How to Become a Supermodel and Support Climate Justice

How to Become a Supermodel and Support Climate Justice

Op-Ed: Is smearing food on the ‘Mona Lisa’ a productive form of climate change protest? (Update: see comments below)

Here in our own backyard, we’ve been debating the most effective way to combat climate change for over three decades: reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We’ve considered a carbon tax, cap-and-trade, and various other alternatives. We’ve even considered banning certain foods from our plates altogether.

It’s an uphill battle we face in the fight to keep our climate stable and habitable, but we can at least do something to fight back.

In late August, a food brand launched a new marketing campaign to support the cause of opposing the “climate justice” movement. To do this, they commissioned a supermodel to protest a climate science conference in Paris that concluded on Friday (and is now the focus of intense negotiations between world leaders). Here is an actual photo of her posing at an exhibit with a sign that reads:

“To #climatejustice: Let us go to the frontlines of climate change. We are here. We are human. Today, we will show how #peoplematter.”

This is a great example of what is known as the “social media playbook”: engaging with your target audience on their own terms, using the tools of the digital age to your advantage.

After the campaign was introduced to Twitter users, a series of tweets in the account’s name (not her own) started circulating (including #SmearMonaLisa and #SmearMonaLisa #SmearMonaLisa). As users began reading these tweets, they found themselves inundated with various messages of support and/or opposition, like #SmearMonaLisa: #SmearMonaLisa #SmearMonaLisa #SmearMonaLisa, and #SmearMonaLisa: #SmearMonaLisa: #SmearMonaLisa.

People even made memes about it. This one was most popular on Facebook and Instagram:

This was apparently “her favorite” of all the memes to date, as Twitter users (both in the #SmearMonaLisa and “Don

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