Lush strips down to fight the Oil Sands

With many eyes focused on the stream of sludge in the Gulf of Mexico, workers at Lush Cosmetics are standing in the buff to defiantly raise awareness about another major oil crisis. Lush began a two-week protest against the Alberta Tar Sands Monday, turning its 44 stores across Canada into campaign centres to raise awareness […]

Jordan Adler June 08, 2010

With many eyes focused on the stream of sludge in the Gulf of Mexico, workers at Lush Cosmetics are standing in the buff to defiantly raise awareness about another major oil crisis.

Lush began a two-week protest against the Alberta Tar Sands Monday, turning its 44 stores across Canada into campaign centres to raise awareness for the cause. Particularly dedicated employees are even stripping down to just an oil barrel to catch the attention of passersby outside Lush locations and promote the campaign. A sign on their barrels reads, “Time For An Oil Change Or We’ll Lose It All. Stop the Tar Sands.”

The idea for the partial nudity came from a cheeky play on the term “strip mining,” a practice used to mine tar sands, said Brandi Halls, Lush’s North American public relations manager. Lush hopes that curious passersby will stop to sign postcards asking Prime Minister Harper to end government support for the tar sands oil and fund green, renewable energy.

Furthermore, shop windows have ditched glossy promotions and replaced them with grim images of the oil sands reserves.

“We want people to educate themselves and pressure the government for green energy,” said Jennifer O’Holla, Canadian media relations for Lush Cosmetics. “We need to break our oil addiction… and we can find new ways to use sustainable energy.”

The campaign was developed at Lush’s head office in Vancouver, but is supporting San Francisco-based Rainforest Action Network (RAN). 

Lush claims that oil production from the tar sands is the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, and producing a barrel of oil from the tar sands produces three times more greenhouse gas emissions than a barrel of conventional oil.

“The BP oil spill will last for months, but the slow motion oil spill in Canada’s tar sands will continue for decades,” said Brant Olson, campaigns director of Rainforest Action Network, in a release.

“We hope the campaign will raise awareness about the real price of oil and encourage the government to take concrete steps toward a new energy economy.”

Lush developed a limited edition Wild Rose Country bath bomb for the two-week protest, with proceeds going to RAN’s campaign. The wild rose is the provincial flower of Alberta, and Lush hopes it will represent Canadian defiance against the oil sands.

The two-week protest began on June 7 and will be expanded to more than 100 stores in the U.S.