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Neil on the Oil Sands, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada

Fort-McMurray_Alberta_oilsands

Neil Young on oil sands: ‘Fort McMurray looks like Hiroshima’

Michael Babad, The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Sep. 10 2013, 7:48 AM EDT

Young on oil sands

Canadian rocker Neil Young is wading into the heated debate over the oil sands and the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, warning of the health effects on First Nations peoples and the “wasteland” that is Fort McMurray.

Mr. Young, one of Canada’s best-known singer-songwriters since the 1960s, told a conference in Washington yesterday that he recently travelled to Alberta, where “much of the oil comes from, much of the oil that we’re using here, which they call ethical oil because it’s not from Saudi Arabia or some country that may be at war with us.”

He was at a National Farmers Union conference on Capitol Hill meant to support alternative fuels, such as ethanol, which he did at length, slamming Big Oil and talk about his own LincVolt, an old Continental that runs on ethanol and electricity.

Here’s what he said about the oil sands:

“The fact is, Fort McMurray looks like Hiroshima. Fort McMurray is a wasteland. The Indians up there and the native peoples are dying. The fuels all over – the fumes everywhere – you can smell it when you get to town. The closest place to Fort McMurray that is doing the tar sands work is 25 or 30 miles out of town and you can taste it when you get to Fort McMurray. People are sick. People are dying of cancer because of this. All the First Nations people up there are threatened by this.”

Videos and more:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/top-business-stories/neil-young-on-oil-sands-fort-mcmurray-looks-like-hiroshima/article14213233/?cmpid=rss1

the video:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/video/neil-young-says-fort-mcmurray-looks-like-hiroshima/article14213715/

 

Palestinian students write Neil an open letter

Posted at CounterPunch, the Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel and University Teachers’ Association post an open letter to Neil Young, asking him not to perform his scheduled concert in Israel Hayarkon Park, Tel Aviv on July 17.

Dear Neil,

We are Palestinian students and youth from the besieged Gaza Strip; we write to you now on a night engulfed by huge explosions ripping through our houses and neighborhoods again, more common than the thunder and hard rain also filling the night air.

And now we hear you plan on playing your inspiring music to a packed house in Hayarkon Park, Tel Aviv, a park built on the ruins of the Palestinian village Al Mirr, a land and people, destroyed and buried amidst unspeakable violence, but not forgotten. The residents of that Palestinian village and hundreds of other villages forcibly emptied by the nascent Israeli army, were either killed or denied return, denied the chance to even visit or commemorate the lives they once had. (1)

While the world turns its back, we hope that you don’t turn yours, that you heed the call of over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations, for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the Israeli regime until it abides by international law and stops denying us the right to live as any other human beings would expect. Just as you didn’t perform in Apartheid South Africa, just as you stood up against racism in the US South, just as you have so admirably supported indigenous rights in Canada against the drilling for Tar Sands, we ask you to support indigenous, displaced people wherever they may be, including we Palestinians. The words of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association in their recent move to boycott the Israeli regime echo the struggle for indigenous rights in America.

Read the rest of the letter here:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/03/20/open-letter-from-gaza-to-neil-young/

Beekeeper supports Neil

grey-bearHe says he’s joining Neil Young’s war on ignorance.

Gray Bear, a member of the First Nations, is featured in an article by the Oceanside Star.

He is dragging a cart behind him, bedecked with a huge First Nations flag, a white Teddy bear, a music case with the CBC logo and other symbols representing Canadian icons he sees as being under attack by the Harper government.

A beekeeper and musician by trade, he holds music legend Neil Young as an icon, praising him for taking a stand against the further development of tar sands in Alberta.”I adore him for having the courage to do what he did,” he said. “People don’t realize what danger he puts himself in. He puts himself on the spot and he knows he’s going to be persecuted. He’s waging a war on ignorance.”

Read more at:

http://www.oceansidestar.com/community/joining-neil-young-s-war-on-ignorance-1.848238

 

Neil Young, an uncritical celebrity activist

Neil Young speaksToday, the Toronto Star opinions about Neil and his recent activities in Canada, giving a summary about his longrunning political attitude and actions as a musician and artist.

As The Passenger says: The music we march to didn’t just show up on the radar last year sometime. They all know that. Consolidate your feces dark siders, Neil Young has proudly represented workers for decades. [1]

Referring to a recent poll in the Calgary Herald “Most Albertans object to Young’s remarks” it is written:

Today Young is outraged again, only this time it’s with his home country. He hates the oilsands. He thinks it’s the world’s greatest environmental disaster and he believes the health of First Nations peoples, who live near the projects, is threatened.

On a recent visit to northern Alberta, Young gave voice to these opinions. The oil industry and their supplicants summarily dismissed his views. The aging rock star was said to have his facts wrong (even though we lack a widely accepted set of facts about the environmental and health effects of the oilsands). He was characterized as just another in a long list of celebrity activists who uncritically accept the views of those opposed to the oilsands.

Oh yeah, musicians should just shut up and play. For the cool and calm summary of Neil’s reply to these critizisms, Neil replied wonderfully in his “Calgary Adress“. Like music is a place devoid of emotion or discussion or revolution.

A lot of the polled people disagree with Neil’s points of views about the Oil Sands, the climate change, the environmental destruction and the “greed” Canada sells out to the Big Oil players. However, a majority is very concerned and believe the oilsands are damaging the Alberta province’s ecosystems.

“No matter how you feel, there’s a discussion going on around the breakfast table. That’s real, that’s big, that’s Canada,” Young said.

The T-Star concludes:

Big oil has spent tens of millions of dollars in advertisements and public relations gimmicks to convince Canadians and Americans of the unambiguous merits of the oilsands. This has been done in part to pressure the Obama administration to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline project. Whatever positive effect this expensive PR effort has yielded, Neil Young could wipe out in an afternoon of inspired song writing.

The message to Big Oil should be clear. When an angry Neil Young shows up on your doorstep, don’t dismiss him the way you do all your other critics. Give him the respect he deserves and consider his views carefully, lest he train his formidable lyrical and melodic arsenal on you.

Read more :: The Toronto Star, Feb 9, 2014 “Message to the oilpatch: beware Neil Young”.

___

[1] Two Shout Outs, 01.28.14, From The Passenger. A summary can be found *here*. The Passenger is of LincVolt Chronicle fame.

***

Prominent Canadian Artists and Scientists Sign On to Stand with ACFN

Fort-McMurray_Alberta_oilsands

neil-young_honour-the-treaties

Prominent Canadian Artists and Scientists Sign On to Stand With Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation In Oilsands Expansion Fight

Support Comes Hours After Wildly Successful Neil Young Fundraising Concert Series Nets In Excess of $500,000

CALGARY, ALBERTA–(Marketwired – Jan 20, 2014) – Not even a full day after Neil Young’s incredibly successful “Honour the Treaties” Tour, which raised more than half a million dollars to help the Athabasca Chipewyan challenge further tar sands encroachment within their traditional homelands, a noted group of Canadian authors, musicians, and climate scientists released a letter of support to the campaign, noting “the time has come for Canada to decide if we want a future where First Nations rights and title are honoured, agreements with other countries to protect the climate are honoured, and our laws are not written by powerful oil companies.”

The letter was signed by more than 20 notable Canadians, including actor Neve Campbell, writers Joseph Boyden and Michael Ondaatje, dancer and member of the Order of Canada Margi Gillis and climate scientist Dr. Danny Harvey.

“I applaud Neil Young’s efforts to raise awareness of these critical issues. Further expansion of tar sands operations is simply incompatible with our climate obligations and moral responsibilities,” said climate scientist Dr. Danny Harvey.

Young’s tour was designed to draw international attention to the Canadian government’s failure to respect treaties made with First Nations, and to highlight the growing environmental impacts in Alberta from oil sands development. The tour sparked a national conversation that featured Prime Minister Stephen Harper and oil executives criticizing Young but ignoring the issues he raised about the consequences of violating Treaty rights in the pursuit to further exploit the oil sands.

The tour has now raised $500,000 for the Athabasca Chipewyan legal challenges.

“The Federal Government’s continued approval of new tar sands mines such as Shell’s Jackpine mine despite the devastating environmental impacts and inadequate consultation with First Nations is insulting and unlawful. We are encouraged and grateful for all the support we are receiving from across Canada. This is just the beginning,” said Chief Allan Adam of the ACFN.
It is clear that First Nations bear the brunt of environmental impacts from oil sands development. For parts of the year 80% of the traditional territory of the ACFN and Mikisew Cree is inaccessible due to oil sands development and studies show 30% increase in cancer rates of the residents of Fort Chipewyan. Further south, the Beaver Lake Cree First Nations claim 20,000 treaty violations.

The impacts to climate change from oil sands development are striking. Greenhouse gas emissions from Canada’s oil sands now exceed the total emissions from 85 countries and are rising. More oil sands growth would make it impossible for Canada to meet its goal of a 17% reduction of carbon pollution from 2005 levels by 2020, meaning that Canada would not meet its international obligations to reduce emissions.

ACFN will use the funds from the concerts and crowd-sourced funds for their legal defense to protect and preserve their homelands north of Fort McMurray. The ACFN recognizes the need for economic development however there is simply a need for true balance and respect of environmental, Treaty and Aboriginal rights in the pursuit of these goals. In 2014, ACFN will likely participate in two hearings – for the Shell Pierre River mine and for the Teck Resources Frontier Mine — and continue their challenge of both the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan and the Jackpine mine decision.

Full text of the open letter:

On his Honour the Treaties tour, Neil Young is doing what poets do – forcing us to examine ourselves. This is hard enough on a personal level and it can be even more difficult when we are being asked to examine the direction in which our country is headed.

The time has come for Canada to decide if we want a future where First Nations rights and title are honoured, agreements with other countries to protect the climate are honoured, and our laws are not written by powerful oil companies. Or not.

Neil’s tour has triggered the Prime Minister’s Office and oil company executives. They have come out swinging because they know that this is a hard conversation and they might lose. But that should not stop the conversation from happening.

Instead of focusing on Neil Young’s celebrity, Prime Minister Harper should inform Canadians how he plans to honour the treaties with First Nations. This means ensuring the water, land, air, and climate are protected so the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations and other First Nations communities be able to hunt, fish, gather plants and live off the land. Canada signed a treaty with them 114 years ago, and this must be honoured.

The world is watching as we decide who we will become. Will we disregard the treaties we have with First Nations? Will we continue to allow oil companies to persuade our government to gut laws, silence scientists, and disassemble civil society in order to allow reckless expansion of the oil sands?

We are proud to stand with Neil Young as he challenges us all to think about these larger, more profound and humane questions.

Now is the time for leadership and to honour promises that we have made, not personal attacks.

Michael Ondaatje, author, Officer of the Order of Canada
Margi Gillis, dancer, Member of the Order of Canada
Clayton Ruby, lawyer, Member of the Order of Canada
Dr. David Suzuki, scientist, Companion of the Order of Canada
Dr. David Schindler, scientist, Officer of the Order of Canada
Stephen Lewis, Companion of the Order of Canada
Joseph Boyden, author
Gord Downie, musician
Sarah Harmer, musician
Naomi Klein, author
Dr. John Stone, scientist
Tzeporah Berman, author
Amanda Boyden, author
Neve Campbell, actor
Wade Davis, author
Dr. Danny Harvey, climate scientist
J.B. MacKinnon, author
Dan Managan, musician
Sid Marty, author
Andrew Nikiforuk, author
Rick Smith, author
John Valliant, author
Ronald Wright, author

Additional resources:

  • http://thefirelightgroup.com/projects/as-long-as-the-rivers-flow-athabasca-river-knowledge-use-and-change/
  • http://www.ualberta.ca/~avnish/rls-2009-02-06-fort-chipewyan-study.pdf
  • http://www.beaverlakecreenation.ca/upload/documents/statementofclaim.pdf
  • http://www.ec.gc.ca/Publications/253AE6E6-5E73-4AFC-81B7-9CF440D5D2C5/793-Canada%27s-Emissions-Trends-2012_e_01.pdf
  • http://ec.gc.ca/indicateurs-indicators/default.asp?lang=en&n=F60DB708

***

Please donate to help the First Nation's battle 
against the Alberta tar sands..
http://www.honourtheacfn.ca/

Random Quote

I don\'t work in the box. I don\'t like the box.
by -- Neil Young bh

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