In a Napoleonic ballroom full of journalists, trickster activists pretending to be from supermajor oil company TotalEnergies unveiled RéHabitat, a “habitat-equivalency” conservation program that would rescue animals from their impending East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) by relocating them to “more sustainable” habitats in France.
To demonstrate, handlers ceremoniously introduced a rooster—national bird of France—to an endangered silvery-cheeked hornbill freshly imported from East Africa, in a moment of symbolic welcome... which went very, very wrong. In a flurry of feathers, squawks, and bloodshed, François the rooster viciously murdered the helpless hornbill to the horror of attendees and livestream viewers around the world—transforming the event into a devastating metaphor for the destruction that TotalEnergies’ EACOP will bring to East Africa.
Meanwhile, international journalists received a press release announcing the project, followed by an “endorsement” from EACOP, and a “denial” from Total declaring “Bird murder is unhelpful activism.”
See select press: AFP, L’Obs, Blast, TV5 Monde, Huffington Post, Neon, BFM, Energy Voice, and lots of Twitter hubbub.
The "grand guignol-esque" hoax was orchestrated The Fixers, an emergent faction of the Yes Men. RéHabitat was designed to expose TotalEnergies' greenwashing efforts to cleanse their image while engineering ecological collapse through dirty oil and gas projects. The action was also meant to implicate banks—including Standard Bank, ICBC, and SMBC—for financing the pipeline and the devastation it will create.
Read the whole story here.