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During a recent conversation over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a friend asked if anyone in the group was boycotting BP.  This led to a lively discussion about the effectiveness of boycotts and the inevitable question,

“Who do you boycott?”

Before I answer that question, I want to make it clear that I don’t want to get overly negative.  I am sometimes critical of so called “environmental” groups like Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace who seem to be against everything yet provide no realistic alternatives.  In my view, to boycott one person, place or thing means I will support an alternative.

You don’t have to look very hard to find celebrities or companies who are actively working against the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  There was a time in my life that going to the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream shop was a ritual.  The company opened one of their first retail stores in a renovated gas station about a block from my apartment in Saratoga Springs, NY where I lived when I worked at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory.   As the company grew and the profits rolled in their founders began to become politically active in Vermont.  Unfortunately they jumped on the anti-nuclear bandwagon and began to support groups like Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility who advocate shutting down the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.  I made the decision not to buy Ben & Jerry’s ice cream because every scoop I ate was helping to fund activist efforts to shut down Vermont’s only nuclear plant.  It’s too bad Ben & Jerry’s fails to understand that without Vermont Yankee the electricity used to manufacture their ice cream would necessarily come from fossil fuels, and would contribute to air pollution and climate change.  They are probably unaware that Vermont is one of the only states to continue burning oil to generate electricity.  Their anti-nuclear campaign is in effect supporting the continued use of oil and other fossil fuels.  Fortunately for me there are plenty of ice cream alternatives!

I’m a big fan of Tom Clancy novels, and one of my favorites is “Hunt for Red October.”  I’ve read the book and enjoyed the movie when it premiered, but unfortunately I’ll never watch it again.  That’s because one of the stars of that movie is Alec Baldwin, an actor who has personally contributed millions of dollars to efforts to shut down the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York and the Oyster Creek nuclear plant in New Jersey.  

Baldwin and his actress wife Kim Basinger support the anti-nuclear Radiation and Public Health Project, and have lobbied the NY State Government to acquire funding for the group.  The Radiation & Public Health Project is responsible for several junk science reports that claim commercial reactors are responsible for thousands of cancer deaths to plant workers and the general population around the plants.  Baldwin is also a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post which gives him a soap box on which to promote his radical anti-nuclear ideas (I am not against the Huffington Post.  In fact I follow a few of their other contributors regularly).  Some recent anti-nuclear articles by Alec Baldwin include The Hidden Costs of Nuclear Power and The Truth About Nuclear Power in Utility Reactors.

I will not watch any movie or television show in which Alec Baldwin or Kim Basinger appear.  To do so would support their ability to provide financial aid to anti-nuclear groups.  If you think about it, their ability to influence public opinion is based on their celebrity, and that is directly tied to the size of their audience.  If everyone quit watching Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger then their value as lobbyists and spokespersons would diminish and their ability to financially support such efforts would decline.

So tell me . . . do you boycott any companies or entertainers?  If so, who? 

Post a comment and share your thoughts.

John Wheeler


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