As we wrote this newsletter, Sandy continued to barrel down on much of the Eastern seaboard. After a record breaking year with the hottest global temperature and lowest arctic ice levels, Sandy reminds us that climate change is here now. We urge everyone to stay safe and keep working to ensure a safe climate future.
Special Issue – Movement News
A Bad Week to be Big Oil
By Sydney Grieve.
A national movement is growing.
Over the past 10 days, we’ve seen thousands of Canadians mobilize to take action for climate justice.
Following this impressive gathering, was a Day of Action on the 24th where thousands of people across the province of BC linked arms in front of MLA offices to symbolize the unbroken wall of opposition in protest of the Enbridge Northern Gateway tarsands pipeline.
Reporters are now calling the Enbridge pipeline as ‘good as dead’.
Meanwhile, on October 23rd in Fort McMurray, AB, representatives of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) made their case at a hearing on the proposed expansion of the already massively destructive Shell Jackpine tarsands mine. The mine, located in ACFN traditional territory, is unconstitutional as it violates a treaty that guarantees ACFN rights. The questions presented by ACFN are rooted in section 35 of the Canadian constitution which outlines the government’s failure to meaningfully address overal impacts of development on ACFN treaty rights, including use of their land. If, for example, the mine operations kill all the fish in the river and caribou on the land, the ACFN’s right to fish and hunt on their land is violated. These rights (and others) have been guaranteed to them for eternity in the treaty between the ACFN and the Crown and the government is therefore constitutionally bound to keep its side of the deal by ensuring that these rights can actually be exercised.
The proposed expansion would require a disturbance of 12,719 hectars of land and destroy 21 kilometers of the culturally significant Muskeg River. Greenhouse gas emissions from the Jackpine expansion would represent a 5.2% increase in oil sands emissions (based on 2009 levels) or adding approximately 281,000 cars to our roads.
Just as we were coming off our high from all the action out West, Powershift 2012 started up in Ottawa. If Big Polluters and their friends weren’t shaking already, they certainly are now.
From October 25th-29th, well over a thousand youth gathered in Ottawa to ask our government to end corporate polluter handouts. Powershift 2012 gathered youth from across the country to build momentum and strengthen the movement for climate and environmental justice while teaching them how to take action and develop the capacity to make change.
Beyond education, mobilization, and collective action, the gathering included in-depth discussions on the role of frontline and indigenous communities, environmental racism, dependence on oil, economic inequalities that stem from the extractive and carbon industries, as well as solutions to crises such as food sovereignty, renewable energy, and public transportation.
With an impressive lineup of speakers like Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein, youth left the conference feeling invigorated, inspired and more motivated than ever to continue the fight for justice.
These actions have escalated into a massive movement for climate leadership at a very relevant time. With hurricane Sandy roaring unpredictably down the Eastern seaboard, it’s more obvious than ever that climate change is happening.
Climate change is real. It’s happening NOW. And we demand that our government do something about it.
Sydney Grieve has been active within the Climate Youth Movement for a number of years, including with Climate Action Network Canada and the WeCanada youth delegation to the Rio Earth Summit in 2012.