McMaster University Tar Sands conference

March 7, 2009

Faces of Resistance: The Future of the Tar Sands and You

Sunday, March 15th, 2009


Third Floor, McMaster University Student Centre

McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario

Faces of Resistance is a day-long conference bringing together diverse groups opposed to the Alberta Tar Sands. We are combining the voices of citizens, labourers, environmentalists, indigenous communities, youth, political activists, and non-humans to learn about Tar Sands resistance and envision how to transition towards a just and sustainable society.

With workshops and speakers aimed at making the issue of the tar sands real for people in this region, we will explore strategies for collaborative resistance and alternatives. In partnership with the Polaris Institute and MacGreen we are inviting Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, the Sierra Youth Coalition, labour organizations from across Canada, representatives of impacted communities, artists, youth activists and politicians to share their insights, experiences, and ideas.

Guest speakers include Gordon Laxer, a political economist from the University of Alberta and founder of the Parkland Institute, Dave Martin, energy campaigner for Greenpeace Canada and Clayton Thomas-Muller, the tar sands campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN).

Invite your political representatives!

Sliding scale admission fee: $5-$20.

No one will be turned away due to lack of funds. Register online by March 1st, for a reduced fee at:

The Faces of Resistance Coalition is committed to environmental justice and anti-oppression politics. We are interested in creating a space where dialogue and collaboration is fostered as we work towards a just and sustainable future. Join us!

If you are unable to come, but still want to support this event, we welcome donations from individuals and on behalf of organizations. We would be happy to acknowledge all those who contribute in our programme, and for donations that exceed $50, we can offer to post your logo and provide a link to your organization on our website.

Video – The Big Ask: Climate Change, “ACT NOW”!

February 6, 2009

Please take the time to view this video and pass it on. The message is very important.

The Star: Top climate scientists urge Canadians to vote strategically

October 9, 2008

From the Toronto Star, with a hat tip to The Stop Stephen Harper Blog and another excellent blog, Thoughts on Climate Change:

VANCOUVER–More than 120 of Canada’s top climate scientists have signed an open letter criticizing Conservative government policy and urging Canadians to vote “strategically” for the environment in next week’s federal election.”Global warming is the defining issue of our time,” said Andrew Weaver, a lead author with last year’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

But Weaver said Tuesday that Stephen Harper’s government “has yet to get engaged in the innovative and urgent policies that we need to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.”

This is shaping up to be “the rare election in which the environment is the issue,” said the group’s John Stone.

Read the entire article here.

Tar sands will pollute Great Lakes, report warns

October 8, 2008

Martin Mittelstaedt writes on page A4 of today’s Globe and Mail that, “The environmental impacts of Alberta’s oil sands will not be restricted to Western Canada, researchers say, but will extend thousands of kilometres away to the Great Lakes, threatening water and air quality around the world’s largest body of fresh water. In a new report (titled ‘How the Oil Sands Got To The Great Lakes Basin’), the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre (program on water issues) says the massive refinery expansions needed to process tar sands crude, and the new pipeline networks for transporting the fuel, amount to a ‘pollution delivery system’ connecting Alberta to the Great Lakes region of Canada and the U.S. It warns that the refineries will be using the Great Lakes ‘as a cheap supply’ source for their copious water needs and the area’s air ‘as a pollution dump.'”

The article continues, “The report, which is being released today…says that as many as 17 major refinery expansions around the lakes are being considered for turning the tar-like Alberta bitumen into gasoline and other petroleum products. While not all will be undertaken, enough of them will be to have a regional environmental impact…Most of the projected spending is on the U.S. side of the lakes. Only one major refinery project has been announced for the Canadian side, but that expansion, at a Shell refinery in Sarnia, was put on hold in July because of surging costs. However, two big Canadian companies, TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. with its Keystone project, and Enbridge Inc., with its Alberta Clipper project, are vying to build pipelines to bring crude from the tar sands to U.S. refineries around the lakes.”

The report itself says, “This expansion promises to bring with it an exponential increase in pollution, discharges into waterways including the Great Lakes, destruction of wetlands, toxic air emissions, acid rain, and huge increases in greenhouse gas emissions.”

The full article can be read at:

Melting glaciers and climate change – video

August 8, 2008
Melting glaciers and climate change

See the video and photos now.

Clean Coal: Greenwashing at Its Best

July 2, 2008


The coal industry has adopted a three-point strategy to clean its image, says Mother Jones’ James Ridgeway: “First, make small overtures toward developing renewable energy, and milk them for maximum PR value. Second, invest more generously in carbon-based ‘alternative’ energy that gets passed off as green. Third, invoke the goal of energy ‘independence’ to pump, mine, transport, and sell more and more of the same old fuels to an ever-hungrier market.” Read Scrubbing King Coal

Tomgram: John Feffer, Are We All North Koreans Now?

June 17, 2008

It’s been a curious experience, each evening recently, turning on the NBC or ABC nightly news, with historic levels of flooding in Iowa as the lead story. (“Uncharted territory,” National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Pierce called these floods.) After all, there are those stunning images of Cedar Rapids, a small city now simply in the water. The National Weather Service has already termed what’s happened to the city an “historic hydrologic event,” with the Cedar River topping its banks at, or above, half-millennium highs. (That’s an every 500 year “event”!)

But here’s the special strangeness of this TV moment: Network news loves weather disasters, and yet, as with historic droughts in the Southeast or Southwest, as with the hordes of tornadoes coursing through the center of the country, as with so many other extreme weather phenomena of recent times, including flooding in Southern China and the Burmese cyclone, when it comes to the Midwestern floods, night after night no TV talking head seems ever to mention the possibility that climate change/global warming might somehow be involved. (Nor, by the way, are our major newspapers any better on the subject.) As an omission, it’s kinda staggering, really, for an event already being labeled “a Midwestern Katrina.”

All that soggy Iowa acreage and an estimated 20% of the corn and soya crops in the region already lost — forget ethanol, but think soaring food prices — and yet not a word. Of course, it’s true that no single weather catastrophe like this one can be simply and definitively linked to climate change — and undoubtedly some may have nothing to do with it. But when the weather is this extreme, wouldn’t you want, as a reporter or news editor, to make sure the subject was at least raised and considered? Or is it simply: been there, done that?

My theory of life is that, when you see a four-legged, black-and-white striped horse-like animal on a savannah, you should call it a zebra until evidence proves otherwise. You would certainly think that, this late in the game, this post-Al Gore, this post-all those melting icebergs, icecaps, iced-over seas, and glaciers, such levels of denial might have abated a bit, but no such luck, it seems.

And in this case, where the mainstream media leads, Americans seem inclined to go. So, can we be truly surprised that an April poll from the Pew Research Center actually found a modest decline since January 2007 in “the proportion of Americans who say that the earth is getting warmer”? Or that, while a majority of the world, in Pew’s latest Global Attitude Study, blames the U.S., at least in part, for accelerating global warming, we are one of the countries “where majorities do not define global warming as a very serious problem.”

Fair warning, then. Think of this as the Tomdispatch equivalent of the Surgeon General’s caveat on a cigarette pack: If you value the health of your state of denial, you will read the following remarkable piece by John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus and Tomdispatch regular, slowly, carefully, and at your peril. Tomdispatch takes no responsibility for what may happen. Tom

Mother Earth’s Triple Whammy

Why North Korea Was a Global Crisis Canary

By John Feffer

Click here to read more of this dispatch.