It’s been a big week on the tar sands battlefield! It started with Oxford City Council making history by being the first European city to officially reject tar sands. The City Council overwhelmingly supported a motion which will ensure that the fuel purchased by the city will not include tar sands-derived oil. The motion also saw Oxford declaring itself a ‘Tar-Free Town’, to highlight its rejection of the climate damage and environmental degradation caused by the tar sands. The race is now on for the next city or town to do so! Contact us if you want our help with your town.
On Tuesday, an announcement on a new climate action plan saw Obama, who will soon decide whether to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline (KXL), say “…our national interest will be served only if [Keystone XL] does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” This is big news – there is plenty of evidence that KXL would kickstart further tar sands development and have a whopping impact on the climate, but this is the first time Obama has phrased the pipeline as a climate issue, rather than an energy security or jobs issue. Whether he will actually conclude that KXL will increase carbon emissions and reject it is still unknown, but at least he is on the right track!
Meanwhile, Sue has spent the week at Global Power Shift in Istanbul where she met 600 young people who have come together to take action on climate change from over 130 countries. This powerful international movement is committed to standing with those on the front line of tar sands extraction, and is now showing that to the world!
Back in Alberta, communities are preparing for next week’s Healing Walk. This annual event, led by First Nations communities living near the tar sands, invites campaigners and allies to join First Nations and Metis in a spiritual gathering that will focus on healing the land and people who are suffering from tar sands expansion. If you live nearby, go along – otherwise you can help from home by donating and spreading the word.
Finally, our friend Rev Billy, who you may remember from his powerful and hilarious exorcism of BP from the Tate Modern, is back in the UK this July. Rev Billy and the “post-religious” Church of Stop Shopping are performance activists from New York who sing, dance, and preach against capitalism and climate change. Their tour includes two UK festivals and several London dates. Get there if you can, it will be an experience like no other!
Emily, Ruthi, Sue and Jess
P.S. Monday, July 1st, is Canada Day, also known as Stop Harper Day. Join us in tweeting anti-tar sands messages with the #stopharper hashtag!