by Jeanne McHale, Co-op Newsletter Volunteer
It would be nice if this month’s Green Transportation column were a laundry list of simple things you can do to reduce the environmental impact of getting around: bike, walk, carpool, etc. But none of these healthy practices matter in the long run, if Exxon-Mobile and its Canadian subsidiary Imperial Oil are allowed to imperil the planet with their climate-killing mining practices. The massive Kearl Tar Sands project (250 square miles mined so far, with a possible scope of 54,000 square miles), poses threats to the environment on a geological scale. In a climate-bashing triple-whammy, this environmental obscenity wastes natural gas to fluidize a nasty carcinogenic precursor, scrapes off the boreal forest and nullifies its capacity for absorbing CO2, and would ship the end-product to China where it will be subject to fewer regulations when it’s burned. Leaking tailings ponds are fouling the Athabasca River, causing deformed fish and ruining livelihoods. Rare cancers are inflicting whole families of people who live near the tar sands.
Earlier this year, Big Oil had its slimy tentacles stretched toward the scenic Clearwater and Lochsa Rivers. Now the loads, which were earlier deemed to be “impossible to reduce in size,” have been sliced lengthwise to fit under freeway overpasses, and these stubby behemoths have the green light from the Idaho Department of Imperial Oil Transportation (I.D.I.O.T.) to pound Highway 95 on their way north to the ecological freak show.
The night of Aug. 25, six brave Moscow citizens were arrested and hundreds more protested the passage of a half-height Exxon-Mobile megaload. Since then, a handful of additional loads bound for Alberta have been met by robust gatherings of resistors. At least 60 more stubby megaloads are idling in Lewiston while B.O. and I.D.I.O.T. rework their travel plan to try to minimize opportunities for free speech, much of which has been expressed within blocks of our food co-op.
Biking and walking are small contributions made by individuals. Massive social change to prevent dire environmental consequences, on the other hand, requires a lot of people acting together to affect policy. Come downtown and participate in peaceful demonstrations against megaload madness. Reject Moscow’s participation in genocide and climate change.
Jeanne McHale thanks the members of Wild Idaho Rising Tide for their hard work and recommends friending them on Facebook to keep abreast of tar sands resistance work.