Spectators at the Chevron World Challenge golf tournament in Thousands Oaks, CA today gazed up in curiosity as a plane flew overhead.
“It’s a bird!” Someone said. “It’s a plane!” Someone else corrected. “It’s a challenge to Chevron CEO John Watson to finally take responsibility for his company’s toxic mess in Ecuador!” The crowd suddenly realized.
Tiger Woods headed into day three of the Chevron-sponsored golf tournament with a three-shot lead. The tournament is an annual event that benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, which provides access to educational opportunities for underserved youth. A worthy cause, to be sure — it’s just a shame they’re letting Chevron’s dirty name besmirch the event.
Chevron may ostensibly be supporting access to education for Southern Californians via this event, but the company’s real aim is to ensure itself access to stacks and stacks of cash. The company routinely sponsors these types of charitable events in an attempt to cover up the fact that its business operations are wreaking havoc on the environment and poisoning communities around the world. By greenwashing its dirty name with events like the Chevron World Challenge, the company is hoping to cover up its shameful past so it can continue business as usual and ensure future profits.
One of the most tragic impacts of Chevron’s business operations has been in Ecuador. Rather than take responsibility, however, the company has fought a decades-long legal battle to cleaning up the toxic mess it left in the Ecuadorean Amazon, triggering a human rights and environmental crisis that continues to this day.
A group of Ecuadorean Indigenous and farming communities have won important legal victories against Chevron in both U.S. and Ecuadorean courts in their efforts to bring the company to justice in Ecuador. But CEO Watson and other Chevron executives routinely defy court orders by stating publicly that they will never pay.
Chevron has spent the last 18 years waging unprecedented public relations and legal campaigns to avoid dealing with the environmental and public health catastrophe it left in the Amazon rainforest. That’s why we took action today to challenge Chevron to clean more than its public image and repair the toxic legacy it left in Ecuador.