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article imageOp-Ed: Defend our climate, Defend our communities protest on November 16

By Grace C. Visconti     Nov 11, 2013 in Environment
On November 16, 2013, thousands of Canadians will gather including environmental organizations, community groups, and First Nations for the “Defend our Climate, Defend our Communities” national day of action to protest pipeline expansion.
The purpose of the national day of action is a last push before pipelines are approved, expanding the “reckless” tar sands expansion and “runaway climate change” according to Leadnow, an independent advocacy organization that brings generations of Canadians and First Nations together to achieve progress through democracy by protecting the environment.
The Interview: Leadnow mobilizes widespread support for FIPA appeal where Matthew Carroll, Campaigns Director of Leadnow, describes their general goals and current plans to stand up for democracy regarding the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA or FIPPA), can be read here. Leadnow urges, “Over the coming weeks and months, our federal government will make decisions about tar sands pipelines that would do permanent damage to our communities and push the world toward runaway climate change.”
There is a growing “wall of opposition to pipelines, reckless tar sands expansion and runaway climate change at local events across the country” as stated on the “Defend Our Climate, Defend Our Communities” website. Events in nine big cities and communities from northern B.C. to the Maritimes will take part in this national day of action. People are already organizing actions in over 40 communities. A map of the community near you hosting a local event can be accessed here.
Foreseeing potential consequences and having a management strategy for this huge area lags far behind the enthusiasm to make a corporate profit. The recent emissions study by the University of California, Irvine and University of Michigan scientists documented heavy air pollution in Canada’s largest oil, gas and tar sands processing zone. The carcinogens detected in emissions downwind of the “Industrial Heartland” were higher than in some of the world’s most polluted cities. Not only are nearby residents affected by the airborne contaminants, but the workers are affected as well. If the oil industry plans on tripling its oil production, then the air, land, and water in northern Alberta will become even more toxic. The researchers obtained health records of residents living in the region spanning more than a decade and the results were shocking. The UCIrvine News has the details.
Regarding the scope of the tar sands development area, the Government of Alberta has approved more than 100 tar sands projects covering 92,000 square km of northern Boreal forest with another 100 projects to come taking up an additional 50,000 square km in the area, that in comparison is the total size of Florida. Foreign owned oil corporations control 71 percent of the industry according to “Defend Our Climate, Defend Our Communities” information. The effects of climate change will be devastating especially if the temperature rises by 6 degrees celcius.
The plea on the “Defend Our Climate, Defend Our Communities” website is simple, urging people to stand up for the democratic process, land and water rights regardless of the omnibus bills that have been passed. “We believe we can do better, and build a clean, just, and safe energy future that people across Canada can be proud of. Now, in this crucial moment, we need to show our governments that opposition to pipelines, reckless tar sands expansion and runaway climate change is growing in communities across the country. ” While we focus on the energy of the past, there are other countries focusing on cleaner and greener alternative energies of the future.
The “Defend Our Climate, Defend Our Communities” national day of action is being planned by dozens of organizations and hundreds of individuals from coast to coast. Interested participants can sign up to host or attend an event in your community at a local landmark or MP‘s office.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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