Tar sands

Aerial view of Syncrude Aurora tar sands mine in the Boreal Forest north of Fort McMurray. © Greenpeace / Jiri Rezac

Greenpeace is calling on oil companies and the Canadian government to stop the tar sands and end the industrialization of a vast area of Indigenous territories, forests and wetlands in northern Alberta.

The tar sands are huge deposits of bitumen, a tar-like substance that’s turned into oil through complex and energy-intensive processes that cause widespread environmental damage. These processes pollute the Athabasca River, lace the air with toxins and convert farmland into wasteland. Large areas of the Boreal forest are clearcut to make way for development in the tar sands, the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

Greenpeace is also concerned with the social and health costs of the tar sands. First Nations communities in the tar sands report unusually high levels of rare cancers and autoimmune diseases. Their traditional way of life is threatened. Substance abuse, suicide, gambling and family violence have increased in the tar sands. Meanwhile, the thousands of workers brought in by oil companies face a housing crisis in northern Alberta.

Enbridge Inc.'s tar sands tanker pipeline proposal threatens to allow a 30 per cent expansion in tar sands development. Enbridge's tar sands pipeline would span 1,170 kilometres from Hardisty, Alberta to Kitimat, in the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia. Over the past decade, Enbridge's own pipelines spilled an average of more than once a week. The pipeline would cross over 1,000 rivers and streams and the Rocky Mountains on the way to B.C.'s pristine coastline. The pipeline would bring more than 200 crude oil tankers through some of the world's most treacherous waters each year.

How Greenpeace works to stop the tar sands

  • Pressuring governments: The governments of Alberta and Canada actively promote tar sands development and ignore international commitments Canada has made to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Through direct action, we draw international attention to government climate crimes in the tar sands and demand change.
  • Educating shareholders: We meet with Canadian and international shareholders in oil companies and discuss the investment risks associated with the tar sands.
  • Working with impacted communities: We reach out to landowners and First Nations affected by the tar sands and stand in solidarity with them.

The latest updates

 

Time for Tarsands Province to Go Solar!

Blog entry by Melina Laboucan Massimo | October 17, 2014

We are midway through our Solar Solutions speaking tour that is taking place across Alberta. It has been an uplifting, eye opening and an amazing catalyst to foster dialogue about the amazing solar potential there is in Alberta. ...

Tarsands Blinding Alberta to Its True Renewable Potential

Blog entry by mhudema | October 14, 2014

Greenpeace Launches Solutions Tour Today, Greenpeace is embarking on an Alberta tour to two cities, three rural communities and two First Nations to talk about solutions. Together with three speakers we will be sharing stories...

Cacouna: TransCanada Feels the Wrath of the Whales

Blog entry by Patrick Bonin | September 22, 2014

The whales took their revenge on TransCanada yesterday after one of the company’s boats sailed through a pod of these wonderful creatures, just a few days into its work in the area.  Our observer Mikael Rioux was in Cacouna watching...

The Beautiful Battle Against the Tarsands

Blog entry by Mike Hudema | July 28, 2014 1 comment

The fight against the tar sands is a big one. We stand in defense of the land, water, climate and communities against the richest companies on the planet, and a federal and provincial government who are intent on extracting tar...

It's time Alberta took off its tar sands blinders and embraced the power of the sun

Blog entry by mhudema | July 21, 2014

Yesterday I was on a roof installing solar panels. It was truly amazing to see each solar panel going up, carefully fastening it down, and knowing that when it was all done, the house I was on would be powered by sun. The...

6 - 10 of 216 results.

Tags