Fruit companies Dole and Chiquita are under attack this week from the always entertaining Forest Ethics, the group that seems never to tire of attacking Canada’s environmental practices from verdant San Francisco, California. The activists at FE make a practice of trying to publicly bully Fortune 500 companies by accusing them of rape and destruction of the earth, supposedly because they buy some of Canada’s ethical oil, and calling for consumer boycotts. When it doesn’t work, FE just spreads lies, as they did last September, announcing publicly that the Gap, Levi’s and Timberland had agreed to join FE’s boycott call against oil sands products. Turns out they just made that part up, much to the frustration of the businesses who got pulled into Forest Ethics’ unethical vortex.
That came after Forest “Ethics” was involved in an anti-Alberta ad campaign which was exposed as being full of fabrications, including lies that the oil sands was affecting 130,000 sq. km (the truth: 620 sq. km) and that “Investigative researchers suspect that purposeful releases at night into the Athabasca River contributes to a 150-mile long oil slick … that flows into Athabasca Lake.” Er…yeah.
Forest “Ethics” attack on Chiquita and Dole—running full page newspaper ads calling for boycotts against the firms—is just as, shall we say, embroidered: Forest “Ethics” claims in the ad that oil sands extraction “threatens” an area of Boreal forest the size of Maine — a meaningless concept invented by anti-oil sands groups well aware that saying the oil sands disturbs an area smaller than the footprint of the city of Calgary. They also claim that 90% of the water ends up in lakes of “toxic waste.” In reality, 80% of mining process water is recycled, many in situ oil sands processes use no fresh water at all, and the entire operation draws all of about 1% of the Athabasca River‘s flow.
It’s strange that Forest “Ethics” would be so determined to spread fabrications and misinformation about the oil sands when there are so many ugly truths out there about virtually every other source of oil that Chiquita and Dole might use as an alternative (though we wouldn’t rule out the fact that Chiquita and Dole don’t actually know whether or not they use oil sands products in their highly convoluted fuel mix; Forest “Ethics” has a habit of such unprovable allegations). Saudi Arabian oil really does lead to the persecution of women and girls and funds terrorist attacks against innocent people; Venezuelan oil really does fund the curtailment of basic human rights and workers’ rights; Russian oil really does fuel a thugocracy that abuses Russian citizens while funding imperialist wars that disturb a footprint of land far larger than the area of Maine; Libyan oil really does pay for weapons that Gadaffi uses against his own people.
Forest “Ethics” demands that American corporations ask themselves “Does the fuel we buy we reflect our values?” We expect most would answer that peaceful, ethical oil — produced where workers enjoy the highest standards of rights, women are recognized as equals, robust environmental controls are stringently enforced, and human rights are as strong as anywhere — fits their values far better than the conflict oil that Forest “Ethics” would force them to rely upon.
We wish Forest “Ethics” would spend as much time trying to help us stop the actual rape and destruction caused by conflict oil regimes, and calling for boycotts of bloody, ruinous conflict oil, rather than making up stories about ethical Canada and its customers. For now, we’ll just have to show our support for those companies refusing FE’s demand that they drop ethical oil in favour of conflict oil. With the help of these great banana recipes, we’ll be eating a lot of Dole and Chiquita over the next few days.