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A TFOL's Response to Greenpeace's LEGO Petition

Brigs

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A TFOL's Response to Greenpeace's LEGO Petition

 

 

By Brigs 

 

Generally, I don’t waste my valuable time on petitions senseless as this one. Nevertheless, this fallacious pile of KRE-O has gained considerable circulation in the LEGO Community, and thus merits a well-articulated response.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhbliUq0_r4

 

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/

 

Let’s break this down piece by piece, starting with the video itself. When the video begins, you will notice the title and background music references the LEGO Movie and its incessant song, “Everything is Awesome.” This is an ironic choice for Greenpeace’s assertions, since the benevolent Octan Corporation, LEGO Town’s fictitious “Big Oil” company is portrayed in an antagonistic light in the film, and has certainly received more publicity than any Shell promotional polybag.

 

                As the video proceeds, you see the inviting Arctic animals, a fisherman, hockey players, and… Halo’s Master Chief. Following a panoramic view of the new wave of LEGO City Arctic sets, the video changes tone as the viewer first notices a Shell chemist, tanker, and finally, a menacing oil platform, recycled from a Cars 2 set, which notably had a rather preachy message about “Big Oil.”

 

                But the most infuriating and stereotypical elements of the film are yet to come. The “executive” Minifigure can be seen smoking a cigar (with a “no smoking” sticker visible behind him, no less.) At the bottom of the oil rig oozes a depressing black liquid. This “oil spill” slowly consumes the LEGO world and its inhabitants, including the distinguished Emmett and Wyldstyle, until only the Shell flag unscathed. Any objective AFOL will notice Greenpeace’s clear appeals to emotion, specifically fear for the vibrant LEGO world and anger directed at Shell and the LEGO Group’s “association.”

 

We’re just getting started. The description contends to surpass the ludicrosity of the video itself. 

 

                “We love LEGO. You love LEGO. Everyone loves LEGO. 

 

                But when LEGO's halo effect is being used to sell propaganda to children, especially by an unethical corporation who are busy destroying the natural world our children will inherit, we have to do something.”

 

                Greenpeace apparently needs to check their definitions. Of course colorful plastic bricks and smiling Minifigures have a welcoming aesthetic. But these allegations of the LEGO Group propagandizing on behalf of Royal Dutch Shell plc are not only extreme, but absurd. Children playing with an oil tanker or gas station are not being brainwashed that “Big Oil” or environmental pollution is good. They are merely delivering the LEGO citizens with gas to power their trucks, spaceships, and racecars.  These loaded accusations of propaganda are so laughably ironic one could easily mistake this as a work of satire; especially for a claim that can easily be thrust upon Greenpeace itself.

 

                “Children's imaginations are an unspoilt wilderness. Help us stop Shell polluting them by telling LEGO to stop selling Shell-branded bricks and kits today.”

                

                So what is the objective here? By the LEGO Group from discontinuing Shell gas stations and race cars, converting LEGO City into eco-utopia, will the Minifigures suddenly become enlightened and band together against a tyrannical CEO plotting to destroy their way of life? To quote Lord Business, “that’s just a bunch of hippy dippy baloney.”

                

                I am not here blatantly supporting Shell, or “Big Oil.” There are risks involved in any drilling operation, which can potentially be catastrophic on the ecosystem. LEGO Bricks themselves, composed of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, are partially derived from oil. The LEGO Group is renowned for its environmental awareness and responsibility, and by next decade will be completely sustained by renewable energy. The issue is not the LEGO Group, nor necessarily Shell, but Greenpeace’s exploitation of a responsible corporation and its politicization of a legitimate concern.

 

                Humans must be thoughtful stewards of the world, and potential threats to the environment merit the discussion. Of course businesses will try to make money, and in doing so may jeopardize the environment. Royal Dutch Shell has been endeavoring to create a drilling operation off of Alaska for a few years now, but has postponed until the safety of the operation is elucidated. This issue of drilling in the Arctic should be resolved between Shell and those concerned about environmental safety, but they should leave the LEGO Group out of this. If Greenpeace wants to preserve the “unspoilt” imaginations of children and leave a positive impact on our world, it can start by repudiating this political gobbledygook and withdrawing this petition on the front page of the Greenpeace website.


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8 Comments


aidenpons

Posted

I'm not quite sure what has happened with the status of the video: when they first had Emmet and Wyldstyle in it, it was taken down by Warner Bros. for using a trademarked minifigure... or something.

It was interesting to read the comments. a) There were hordes of them, and probably when I'd finished a page another would pop up.

b) About 1% of the comments were "yes i must stop supporting lego they are ruining the arctic pls help," about 60% were 'This is absolute rubbish' (and about one quarter of that 60% made a long rant about how it was rubbish, and half of that quarter said 'Lego comes from petroleum. Imagine how much petroleum from the Arctic you'd need to make that video... hypocrites' ), 15% said 'You're right, Shell shouldn't be drilling in the Arctic, but why take it out on a toy company?' and the remaining 14% I have failed to allocate accurately. :P

 

What even is Lego doing with Shell anyway? Last time I checked it was just a bunch of Ferrari sets - oh yes, that's what that 14% was - saying 'Lego isn't partnering with Shell - it's partnering with Ferrari.

 

I recall having a long talk with Ayliffe and Ayliffe Arthuriel about this; I think Ayliffe completely smashed their argument on their blog or somewhere and I can bet you he'll find the link. :P

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1. Why you bring Halo into this Greenpeace?
 

2. Since when has TLG been making Shell sets? Octan isn't Shell. :P

 

3. Oh boy. Another ad that exploits my emotions. I totally haven't seen 4,000 of these.

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Ayliffe

Posted

  I recall having a long talk with Ayliffe and Ayliffe Arthuriel about this; I think Ayliffe completely smashed their argument on their blog or somewhere and I can bet you he'll find the link. :P
Of course I can! http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/climate/how-tiny-plastic-people-protested-around-world-20140701 Scrolly to the comments section at the bottom of the page. I'm the oncoming minifig on there. PS: Brigs, do you mind if I tweet this in the general direction of Greenpeace's twitter account?

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McJobless

Posted

2. Since when has TLG been making Shell sets? Octan isn't Shell. :P

TLG actually did make Shell sets...about 20 years ago. My Dad (and by extension, I) own a LEGO Shell fuel station. They didn't last long though. Nowadays, the only mention they get is associated with Ferrari, and IIRC that's only in their F1 sets.
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1. Why you bring Halo into this Greenpeace?

 

2. Since when has TLG been making Shell sets? Octan isn't Shell. :P

 

3. Oh boy. Another ad that exploits my emotions. I totally haven't seen 4,000 of these.

 

1. I didn't. Somebody must have decided to sneak their custom Halo 'fig onto the display, and I thought it was unusual enough to mention.

2. To elaborate on McJobless' response, the LEGO Group hasn't been making many Shell sets lately

3. Save the whales!

 

Brigs, do you mind if I tweet this in the general direction of Greenpeace's twitter account?

I don't mind at all; go right ahead!

 

 

@Aidenpons The Youtube comments section is the last place you should have a debate, and almost certain to escalate into a flame war. 

 

Despite some commentators reflecting reasonable objections to this video, its likes outnumber the dislikes at an approximate four-to-one ratio, and the Greenpeace petition has allocated nearly half a million signers. 

 

 

I'd hate to see the LEGO Group cave to political pressure, especially in such an irrational manifestation. Even if TLG lets their contract with Shell/Ferrari quietly expire, the environmentalist loons will celebrate it as a victory.

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Why did they do this? "Oh shell is making a oil mine in the arctic which can cause an oil spill and shell has a partnership with lego. Dey awr teeching kidz bad stuff." Why?

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Aparkee

Posted

I love how the tanker has the Shell logo, yet it has the Octan color scheme.
 
Lego is still doing business with Shell? I know that they were the Lego World's main gas brand in the 80's (There were also some Exxon Mobil sets, but very few compared to Shell), but they pretty much faded away since the arrival of Octan. Unless I'm missing something, the only current tie-ins with Lego and Shell are those promotional Ferrari mini-model sets.

 

But regardless of how much or how little Lego and Shell are connected, this video is a load of crap. Unless Lego sets up oil rigs in the arctic as an affiliate with Shell and encourages kids to make profits by destroying the environment, them selling Shell Promotional sets does not in any way "pollute" children's minds or help sugar coat Shell's oil drilling. It would be like saying that Lego is making children obese because they released 3438 Mcdonald's Restaurant. The ad tries to make you feel sad just like every other environmental ad against pollution, except this one is just making stuff up. I'm really surprised that over half a million people have signed it.

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le717

Posted

I'm really surprised that over half a million people have signed it.

You act like that number is not manually inflated daily, much like the month long competition to build the Nexus Tower. :P There are plenty of server-side ways to realistically inflate an number to make it appear as if you have a lot of supporters for your cause. With as much lying, false facts, and deceit that is going on in this campaign (not to mention the timer that was present when the then-email spam site up went was an actual timer that automatically counted up to 600,000 and reset on page load (Ayliffe and others in the SBox at that time can confirm this)), I would not rule out some clever inflation techniques going on here. :P

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