Welcome to Blockadia!

From Yes Magazine:  http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/welcome-to-blockadia-enbridge-transcanada-tar-sands

The corporate push to construct tar-sands pipelines is transforming the environmental movement across North America by increasing the involvement of local residents and normalizing the use of direct action.

posted Jan 11, 2013
We are members of Peaceful Uprising and Utah Tar Sands Resistance, groups that are working to stop tar sands mining from beginning in Utah. As tar sands mining is scheduled to begin in Utah in 2013, we deeply valued the chance to visit the Tar Sands Blockade in Texas several months ago to gain insight from other grassroots organizers. Finding solidarity across such a distance inspired this piece.On January 10, Oklahomans marched on a section of the Keystone XL pipeline in Stroud, Okla., to launch a direct action campaign against the project. Just three days earlier, more than 100 activists stormed into the Houston headquarters of TransCanada, the corporation contracted to build Keystone. Meanwhile, a new tree-sit went up to block the path of the pipeline’s construction in Diboll, Texas. These actions represent the spirit of Blockadia—a vast but interwoven web of campaigns standing up against the fossil fuel industry and demanding an end to the development of tar sands pipelines.Blockadia is a place where the future of the environmental movement is being negotiated. In this vast region of proposed tar sands pipelines—particularly the Keystone XL, which reaches from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico; and the Northern Gateway, which extends from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia—communities are engaged in struggles that draw strength from one another. From ahunger strike in Houston to the third annual signing of the Save the Fraser Declaration in Vancouver, these communities have been ramping up their efforts in recent weeks.Complemented by the recent firestorm of actions for indigenous rights by the Idle No More movement across Canada and the world, Blockadia is bringing a renewed emphasis on social justice to the environmental movement.

The efforts of communities throughout Blockadia share three main characteristics that make the struggle against tar sands pipelines different than any environmental campaign in U.S. history: the normalization of direct action; the involvement of rural and indigenous groups along with more typical “activists;” and the ability of tar sands extraction to motivate even those who tolerated conventional oil pipelines.

Through these qualities, Blockadia’s campaigns are building a unified front larger than anything the environmental movement has ever seen, making the struggle potentially winnable despite the steep odds against it.

Continue reading at:  http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/welcome-to-blockadia-enbridge-transcanada-tar-sands

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