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Now let’s talk about this… for a very small amount of oil, you’re producing three times more greenhouse gases than conventional methods, and destroying one of our natural treasures? Um… NO!

January 16, 2008, 9:14 PM

After work today, I went to a small demonstration outside the Canadian Embassy at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 5th Street NW in DC. The demonstration was about the Athabasca Oil Sands, also known as the Alberta Tar Sands, on the occasion of the Premier of Alberta, Ed Stelmach, delivering a speech at the Canadian Embassy promoting the extraction of the oil from the Alberta Tar Sands. I quote from the press release handed out at the event:

The Canadian province of Alberta is in possession of a rare natural resource known as the Alberta Tar Sands, which can produce a very small amount of low-grade petroleum only after undergoing an extremely energy intensive and wasteful process. This process produces three times as many greenhouse gases as conventional oil production through extreme localized degradation, and is being referred to as the most environmentally destructive petroleum endeavor of all time. On his first visit to the U.S. the Canadian Embassy will host a talk by Ed Stelmach promoting the extraction and use of Alberta Tar Sands.

It was quite a festive event, too. RCDC was in attendance, as was my usual group of friends that I see at protests – Jeff, Luke, Maddy, and Olga. I also got to see Isis. And Brendan, a coworker of mine from Food & Water Watch, was also in attendance. Plus there were several people dressed in polar bear costumes, and a number of people played “O Canada” on kazoos as we protested Ed Stelmach’s visit to DC.

And of course, I got photos.

Polar bears and humans alike hold signs recommending strongly against extracting oil from the tar sands.
Polar bears and humans alike hold signs recommending strongly against extracting oil from the tar sands.

Meghan from RCDC led the chants with a bullhorn, which included a few passages from the "Hot In Here" and "Ugly" cheers.
Meghan from RCDC led the chants with a bullhorn, which included a few passages from the “Hot In Here” and “Ugly” cheers.

Playing "O Canada" on the kazoo...
Playing “O Canada” on the kazoo…

RCDC as well as my regular protest buddies, minus Luke.
RCDC as well as my regular protest buddies, minus Luke.

Isis smiles between photos.
Isis smiles between photos.

And of course, at the end, thanking everyone for showing up.
And of course, at the end, thanking everyone for showing up.

Meanwhile, afterwards, Jeff, Luke, Maddy, Olga, and myself headed out. We headed up 7th Street to the Verizon Center entrance to Gallery Pl-Chinatown station, and then hung a left on F Street until around 11th Street, I want to say, when we headed a block north to go into Metro Center station. There, we bid goodbye to Luke, who had other places to go. Then in Metro Center, we bid Jeff goodbye as he went to the Shady Grove platform, and then I parted company with Maddy and Olga when my Red Line train to Glenmont came, as they were headed down to take the Blue or Orange Line to Foggy Bottom.

And next up? The consulta in Frederick! Don’t expect to see any photos from that, though, because this is primarily activist training, as we’re learning about combating gentrification, street blockading, legal aid, street safety, police tactics, and more. The consulta is being presented in the context of preparation for the DNC and RNC this summer, but a number of us are going to the consulta more with the intent of taking what we learned there and applying it to the numerous political demonstrations that we have in DC. After all, for many of us in the DC area, at least in the circles I run with, the DNC in Denver and the RNC in St. Paul are well out of range for us as far as time, funds, and endurance goes. Still, I think we’ll be able to get a lot out of it. And it should be fun as well.

Web site: Forest Ethics and Oil Change, co-sponsors of this demonstration.

Song: "U-G-L-Y, corporate scum, you cheat, you lie, you ugly, yeah, yeah, you ugly!"

Quote: "I believe this demonstration is 'official' now!" - Me to Brendan upon Luke's arrival, as Luke is at just about every DC area demonstration.

Categories: Activism