Youth Climate Activists To Secretary of State Clinton: Say No To Tar Sands

Youth Climate Activists To Secretary of State Clinton: Say No To Tar Sands
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Youth climate activists struck again last week, calling on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to stop the proposed Alberta Clipper pipeline that would “suck filthy tar sands into the U.S.” from Canada.

Last Friday, the Avaaz Action Factory, a loose-knit group of youth climate activists, set up an action hero showdown complete with a tar sands monster lurking in a kiddie pool full of ‘tar sands mixture’ outside the front doors of the State Department.  Costumed oil industry reps tried to convince Clinton to approve the pipeline while ‘Mother Earth’ and the U.S. and Canada stood in front of a bedsheet painted to represent a Canadian Boreal forest which would face destruction if the pipeline is approved. 

The activists hoped to demonstrate to the State Department “just how terrible the oil sands are, and how much of a climate hero Clinton can be.”

Nearby Avaaz activists held up a big banner stating: “Clinton be a Leader. Say No to Tar Sands.  Stop Global Warming.”

The mock showdown must have looked pretty funny to bleary-eyed State employees showing up for the Friday workday, but the message Avaaz was delivering is deadly serious.

It is up to the Obama Administration, specifically Secretary of State Clinton, to determine whether or not allowing Canadian company Enbridge to build the proposed pipeline would “serve the national interest.”

As the Avaaz protestors point out, the Alberta Clipper Pipeline would lengthen U.S. reliance on fossil fuels for decades to come. “A major piece of infrastructure will make it that much harder to phase out the use of dirty fossil fuels, which is one of the reasons the backers of this project are pushing so hard to get this through without even a public debate,” according to DirtyOilSands.org.

The 1,000-mile pipeline, if built, will transport crude tar sands oil from Alberta’s oil sand deposits all the way to Superior, Wisconsin where Midwest refineries would process it for years to come, locking in more fossil fuel pollution and doing nothing to stop U.S. oil addiction.

That would hardly square with the Obama administration’s stated commitment to ending America’s addiction to foreign oil and ushering in a new era of renewable energy security.

Canada’s oil sands are among the dirtiest sources of fuel globally, and rank up there with offshore Arctic oil and “ultra deepwater” oil as the most ill conceived sources of energy ever contemplated.

Greenpeace, PLATFORM and Oil Change International released a report this weekend predicting that Big Oil companies’ increasing reliance on dirty tar sands could very well drive their industry into economic ruin, bringing investors along for the ride.

Hopefully Secretary Clinton and the rest of the Obama Administration will recognize the near- and longer-term risks of pursuing dirty tar sands development.  Canceling the Enbridge Clipper Pipeline would go a long way toward demonstrating that resolve.

Watch the Avaaz action at http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/2009/07/24/clintons-big-decision-on-tar-sands/

Read the Greenpeace report “Rising Risks” [PDF].

Youth Climate Activists To Secretary of State Clinton: Say No To Tar Sands

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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