If you were on Twitter yesterday, suffering through England’s dull goalless draw with Honduras and wishing you could fast-forward to the start of the U.S. match with Nigeria, you may have seen a photo that enraged you.
Ok, it’s Twitter. You probably saw more than one message/comment/photo that got your blood boiling. But this tweet, in particular, had many outraged:
It appeared as though Paddy Power, a UK-based betting company, had gone to Brazil and selectively chopped down a bunch of trees, then flown overhead to capture their special message. Then, as if that weren’t enough, Paddy Power had actually bragged about this deforestation, posting about it on social media.
The stunt was a step too far for a generation brought up hearing about the horrors rainforest deforestation could and would inflict on the world. “Idiotic,” “horrible,” and “disgraceful” were some of the more, shall we say, family-friendly responses to the tweeted image.
But, as Paddy Power revealed on Sunday morning, it was all a hoax. A very well-planned, well-delivered hoax. The company used some nifty computer graphics to create an extremely realistic view of what appeared to be the Brazilian rainforest outside Manaus. They then tweeted the photo in hopes of attracting attention to the continued degradation of the Amazon.
Let’s hope it worked. According to Greenpeace, an area the size of 122 soccer fields is chopped down every 90 minutes. Paddy Power has included this information in their followup explanation tweet and blog post, and they’re encouraging fans to visit Greenpeace to get involved.
Good on them. With four days left before the World Cup kicks off, there’s no reason fans can’t drag their attention away from injury reports and betting odds to take a few minutes to educate themselves about the country in which the tournament takes place. After all, everyone’s going to need something to talk about should England prove as dire in Brazil as they did against Honduras.