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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

SpongeBob Tells BP - Back Off The Amazon Reef | New Greenpeace Campaign By Don’t Panic Partners

Environmental campaign group Greenpeace has enlisted the services of Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants to raise awareness of the potential risks entailed by permitting oil giants BP and Total to begin exploratory drilling in the Amazon Mouth Basin, reports The Drum.

Greenpeace fears the energy giants are just weeks away from winning permission to drill, prompting them to enlist the services of an ocean dwelling cartoon sponge to draw attention to the potential for ecological catastrophe.

Sara Ayech, Oil campaigner for Greenpeace UK, remarked: “Marine biologists are calling the Amazon Reef a new biome, a unique ecosystem, which had been thought impossible. But it is already under threat from BP and an oil industry willing to risk spills and worse in their pursuit of fuel which we cannot afford to burn.

"Wasting money prospecting for soon-to-be-stranded assets is unfortunate, but trashing one of the very few unexplored wonders of nature to do so would be unforgivable.”

The equatorial reef extends to 9,500 sq/km off the Brazilian coast, with authorities there set to sign-off or block nearby drilling later this month.

Greenpeace has calculated that any spill disaster has a 30% chance of reaching the Amazon Reef, a pristine ecosystem of pink corals, sunset-coloured fish and over 60 species of sea sponge.

BP is still recovering from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, which saw five million gallons of crude oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico.


Founder: Mark Whiteway

Acc Director: Matt Dew

Acc Exec: Joshua Channon

Creative Director: Matt Partis

Lead design: Joe Baglow

Lead design: Kevin Pearson

It’s not everyday that the world’s most famous sea sponge stands up to big business. But with more than 60 species of sponge living in the Amazon Reef, for SpongeBob, this is personal.

Here’s why SpongeBob is the perfect champion for the Amazon Reef:

1. He’s a seasoned activist

Anyone who’s watched an episode of SpongeBob will know that he’s a pretty progressive sea sponge. From raising awareness about climate change to protesting for workers rights against the wanton greed of his boss at the Krusty Krab, Mr Krabs, his determination to defend the Amazon Reef comes from a lifetime spent sticking it to the man.

He’s no stranger to direct action, either. In one episode, SpongeBob starts a campaign to save Jellyfish Fields and when it looks like all is lost, he stands in front of a bulldozer, gets arrested and then mobilises thousands of people to stop the bulldozer before it can destroy the pristine jellyfish habitat.

Needless to say, everyone at Greenpeace is a big fan.

2. His creator is a marine biologist

The creator of SpongeBob SquarePants, Stephen Hillenburg, is a marine biologist who came up with SpongeBob as a way to teach children about taking care of the ocean. Back in 1984 he wrote The Intertidal Zone, an informative comic book about tide-pool animals which he used to educate his students. It later became the blueprint for the show and thanks to SpongeBob, he won an award for raising awareness about marine life.

Side note: SpongeBob is popular with other scientists, too. A bunch of mushroom scientists, aka mycologists, discovered a species of fungus in Malaysia that produces sponge-like orange fruit bodies and smells ‘musky.’ It reminded them of SpongeBob so they named the fungi spongiforma squarepantsii. True story.

3. He lives in a coral reef

Despite looking suspiciously like a kitchen sponge, SpongeBob is a sea sponge and has loads in common with the sponges of the Amazon Reef. For starters, Greenpeace actually found a yellow, square(ish) sea sponge on their Amazon Reef expedition. A long lost cousin, perhaps? SpongeSteve RectangleTrousers.

What’s more, SpongeBob lives in a coral reef. It’s called Bikini Bottom and can be found below Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. His best friends are Patrick, a starfish, and Sandy, a squirrel dressed as an astronaut who lives in a glass igloo. His neighbour Squidward is an octopus (despite what his name would have you believe).

Alright, so the similarities don’t extend as far as all that but who knows – only a tiny fraction of the Amazon Reef has been explored. There could be a squirrel in an igloo down there somewhere!

4. He’s got loads of followers

SpongeBob has over 125 million followers across social media! Plus, if you use the internet, you’ve mostly seen a SpongeBob meme. From ‘mocking SpongeBob’ to ‘imagination SpongeBob’, they’re a viral sensation and have become a way for ideas, jokes and cultural observations to travel (warning: they can also be a bit NSFW).

5. He’s determined

SpongeBob is an extremely determined person, and will often stop at nothing to accomplish a task. That’s exactly the kind of attitude the world needs to save the reef!

His child-like world view means that SpongeBob approaches everything with extreme enthusiasm, even when the odds are stacked against him. He never gets worn down by the complexities of life or the relentless cynicism of his aquatic compadres, instead dedicating himself to his work and his friends in the belief that a better world is possible.

That’s why SpongeBob is the perfect champion for the Amazon Reef. Because he won’t stop trying until the planet wins. And neither will Greenpeace.

Join SpongeBob. Sign the petition to tell BP to back off the Amazon Reef.

More Nick: Nickelodeon to Premiere Brand-New "SpongeBob SquarePants" Halloween Stop-Motion Animation Special: "The Legend of Boo-Kini Bottom"!
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