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Environmental Open Information: Between Advance & Retreat (Dec. 2010)
Are you willing to change your lifestyle in order to reduce your environmental footprint?
Yes, I’m happy to follow green tips even if that means reducing comfort or convenience level to some extent, like using a clothesline instead of a dryer;
No, companies and government should be responsible for offering choices that consume less and without affecting our lifestyle.
Yes, but to the extent that comfort and convenience of my life is not sacrificed;
 
Will The U.S. Lead In The Upcoming Make-Or-Break Mercury Treaty Negotiations?
Writer: David Lennett
Date: January 29, 2013
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An Open Letter from Canadian Indigenous People to Chinese People (Feb. 20, 2012) 

An Open Letter from Canadian Indigenous People to Chinese People

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited China from February 7 - 11 with the issue of energy cooperation high on the agenda. China has been increasingly involved with oil and gas development in Canada, investing in the oil sands and making commitments for the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.
Indigenous people in British Columbia are sending an open letter to Chinese people: “We want to make sure the Chinese people know Tar Sands oil from Canada is not clean and simple and there is a growing fight and legal case to stop the Enbridge Pipeline.”
 
Tar sands: one of the dirtiest ways of getting oil
 
Raw tar sands crude oil (known as bitumen) is like a soft coal and can be processed into gasoline and diesel. At least 85% of the world’s reserves of natural bitumen are distributed in Canada.
 
Bitumen is strip-mined out of the earth or heat is pumped underground to melt the bitumen enough that it can be pumped to the surface. Extracting and refining sand oil is more expensive than conventional oil and far less efficient. Consuming huge amount of water and energy and producing toxic tailings, the sand oil is widely known as “dirty oil”.
 
With conventional sources of oil harder to access, many multinational oil companies are investing in the tar sands. Because bitumen is more expensive to extract, it is only with the rise in oil prices over the last ten years that companies have found it worthwhile for investment. But investment is only possible because bitumen extraction does not have to follow strong environmental regulations and is subsidized. As the public in Canada becomes more aware of the environmental and human health costs of bitumen extraction, costs are likely to rise in the future, making it a more risky investment.
 
There is already strong opposition to large oil tanker traffic in coastal waters among local citizens, First Nation communities and organizations are concerned about the potential impacts of an oil spill in the ecologically-sensitive marine habitats of the coast. According to an April 2011 poll, four out of five British Columbians support a ban on crude oil tanker traffic in inner coastal waters.
 
 
Beautiful landscape at stake (c) Yinka Dene Alliance
 
 
A Risky Gamble
 
When bitumen is discovered deep under the Boreal forest in the province of Alberta, Canada, it is exciting news for oil companies, but it’s definitely a tragedy for the ecosystem.
 
If Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project gets approved, there will be 525,000 barrels of bitumen carried from Alberta to the B.C. coast every day. The pipeline would span 1,117 kilometres, through agricultural regions, and then into the rugged west-central region of remote mountains, valleys, and wild rivers. The pipelines will cross more than 785 rivers and streams, including many which are critical fish-bearing habitat, and will cross through the headwaters of three of the continent’s most important watersheds—the Mackenzie, the Fraser, and the Skeena. The geology of this area is complex, and destructive landslides are common. At Kitimat, a tank farm at the edge of the water would facilitate the transfer of oil to holding tanks and then into large oil supertankers. These supertankers would then traverse 185 kilometres of inner coastal waters, including the Douglas Channel, before reaching open ocean in the unpredictably dangerous Hecate Strait, Queen Charlotte Sound, and Dixon Entrance. There is a reason that large oil supertankers have not used these waters in the past: the route poses many navigational challenges for large vessels, even under ideal conditions.
 
What’s at stake?
 
The land of the Spirit Bear (only 400 of them left in the world) is a primeval wilderness that once stretched unbroken from Canada to California. Filled with towering thousand-year-old trees and salmon-filled rivers, its coastal waters are home to orcas, humpbacks, fin whales and Steller sea lions.
 
The Native people of many First Nations have depended on this rich ecosystem for their way of life for thousands of years. But the Northern Gateway pipeline would bring tar sands oil and supertankers into this unspoiled paradise, and an oil spill could destroy waters on which local people depend for fishing and other seafood in a matter of days.
 
 
 
Spirit Bear (c) Living Oceans
 
 
Open letter to the Chinese people from the Yinka Dene Alliance of First Nations in British Columbia, Canada:
 
We will protect our rivers and coast from Enbridge oil – we say no to the Enbridge pipeline
 
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is visiting China this week to talk about his plans to force the Enbridge Northern Gateway Oil Pipeline and Tankers through our lands, territories, and watersheds. Harper plans to violate our indigenous human rights to build this 1200 kilometre oil pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to the Pacific Ocean. We will not allow Harper to force this oil pipeline through our lands. Under United Nations international law, we have the right to say no to this pipeline. We will enforce our legal rights to protect our waters from this the risk of an oil spill.
 
We are the sovereign Indigenous nations of the Fraser River Watershed in British Columbia, Canada. We are many nations, bound together by these waters. Enbridge wants to build pipelines to pump massive amounts of tar sands crude oil through the Fraser’s headwaters, and then use giant oil tankers to carry the oil through very dangerous waters. An oil spill in our lands and rivers would destroy our fish, poison our water, and devastate our peoples, our livelihoods, and our futures. An oil spill on the coast would destroy sources of seafood and fish, like crabs, for thousands of people. It could destroy the extremely rare spirit bear – a bear with white fur that is as beautiful as the Chinese panda bear. Enbridge company has many pipeline oil spills every year, including the large 2010 spill into the Kalamazoo river in the United States. We refuse to be next.
 
We will protect the fish, the seafood, the water and the people of British Columbia, Canada, from the danger of Enbridge oil spills. We have written to the Chinese government to offer our great respect to the Chinese people all around the world – but we will not allow Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to violate our rights as nations in order to build the Enbridge pipeline.
 
We are the Yinka Dene Alliance.
 
About The Yinka Dene Alliance
 
The Yinka Dene Alliance includes the Aboriginal Peoples of the Nadleh Whut'en, Nak'azdli, Takla Lake, Saik'uz, and Wet'suwet'en First Nations in northern British Columbia.
 
Under Canadian law, international law and their own First Nations laws, these Nations are pursuing their legal right to protect their rivers, lands and coastal waters from risk of an oil spill.
 
For more information:  http://yinkadene.ca/
 
Press contacts for the Yinka Dene Alliance:
 
Chief Jackie Thomas, Saik'uz First Nation, Yinka Dene Alliance
(250) 567-8048
 
Geraldine Thomas-Flurer, Enbridge coordinator, Yinka Dene Alliance
(250) 570-1482
 
For email connection to the Yinka Dene: Josh Paterson, West Coast Environmental Law Association, jpaterson@wcel.org
 
 
 
 

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