Sierra Club Vigil for a Responsible Canada
The Sierra Club hosted a nationwide vigil Friday evening in ten major cities to bring attention to the environmental damage caused by Canada's tar sands mining. Members of the Sierra Club in Phoenix, Arizona met at the Consulate General of Canada's office building.
Event organizer, Chris Gehlker, who has been a Sierra Club member for over ten years, expressed the importance of speaking out against the consequences of extracting oil from the Canadian tar sands.
"This is probably a crossroads for our country and for the world," Chris stated. "And people generations from now are going to look back on this and say, 'Thank God they stopped it' or they are going to say 'That was the end.'"
Supporter Krista Cunningham, who had heard about the vigil online, said regarding climate change, "How can you not see what is going on? How can you not see the changes?" She continued, "Maybe there are those who say this is going to happen no matter what we do. But what is the worst that can happen if we change our ways? We have a cleaner future, period."
The Sierra Club is a nationwide organization which for over one hundred years has advocated for responsible use of the environment, clean air, and the promotion of clean energy.
The purpose of the vigil was to continue to bring attention to the destruction and strip mining of the Canadian Boreal Forest in order to produce oil from the dirt under the forest floor. It generally takes two tons of oil sand to produce one barrel of oil.
Concerns about water usage are also expressed. The oil extraction uses about twice as much water as is used by the city Calgary. Other concerns are about the amount of greenhouse gas emissions used to process the oil and of water pollution. And there is the potential impact on health due to the heavy metals and carcinogens in the dirt which are released into the environment.
The Sierra Club has a state organization in Downtown Phoenix which has paid staff and volunteers who help with lobbying efforts at the State Capitol. Rob Smith, who has been with Sierra Club since 1976, was at the vigil.
In addition, they have members throughout the state of Arizona. They have also been helping to lead the effort to restrict one million acres of Grand Canyon land from being mined for uranium.
Photos on Facebook:
YouTube video of the Phoenix vigil prayer
Sierra Club: Candlelight Vigils for a Responsible Canada
Story on Demotix.com