Buy Canadian Tar Sands

Watch this petroleum industry funded ad that just debuted on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Buy Canadian Tar Sands

If your jaw is still gaping, it’s completely understandable. Propaganda at its most base level can do that. Take a moment … ask yourself, who are these people? Where are their offices? How much political favor has their crude cash purchased?

Over the holidays let’s put our heads together: how can we make the people who made this ad pay a price.

What would be a tactical response of equal spectacle?

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127 comments on the article “Buy Canadian Tar Sands”

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We can easily come up with a list of one hundred other things to donate to.
I will get the ball rolling with


We can easily come up with a list of one hundred other things to donate to.
I will get the ball rolling with


51% of Your Tax Dollars Funds Rape, Murder & Genocide! 


One evil doesn't make the "other" supposed "alternative" ethical. That's not even "bold". Just a plump PR tactic. What about alternative fuels? Electric? HHO? Alcohol? What about officially recognizing peak oil, and also having a public shift from oil based pharma to natural and alternative "non-toxic-chemical" substances? What about the obvious instead of the profitable?


I propose an ad that equates our planet with the position of woman, the peril it is in, the freedom it doesnt have to create and propogate life the way it once was able to before humans started tearing everything apart. Canadian oil sands are tantamount to raping our planet, even more severely than regular oil, given the disastrous environmental consequences and required energy inputs.

Earth: our mother, our home, our caretaker, our lover, our planet. Do YOU want to contribute to raping her? Buy Canadian oil...


Does anyone think the issue of oil is a lot like how slavery was. Some people used to think slavery was a good thing and didn't see any harm in it. Some people used to think it was bad but thought, "Well how else would our farms run, etc.". And then some people thought it was just plain wrong and we need to do away with it despite the inconveniences that would occur. Eventually morality prevailed. Building another pipeline that is being fallaciously billed as "ethical" is akin to someone back in the day saying, "Ok, we're going to free all of the slaves. Every black is now free to live as they please. But we're going to India and grabbing a bunch of them to use as our new slaves. Sound good?" We do not need any more pipelines no matter where they are being laid. We need to unite and demand a green revolution. The oil companies will not support green renewable sources.


Morality didn't prevail my friend. Slavery is more popular and lucrative than it has ever been. I understand of course you are simply talking about popular opinion in developed countries


The genius of this propaganda consists in its use of the "big lie" technique with simplicity and clarity of purpose. In addition, it focuses on human suffering rather than damage to the environment. Propaganda works best when you can show direct human harm that excites moral outrage. The donate button at the end is a masterful coup de grace. It literally had my jaw hanging at the ethical chutzpah.

As I read over the Tar Sands materials in an attempt to create a counter ad, it became depressingly clear why the anti-pipeline message had less impact. Damage to birds, lakes and trees is secondary and easily dismissed. Threats to aquifers can be characterized as theoretical and preventable. It is only when you see the damage to the landscape and the visible diseases ravaging indigenous peoples that people begin to understand.

But we need more than that - we need an ethical message as simple and brutal as tape across a woman's lips.

A quick screenplay:

Last year we bankrolled corporations that are transforming Alberta into Mordor
- Fade in to shot of the devastated Alberta countryside
The rush to strip-mine and drill tar sands in the boreal will destroy and fragment millions of acres of this wild forest for low-grade petroleum fuel.
- More shots of devastated landscapes
But it's not just the landscape - this is what the Keystone Pipeline does to people
- Show effects of disease and hunger on Canadian indigenous people
But when people care enough to exercise their right to free speech and assembly, they are handcuffed and locked up
- Scenes of the recent tar sands actions and arrests
While corporate lobbyists are coddled by Republicans and Democrats alike
- Scenes from obnoxious K-Street parties
Stop the pipeline before a hundred million climate refugees die agonizing deaths
- Scenes from the Pakistan flood

I hope that someone more adept than I with ads might take this to next stage. How could this scenario be enhanced?


I like your suggestions, but we may get more sympathy in the West by showing the recent floods in Thailand than in Pakistan. Also quotes from climate scientists, like the one about how developing the tar sands, i.e. the carbon released just from extracting the oil, would be "game over for the climate" and maybe add some shots of massive wild fires in Australia & Texas, tornadoes in the Mid-West with and show the increase is numbers and intensity etc. Add a summary with something about how there is no moral oil, or clean coal, just dirty money, greed and devistation.

As an aside, there was an article in the NY Times this past week about how even if the proposed new pipeline gets killed, not only can the tar sands oil be moved through existing pipelines (as it is already), they can just reapply using a slightly different route, and don't really need the extra capacity until 2020 or so:

We as citizens have to make the change. The change is going to painful either way, just much more so when nature forces it on us. Stop buying oil and gas, or least buy hybrids (I don't own a car, but I live in NYC where you can get away that easily) and drive as little as possible. Do everything you can to limit your carbon foot print and encourage others to do the same. Support green tech yourself, with your investment dollars, and purchases (including solar and or wind/hydro for your home and business). Short of an all out global rebellion, I don't see any other way. Certainly this web site tries to do it's best to help fight the propaganda, what else can we do (NOT a rhetorical question)?


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