This Changes Nothing. Why the People’s Climate March Guarantees Climate Catastrophe
The following contains excerpts from McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street | Part VII: The Wolves of Wall Street, to be published on Counterpunch.
September 15, 2014
As the following information will demonstrate, The People’s Climate March and supporting discourse is about protecting capitalism, not protecting the world’s most vulnerable people from climate change.
Image courtesy of Mark Gould
The People’s Climate March in New York City is a mobilization campaign created by Avaaz and 350.org, with 350.org at the forefront.
The oligarchs do not bankroll such a mobilization (via millions of dollars funnelled through foundations) without reason.
There is an agenda. The information that follows makes the agenda very clear and the only thing green about it is the colour of money. The term “green”, in reference to environment is, officially dead.
Vision: “Purpose is a global initiative that draws on leading technologies, political organizing and behavioral economics to build powerful, tech-savvy movements that can transform culture and influence policy.”
“Purpose was born out of some of the most successful experiments in mass digital participation. Our principals are co-founders of Avaaz, the world’s largest online political movement with more than nine million members operating in 14 languages, and the creators of Australia’s GetUp!, an internationally recognized social movement phenomenon with more members than all the country’s political parties combined….” [Source]
Above: Jeremy Heimans of Purpose at The Economist’s Ideas Economy: Human Potential conference. | Photo: Taylor Davidson
Avaaz and GetUp co-founders Jeremy Heimans (CEO) and David Madden are also founders of the New York consulting firm, Purpose Inc. Avaaz co-founder James Slezak is also identified as a co-founder and CEO of Purpose at its inception in 2009.
From October 2011–October 2012 the“Managing Director of Partnerships” for Purpose was Marilia Bezerra. From 2006 to 2011 Bezerra held an integral position within the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) executive leadership. 
The secret behind the success of both Avaaz and Purpose is their reliance upon and expertise in behavioural change. While the behavioural change tactics used by Avaaz are on public display, double-breasted, for-profit Purpose, with its non-profit arm, sells their expertise behind the scenes to further the interest of hegemony and capital. Whether it be a glossy campaign to help facilitate yet another illegal “humanitarian intervention” led by aggressive U.S. militarism (an oxymoron if there ever was one), or the creation of a new global “green” economy, Purpose is the consulting firm that the wolves of Wall Street and oligarchs alike depend upon to make it happen.
“We’ve been talking in a broader way about the future of consumer activism, of organizing people not as citizens but as consumers.” — Jeremy Heimans when asked how he was going to use the $100,000 he received from the Ford Foundation
Purpose Inc. (with its co-founders) is a favourite of high-finance websites such as The Economist and Forbes and sells its consulting services and branding/marketing campaigns to Google, Audi, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and many others that comprise the world’s most powerful corporations and institutions. In 2012, it raised $3m from investors. “Ford Foundation, which has given Purpose’s non-profit arm a grant, reckons it is shaping up to be “one of the blue-chip social organisations of the future.” [Source] Purpose, like many other foundations, such as Rockefeller (who initially incubated 1Sky which merged with 350.org in 2011), also serves as an “incubator of social movements.” [Further reading on Purpose]
Purpose Action’s Board of Directors includes the former campaign director at Avaaz, Brett Solomon and brand strategist Douglas Atkin. Atkin is a Purpose Fellow and previously Partner at Purpose. He is co-founder of Yackit, Meetup Fellow, founder of The Glue Project (“Are they like me?” “Will they like me?”) and author of “The Culting of Brands: Turn Your Customers into True Believers.” He’s helped relaunch such brands as Lipitor, Mercedes, BMW, Mastercard and many others. [Source]
“Once a brand achieves cult status, it becomes almost impossible for a competitor to dethrone it. The Culting of Brands will reveal the secrets of fierce customer identification and, most important, unbreakable loyalty.” — “The Culting of Brands: Turn Your Customers into True Believers,” Amazon
Make no mistake, the Yale (for example, Avaaz co-founder and former U.S. Representative *Tom Perriello) and Harvard graduates that comprise the “Avaaz boys” (many having been groomed by McKinsey and Company) are considered “the dream team” by the globe’s most powerful capitalists, including those at the United Nations and the World Bank. Avaaz co-founder Andrea Madden works for the World Bank in Burma [Myanmar]. Her husband is Avaaz co-founder David Madden who has taken up residence in Burma. [March 23, 2013: Western Media Celebrates Faux Progress in Myanmar] Madden has co-founded a marketing firm, Parami Road in Myanmar: “Our clients are mostly international companies entering Myanmar and they demand an international standard of work.”
“After years of isolation, Myanmar is opening up. Opportunities abound. However international companies have little experience here and local firms have little experience working with them. Parami Road meets this need.” – Parami website
[*Full profile on Avaaz co-founder Tom Perriello: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section I [Link]
One should note that in the case of many NGOs, on 990 tax forms it appears as though those at the helm are paid minimally, if at all. Rather than salaries, many founders of institutions make immense fees via consulting services where their names are not identified on 990 forms. In the case of Avaaz, co-founder Ricken Patel does take a salary (approx. $190,000.00 per year) plus consulting fees. Consulting fees must be considered the bread and butter of many “progressives” whose incomes rival CEOs of multinational corporations. The salaries and incomes are incredible when one accounts for the fact that many NGOs, such as Avaaz, rake in millions of dollars in donations from well-intentioned and hard-working citizens who are at or below the poverty line.
[Full profile of Ricken Patel: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section I [Link]
Heimans, the Avaaz front man of Purpose, is a darling of the high-finance corporate world. “In 2011, Jeremy received the Ford Foundation’s 75th anniversary Visionaries Award. The World Economic Forum at Davos has named him a Young Global Leader, and the World e-Government Forum has named Jeremy and Purpose co-founder David Madden among the “Top 10 People Who Are Changing the World of the Internet and Politics.” [Source]
On the Rockefeller Foundation website under the article titled How to Scale Up the Impact? Heimans is identified as a panelist for “scaling community conservation solutions at the World Wildlife Fund’s Annual Kathryn Fuller Symposium.” (Incidentally, to illustrate the link between the faux green economy and its infusion with current consumer principles, Heimans is empanelled with an associate from retail giant, Costco Wholesale, at the symposium.) WWF’s subservience to Monsanto and the oligarchs as a whole – at a cost to vulnerable campesinos and all life on the planet – is well-documented in the eye-opening and explosive documentary WWF – Silence of the Pandas.
The many facets of Purpose:
1) Purpose (tax identification number 68-0607622) is a for-profit certified B-corporation “that uses an innovative model to pool some of the world’s leading experts and practitioners in order to fund, launch and accelerate the growth of new social movement organizations.”
2) Purpose Action (tax identification number 45-2451509), the non-profit arm of Purpose, is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit advocacy organization “focused on changing policy.” Purpose Action Board of Directors includes Brett Solomon, executive director of Access, former campaigns director at Avaaz, former executive director of GetUp! 
3) Purpose Foundation (tax identification number 27-3106760) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization “focused on education and changing culture.” 
4) Purpose Campaign (tax identification number 68-0607622) “Develops social and consumer movements.”
Heimans, like his co-founders at Avaaz, has close relationships with those at the helm of the push toward the illusory green economy, including Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace and Richard Branson who has founded the B Team, of which Heimans serves as a “team member“. [Further reading on The B Team can be found in an upcoming segment of this investigative report.] Note that Avaaz and 350.org were the first two NGOs signed on to the 2009 Havas Advertising campaign TckTckTck. TckTckTck succeeded in successfully undermining the radical emissions reductions required, put forward by the State of Bolivia and the G77 at COP15. More recently Avaaz, 350.org and Greenpeace joined hands to form the NGO SumOfUs. [Further reading: SumOfUs are Corporate Whores | Some Of Us Are Not]
Like so many other left “progressives” jumping on board the “socially responsible investment” industry, Heimans is no exception, serving on the advisory board of Leap Frog Investments. [Source] On September 29, 2012 a media release announced “The Vital Few” – a new social media platform for The Asset Owners Disclosure Project, an online forum to link individuals who are concerned about their pension fund investments directed towards the fossil fuel industry. The release included statements from both Kelly Rigg (TckTckTck) and Heimans. “Supported by the head of the global trade union movement and other key civil society groups the platform, called ‘The Vital Few,’ will allow pension fund members to drive transparency and accountability in a $60 trillion industry that has become the largest pool of investment capital in the world…. The Vital Few initiative, by starting with the issue of climate risk, is a milestone in helping restore genuine ownership to capitalism.”
The Strategy of “Changing Everything”
Illustration courtesy of Stephanie McMillan
In the video published on November 21, 2012, Heimans discloses that the “demand for the green economy is in a rut” during a lecture on Purpose’s innovative model of “movement entrepreneurship.” He states:
“…how else could movement building and mass participation help transform society? And that’s what we’re working on at Purpose. We’re thinking at Purpose not just how you build political movements but now what are some of the insights from that, that can be used to do things like scale demand for the green economy? Right? Demand for the green economy is in a rut. There isn’t large-scale demand it. What if we tried to build a movement around that and organize people in a systematic way….”
In the following Tedx talk (published September 7, 2012) the goal and the campaign to achieve the goal is made clear: kill “green” marketing (including the key term “green economy,” in order to push forward the green economy – without saying as much.
“…Well, the results of our research really have two main conclusions I want to share with you today, and the first is a little startling and it may create a little bit of a disequilibrium… and that is that I think we need to kill the language and imagery and green in order to have any real shot at scaling sustainable consumption. Sustainable consumption just isn’t working right now as we’ll talk about in a moment. We’re going to have to kill green as a frame for consumers in order to try to rework that problem.”
It is worth repeating:
“Sustainable consumption just isn’t working right now as we’ll talk about in a moment. We’re going to have to kill green as a frame for consumers in order to try to rework that problem.”
Hence – you have the new terminology agreed upon and already being employed by both the foundations and the non-profit-industrial complex: The “new economy.”
“So they like the idea of green, it’s kind of a value they are happy to cloak themselves in, you know it’s a brand value, but the reality is market share just isn’t there because as soon as it’s even slightly difficult they’re out the door. So what do we do? So here’s some things that I think we can do that might up-end this situation and as I said it does require starting with killing green as a friend. We can’t lead with green, because most of the green products that are out there start by knocking on the front door and hitting you on the head and saying you know ‘We’re green, do the right thing.’ We need a radically different approach to the way we introduce this issue to consumers. We need to put green aside.”
Heimans summarizes the methodology.
“… the answer we think is to get behind the businesses that are at this intersection of mass participation where you can get lots of people in a network, you can grow market share very quickly of the new forms of businesses that are green, but don’t knock on the door and announce themselves as green. If we can do this, if we can create a new economy that takes these models that can very quickly acquire market share and we can give people a sense they’re part of something much bigger, we’ll build the green economy, we just won’t talk about it and we won’t say that we’re doing it.”
Heimans’ last remark is key: “If we can do this, if we can create a new economy that takes these models that can very quickly acquire market share and we can give people a sense they’re part of something much bigger we’ll build the green economy, we just won’t talk about it and we won’t say that we’re doing it.”
Illustration courtesy of Stephanie McMillan
Subservience to Empire and Hegemony
Above: A Disruption movie marketing poster (from The New School). “Green” is out. “New” is in. This is the strategy that is to change everything.
Clearly, the shift of emphasis is toward this “market share”. Note the following statement on the September 4, 2014 350.org press release, World Premiere of “Disruption,” New Climate Documentary with Van Jones, Chris Hayes, Naomi Klein, and More:
“This is not a green issue, this is an all of us issue,” says Ricken Patel, executive director of the 38-million member civic organization, Avaaz. Avaaz is mobilizing its members around the world to take part in solidarity actions along with the march in NYC. [Emphasis added]
“Green” is out. “New” is in. This is the strategy that is to change everything.
Also from the press release:
“The world premiere of Disruption in New York City is the flagship for hundreds of screenings taking place around the country on Sunday. A panel discussion will follow the premiere.
“Panelists will include (more detail at base of email):
- Ricken Patel – Executive Director – Avaaz.org
- Eddie Bautista – Executive Director – New York City Environmental Justice Alliance
- Keya Chatterjee – Director, Renewable Energy and Footprint Outreach – WWF
“‘In the past, masses of people have taken the wheel of history and turned it,’ says author Naomi Klein in the film. ‘We have a responsibility to rise to our historic moment.'”
The film features Avaaz’s Ricken Patel, WWF‘s Keya Chatterjee and 350.org board member Van Jones. Note 350.org’s relentless co-opting of the civil rights movement leaders, who are utilized to market their campaigns at the beginning of the trailer. It is somewhat fitting is that at 12 seconds in CIA’s Gloria Steinem is featured. The trailer and film seeks to inspire the global mobilizations that Purpose has been funded to create.
It is incredible (as in, difficult to believe) that today’s biggest shills for the Empire of the 21st century double as the iconic symbols of progressive change and activism for the so-called left. Aldous Huxley often expressed a deep concern that citizens could become subjugated via refined use of the mass media. His fears were most prophetic. There is little doubt that if he were alive today, even he would be taken aback by the sheer “success” and madness of it. [Further reading: On the Eve of an Illegal Attack on Syria, Avaaz/350.org Board Members Beat the Drums of War]
Citizens who claim they wish to protect our shared environment must educate themselves on the role of foundation funding and the key NGOs (350.org, Avaaz, Purpose, WWF, etc.) being heavily financed to implement the illusory green new economy. Joan Roeloff’s exceptional book, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism, is a good place to start. If we are unwilling to do this work collectively, perhaps we deserve everything the oligarchs are designing for us and intend for us in the future. There will be tears.
As an example of Purpose’s work to build acquiescence and a normalization of the green new economy, we can look at Purpose’s work for Audi. The task at hand is how to take the human right to access clean water, and turn it into a commodity market that the public will embrace: “[Purpose Inc.] helps them to build mass movements to support their favourite causes. Audi, for example, wants to design and promote machines to dispense clean water in India, a market where it hopes to burnish its car brand.” Media is utilized to present the water ATM as an affordable benefit for the disenfranchised, underprivileged and poor: “The perception that rural people won’t pay for quality services is wrong, says Anand Shah, CEO of Sarvajal, an initiative by the Piramal Foundation to find mass-market solutions to India’s water crisis. “They want to be part of modern society. After a water ATM is set up, 15-20 % of the people immediately start buying water. They like to claim ‘we have a water ATM.'” The idea of clean fresh water for all, as a human right, rather than an “affordable” commodity, will quickly disappear as fast as the drinking fountains one used to find in our communities not that long ago. One must note that today, we find corporations writing many of their own articles for media, who in turn present them as journalism. Round and round we go.
“Purpose also hopes to develop a business promoting ‘new economy’ products such as solar energy. It will recommend to its members that they buy solar power from such-and-such a provider. In return, it will charge a referral fee.” – The Economist, The business of campaigning, Profit with Purpose, Jan 26, 2013
We can assume this business model will be employed across the board. Purpose tells the story that entices the purchase, Purpose mobilizes the movements building on the foundation of the story, and Purpose receives their referral fee in the mail.
What you are about to witness is the global mobilization of “consumers” to be ushered into the green economy, without SAYING it is the green economy. The climate parade in NYC, coinciding with the release of 350’s Naomi Klein’s new book, is the launching pad.
The kings and queens of hegemony have rolled the dice and placed their bets on Avaaz, 350.org and Naomi Klein (350.org board member) to usher in the illusory green economy under the guise of a so-called “new economy.” Their winning bet is that author Naomi Klein’s latest book will be the vehicle that ignites their new economy, and thus “changes everything.”
It is not by accident that foundation-financed “progressive” media and those within the non-profit industrial complex are heavily promoting Klein’s upcoming book release with multiple side events. It is not by accident that Avaaz’s latest petition titled The Global People’s Climate March has strategically modified the This Changes Everything book title to “Join to Change Everything” and “To change everything, it takes everyone.” Note the similar language employed by WWF: “To change everything, we need everyone.”
The tragedy is that Americans appear incapable of building a legitimate movement on a foundation of knowledge and disciplined, resolute minimalism. There is no better example of this than the lifestyle of former left-wing guerrilla and current president of Uruguay, José Mujica. Rather, as a culture cultivated on greed and individualism, we swallow the illusion (lie) that the only way out of our suicidal economic system is through more consumption – with consumption this time around being branded with an ethical veneer. It’s as though consumption has devoured our psyche and we are unable to escape it. Like sadistic prisoners of our own doing, we have trapped ourselves in a cage as “consumers” (the term Purpose Inc. uses for citizens) and have chosen to throw away the key.
The goal must be to weaken and sabotage the existing power structures until they collapse. When we lend our voices to the non-profit industrial complex, by extension we strengthen hegemony, capitalism and imperialism, ensuring our continued enslavement and, ensuring the annihilation of most all life on our shared planet.
We need to start thinking, stop consuming, and start living.
The Behavioural Change Dream Team:
· Full profile of Jeremy Heimans: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section II [link]
· Full profile of David Madden: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section II [link]
· Full profile of James Slezak: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section III [link]
Further reading on behavioural change: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section II [link]
[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, Political Context, Counterpunch, Canadians for Action on Climate Change and Countercurrents. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia.]
 As Clinton Global Initiative director of commitments, Bezerra led the redesign of member engagement and commitments services into a year-round operation. From 2007 to 2008, Bezerra held the position of sponsorship manager of the Clinton Global Initiative where she directly managed five major sponsorship accounts, including Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Procter & Gamble, valued at over $2 million dollars. From 2006 to 2008, Bezerra held the position of Commitment Development Senior Manager for the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2009, Bezerra was Deputy Director of Commitments for the Clinton Global Initiative. Bezerra took a central role in building the Clinton Global Initiative from its start-up. The Clinton Global Initiative was integral to the creation and funding of the Rockefellers’ incubator project 1Sky, now merged with 350.org (which was also integral to the creation of 1Sky). The CGI is a partner to 350.org/1Sky. Bill Clinton is recognized as a notable ally.
Bezerra is the CEO and Founder of Aldeia Works, board member of Breakthrough and serves as an advisor to Inspiring Capital. In New York, Bezerra also served as the business and financial manager for AEA Consulting, “a management consulting company with a client base of leading nonprofit cultural organizations throughout Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Bezerra is a board member of Rhize, (March, 2014 to present; http://www.rhize.org/) whose stated mission is “building a global community driving peoplepowered democracy around the world.” She also serves on the board of Atikus Insurance (January 2014 to present; http://www.atikusinsurance.com/) and as a “Strike Team Member” of the ForeSight Group.
 Purpose Action Board of Directors: Jon Huggett, founding chair of Social Innovation Exchange, former partner at The Bridgespan Group and Bain & Company; Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange.org and former senior director of media programs at GLAAD; Brett Solomon, executive director of Access, former campaigns director at Avaaz, former executive director of GetUp!; Douglas Atkin, director of community at Airbnb, former chief community officer of Meetup, author of The Culting of Brands; Andre Banks, executive director of Purpose Foundation, former strategy director at Purpose and former deputy director of ColorOfChange.org; Jeremy Heimans, co-founder & CEO of Purpose, co-founder of Avaaz and co-founder of GetUp! [Source]
 Purpose Foundation Board of Directors: Carla Sutherland, research scholar at Columbia University’s Gender and Sexuality Law Center’s Engaging Tradition Project, former program officer at Ford Foundation and Arcus Foundation; Jeremy Heimans, co-founder & CEO of Purpose, co-founder of Avaaz and co-founder of GetUp!; Michael Evans, president of Moynihan Station Development Corporation and former chief of staff to the Lieutenant Governor of New York State. [Source]| Purpose Foundation’s organizational documents and annual reports on Form 990 can be found here.