Federal and Alberta regulators have conditionally approved Royal Dutch Shell’s multibillion-dollar Jackpine oil-sands mine expansion despite their findings that it would have a number of adverse environmental impacts.
A joint review panel, appointed by the federal Environment Minister and the provincial energy regulator, ruled that the project’s effects on wildlife and vegetation will be significant, but that it is nonetheless in the public interest.
Last Saturday I had the privilege and blessing of walking with 500 others, led by Elders who stopped at key points to offer prayers for the healing of the land, for 8 and a half hours through part of the tarsands development, including alongside a highly toxic tailings pond around which canons are fired every few minutes in order to frighten birds away. Landing would mean – and has caused – instant death for birds.
That this expansion has been approved in the face of recognized significant environmental impacts is beyond comprehension. This is the boreal forest and part of the Athabasca watershed..home to rare wildfowl species and many others, home to First Nations people who have watched in horror as their means of livelihood is devastated and toxins enter their wetlands areas, watching as more and more of their people die from rare and unusual cancers..
Our rapacious and insatiable greed cannot continue, nor can our lack of willingness to give up accustomed comforts manufactured from oil-based products.
Last year, standing outside the White House protesting the Keystone pipeline, Robert Kennedy Jnr stated:
“we not only have the right, we have the duty to disobey the law to show our discontent”.
He is surely right.
Hope for the future survival of our own species as well as so many others lies in our willingness to refuse to obey the dictates and insanities of greed and power, it lies in our willingness to act with unbounded love for our planet, our families and all our relations, and in our determined refusal to give up our children’s and their children’s future to those who would destroy it.