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Vol. 15, No. 11 Week of March 14, 2010
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Greening of Oil - Latest from Mac Ackers

AND THE OSCAR DOESN’T GO TO ... We’re talking Hollywood. Anything goes, right?

But this one backfired. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn’t play ball by delivering the goods on Oscar night.

In what might have taken the prize for Manipulation, a coalition of 50-odd nongovernmental, environmental and aboriginal organizations drew a tenuous link between the big-box, sci-fi movie Avatar and the oil sands.

Making their pitch through a full-page ad in the trade publication Variety, they lobbied for the movie and director James Cameron to win Oscar honors.

The special Oscar edition noted that Cameron was born in Canada near the “majestic boreal forest” that oil sands critics say is being devastated by oil sands development and awarded their vote to Cameron for shining a “light on a dark reality” in Avatar.

The ad carried the words “Avatar Sands” spread over a background of dirt roads and tailings ponds.

Greenpeace spokesman Mike Hudema said there was a clear parallel between Avatar’s good-versus-evil themes and what is happening in the oil sands.

The movie portrays the attempted steamrollering of a native population on the moon Pandora by a military, representing corporate greed. It ends in defeat for the corporate ogres.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers gave a short shrift to the coalition, telling them to stop “blurring the lines” between fact and fiction.

CAPP Vice President Janet Annesley invited the “activists back to planet Earth to discuss the appropriate balance between environmental protection, economic growth and a safe and reliable supply of energy.”

She said Canada’s oil and gas companies are “committed to constructive engagement and consultation with aboriginal peoples. No oil sands project may go ahead without direct and meaningful consultation about both impacts and benefits.”

F.Y.I. There is no record of Cameron taking a public stand against the oil sands. And he had no chance either way on Oscar night when The Hurt Locker — directed by his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow — swept the floor with six of the golden statuettes. Ouch.

LESSON PLANS FOR ANTARCTICA … Attention teachers, students and the educational savvy! I’m putting together a lesson plan to complement our recently launched Antarctica expedition blog and I’d really appreciate your feedback regarding structure, topics, what works and what doesn’t, both from the teacher’s and student’s standpoint. The expedition lasts two weeks and teachers and students will have access to our blogger who has a degree in mechanical engineering, a master’s in development studies and a strong interest in energy and the environment. If you’re not familiar with the blog check it out here: http://www.greeningofoil.com/antarctica.aspx.

HE MADE IT TO 103 … On a more serious note, conservationist Edgar Wayburn died at his home in San Francisco on March 5. The five-term president of the Sierra Club, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for helping preserve vast acres of U.S. wilderness, was 103 when he passed. A practicing physician, much of Wayburn’s work as a conservationist was done in his spare time. “As we destroy our environment, we destroy ourselves,” he said in 1995 after receiving the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism.

Contact me! I am Greening of Oil’s social networker. My weekly column is posted in both Petroleum News and on Greening of Oil’s Buzz and Latest news pages. My e-mail address is mac@greeningofoil.com


Editor's note: Visit Mac Ackers at one of her following social sites.

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