The impact of the tar sands really hit home for me last month, when a pipeline ruptured, in what was one of the largest oil spills in Alberta’s history only 7 km from where my family lives. Over 28,000 barrels of oil from a pipeline spilled throughout the forest and into the muskeg. The school in the community was suspended for over a week due to the pervasive noxious odors in the community.

This photo essay tells that story, and how it is connected to a longer history of destruction and exploitation on the Lubicon Cree’s traditional lands.

So it was particularly important for me to be part of the International Days of Action Against the Tar Sands that we kicked off today here in Alberta. It’s also great to know that similar events are taking place in over 20 countries in Europe, 25 cities across the United States, 12 cities in Canada, and as far as New Zealand and Australia.

All across the globe we see people standing up and saying NO to this type of dirty fossil fuel development. People are recognizing that the world does not want or need tar sands. And in reality we simply cannot afford it - locally nor globally.

On the steps of the Alberta Legislature where many of the decisions are made about tar sands expansion we held a rally to say to this government that we do not support their unabated and irresponsible management of the tar sands here in Alberta.

Nor is my community unique: We see oil spills around the world from the Gulf Coast ofMexico, Norway's arctic north to the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. 

We have a choice – we have a choice to turn away from this path. We need a just renewable energy path. One that will not rob our future generations of the fundamental pillars of life: Clean air, Good water, and a Healthy Environment for ALL.