I am a feminist and I am an environmentalist. I don’t really appreciate being asked to compromise one to support the other.
Yet, this is what the campaign “Ethical Oil” is asking me to do in this new ad.
The message they’re passing is simple enough (if you support women’s rights, you must not buy anything from Saudi Arabia, therefore you should demand oil from Canada instead), which is why we should be weary of it.
First, increasing production from Canada’s tar sands is not going to reduce demand from Saudi Arabia’s oil fields. What is going to reduce demand is, amazingly enough – to reduce demand: put in place strong standards for fuel efficiency, improve public transport and facilitate alternative means of transportation like cycling.
Second, there is absolutely nothing ethical about getting oil from Canada’s tar sands. The tar sands are one of the largest environmental disasters on this planet right now, destroying the primary forest and poisoning rivers. They also have become one of the single largest source of carbon emissions in the world, causing climate change.
Ethical Oil is choosing their targets quite well: they have started to advertise on OWN – but environmentalists are calling their bluff and asking Oprah to stop running their ads.
I don’t appreciate being asked to trade one evil for the other. I won’t compromise on feminism to save the planet – but I won’t accept that the planet becomes collateral damage for women’s rights either. Anyone pretending that we can trade one for the other can’t have the true interests of either in mind. Women are more affected by the effect of climate change.
If Ethical Oil was truly interested in women’s rights, they’d be campaign for fuel efficiency standards. Instead they’re using the condition of Saudi women as a disgusting gateway to destroying the planet and encouraging an environmental disaster.