossil fuels (oil, coal and natural gas) to power our offices, heat our homes, and fuel our cars. But tackling climate change is not only about taking the bus and switching off lights. Every product that is produced, transported, bought, used and thrown away eats up energy that we don't have, and creates pollution that our climate can't handle. And if that product is made of plastic (and think how many are), then it's literally made of oil.

Us Santas aren't suggesting you don't give your loved ones presents this year. But why not make one or two of them, trade with friends, or buy locally. Think about the products you're buying - what they're made of, where they came from, how they got from there to here - and whether they're actually going to make someone any happier.

Santas Against Excessive Consumption are helping their friends at London Rising Tide - check out www.londonrisingtide.org.uk

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Oh Little Town of Oxford Street
(a carol written especially for the day)

Oh little town of Oxford Street
How much we see thee lie
Telling us we need your plastic crap
And we must buy buy buy
And in they dark streets shineth
The glowing neon light
The terrible fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.
For Lapland is melting
As Santa looks above
The sun it burns and Santa yearns
To save the home he loves.

O Londoners, together
Proclaim the planet's worth
This shopping toil is wasting oil
Help Santa save the Earth.
We hear the Christmas angels
Their saddening tidings wail
This shopping fuss is killing us
Our world is not for sale!