Resistance is fertile!

Dear friends,

The Oilympics are well under way, and BP’s great greenwash continues to adorn our streets. But while all eyes are on London, in the background BP is on the prowl for new ways to destroy the planet…

Meanwhile, communities resisting the tar sands in Canada gathered for the annual healing walk in Alberta this weekend and we’ve been busy in Oxford plotting and planning to see how we can deepen our resistance and solidarity in the UK.

1. Oilympics kick off
2. Awe-inspiring Annual Healing Walk
3. Tar Free Oxford
4. 3 year anniversary funding appeal

Sunshine & Solidarity,

Sue, Emily, Ruthi and Jess


1. Oilympics kick off

Last week, after months of tirelessly illuminating BP’s hypocritical role as ‘Sustainability Partner’ of the Olympics, we heard that BP is sniffing around to expand its presence in the tar sands. BP was the last major European oil company to enter the tar sands with its Sunrise Project in 2010, and now looks set to sink its teeth further into the world’s dirtiest energy industry. The Olympics may be nearly over up but BP’s destruction is only just getting started!

On the first Saturday of the Olympics we marched with the Counter Olympics Network, uniting with dozens of other groups under the banner ‘No to a militarised, corporatised Olympics’. The march wove through East London taking us right past one of the infamous missile towers. We finished with a rally in the park which included the Reclaim Shakespeare Company repeating the performance that invaded the stage at the Roundhouse before the Comedy of Errors. The march had relatively low interest from the British media but there was a conglomerate of international press, eager to report on the ‘dissenting voices’, and we were covered by the New Statesman.

If you missed it, the Reclaim Shakespeare Company performance at the British Museum, which recently featured on Democracy Now!, has now been made into a new film by Rikki from Indymedia.

For a comprehensive critique of Olympic sponsorship, take a peek at this new feature-filled spoof newspaper, to which UKTSN contributed some content. Thousands of copies were distributed around London this week – you may have picked one up!

3. Awe-inspiring Annual ‘Healing Walk’

On Saturday hundreds of First Nations community members and allies walked 13 kilometres through mordor-esque tar sands operations to bring attention to the destructive impacts of the tar sands on the environment. “The walk was not a protest, but a spiritual gathering to offer prayers for the healing of Mother Earth and all those negatively impacted by tar sands projects and associated infrastructure” explains Eriel Deranger.

It was incredible and inspiring to see the pictures of communities from territories all over North America to join their struggles and to express their resistance with ceremony.

3. Tar Free Oxford Takes Off

Tar Free Towns is an idea we had a little while ago, which originated from the desire to connect people in the UK with communities fighting tar sands in Canada, by supporting and encouraging hubs of tar sands activism to flourish in the UK.

Now, a new Tar Free Town took its first step! On a very rainy Sunday afternoon, a wonderfully mixed group of people came together. Some have campaigned about Tar Sands before, some have campaigned about other environmental issues and some are completely new to campaigning. These people came together to learn more about the tar sands and to discuss what an Oxford-based group could do to resist the world’s most destructive project.

The meeting started with an intimate screening of Taking on Tarmageddon and continued with an interesting and informed Q&A with UKTSN’s Jess and Sue. We then broke into small groups to discuss exactly what people wanted to discuss in an OpenSpace-style session. This was an extremely efficient and productive way to exchange ideas, brainstorm, and even have some deliverables by the end of the meeting!

Check out the Tar Free Oxford webpage to see what is planned and how the group is progressing, or join the discussion on its Facebook group. We have no doubt it will kick some tar-sands butt!

Let us know if you would like out help to start a similar group in your town. Email us at – [email protected]

4. Three year anniversary funding appeal

It’s been 3 years since we first took up the call to action to work with communities resisting the tar sands to make sure that people in the UK and rest of the world started to pay attention to what is happening to the Canadian wild. Since then we have had an incredible journey of some wonderful and creative interventions to expose the world’s most destructive project and the corporations and banks fueling it.

If you have been inspired by what we have been doing feel free to make a wee contribution, we promise to make it go a long way!

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