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As all the brave protesters heading to Washington D.C. the next two weeks know, speaking out against greed and environmental destruction can be a risky proposition. Not just in terms of potential arrest, verbal or even physical abuse, but also of having your message hijacked, distorted, turned against you, or simply ignored by the powers that be. One good antidote against being typecast and marginalized as angry, humorless, bitter or any other characterizations aimed at putting you in a bad light and obfuscating your message is



Nobody knows this better than Canadian artist Franke James, a tireless environmental advocate who has been calling attention to her government's tar sands dealings with great humor and playfulness. As a thank you for being such a pain in their oil-barrel belly, Franke has been getting stiff-armed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s tar sands-banking government. Not only were they able to choke off Franke's What can one person do? art show which had been set to tour 20 cities across Europe to raise environmental awareness with youth and inspire teens to make their own climate change art, but got her on Harper's infamous political black list.

The whole story reads like a cold war spy movie, but it basically comes down to this:

But apparently, I’ve ignited the Harper Government’s fury by telling the truth about Canada’s footdragging on climate action. And having the audacity to advocate pollution taxes and tougher environmental policies on Alberta’s Tar Sands!

Please follow me below the squiggle for some action items to stop the proposed tar sands XL pipeline from Alberta down to Texas and more info on Franke's creative campaign of becoming a mosquito in the government's ears to stop the oil from flowing in the first place.

Meteor Blades and PDNC organized this blogathon for August 14-19 before he took a "leave of absence" from Daily Kos last week.  For now, this will be the last of many projects, blogathons, and diary series that the two of them have done over the years on environmental, climate change, human rights, and political issues.

In honor and respect for our dear friend and project partner, this blogathon is dedicated to Meteor Blades by our blogathon team of PDNC, rb137 and JekyllnHyde.

"Stop Tar Sands" Blogathon: How You Can Help

Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse has coordinated this blogathon with Bill McKibben, who is one of the organizers for a civil disobedience action in DC from August 20th to September 3rd to urge President Obama to not give a presidential permit for the proposed tar sands XL pipeline from Alberta down to Texas.  This civil disobedience action is modeled on one that the group Transafrica used outside the Washington Embassy in the 1980s: Nelson Mandela said it played a key role in raising awareness about apartheid.  The plan is for a new group of people each day of the two weeks to trespass on the sidewalk in front of the White House.

This is not a protest of President Obama. As Bill McKibben noted, the protest is designed to show President Obama the "depth of support for turning down this boondoggle" as it will be the "biggest civil disobedience protest in the environmental movement for many many years."

We know what the future will look like with the XL pipeline.

You know it's all fun and games for the big guns when artists are all cuddly and oh-baby-I-love-you'ey. Hey, they'll even make you part of their rich people's club. But the minute you start poking around a little deeper and disturb the happy fat cat comfort zone, the proverbial gloves often come off in a heartbeat.

That's what happened to Franke when she started talking back to her fat cat government...


You see, in their fantasy world of perpetual growth in oceans of black gold, we're just going to keep sucking the oil out of every cell of Mama Earth's body, so we can all keep growing and accelerating into eternity and the fat cat industry and government big wigs can play golf on their yachts.

I mean, if you're a thinking human being with any kind of long-term consciousness and your soul hasn't gotten completely numbed by Viagra commercials and Republican primary debates, you're going to say something, right?


So Franke did, and the fat cats weren't happy to have their oily parade rained on.

“Who was the idiot who approved an art show by that woman, Franke James?”

Memorable words from one of Canada’s top officials on hearing that the Canadian Embassy in Croatia had offered support for Franke’s art show.

They took a big swat at that little mosquito and sabotaged her tour with a few big-wig fat-cat phone calls that dried up her funding like Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage and put her on a secret Voldemortian list, making her as toxic to funders as a Tailing Pond.


Franke's response is to fight back creatively, taking her delightful and irreverent series of visual environmental commentary to billboards and bus shelters in Ottawa, with a little help from her friends.


The moral of the story, of course, is that the best way to have your voice heard, even in light of bullying, stonewalling, smears or cold shoulders, is to tap deeply into your creative reservoir to stay upbeat, inspired, focused, and slick as Teflon. It keeps your arsenal fresh and hard to predict and your response portfolio diversified. Remember that a wicked sense of humor is the ultimate defense shield, disarming your opponent. Most importantly, tapping into your inner muse keeps you connected to your center, the part of yourself that knows why you're doing what you're doing, even when you're dealing with distracting external circumstances that have nothing to do with the cause.

Last but not least, try to have fun. I know that sounds strange considering what is bringing you out there, but it's strategically important to lift your spirit and keep your momentum. When things turn frustrating or aggravating, think of Franke, who'll be having a Blacklisting and Banned Art Party at her studio to keep the gooey bitumen from leaking across North America.  


All illustrations are from Fat Cat Canada’s Giant Litter Box, by Franke James

  • Sign the petition to end Canada's attempt to silence Franke
  • Help get Franke's art on Ottawa billboards and bus shelters

"Stop Tar Sands" Blogathon Calendar: All Times Pacific

  • Sunday, August 14th

10 am: Join the Foes of the Tar Sands Pipeline: Blogathon & DC Civil Disobedience Action by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse. This is the "mothership" and linked in the front page Feature Box all week.  PDNC will try to update each day with new diary links.
2 pm: Stop Tar Sands: Voices of the Opposition by blue jersey mom.
5 pm: Stop Tar Sands: While I’ll be Risking Arrest at the White House (and Why You Should, Too) by Lawrence MacDonald.

  • Monday, August 15

2 pm: Stop Tar Sands: Stand with Randy by janefleming.

  • Tuesday, August 16

11 am: Stop Tar Sands: Fingers of One Hand, Uniting as a Mighty Fist by JeffM2001.
4 pm: Stop Tar Sands Save Songbirds by FishOutofWater.
5 pm: Stop the Tar Sands: Stand Tall Generation Y by agmaynard.

  • Wednesday, August 17

10 am: Tar Sands Action by Senator Bernie Sanders.
12 pm: Stop Tar Sands: We Don't Need the Keystone XL Pipeline by Ann Mesnikoff.
3 pm: Stop Tar Sands: Climate Denial is a Paper Tiger. by rb137.
5 pm: Obama, "change" doesn’t have to mean "runaway climate change" by JasonBox.

  • Thursday, August 18

11 am: citisven
12 pm: David Daniel
1 pm: Elizabeth Shope
2 pm: Ben Gotschall
3 pm: Davey Rogner
5 pm: boatsie
7 pm: Seneca Doane

  • Friday, August 19

11 am: beach babe in fl
12 pm: enviro writer
1 pm: Rebecca Tarbotton
2 pm: Aji
4 pm: Renewable Rider
5 pm: Bill McKibben

Please remember to republish these diaries to your DK4 Groups.

Originally posted to Ecomusings by Sven Eberlein on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 11:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots, Meatless Advocates Meetup, EcoJustice, DK Poli, Climate Change News Roundup, and Community Spotlight.

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