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Gay and green:
Brianna Cayo Cotter

Gay and green:
Brianna Cayo Cotter


Meet a diverse group of eco-queers who honor the same guiding truth: Environmental rights are gay rights. We share one atmosphere with the world.

Brianna Cayo Cotter, communications manager, Rainforest Action Network

At a mere 25 years old, Brianna Cayo Cotter goes head-to-head with some of the world's largest corporations--rallying, publicizing, and pressuring until they surrender. She called out Ford Motor Co. at a recent conference of journalists for "greenwashing"--which is, as she puts it, "spending a ton of money on ads with Kermit the Frog proclaiming 'It's Easy Being Green' while having the lowest fuel efficiency and highest greenhouse gas emissions of any U.S. automaker." In fact, Ford is suing to prevent the state of California from mandating lower greenhouse gas emissions for vehicles.

The San Francisco-based Rainforest Action Network and Cotter have achieved their most recent triumphs by attacking corporate culprits' purse strings. "We went after large loaning institutions [like Wells Fargo] for funding destructive practices--for instance, Burger King clearing out rain forest trees to grow cattle feed; Home Depot pilfering the Amazon's wood; and mining giant Massey Energy Company blasting West Virginia mountaintops for coal, eroding land and destroying Appalachian lives." Cotter rallied and educated residents and consumers, going so far as to hang a banner on a local mountaintop that read wells fargo: lootin' and pollutin' since 1852, until the bank agreed to comprehensive environmental and social policies reform. "Destructive business as usual is no longer acceptable," she says. "It's scary to hang off the side of a building with a giant banner, or slide information about clear-cut logging under investors' doors at a fancy hotel while being followed by security guards and police. But what antiabortionists, homophobic bigots, and CEOs are doing to people and this planet is so much scarier...the more I use my voice and speak to truth and justice, I become less afraid and more powerful."

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