Wednesday 26th October 2016                 Change text size:

Tar sands activists embark on ‘healing walk’ to mend the environment

Howl Arts Collective via flickr

Environmental activists from the US and Canada will join native elders for a ‘healing walk’, a spiritual meeting organised to nurse the land, air and water poisoned by tar sands oil back to full health.

Author Naomi Klein and environmentalist Bill McKibben are among those taking part in the walk, which takes place on July 4-6. It will unite natives and activists in the fight against tar sands.

The gathering is not a demonstration against oil extraction activities, but instead a spiritual meeting where people pray for their land. Indigenous traditions say that humans have the duty to protect the environment, the water and the air for future generations.

The tar sands are growing out of control, destroying the climate for all Canadians and poisoning the water of everyone living downstream”, say organisers.

People will come together from coast to coast to join First Nations and Metis in the Healing Walk, a gathering focused on healing the environment and the people who are suffering from tar sands expansion.”

Klein told the Guardian, This is a sacred walk because it invites us all to begin a process of healing. Healing the land from violence, healing ourselves from our dependence on an economy based on that violence, and healing our deeply imperilled democracy.”

Oil from tar sands is considered to be more polluting than conventional oil and has severely affected landscapes and health of local communities. However, the Canadian government has been doing intensive lobbying in order to make the energy source available to Europe.

A recent Norwegian study found that for European nations, it would be cheaper to pay other countries to keep their tar sands oil in the grounds, rather than try to cut their greenhouse gas emissions through taxes and restrictions.

In June, Oxford became the first tar-free city in Europe, with its council voting in favour of a change in policies that govern the procurement of fuel.

Further reading:

Intensive lobbying for tar sands taking place in Europe

Fossil fuel firms are failing to address the low-carbon imperative

Protesters rally in Washington to urge US climate action

Canada’s panicky tar sands response should signal UK’s abstention

Canada withdraws from Kyoto

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