Polarizing actions regarding the polar region involving actress Lucy Lawless, Greenpeace and the Noble Discoverer drillship are making headlines around the world. Lawless, who has been a celebrity ambassador for Greenpeace since 2009, climbed aboard the drillship at the Port of Taranaki in New Zealand to protest Shell’s plans to use the vessel to drill wells offshore Alaska this year. The actress and other Greenpeace activists were arrested for burglary on Feb. 27 and taken to jail after occupying the vessel for three days. They climbed the derrick, unfurled their banners, took pictures of Lawless and got a lot of publicity. After the protestors were removed, the Noble Discoverer started its 3,730-mile voyage on Feb. 28 to the Chukchi Sea, where drilling operations are expected to begin after Shell receives all of its permits. If convicted, Lawless will likely be fined, according to the Taranaki Daily News, when she arrives in the New Plymouth District Court on March 1. A legal expert, quoted by the New Zealand Herald, said the conviction could impact her ability to travel to the U.S., where much of her TV work is done. One of the funny things that came out of this brouhaha was that Lawless’ past came up to haunt her. Some 20 years ago, before she gained her notoriety as Xena, she appeared in a television ad for -- of all companies -- Shell. She remembered she was pumping gasoline in the commercial and one of the lines was about the Shell gasoline being the fuel of the future. Fast forward to the future, and the now 43-year-old has had a change of heart (and income) and opposes Arctic drilling. That’s the anti-industry campaign and now for the pro-industry campaign. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is taking heat from environmentalists for appearing in ads paid for the by Colorado Oil and Gas Association. He was promoting the tougher regulations passed in Colorado, which is now one of the first states that requires full disclosure on fluids used in hydraulic fracturing. The governor was talking about not having any contamination of groundwater from drilling and fracing since its rules went into effect in 2008. The environmentalists challenged the claims immediately, using older reports and studies to counter the ads. These are examples of actions both for and against the industry. The term I used earlier sums up these efforts -- polarizing. The problem with polarization is that there is little room for effective action and worthwhile dialogue. The Greenpeace protest in New Zealand was dangerous. Although it got publicity, nothing has really changed. The Colorado ads probably won’t change the minds of people on either side of the fracing issue. There are points to be made on both sides of any issue. But, like the impasse in the U.S. Congress these days, compromise is not an option for polarizing sides. It would be great to see more dialogue and less demagoguery. Contact the author, Scott Weeden, at sweeden@hartenergy.com.