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Saving the Rainforest by Climbing Buildings

By Alicia Dorr in News on Oct 10, 2007 6:26PM


In a grand and futile gesture to halt the expansion of agricultural business into the world's remaining rainforests, several protesters scaled the Chicago Board of Trade building and unfurled a banner this morning. The result? A bit of publicity and a trip to the police station.

Five protesters are being held for criminal trespassing, reckless conduct and criminal damage to property. By the time police and medics arrived on the scene to remove them from their perch, the activists had climbed to the 23rd floor of the 45-floor building. The 50-foot banner was an attempt to draw attention to and hopefully to "halt agribusiness expansion in the rain forests of South America, Southeast Asia and the Pacific," according to the protesters.

A Tribune video clip of the incident shows several surprisingly bored-looking passersby, and the well-equipped activists climbing the wall. The banner was a little difficult to read what with all the moving and wind, but it basically called out agricultural processing companies ADM, Bunge and Cargill.

The banner-hangers are members of the Rainforest Action Network, who ran a full-page ad in yesterday's Trib, which read in part:

ADM, Bunge and Cargill are driving climate change by having rainforests slashed and burned to make way for massive biofuel crop plantations. Not only does this intensify global warming, it also threatens endangered species like the orangutan, displaces family farmers, and exploits Indigenous communities. Why would they do this? They’ll tell you they’re making the world a better place. But they’re really just making a buck.

Image by Carlos J Ortiz.