Why the Environment Collective is protesting Andrew Liveris

By Oula Shihan and Laura Nolan

On August 5th, UQ will be hosting a panel with Will.I.Am and Andrew Liveris in a conversation about ‘How global business cooperation drives innovation’.

Before we even consider why a celebrity is involved in such an event, let’s look at who Adrew Liveris is and his connections to UQ.

To call Andrew Liveris a climate criminal would be an understatement.

Andrew Liveris is the former CEO and Chairman of Dow Chemicals, overseeing the company’s environmental destruction for 14 years.

He donated $1 Million to Trump’s inauguration, who Liveris described as someone who is good for business.

He then served as an advisor to Trump and successfully lobbied the US Environmental Protections Authority to overturn its ban on the pesticide, chlorpyrifos, Dow chemicals is the largest manufacturer of the pesticide.Research shows that the pesticide has detrimental impacts on brain development in children.

He is now a board member for Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company. Recently the oil giant was exposed for having deliberately underreported its carbon emissions by 50 per cent.

Liveris was also one of the architects of the Liberal government’s “gas-led” COVID-19 recovery and has previously criticised the Victorian state Government’s ban on onshore gas exploration as “nonsense.”

Students and Staff will have noticed the new building that has cropped up at the St Lucia campus. The 11-storey building will be the new home for the School of Chemical Engineering and will house the Liveris Academy for Innovation and Leadership, which was established through a $13.5 million donation from Andrew Liveris himself, and the UQ Dow Centre.

While both institutions are described as means for students to conduct research into global and environmental sustainability, Liveris, Dow Chemicals and UQ are not champions of sustainability nor friends of the environment.

The Dow Chemical Company

Although the UQ Dow Centre aims, “to make original and significant contributions to global sustainability,” the Centre was established through a $US10 million donation from one of the world’s most reprehensible companies, the Dow Chemical Company.

Dow Chemicals manufactured Agent Orange and Napalm for the US military during the Vietnam War. Nearly 20 million gallons of Agent Orange were sprayed across Vietnam, causing mass deforestation. The defoliant has had lasting effects on the health of the Vietnamese people and contamination of soil and water is an ongoing issue.

Today, Dow chemicals is a massive manufacturer of chemicals, pesticides and plastics. A 2019 report from the Minderoo Foundation revealed that Dow was the second largest producer of plastic waste and from 2005-2017 the company made $US 36.8 billion profit from it’s plastics manufacturing sector alone.

Why Will.I.Am?

Because greenwashing. UQ has always been happy to greenwash the images of fossil fuel companies, by setting them up with research centres on campus, slapping a ‘sustainability’ sticker on them and forcing students to compete for their scholarships.

And if anyone needs this much greenwashing, it is Andrew Liveris.

In case the presence of a celebrity was not going to be enough to make this event appear progressive, the Uni also specifically prioritised getting tickets to the Union Queer Collective and Goorie Berrimpa for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander student.

You know, just to cover all the bases. Because as we know, Trump supporters and climate criminals in general are champions of indigenous people and the oppressed.

The takeaway

The effects of the climate crisis are being felt all over the world. Siberia was on fire, Germany, Belgium and China experienced extreme and deadly floods. The United States and Canada saw heatwaves that sparked wildfires and killed hundreds.

So our demand is that there should be no climate criminals on our campus, no to greenwashing and the uni immediately cut with Dow and Liveris.

Protest with us August 5, at 1:30pm on zoom.

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed