Disaster preparedness kits are a big thing now that climate change is causing increasing environmental chaos. Some companies like Judy are aiming to capitalize on this development, thanks to celebrity endorsements, but don’t even mention climate change on its website or any details about its supply chain ie. is it ethical, not made by slave labour etc. That feels deeply problematic to me, aiming to make $ without really addressing any root causes. One corporation can’t change the world but it can at least inform and engage.
I was interviewed by Whitney Bauck in the New York Times about all this:
Some people seem to be finding Judy’s emergency prep resources before they find FEMA’s, as evidenced by Judy’s FAQ page, which includes the question, “Do I contact you if disaster strikes and I need help?” (The answer, for the record, is no: Judy is “not a real time alerting authority.”)
According to Antony Loewenstein, journalist and author of “Disaster Capitalism: Making A Killing Out Of Catastrophe,” that’s just one of the potential downsides of brand-led responses to disaster.
The other has to do with these brands’ relationships to environmental politics. Though Mr. Huck acknowledges the role the climate crisis plays in increasing weather-related calamities, Judy’s website and social media are intentionally devoid of the term “climate change” lest it alienate potential customers who deem it “too politicized” — despite the fact that Americans who think global warming is happening outnumber those who don’t by more than six to one. Judy doesn’t publish anything about the environmental impacts of manufacturing its products, either.
As far as Mr. Loewenstein is concerned, this is “avoiding the elephant in the room.”
“You have increasing numbers of companies saying, ‘we can assist you to address what everyone knows is a growing climate crisis.’ But there’s no openness about why this is happening,” Mr. Loewenstein said. “They should be asking, ‘Am I, as a corporation, complicit, in supply chains and elsewhere?’”