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A Line in the Tar Sands: Struggles for Environmental Justice
The fight over the tar sands in North America is among the epic environmental and social justice battles of our time, and one of the first that has managed to quite explicitly marry concern for frontline communities and immediate local hazards with fear for the future of the entire planet.
Tar sands “development” comes with an enormous environmental and human cost. But tar sands opponents—fighting a powerful international industry—are likened to terrorists, government environmental scientists are muzzled, and public hearings are concealed and rushed.
Yet, despite the formidable political and economic power behind the tar sands, many opponents are actively building international networks of resistance, challenging pipeline plans while resisting threats to Indigenous sovereignty and democratic participation. Including leading voices involved in the struggle against the tar sands, A Line in the Tar Sands offers a critical analysis of the impact of the tar sands and the challenges opponents face in their efforts to organize effective resistance.
Contributors include: Angela Carter, Bill McKibben, Brian Tokar, Christine Leclerc, Clayton Thomas-Muller, Crystal Lameman, Dave Vasey, Emily Coats, Eriel Deranger, Greg Albo, Jeremy Brecher, Jess Worth, Jesse Cardinal, Joshua Kahn Russell, Lilian Yap, Linda Capato, Macdonald Stainsby, Martin Lukacs, Matt Leonard, Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Naomi Klein, Rae Breaux, Randolph Haluza-DeLay, Rex Weyler, Ryan Katz-Rosene, Sâkihitowin Awâsis, Sonia Grant, Stephen D’Arcy, Toban Black, Tony Weis, Tyler McCreary, Winona LaDuke, and Yves Engler.
The editors’ proceeds from this book will be donated to frontline grassroots environmental justice groups and campaigns.
“The tar sands has become a key front in the fight against climate change, and the fight for a better future, and it’s hard to overstate the importance of the struggles it has inspired.”
—Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben
“Avoiding 'game over for climate' requires drawing a line in the tar sands sludge. A Line in the Tar Sands makes clear why and how this tar sands quagmire could be the beginning of the end for the mighty fossil fuel industry.”
—Dr. James Hansen, NASA
“From Indigenous people's sharing of prophecy, to lock-downs and blockades, from marches to hip-hop tours, from horseback rides to hunger strikes, and from mass arrests in front of the White House and Parliament to court battles, A Line in the Tar Sands examines the ongoing struggle to protect Sacred Water and Mother Earth through the voices and actions of the people who are living it. Read A Line in the Tar Sands and be heartbroken to learn the extent of the destruction of Mother Earth. Be inspired by the people working to stop the destruction.”
—Debra White Plume, Moccasins on the Ground, Owe Aku International
“The most important stories in the tar sands struggle are hidden by the media. This revelatory book tells of Canadian duplicity, Chinese capital, migrant workers, healing ceremonies, movement reflection and strategy, EU lobbying, the contradictions of NGO politics, Indigenous activism, and much more. The story of Greenhouse Goo is global. But so it its resistance: beautiful, complex, and rich. A Line in the Tar Sands is drawn with hope and righteous anger, celebrating the cosmologies that the tar sands industry—and its politicians—would destroy.”
—Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved
“This collaborative effort not only details the insanity of tar sands development, it also shines a light on the Indigenous-led resistance movement challenging the fundamentally exploitative paradigm underlying extreme energy extraction. It provides a model of genuine solidarity in the fight to replace oppression with a healthy and just world.”
—Tim Dechristopher, Bidder 70
About the Editors:
Joshua Kahn Russell is the U.S. actions coordinator and trainings program manager for 350.org, a trainer with the Ruckus Society, and coauthor of Organizing Cools the Planet (PM Press).
Stephen D’Arcy is an associate professor and chair in the Department of Philosophy at Huron University College. He is the author of Languages of the Unheard: The Ethics of Militant Protest (Between the Lines). He is also a climate justice and economic democracy activist.
Tony Weis is an associate professor in Geography at the University of Western Ontario. He is the author of The Global Food Economy: The Battle for the Future of Farming and The Ecological Hoofprint: The Global Burden of Industrial Livestock (both with Zed Books).
Toban Black is a community organizer and a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Western Ontario, with research focused on environmental justice, the political economy of energy systems, and theories of social change.
About the Contributors:
Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist, and author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Her first book, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, was also an international bestseller, translated into nearly thirty languages with more than a million copies in print.
Bill McKibben is the author of a dozen books about the environment, beginning with The End of Nature in 1989, which is regarded as the first book on climate change for a general audience. He is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org, which has coordinated fifteen thousand rallies in 189 countries since 2009. Time magazine called him "the planet's best green journalist," and the Boston Globe said in 2010 that he was ""probably the country's most important environmentalist."
Editors: Joshua Kahn Russell, Stephen D'Arcy, Tony Weis, Toban Black • Foreword by Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben
Publisher: PM Press
Page count: 392