The tar sands are the most destructive project on earth – and the campaign to shut them down is gathering momentum.
Jess Worth writes in the New Internationalist, '"The tar sands are the biggest industrial development in the world, and the second fastest source of deforestation. They are leaving a hole the size of England in the Canadian wilderness. The lakes of toxic waste sludge are visible from space!"
A coalition of nine coastal bands in Canada issued a declaration today which states that "oil tankers carrying crude oil from the Alberta Tar Sands will not be allowed to transit our lands and waters."
Gerald Amos, director of the Coastal First Nations, said if despite all the opposition "...it goes ahead and tankers come through our waters, we are preparing to put boats right across the channel and stop them … Whatever it takes. Our position right now is that this project is not going to happen."
The following is from Rising Tide UK.
BP Fortnight of Shame
Take action to keep BP out of the tar sands – the single most destructive project on earth.
The BP Fortnight of Shame is a call to action from the UK Tar Sands Network, Rising Tide and the Camp for Climate Action to force BP to reverse their crazy plans to move into Canada’s tar sands. It runs between the annual Fossil Fools day on April 1st, which in recent years has seen a flurry of action against the fossil fuels industry, and BP’s Annual General Meeting on April 15th. Grassroots groups across the UK and around the world, will be taking action in solidarity with First Nations communities in Canada to stop BP's deadly plans in their tracks.
Why Tar Sands?
Attempts to avert the planet from sliding into climate crisis are being threatened by a single massive project in the Canadian wilderness. Already, millions of barrels of tar sands oil are being extracted every day, producing three to five times as many greenhouse gas emissions as conventional oil. The extraction process is immensely resource-intensive, currently using enough natural gas every day to heat 3.2 million Canadian homes. Add to this the mass deforestation the projects are causing, ridding us of desperately needed carbon sinks, and it becomes clear this project cannot be allowed to continue if we are serious about preventing runaway climate change.
The effects tar sands are having on local First Nations communities are devastating. The tar sands development in Alberta covers an area the size of England, with toxic tailing ponds so huge they are visible from space, leaking poisons into the local water supply. Not only are indigenous livelihoods and futures being destroyed, but communities on land where tar sands extraction has been imposed are experiencing disturbingly high rates of rare forms of cancer and auto-immune diseases.
BP are the only major oil company with no tar sands extraction projects currently in operation. This is about to change. Since 2007, BP have quietly ditched the 'Beyond Petroleum' sham, because investing in renewables simply wasn't making them enough profit. They have decided to go Back to Petroleum, with a vengeance, under the leadership of new Chief Executive Tony Hayward.
Moving into tar sands was one of the first steps Tony Hayward took,, acquiring a half share in the Sunrise Project with Husky Energy. The Sunrise Project will be huge, producing 200,000 barrels of filthy oil a day, and using Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD), an extraction process even more energy and water intensive than the more visible surface-mining operations.
The recession has given us a window of opportunity. BP have been forced to postpone their final decision on whether to go ahead until the second half of 2010. This means it is not too late for us to stop this outrageous project. BP are desperate for Sunrise to go ahead, and will certainly not go down without a fight, but with effective and sustained action we can win this one.
What can I do?
From Brighton to Scotland, groups across the UK are already plotting for the Fortnight of Shame. If your local group isn't already planning something, there’s still loads of times to pull off a fantastic action. If you aren’t part of local group, you could check out the list of local groups that form the Camp for Climate Action network. – or get together with your friends and get cracking!.
Need ideas or resources? Click here to join an online group set up to share resources and information that will come in handy for the two weeks of action.
The BP Fortnight of Shame is in solidarity with Canadian First Nations communities. When taking action, we need to be aware that actions here can have unintended but potentially serious repercussions for front-line communities in Canada. For advice and reflections on what it means to take action in solidarity with communities impacted by the tar sands, see our page on protocols.
Please take some time to read this page and discuss what it means for your action..
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