Ethical Oil?

Did you catch this one?
Adbusters posted this ad last week, which aired on Oprah’s network. The ad, by Ethical Oil, may be the most manipulative piece of advertizing I’ve ever seen.

Let’s take a look at the “ethics” of the Ethical Oil, shall we?

The tar sands is an area of ancient Boreal forest, 54,000 sq mi which has been scraped clean of life. [For some of you, that is already a full stop.]

An estimated 200 species of animal go extinct daily. Daily.

If you need more…

Shell is the primary company extracting bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands in Canada. Shell is also profiteering in Saudi Arabia (and in Nigeria…look into it) The idea that Shell in Saudi Arabia is more unethical than Shell in Canada, is ridiculous. Shell is Shell is Shell…… Just ask the Nigerians, who’s government has been working alongside Shell to oppress the indigenous population and the environment. 1

USA and Canada support many countries whose treatment of women is questionable. Including our previous monetary and arms support of the Saudi Arabian government. Women’s rights have never been a factor in our foreign policy, except apparently when its in our economic self-interest.

Tar Sands extraction is 4-5 times more carbon intensive than normal oil extraction, and requires 2-4 times as much water to refine the bitumen. When 16% of the world is using 80% of the world’s resources, and the effects of which are felt by those NOT using the resources.

Resource extraction and its resultant climate change disproportionally affects women. Primarily women from third world countries. In other words, the western world extracts and refines and the people that suffer most are brown and black people (mainly women) from other countries. 2

Displacement of Dene and Cree Nations. Canada’s ethics towards women clearly doesn’t include rights of First Nation Women. Deformed fish and cancer ridden caribou are routinely found by Cree and Dene hunters. Which means two things. 1. This is highly unsafe for animals. 2. This is highly unsafe for people. Increasingly, people are unable to drink the water. Many communities who had never before grappled with cancer, are suddenly experiencing enormous spikes in cancer rates. Canada’s “Ethical Oil” is ethical for who, and under what circumstances?

Back to Oprah for a moment. Oprah, for better or worse is an iconic public figure who in the past has been outspoken about women’s issues and human rights. She’s known for her charitable work, and should not be airing a “women’s rights” ad that clearly white washes the women’s and human rights at stake.

Let Oprah’s Network know how you feel about this ad:


1 – Women affected by Climate Change:

2 – Shell in Nigeria:

Jessica SticklerComment