Rainforest Action Network Boycotts Burger King (Great Events from History II: Ecology and the Environment Series)
Article abstract: In an effort to protect tropical rain forests, a U.S. environmental group organized a boycott of Burger King restaurants to bring pressure to end imports of tropical beef.
Summary of Event
On July 24, 1987, The Tico Times, an English-language newspaper in Costa Rica, published a short article called “United States-Costa Rica ‘Hamburger Connection’ Broken.” This article heralded the end of a boycott of Burger King, the second largest chain of fast-food restaurants in the United States, that had begun more than three years earlier on April 14, 1984. In 1985, the Rainforest Action Network, a nonprofit tax-exempt organization, was spun off from the Earth Island Institute, an environmental group founded by David Brower. Brower, who had once been the director of the Sierra Club before leaving the organization to found Friends of the Earth, was an advocate of what was called “direct action” in environmental causes. The Rainforest Action Network seized the Burger King boycott as its primary focus of direct political action. Using the mailing lists provided by Brower’s previous contacts, the network organized a base of support through numerous reports and press briefs mailed from its headquarters in San Francisco. The network also provided information on how to organize demonstrations, sold directories listing hundreds of other organizations around the world working on rainforest issues,...
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