Update from Mike Hudema - Climate Campaigner with Greenpeace Canada - 7am local time
It's a few hours before we enter the tar sands.
The tar sands are the largest industrial, capital and energy project on the planet but most people still have never heard of them. They are an environmental horror show located in Alberta, Canada that spew more emissions into the air than entire countries - by 2020 they could belch out more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire Czech Republic, twice as much as Peru and over 10 times that of Costa Rica. In addition they are set to consume an area larger than England (140,000 sq km) forever devastating one of the world's most diverse forest ecosystems and the planets largest carbon sink. The tar sands are one of the world's largest climate crimes and this toxic industry represents just how far our politicians are willing to go to keep us hooked on oil.
Unlike conventional oil operations to get tar sands out of the ground vast open pit mines or large well pads are created to get a sticky substance called bitumen out of the ground. The process is incredibly energy intensive – 3-5 times more energy is used then conventional oil operations, incredibly water intensive – 2-5 barrels of freshwater for every barrel of oil and the tar sands currently produce over 1 million barrels of oil every day and hugely destructive.
Today we are going in to say stop. We are going to stand in the way of the world's largest dumptrucks – over three stories tall and say no further. I am going because the tar sands represent the toxic future in store for all of us if our politicians continue to choose the health of big oil profits, over the health of our planet and the people on it. I am tired of sitting on the sidelines while our world is pushed to the brink of climate chaos. Tired of political stalling while millions are displaced or will die due to global warming. Today I will make a stand, like thousands before me and hopefully millions after to push for a better, greener world. Wish me luck!
Update from Mike - 9:20 am local time
"We have just locked down the mining site. The air is toxic. Two of us sit on top of a huge two storey dump truck chained to the inside and outside. Other activists are chained too trucks while other have unfurled a giant banner reading 'tar sands climate crime'"
Update from Mike - 9:40 am local time
"The mine is huge kilometres and kilometres of destruction. "
Update from Christy - 9:45 local time
Activists have blockaded a giant three story high truck and crane in the open pit mining operation. Now, activists have climbed on the truck and the crane and are locked inside the cabs of both vehicles. Both have stopped operations. Right now, Mike Hudema is locked inside the cab of a giant truck talking to media.
Update from activists locked to dumptruck - 11:00 local time
No trucks within site are moving - meaning Greenpeace activists have successfully shut down the operations in this area of the tar sands!
Update from Mike - 12:00 local time
Over three hours onsite with activists chained to two earthmovers and two at the very top of the crane. My eyes are burning but we are actively stopping this climate destruction.
Update from Mike - 13:00 local time
We have officially shut down all of shells albion sands operations! We have stopped this piece of climate destruction for four hours and counting. Spirits are high we will change this world.
Update from Christy - 2:20am local time
Our activists are continuing to occupy two giant trucks and a giant crane in the middle of a Shell tar sands mine. The whole 150,000 barrel a day operation continues to be shut down. Police are on site and the blockade area has been surrounded with spotlights, but it looks like police will not remove the activists during the night. The activists are in good spirits and are totally committed to sticking it out.
Final update on the Greenpeace tar sands mine action
After approximately 30 hours of occupation during which Greenpeace activists were able to halt production and un-roll massive banners reading: 'Climate Crime' - the action ended peacefully and without incident. Activists had communicated clearly the message that tar sands development is contributing towards a climate catastrophe - the high emissions and high energy use involved in extracting tar sands oil in northern Alberta will make it impossible for the world to meet the emissions reduction targets necessary to avoid runaway climate change. The tar sands do not fit into a clean, green and sustainable future. They must be stopped.
Ready to do something? Take action to stop the tar sands.