Sierra Club Blog Posts
Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) has emerged as the foremost anti-wind power development organization in Ontario. Their platform against wind power rests on five fundamental arguments which are: concerns regarding health risks associated with living near wind farm development, environmental degradation through bird and bat kills, development on sensitive habitats etc., lowered property values, lack of meaningful community consultation in the development process, and criticisms of wind technology as a viable energy option.... Read more »
Once again Europeans are rising up in support of shutting down the Canadian tar sands.
UXBRIDGE. ONTARIO - I am proud to announce tomorrow (September 18th) International "Stop the Tar Sands!" Day will hit Paris and Vienna! France is heavily invested in the tar sands through their banks (Societe Generale and BNP Paribas) and the French oil company Total Oil. Austria on the other hand has no direct connection to the tar sands. Nonetheless, people of both countries are slowly recognizing even though tar sands development is isolated to northern Alberta it is something that effects us all no matter where we live. I wish both Paris and Vienna the greatest of success for tomorrow. Have fun too!... Read more »
Busy week writing letters to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. It's a futile thing really, but it's our job to shout for justice. I have always imagined myself as Henry Fonda staring down the 11 other jurors and, in only 90 minutes, turning an 11-to-1 guilty vote to 12-to-0 not guilty.
Maybe that's why I mount my trusty steed and, with a shout to Sancho to fix my grammar, knock out another submission, statement, press release or letter.
If you speak the truth eventually you will be heard. Everyone needs a philosophy. This is mine.
I think my next project will be a funding application to the Alberta government. Apparently, while the premier has been spending thousands on tar sands propaganda the culture minister has been funding the documentary Dirty Oil.
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Look out - the oil companies are going to be demanding another reward for bad behaviour.
The burst pipeline that leaked a million gallons of Alberta crude into the Kalamazoo River remains closed after US authorities turned down a restart. Turns out they couldn't verify it was safe.
Now Endbridge, fearing its line through Superior, Wisconsin might not be up to snuff, has reduced the pressure in the pipe. This cuts back the amount of crude flowing to Sarnia refineries even more.
So look out. Here comes a supply/demand argument for a bump in the price at the pumps.
Why is it only the oil industry can get away with this?
Here’s where environmental messaging hits a brick wall. You’re trying to get people excited, and all you have to offer is bad news.
“Climate change!” you say to a roomful of your fellow citizens. Eyes glaze over and people feel helpless.
“Biodiversity loss!” People ask themselves if they should feel guilty for eating breakfast that morning.
“Gutting of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act!” The policy wonks in the front row start salivating while everyone else looks at their watches.
I’ve spent the summer working in media and communications for Sierra Club Canada’s head office. It’s been inspiring but also quite frustrating, as I’m tasked again and again with Mission Impossible: get people onboard with a message that’s mostly very dire.
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Why do industry executives always turn to public relations firms when they are called out for unsustainable business practices? Do they really believe people are stupid? Isn't it like a clueless American tourist speaking louder and slower?
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is the latest group to go this way. Apparently they have a new PR firm and new advice: "Put a human face on the tar sands."
So we'll soon see lots of Youtube spots, probably of people biking with the Rockies in the background. They'll be telling stories about Syncrude employees making charitable donations.
It's all in an effort to distract the public from the real issue, which is this: the Alberta government is prepared to do anything to feed our oil addiction even though it will mean catastrophic climate change.
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It's understandable the Alberta government would want to fight back when it perceives its good name is being tarnished. The question is, how best to do it?
Looking at the numbers from the government's own survey, it's pretty clear Albertans aren't really convinced it is doing a good job regulating the "oil sands."
Perhaps because the government has yet to see to see an oil development it didn't like, or because it is often quicker than Big Oil to jump to the industry's defence, the public gets the impression the government is biased.
Bragging about climate change regulations that allow greenhouse gas emissions to rise doesn't help either.
Then there are all those toxic pollutants leaking from the tailings ponds into the Athabaska River that are "naturally occurring."
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After reading about the tar sands for some time, I think I’ve cut down the clutter to the mainstream argument for their existence. It sounds nice so everyone’s saying it, from the Alberta PR department to the doe-eyed CAPP billboard men to every politician worth his salt. Here it is:
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Thursday, July 15th, Day Fifty-Four: I woke up this day feeling good abut what I had done, and what I still had left to do. The bike was boxed up, I did it the night before after a huge victory dinner, so all that was left was to pack up the rest of my stuff. First, though, I wanted a picture in the ocean to finish my trip. When I visited the Sierra Club Atlantic office to check my email however, everyone decided it was time for a good office lunch, so we all went down to eat. It was a good meal, and it was nice to really be introduced to everyone and just relax with like-minded individuals. By the time it was over however, I had to rush home to do my packing, since the guy who was going to take me to my plane was due to arrive by about 4:00 PM. Another nice guy, we had lots to talk about on the way to the airport.... Read more »