The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) attended the Shell Annual General Meeting in the Netherlands this week to take their message directly to the company’s CEO and shareholders.

Eriel Deranger, a spokesperson for the ACFN, traveled to Europe to raise the concerns of her community regarding the expansion of Shell tar sands mines into their traditional territory. “We’ve gone to draw attention that the relationship with the company we had has deteriorated,” said Deranger. “In the past, we’ve had delegates join us from Ontario and Nigeria. We’re not the only ones frustrated with Shell.”

Along with having a presence this week in Europe, ACFN has released a powerful documentary video that exposes the impacts the tar sands are having on the downstream community of Fort Chipewyan.

The video covers the various issues the ACFN already face and that will get worse if Shell’s Jackpine tar sands mine is expanded. The list of concerns are serious: more water consumption and contamination, increasing levels of cancer, more habitat loss, more pipelines and spills, continued violation of treaty rights, more climate-changing and toxic emissions, and less investment into clean energy alternatives.

Not only are tar sands wreaking havoc on local communities here in Alberta like Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and the entire community of Fort Chipewyan, but we know that the tar sands are wreaking havoc on the climate.

Just this past week, NASA’s former lead climate change scientist James Hansen also visited Europe. He was there to talk to members of the European Union regarding an upcoming decision on whether or not they will ban tar sands in Europe in their Fuel Quality Directive, in an attempt to counter Canadian government lobbing against this responsible piece of climate change policy.

James Hansen has been quoted saying that if we continue to develop the tar sands and other dirty fuel sources, it is essentially GAME OVER for the climate. This week he issued a warning that any re-industrialisation strategy which increases fossil fuels use can only be short-term, irrational and economically wasteful.

At the end of this month, the environmental assessment panel will make recommendations for the expansion of the Shell Jackpine mine and then the Alberta government will decide on the fate of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. 

Join with us to raise awareness of fight that ACFN is currently engaged in. We need to stand with our brothers and sisters to ensure that their rights are respected and land is protected. No matter where we live, we are all inextricably tied together in this fight for the future of the planet so we must act now.

We will continue to update you on the upcoming decisions and ways for you to help support this community. But for now, please watch and share the video