Quantcast

Neil Young Stands With First Nations on Anti-Tar Sands Tour

Energy

By Emily Saari

Rock legend Neil Young launched a week long concert tour in Canada this week in solidarity with First Nations fighting against oil sands development in their territories. 

Neil Young’s latest tour, Honor the Treaties and also featuring Diana Krall, is a music tour with a political message.

Young is using his spotlight to draw attention to the massive injustice and environmental degradation associated with tar sands development in Alberta. In an interview regarding the message of his tour, Young said:

Canada is trading integrity for money, that’s what’s happening under the current leadership in Canada… It’s an embarrassment to any Canadians.

The Honor the Treaties tour began on Jan. 12 in Toronto and ends on Jan. 19 in Calgary. Prior to each concert, Young is taking part in a press conference about oil sands development alongside environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki, Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, and climate scientists.

All the proceeds from the Honor the Treaties tour go to the legal defense fund of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN). ACFN spokesperson Eriel Deranger said:

We are honored that Neil Young and Diana Krall are standing with ACFN during this crucial time. Our struggle to preserve the Athabasca Delta isn’t about us but for all Canadians who care about protecting our lands.

The ACFN has been embroiled in a legal battle on several fronts against both the Canadian government and the extractive industry, challenging the encroachment of tar sands development into their land and the violation of their treaty rights.

In Dec. 2013, Shell Oil received approval from the federal government to nearly double the size of its Jackpine Mine in ACFN territory on the Athabasca River.

The Jackpine Mine expansion would devastate the river and its surrounding ecosystem, and severely limit the ability of the AFCN to practice their traditional livelihood—a right that is guaranteed to them in treaties between the sovereign leadership of the First Nations and the nation of Canada. To make matters worse, Shell has also proposed a new, additional mine in northern Alberta, the Pierre River Mine. The ACFN are taking legal action against both projects to protect their people, land and way of life.

If the Canadian government goes forward with its plan to fully extract the Alberta oil sands, the consequences of the development have been described as “game over for the planet.” The mining, refining and combustion of the oil sands would emit dangerous amounts of greenhouse gases that could warm the world past a global climate tipping point.

Because of these global consequences, Young is asking for widespread support of the ACFN legal defense. Early indications show that the public is behind Young, as initial polls suggest Young’s comments are supported by nearly 70 percent of respondents.

I want my grandchildren to grow up and look up and see a blue sky and have dreams that their grandchildren are going to do great things and I don’t see that today in Canada. I see a government just completely out of control.

Visit EcoWatch’s TAR SANDS page for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Loggers operate in an area of lodgepole pine trees killed by the mountain pine beetle in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest on Sept. 13, 2019 in Montana. As climate change makes summers hotter and drier in the Northern Rockies, forests are threatened with increasing wildfire activity, deadly pathogens and insect infestations, including the mountain pine beetle outbreak. The insects have killed more than six million acres of forest across Montana since 2000. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Donald Trump told a crowd at the Davos World Economic Forum Tuesday that the U.S. will join the Forum's 1t.org initiative to restore and conserve one trillion trees around the world, according to The Hill.

Read More
Wild rice flatbread is one of many Native recipes found in Indigikitchen. Indigikitchen

The online cooking show Indigikitchen is providing a platform to help disseminate Indigenous food recipes — while helping eaters recognize their impact on the planet and Native communities.

Read More
Sponsored

On the Solomon Islands, rats and poachers are the two major threats to critically endangered sea turtles. A group of local women have joined forces to help save the animals from extinction.

Read More
Whale watching (here, off Húsavík, Iceland) may be better for the local economy than whale hunting. Davide Cantelli / Wikimedia / CC BY

By Joe Roman

One of the most important global conservation events of the past year was something that didn't happen. For the first time since 2002, Iceland — one of just three countries that still allow commercial whaling — didn't hunt any whales, even though its government had approved whaling permits in early 2019.

Read More
People participate in a national mile-long march to highlight the push for clean water in Flint Feb. 19, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. Bill Pugliano / Stringer / Getty Images

The Supreme Court made a decision Tuesday that means Flint residents can sue state and local officials over the water crisis that leached lead into their water and resulted in at least 12 deaths.

Read More