stop pipelines

Tar sands

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

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 region. Meanwhile, the thousands of workers brought in by oil companies face the boom and bust cycles of the oil economy rollercoaster.

Tar sands companies want to build new pipelines so that they can expand output in the tar sands. These pipelines would threaten thousands of rivers and streams across the country. The increased tanker traffic required to carry this oil would threaten our coastlines. Oil spills would devastate communities and existing livelihoods that depend on a health environment, while the greenhouse gas emissions from producing and burning the oil would fuel climate change.

We have better alternatives.  

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 and expose the investment risks associated with tar sands development.
  • Working with impacted communities: We reach out to landowners and First Nations affected by the tar sands amplify their voices 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...

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