As traditional sources of oil begin to run dry, multinational oil companies are scraping the bottom of the barrel and turning to sources that are significantly more polluting. The Tar Sands is the biggest of these, containing almost as much oil as Saudi Arabia. Millions of barrels of oil a day are already being extracted in Alberta, damaging an area larger than England and creating lakes of toxic waste so vast that they are visible from space.
Melina Laboucan-Massimo, one of the visiting group, said: "We’re coming to Manchester because the Tar Sands should be everyone’s concern. Our communities live on the doorstep of this environmental devastation, but we are not the only ones who will suffer from it. The Tar Sands produce three to five times as much CO2 per barrel as conventional oil, so the global community will also feel the repercussions, due to catastrophic climate change. What kind of future are we leaving for our children?"
The three women will be travelling around the country and also visiting Parliament to encourage UK citizens to get involved in the campaign for a Tar Sands moratorium, and to put pressure on the UK banks and companies involved. They will be particularly focusing on the role of RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland), which is one of the 15 biggest investors in the Tar Sands globally.
“British companies and investors such as RBS, Shell and BP are driving this project, which is contaminating our land, food, water, air and forests and pushing wildlife out of our traditional territories. It is causing rare forms of cancer in our communities, which is why we call it ‘bloody oil’. These companies are complicit in the biggest environmental crime on the planet and yet very few people in the UK even know that it's happening” said Eriel Tchekwie Deranger.
The tour is timed to coincide with the run-up to the UN climate talks in Copenhagen this December. Heather Milton Lightening will be going to Copenhagen following this trip:
‘‘The Canadian Government is refusing to adopt strong, science-based carbon emissions reduction targets – because that would mean extracting oil from Tar Sands would no longer be possible. This is affecting the whole world’s ability to sign the climate change agreement, which for Indigenous Peoples is a matter of life and death. So at Copenhagen, we need the UK and the rest of the international community to put pressure on Canada to make significant cuts in its business-as-usual agenda – and that means shutting down the Tar Sands."
The visit is being coordinated by the new UK Tar Sands Network in partnership with North America’s Indigenous Environmental Network (www.ienearth.org). The UK network includes New Internationalist (www.newint.org), Platform (www.platformlondon.org), Ethical Consumer (www.ethicalconsumer.org) and People & Planet (www.peopleandplanet.org)
Watch a trailer for the film H2Oil: http://h2oildoc.com/home/
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Ethical Consumer has launched a boycott campaign of Superdrug because of its parent company's involvement in the Tar Sands. For more information see www.ethicalconsumer.org/Oilsandsboycott
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