With ties to Occupy Chicago about a dozen protesters covered
themselves in fake oil and performed a symbolic death in front of the
Canadian Consulate in downtown Chicago Thursday evening.
Those who “died” were joined by more than 100 supporters in protesting Canada’s extracting of crude oil from the Alberta Tar Sands, which is the world’s third-largest deposit of oil. The protesters pointed to a recent report which said the oil derived from the tar sands could emit 10 to 12 times more greenhouse gases than conventional crude oils, and the Chicago Tribune recently reported that the increased level of emissions could be as high as 22 percent.
“Canada and America are colluding on getting a pipeline running from Alberta to here for processing tar sand, which it’s already been shown is going to release so much more carbon dioxide,” said Chris Ivanovich, an “oil”-covered protester from Chicago.
Ivanovich and other
protesters at the rally also said the extraction methods used “requires
the devastation of boreal forest the size of England.”
Here's more from the rally:
Canada’s largest exporter of oil, announced Wednesday a $3.2 billion
plan to bring Alberta’s crude to the Midwest via a pipeline to Michigan
by 2014, according to Reuters.
And Canada's Environment Minister Peter Kent has defended his country’s
oil extraction, which has disrupted about 374 square miles of land, as
being ethically superior to oil bought from the Middle East saying “at
least it’s not bloody oil.”
But arguments like Kent’s did little to satisfy protester Matt Paffhouse, who traveled from Michigan to participate in Thursday’s demonstration in addition to the upcoming NATO protests. Paffhouse said he wants the world to wean itself off of oil altogether.
“It’s not one or the other, oil from the Middle East or from the Americas. It’s oil in general,” Paffhouse said. “I’m much more in favor of pursuing alternative sources of power.”
Paffhouse pointed to alternatives such as offshore wind power in Lake Michigan, and educating people on the benefits of biking over other modes of transportation as both an energy saver and a way to improve personal health.
And in an effort to tie the Thursday evening environmental rally to this weekend’s planned protests, Occupy Chicago published the following in a press release:
"NATO/G8 member Canada has declared war on the Alberta Tar Sands and on the planet," said Kyla Bourne, of Occupy Chicago. "The anti-planet, for-profit, oil-driven policy of the Tar Sands by these bankrupt, undemocratic groups who won’t end their exploitation of the environment until our planet - and our future - is in ruins. It is imperative that all mothers, fathers, workers and children take action to stop this devastation."