Creative direct actions are taking place across Canada on Saturday, in a nationwide mobilization meant to demonstrate that Canadians "care about their communities, and that we are ready to stop digging, start building and move beyond the tar sands."
The 'We > Tar Sands' rallies and events are coming in advance of a major March for Jobs, Justice, and the Climate happening in Toronto on Sunday, and on the heels of a series of student-led sit-ins that swept the country on Friday.
Taken together, the actions represent "the first steps towards a new kind of climate movement," as eco-activist and anti-capitalist Naomi Klein put it.
The July 4th coast-to-coast mobilizations, which range from the creation of a giant human chain on the sea wall at Vancouver's Sunset Beach to a flotilla protest on the Ottawa River just outside Montreal to a free concert in Edmonton, the capital of tar sands-rich Alberta, are being supported by 350.org—which is providing live updates on the events here.
The #JobsJusticeClimate actions are serving as an important prelude to the Climate Summit of the Americas and Pan American Economic Summit in Toronto next week, as well as the international climate talks known as COP21, happening in Paris later this year.
"[T]he government and much of the mainstream media appear to be hell-bent on promoting (and subsidizing) rapid oilsands expansion and pipeline development with little concern for the consequences of pollution and global warming, and with little attention to the tremendous opportunities for healthy communities and a healthy economy from clean technology and renewable energy and efficiency," Canadian scientist and author David Suzuki wrote on Friday.
"We can and must change," he continued. "People all over the world taking part in marches know it. Religious leaders understand it. Global organizations such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Health Organization are talking about it. In Canada and elsewhere, municipal and provincial or state governments have been leading the way.
"As world leaders prepare for the global climate summit in Paris in December, it’s time for them to join this growing, diverse groundswell of people who are showing the world the need and possibilities for a better way."