Exposing their campaign by exposing themselves was the theme for Lush employees yesterday, as they wore nothing but a barrel to protest against the tarsands.

Outside the company’s Whyte Avenue location, the employees braved the rain, encouraging passersby to sign postcards.

Addressed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the cards are demanding the government fund green, renewable energy and stop the support for the tarsand industry.

Lush employee Damon Nickel said dropping his pants drew a lot of attention to an otherwise overlooked issue.

“We’re scraping the bottom of the barrel right now. The time we do run out of oil is not going to be a smooth transition,” Nickel said.

“What’s happening in the Gulf of Mexico right now just emphasizes our point even more that this really needs to stop.”

The strip-down was part of a two-week campaign. Close to 140 Lush stores throughout North America are participating to raise awareness about the environmental impact of the tarsands.

While Lush initiated the campaign, it’s not forced upon the employees, said Tricia Stevens, who came from the Vancouver head office to support the Edmonton staff.

“Everyone who’s in a barrel today is volunteering to support this part of the campaign,” she said.

Stevens said the customers’ reactions varied, but this shouldn’t be dictating Lush’s role as an ethical company.

“We feel that if we’re not talking about this important issue and not getting people upset, we’re not doing our job,” Stevens said.

“If we lose a few customers along the way, hopefully we will have gained some more.”

Lush has stopped working with companies that are using oil from the tarsands.