Written by guest blogger Denise Deby, who writes on local and global social and environmental issues.
In case you haven’t heard, the Council of Canadians, the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and Greenpeace Canada along with other organizations and individuals are calling on people to protest the tar sands industry with an action and rally in Ottawa on Monday, Sept. 26 on Parliament Hill. A planned sit-in and a solidarity rally at the Centennial Flame both begin at 10:00 a.m. (Organizers held a mandatory training session on Sept. 25 for people participating in the sit-in which is a civil disobedience action.) Be sure to check the Ottawa Action website for details if you’re thinking of getting involved or want to find out more.
Organizers say the action is necessary to send a message to the Canadian government that tar sands mining and other unsustainable forms of energy extraction like shale fracking are unacceptable – not only because of their harmful effects on people and the environment but because they extend our dependence on fossil fuels when we should be investing in alternatives. The Council of Canadians, for example, has called for a Canadian Energy Strategy based on principles of energy security and ecological sustainability.
The Ottawa Action follows the protest earlier this month in Washington, D.C. of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would transport oil from the Alberta tar sands to the U.S. Gulf coast. So far dozens of organizations have endorsed the Ottawa Action – including, for example, the Assembly of First Nations, the Dene Nation, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), Physicians for Global Survival (PGS) and the UK Tar Sands Network. Individual supporters include Bill McKibben (founder of 350.org), Gorden Pinsent, Graham Greene, Naomi Klein, Shirley Douglas, Tantoo Cardinal and Dave Thomas as well as scientists, First Nations leaders and other prominent Canadians.
You can also follow what’s happening through Ottawa Action on Twitter (@OttawaAction) on Twitter or Facebook (see OttawaAction.ca for details).