Category Archives: Tar Sands

Labor Day Special: Chris Hedges calls out the Climate March

Chris Hedges posted a new piece at Truthdig yesterday, “The last Gasp of the Climate Change Liberals.” Besides getting directly to the point of the critiques associated with the September 21 Climate March, he gives a little love to Climate Connections founder and Global Justice Ecology Project’s Executive Director, Anne Petermann. This is a most important piece. Please read it.

Thanks Chris!

June 25, 2013, President Barack Obama  wipes perspiration from his face as he speaks about climate change at Georgetown University in Washington.   Courtesy truthdig-AP Photo/Charles Dharpak

June 25, 2013, President Barack Obama wipes perspiration from his face as he speaks about climate change at Georgetown University in Washington. Courtesy TruthDig-AP Photo/Charles Dharpak

 

The Last Gasp of Climate Change Liberals
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig. August 31, 2014.

The upcoming climate change march in New York is the last gasp of conventional liberalism. The time for reform and accommodation has ended. We will build a radical movement or be extinguished in a climate inferno.

The climate change march in New York on Sept. 21, expected to draw as many as 200,000 people, is one of the last gasps of conventional liberalism’s response to the climate crisis. It will take place two days before the actual gathering of world leaders in New York called by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the November 2015 U.N. Climate Conference in Paris. The marchers will dutifully follow the route laid down by the New York City police. They will leave Columbus Circle, on West 59th Street and Eighth Avenue, at 11:30 a.m. on a Sunday and conclude on 11th Avenue between West 34th and 38th streets. No one will reach the United Nations, which is located on the other side of Manhattan, on the East River beyond First Avenue—at least legally. There will be no speeches. There is no list of demands. It will be a climate-themed street fair.

Read the Full Article Here

Click here to read Anne Peterman’s August 14, 2014 Climate Connections post, “The Need for Clear Connections at the People’s Climate March.”  

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, BREAKING NEWS, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Energy, Events, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Independent Media, Keystone XL, Media, Occupy Wall Street, Political Repression, Politics, Posts from Anne Petermann, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Tar Sands, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Uncategorized

Hollywood and Gaza challenge the Ice Bucket Challenge

While we here at GJEP can appreciate when a not-for-profit snags a viral marketing idea, we certainly have some doubts about the ALS ice bucket challenge. While the organization fights valiantly for a worthy cause, the idea of wasting millions of gallons of fresh, clean drinking water — that nearly 1 billion people do not have access to — is a challenge we cannot accept.

Apparently, a few others couldn’t either.

For example, actor, screenwriter and director Matt Damon, also the founder of the nonprofit Water.org, chose to dump dirty toilet water on his head, in recognition of those millions who live without access to potable water.

Matt Damon takes the ice bucket challenge with toilet water in effort to raise awareness about the 800 million people who live without access to clean drinking water. Photo: WVCB.com

Matt Damon takes the ice bucket challenge with toilet water in effort to raise awareness about the 800 million people who live without access to clean drinking water. Photo: WVCB.com

In an article in People magazine, the actor said, “As disgusting as this may seen, hopefully it will highlight the fact that this [access to clean drinking water] is a big problem and together we can do something about it.”

Damon isn’t the only actor taking an environmental twist on the ALS challenge. Leonardo DiCaprio took the ice bucket challenge with the members of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, Canada, as he took a tour of and listened to concerns about Canada’s tar sands.

Click to Watch: DiCaprio accepts the ALS ice bucket challenge and raises awareness about tar sands with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

Click to Watch: DiCaprio accepts the ALS ice bucket challenge and raises awareness about tar sands with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

An article in Indian Country Today even has a video of the mass bucket-ing, along with some clues as to why DiCaprio and Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky are interested in this serious environmental issue.

Finally, one of the most salient ice bucket challenges comes to us from the ravaged and war-torn Middle East. The Huffington Post writes:

Palestinians have launched the “Rubble Bucket Challenge” in a moving appeal, where participants swap ice – a precious resource – for debris.

In solidarity with those in Gaza who have lost their homes in the ongoing conflict with Israel, the web has hijacked the ice bucket challenge to “raise awareness on the war in Gaza where people are bombarded in their homes,” according to the Facebook page where more than 4,000 are now backing the appeal.

Search for #RubbleBucketChallenge on Twitter to see how thousands are raising awareness about the shocking conditions on the Gaza Strip. Photo: Huffington Post

This world is filled with causes worth fighting for. However, it is the way we fight for them that makes a difference and truly defines who we are.

 

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Filed under Climate Justice, Tar Sands, War, Water

MICATS protest Line 6B pipeline yesterday (Aug. 25)

from the MICATS twitter feed

from the MICATS twitter feed

The MICATS protested Enbridge’s Line 6B yesterday (Monday, August 25). Two members locked themselves to a construction truck leaving a storage facility in Oxford, Michigan, which caused a bottleneck of all the other trucks behind it. According to the MICATS Youtube page of the protest:

At 7:30am on the morning of Monday, August 25th, 2014, two protestors with the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands locked themselves with bicycle U-locks to a truck while it was exiting a pipeline storage facility ran by Precision Pipeline. Precision was hired to work on the expansion of Enbridge Line 6B, the same pipeline which ruptured in 2010, spilling 1 million gallons of toxic tar sands into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo river. That spill is now commonly known as the largest in-land tar sands spill in US history.

Instead of choosing to double-down on clean-up efforts for that spill, 4 years later the spill is still not clean and Enbridge is dragging their feet. Meanwhile, Enbridge is expeditiously expanding its tar sands pipeline infrastructure throughout the midwest as well as all over the continent. Today, Duncan and Dylon took action in opposition to Enbridge’s criminal dealings with dirty tar sands. Direct action is a crucial tactic that must be utilized when the common systems of governance fail to protect us or recognize our basic rights.

Check out their video of the protest!

Common Dreams also ran a great story on the protest, the history of Line 6B, and the MICATS demands.

Earth First! Newswire ran the MICATS statement, which includes a link to their Donate page.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Tar Sands

Air Pollution Increasing Around Tar Sands


Environmental activist Tom Steyer stands in from of the Syncrude tar sands facility in Alberta, Canada. Credit: NEXTGEN Climate Action via Think Progress (photo and caption)

Environmental activist Tom Steyer stands in from of the Syncrude tar sands facility in Alberta, Canada. Credit: NEXTGEN Climate Action via Think Progress (photo and caption)

According to Think Progress, a recent study by the Alberta government shows air pollution rising in those areas where tar sands oil is mined and processed. Such evidence of rising air pollution adds to the overall picture of how tar sands extraction impacts front line communities.

Chemical Air Pollution Around The Tar Sands Is Getting Worse, Data Shows

By Emily Atkin, Climate ProgressAugust 15, 2014.

Chemical air pollution surrounding the primary areas where tar sands oil is mined and processed in Canada is on the rise, according to new data released by the Alberta government.

The 2012 data released Thursday showed that levels of both sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide — chemicals that help cause acid rain, smog, and myriad health problems — have risen to levels two and three on a government-set scale of four at several monitoring sites between Fort McMurray and Fort McKay. Level four is the highest limit allowed to protect human health, but the report said levels two and three are still cause for concern and that there should be further investigation into the source of pollution. Nitrogen dioxide is also a greenhouse gas.

Read more at Think Progress.

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Filed under Pollution, Tar Sands

New climate change report by Canadian government ignores tar sands

Climate News Network provides a compelling summary of a recent climate change report by the Canadian government that shows significant blindness about tar sands extraction. While the government report also tries to point out advantages of climate change, it includes important information on the disastrous effects of climate change on forests especially by increasing the rates of pests and fires.

The Alberta tar sands (Pic: Howl Arts Collective/Flickr). Via RTCC.org

The Alberta tar sands (Pic: Howl Arts Collective/Flickr). Via RTCC.org

Canada ignores climate warnings in drive for tar sands oil
By Paul Brown,  RTCC.orgAugust 11, 2014

Having repudiated the Kyoto Protocol on reducing fossil fuel use, Canada is still exploiting tar sands for oil − despite accepting that climate change is destroying its forests.

Detailed evidence that Canada’s vast natural areas are undergoing major changes because of climate change is produced in a new report by Natural Resources Canada.

The government body describes problems with disappearing glaciers, sea level rise, melting permafrost and changing snow and rainfall patterns. One of the country’s most important natural resources, the forests that cover more than 50% of its land area, is under pressure because of pests, fire and drought.

[...]
There may, the reports says, be some pluses for Canada in climate change − at least in the short term − because some staple cereal crops will also be able to be grown further north because of warmer weather, assuming that the soil is suitable.

The report, Canada in a Changing Climate, concentrates on impacts and adaptation, but does not mention the causes, or the fact that Canada is now an international pariah in the environmental community because of its exploitation of tar sands for oil.

Read more at RTCC.org.

 

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Filed under Climate Change, Tar Sands

Dam Line 9 protesters blockade Enbridge pipeline work site in Southern Ontario, halting activities

Tuesday night Dam Line 9 shot posted on their Tumblr.

Tuesday night Dam Line 9 shot posted on their Tumblr.

“Dam Line 9″ protesters gathered Tuesday morning at a work site along Enbridge’s pipeline in Southern Ontario near the Thames River, stopping work on a valve on Line 9. The valve is intended as a fix, which the protesters see as entirely inadequate–a band-aid on the much larger problems of the pipeline itself and Enbridge’s plans for it. As the Alternative Journal reports:

Enbridge recently received approval from the National Energy Board to reverse the flow of the pipeline and pump tar sands bitumen through it, from Sarnia, ON to Montreal. It will also carry fracked Bakken shale oil.

Moreover, the valve is not even being set up to protect to Thames River. On Tuesday morning, they released the following statement explaining their reasons for blockading the work site of the valve:

[This] construction will not add any protection against a leak of toxic diluted bitumen into this important water source as it is located on the far side of the river. Line 9 is the same age and design as the Enbridge pipeline which caused the largest in-land oil spill in American history. Enbridge has identified more than 12,000 flaws in Line 9’s structure, and the line has already leaked at least 35 times in less than 40 years.

“This construction project is a band-aid attempt and Line 9 is too old and damaged to operate safely.  The new valves aren’t designed to protect rivers, they’re designed to maximise the amount of bitumen that can flow through the line,” says Sarah Scanlon, activist.

“We’ve tried pursuing avenues with the National Energy Board and within local and regional governments. The concerns expressed by individual people and municipalities were ignored.  The official processes have merely rubber-stamped dangerous tar sands projects and failed to protect us, so we are here out of necessity,” says Rachel Avery, a blockader. “This project is also being illegally forced through without meaningful consultation of Indigenous communities. For example, the Chippewas of the Thames have appealed the NEB approval, but Enbridge has continued to work on the line regardless,” Avery continued.

More than half a million people rely on drinking water provided by the Thames Watershed.  Rare species such as the eastern spiny softshell turtle, queen snake, black redhorse and Virginia Opossum rely on its specific ecosystems. Food growers have relied on its fertile valley for over 11 000 years.  This construction site is less than a kilometre from the river, and is in the middle of active farm land.

[...]

Line 9 is one of many proposed pipeline projects in so-called Canada slated to carry tar sands and fracked Bakken shale oil to the coast for export.  Tar sands bitumen is the dirtiest oil in the world.  Its extraction and refinement require mass deforestation, irreversible water contamination, climate-changing carbon emissions, and toxic industrial waste. The tar sands are killing people and environments every day on a local and global scale.

They stayed all day and through the night, regularly updating their Tumblr to explain their position, show the blockade camp, and counter Enbridge’s PR. They plan to stay indefinitely. Their Tumblr includes specific information on how to join if you can!

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Oil, Tar Sands

How Oil will Disperse if a Disaster Occurs at the Enbridge Pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac

Screen-Shot-2014-07-10-at-2.25.31-PM-720x220

This is another gem brought to us from our friends at SURF.org (SUSTAIN, UNITE, RESTORE, FORTIFY)

This is a video that was commissioned as a part of a report by the NWF with the University of Michigan Straits of Mackinac Contaminant Release Scenarios: Flow Visualization and Tracer Simulations.

The SURF.org blog post  helps to promote a better understanding of the issues around oil dispersal in the event of a disaster such as the rupture of the old pipeline, and the lack of a realistic response scenario.  The blog post has a direct to the video and it speaks for itself. To see it CLICK HERE.

 

 

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Filed under Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Energy, Great Lakes, Oil, Pollution, Tar Sands, Water

“Protect the Sacred:” Indigenous people unite against Keystone pipeline

From left: Casey, Dwain & Carter Camp at the opening ceremony of the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance Action Camp, near Ponca City, Okla. (Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance/Girard Oz/ Waging Nonviolence)

Activists at the opening ceremony of the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance Action Camp, near Ponca City, Okla. (Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance/Girard Oz/ Waging Nonviolence)

Indigenous people in Oklahoma took a united front against the Keystone XL pipeline, whose proposed route will trespass upon sacred ritual and burial grounds. Already many of these people, especially those living in Ponca City, struggle daily with pollution-related health issues from nearby refineries. The repercussions of another pipeline, especially one that threatens to degrade their heritage, are simply unfathomable. Interviewed in an article by Crysbel Tejada and Betsy Catlin on the website Waging Nonviolence, longtime activist Casey Camp-Horinek states:

Of the maybe 800 of us that live locally, we have averaged over the last five to seven years maybe one funeral a week. Where we used to have dances every week, now most people are in mourning.

A massive ConocoPhillips oil refinery towers over Standing Bear Park, named in honor of the  Ponca chief who led his people on the Trail of Tears. Every year, that refinery pumps 2,000 lbs. of chemicals into the air.

“We live in a situation that could only be described as environmental genocide,” said Camp-Horinek. Beyond the refineries, she explained, “We also have had the misfortune of living on top of a spider web of pipelines as a result of ConocoPhillips being here.”

The toxins released are filled with benzene, which the CDC lists as potentially causing leukemia, anemia and can decrease the size of ovaries. In response to these issues and the Keystone threat, the Indigenous people of the area are planning their resistance and have drafted a new treaty called “Protect the Sacred.”

They have also created the “Training for Resistance” tour, “which is making its way across Greater Sioux nations, territories and reservations to educate and equip people with the necessary tools for resistance. The trainings, which began in March on the Pine Ridge reservation, focus on direct action and teach-ins on tar sands and the Keystone XL, with roots in the Lakota way and tradition.”

Read the full article here and discover how Indigenous people plan to fight back against the Keystone XL, another form of genocide — environmental genocide — faced by nations of people whose history is riddled with the same unjust treatment.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples, Keystone XL, Tar Sands