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City council makes landmark decision to ban advertisements for SUVs and more — here's why

"There's a moment happening here."

"There's a moment happening here."

Photo Credit: iStock

Advertising is increasingly unavoidable, with billboards at the beach, vans carrying obnoxiously lit sales information, and even faucets in public bathrooms bombarding you with products you probably don't need.

The effect of this constant presence is stark. A study from the University of Warwick, shared by Harvard Business Review, found a connection between higher rates of advertising in a country and decreased satisfaction among citizens.

Advertising is powerful, too, convincing us to buy things that perhaps aren't as beneficial as they seem to both consumers and the planet. If these ads are removed, perhaps people won't be so encouraged to split with their hard-earned cash or won't be duped by misleading advertising practices. 

With these factors in mind, Edinburgh has decided to ban advertising for dirty energy-reliant products and businesses, such as aviation firms, vehicle manufacturers, and oil companies.

"There's a moment happening here," Ben Parker of the Scottish Green Party, who led the campaign to ban such advertisements, told The Washington Post. "It's a way of saying fossil fuel companies and arms manufacturers are not welcome in our city."

It is hoped the advertising ban will have a similar impact as the move to discourage tobacco products. As the Post detailed, such measures have helped to discourage smoking, especially among young people. 

"What you are doing is reducing the amount of consumption that is coming from those advertisements," co-director of the New Weather Institute and campaigner for fossil fuel ad bans Andrew Simms said, per the Post

If this move — which has also been implemented in Amsterdam, Sydney, and parts of France — is as successful, it should help to reduce the consumption of dirty fuels that are exacerbating the climate crisis through the release of planet-warming gases. That's not to mention the environmental destruction caused by the extraction of these fuels. 

The initiative should also prevent dirty energy companies from participating in greenwashing campaigns and discourage needless consumption. 

While gas-guzzling SUVs will no longer be advertised in Scotland's capital city, it's not clear if electric vehicles will receive the same treatment. While EVs produce no planet-warming pollution while out on the road, they still rely on electricity to recharge, which might be sourced from coal-powered plants.

But Scotland has set ambitious energy targets, with 50% of the nation's energy demands hoped to be produced by renewable sources from 2030 onward. With that in mind, perhaps more EVs will be powered by wind and solar energy in the future.

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