This year, among the items included in the Oscars nominees’ gift bags were hand-picked dates, vouchers for liposuction worth $12,000, and a deed for one square meter of land in the Australian outback, courtesy of Pieces of Australia.
The land was obtained by the company for a fee of $4,000 and was not officially associated with the Academy Awards.
The gift bags themselves were created and distributed by a Los Angeles-based marketing company named Distinctive Assets. By receiving this gift, nominees such as Michelle Yeoh were not only acknowledged for their achievements but also became proud owners of a piece of land in Australia, with an estimated value of $50.
On its website, Pieces of Australia acknowledges and pays respect to the Aboriginal people of the Baruŋgam nation, who are recognized as the traditional custodians and owners of the land.
However, Distinctive Assets, the Los Angeles-based marketing company responsible for curating and distributing the Oscars nominees’ gift bags, stated that they were not aware of whether Pieces of Australia had consulted with the traditional owners of the Baruŋgam Nation. The founder of Distinctive Assets, Lash Fary, claimed to have no knowledge about the matter.
Fary emphasized that their goal was to provide items that would have a positive impact on the lives of nominees or the world in general.
He also mentioned that they have been trying to include items from small businesses, female-owned businesses, and minority-owned businesses, which could benefit the most from media exposure and celebrity social media attention.
Why piece of Australian land?
Pieces of Australia offers its customers the opportunity to purchase a license for one square meter of land on its estate in Western Downs, Queensland for $79.95. This offer is included in the company’s ‘Aussie Mate Conservation Pack’.
By buying this pack, customers will also be supporting the company’s mission to promote conservation and build a carbon-positive business. The founder of Pieces of Australia, 29-year-old business developer Niels Chaneliere, aims to create positive change in the world through this initiative.
As part of the pack, the company promises to plant two trees in the customer’s name, thus contributing to the cause of conservation.
Skepticism over sale of small land pieces in Australia
The sale of one-square-meter land pieces in Australia by Pieces of Australia has raised concerns among environmentalists.
The Australia Conservation Foundation’s lead investigator highlighted that the land being sold is situated in the midst of a coal seam gas field and that there is evidence to suggest that the land is being exploited for coal seam gas.
Even if the land is being preserved, environmentalists argue that this approach of saving land one square meter at a time is unlikely to make a significant impact.
Therefore, skepticism remains among environmentalists regarding the effectiveness of the initiative.
Oscars land gift may be in coal seam gas field
According to Annica Schoo, the Lead Investigator of the Australian Conservation Foundation, the land gifted to celebrities by Pieces of Australia is actually in the middle of a large coal seam gas operation, despite the company claiming to preserve the land and pursue carbon sequestration opportunities.
Schoo stated to The Guardian that ‘the available evidence suggests the land in question is being exploited for coal seam gas.’
So far, nominated celebrities have not publicly commented on the gift, which is also located eight kilometers away from where two police officers were killed by right-wing Christian terrorists last year.
This partnership raises concerns about brands aligning with popular trends without fully considering the potential consequences.
Is Pieces of Australia a nonprofit organization?
No, it is a for-profit company. However, the founder claims that it has an impact that gives back to nonprofit organizations.
Why was the idea of selling one-square-meter land pieces seen as a good one?
Last year, the Oscars goody bag included plots of Scottish land that made the recipients lords or ladies, which reportedly was a popular item.
Will owning a piece of land from Pieces of Australia make you a lord or lady?
No, it will not.
Can you take possession or use the piece of land you purchased?
No, you cannot. You will need written consent from Pieces of Australia to set foot on the land.
Can you receive a refund if you change your mind?
Yes, you can receive a full refund within 30 days according to Pieces of Australia’s website.
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