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Tar sands

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

Greenpeace is calling the Canadian government to stop the expansion of 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 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

 

Over 150 First Nations and Tribes Now Stand Opposed to the Expansion of the Tar Sands.

Blog entry by Mike Hudema | August 9, 2017 1 comment

Yesterday, representatives from the Omaha Tribe, Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, Nez Perce, Choctaw Nation, Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, Ponka Tribe of Oklahoma signed the  Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. The ...

Watch what oil companies do, not what they say, on the future of the tar sands

Blog entry by Keith Stewart | July 5, 2017

Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal published a remarkably clear-eyed assessment of what oil companies are doing, and not just saying, about the future of the tar sands. Much of the Canadian coverage of the low oil...

My Message to the BC Green Party and NDP

Blog entry by Laura Yates | May 30, 2017 1 comment

Today I scaled the main flagpole at the BC Legislature to deliver a message of celebration and hope to our newly elected officials:   People Power 1 Kinder Morgan 0 Change is coming.     Yesterday, the BC...

Kinder Morgan investors should be prepared to lose their shirts

Blog entry by Keith Stewart | May 29, 2017

In response to concerns raised by Greenpeace, pipeline giant Kinder Morgan has revised the legal document underlying the $1.75 billion share offering that would finance its proposed new tar sands pipeline. Earlier this month, ...

Indigenous Leaders, Jane Fonda, Blast Trudeau For Violating Indigenous Commitments in...

Blog entry by Mike Hudema | January 12, 2017 1 comment

Canada’s recent approvals of the Line 3 and Kinder Morgan pipelines and Alberta’s approval of new tar sands projects were blasted by Indigenous leaders and Indigenous rights advocate and Academy Award winner Jane Fonda at a press...

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