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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

March 4, 2010

David Graham-Caso, (213) 387-6528 x214, or
Kristina Johnson, (415) 977-5619

Sierra Club Ad: “Pandora Isn’t the Only Planet in Peril”
Oscar-Nominated Film “Avatar” Shines Light on Environmental Movements Addressing Destructive Mining on Earth

(Los Angeles, CA)— With the 82nd Annual Academy Awards scheduled to be held this Sunday, the Sierra Club today announced the launch of two advertisements that connect the Oscar-nominated film “Avatar” to work the Sierra Club is doing here on Earth.

“Pandora isn’t the only planet in peril,” reads the Sierra Club’s ad, which was published in today’s The Hollywood Reporter.  “[Sierra Club] volunteers and supporters nationwide are standing up to mountaintop removal coal mining and oil sands extraction, forces every bit as destructive to our Earth as the mechanized mining of unobtainium is to Pandora.”

A separate ad signed by Sierra Club and 55 international groups appears in today's Variety, and points out similarities between "Avatar" and Canada's destructive oil sands operations.

“We think it is important to take advantage of the opportunity a great movie like Avatar presents,” said Bruce Nilles, Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign.  “The message of one of the most successful and popular movies ever very closely reflects the important work being done in the real world to fight destructive mining practices.  The undeniable similarities between the film and the work the Sierra Club does will hopefully inspire fans of the film to get active in the fights going on right here.”

The Sierra Club’s ad in The Hollywood Reporter specifically mentions two horribly destructive practices that the Sierra Club is actively engaged in trying to stop- mountaintop removal coal mining and oil-sands extraction.  These practices are endangering some of the oldest, most diverse forests in existence and are threatening the traditional stewards of the land—all to feed the country’s dependence on dirty fuels and pad the pockets of energy-industry executives.

In Appalachia, families that have lived in hollows for generations are seeing their mountains destroyed by mountaintop removal mining. The process involves blowing the tops off of mountains to get at thin seams of coal, and then pushing the waste into the valleys below-- poisoning drinking water, laying waste to wildlife habitats, increasing the risk of flooding and wiping out entire communities.  More than 500 mountains have been destroyed so far.

In Canada, oil sands extraction threatens the Boreal forest, one of the last remaining wild forests in the world. The alarming rate and destructiveness of this shameful extraction is accelerating global warming, threatening water supplies and exposing local communities with toxic water and fumes. 

“The photos of oil sands mining operations are jaw-dropping,” said Kate Colarulli, Sierra Club’s Dirty Fuels Campaign Coordinator.  “It's like you're actually looking at stills from the movie Avatar. The giant trucks they use to destroy forests and mine earth are dead ringers. The lifeless, scarred earth that's left behind looks exactly the same."

“One of the most important similarities between Avatar and the oil sands is the impacts on people. Indigenous communities near oil sands operations have reported high rates of cancer linked to pollution from the project. They are watching the oil industry destroy the landscape their families have lived in for hundreds of years.”

The coalition Variety ad describes oil sands extraction in more detail and directs people to visit, the coalition’s website where people can find out more about oil-sands and download photos and b-roll.

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