[Sust-mar] Alberta needs Change not Climate Change - Sierra Youth BIKE TOUR

Paul Falvo pfalvo at chebucto.ns.ca
Fri Mar 23 16:37:33 EDT 2007

***please distribute widely***

La Coalition Jeunesse Sierra cherche à organiser un tour de vélo 
pan-albertain dans le but d'explorer l'impact des sables bitumineux sur 
la province et ses habitants. Le voyage est prévu pour la fin Août/début 
Septembre - une duréée d'environ 3 semaines. Si cela vous intéresse ou 
si vous désirez plus d'informations en français, veuillez envoyez un 
courriel à timmurphy44 at gmail.com

Climate change, power lines , soaring cancer rates, bicycles, water 
scarcity, deteriorating water quality, peak oil, corporate welfare, 
cattle country, rip-off royalty rates, booming oil towns, SUVs and 
unsettled land claims.

Do any of these issues concern you? If so, then read on.

The Sierra Youth Coalition is seeking committed individuals to help 
organize and participate in our pan-Alberta Tar Sands Bike Tour.   Much 
remains to be done if we are going to make this trip a reality.   The 
proposed route starts at the US-Alberta border and ends in Fort Mackay 
and will travel a total distance of over 1000km.  It should take us 
approximately 3 weeks to reach our final destination and the costs will 
depend on the success of our fundraising efforts.  Aside from the 
expense of acquiring and maintaining your bike and personal gear, we 
hope to keep the trip affordable by securing food donations and 
accommodation from the communities we visit. The trip is tentatively 
planned for late August to early September, however exact dates are 
still to be confirmed.

Areas in which we need your leadership include:

-Planning the route (Alberta-US border to Fort Mackay)
-Establishing contacts along the route (food and lodging)
-Documenting the trip and collecting stories from the people we encounter
-Fundraising (in-kind and cash)
-Website and blog (to communicate the findings of our trip)

If you are interested in participating in this bike trip, please send an 
e-mail to timmurphy44 at gmail.com by Monday, April 2nd. In your e-mail, 
please include:

   - Information about yourself: age, gender, languages spoken, location 
of residence, profession or field of study, interests, hobbies, etc.
   - Why you want to participate in the bike trip
   - How you feel you can contribute to the bike trip

Upon receiving and reviewing all e-mails, we will notify you of a 
conference call that will follow soon thereafter.

Our trip is to be based on a mutual respect and understanding for all 
people and the earth on which we depend.

Please read the text below for further details on, and motivations 
behind, the bike trip.

Tim Murphy and Joana Dafoe
On behalf of the SYC Executive Committee


Tar Nation Tour 2007 "Alberta Needs Change, Not Climate Change"

The Sierra Youth Coalition is a Canadian organization run by youth for 
youth, serving as the youth arm of the Sierra Club of Canada. We are a 
group of inspired and committed young people who desire to see the 
working realities of sustainability integrated into the daily operations 
of life around us. We target solutions, we identify problems, and we are 
building a new reality.

Our climate is in crisis, yet our elected leaders have failed to respond 
adequately to the emergency call for help. Here in Canada, we sit in the 
belly of the beast, in the eye of the storm. With $146 billion dollars 
of investments anticipated within the next decade, the Alberta Tar Sands 
are the biggest mega-industrial project in the world. The expected 
growth in the oil sands alone will prevent Canada from reaching its 
internationally agreed targets for greenhouse gas reductions, regardless 
of which government is at the helm.

This is our fight, but we don't want a fight. No, instead we want to 
dream together of a different Alberta, a better Alberta. Alberta needs 
change, not climate change. We want to plan a just transition, chart a 
course towards a vision of renewable energy and energy efficiency. A 
green economy is the cards, but will Alberta play its hand wisely? We 
hope it will and we envision a campaign focused on solutions and 
alternatives to dirty oil. You put someone on the defensive and they 
cease to be receptive to your ideas.

An alternative energy path to Tar Sands development must be central in 
our fight for increased action on climate change. It is an issue that 
cannot be ignored. In response, SYC is proposing a cross Alberta bike 
tour designed to create a safe and meaningful space for dialogue, as 
well as opportunities for targeted action. We want to hear from the 
Albertan people, while assuring that it's government hears from us. We 
want to document our findings. It is hard for most people to grasp the 
magnitude of the Tar Sands Project without having seen it first hand. We 
want to capture images and record stories to be shared with all 
Canadians. We would do this through video and a daily blog.

The proposed route begins at the US/Alberta border near Lethbridge and 
culminates in Fort McKay. It crisscrosses the province visiting large 
city centers such as Calgary and Edmonton, as well as small rural 
communities, working towns and First Nation reserves. It is above all a 
fact-finding mission. First and foremost, we wish to create an open 
dialogue between the multitude of stakeholders involved: farmers and 
ranchers, executives and oil-workers, bureaucrats and politicians, 
women, youth and elders, First Nations, Albertans, Canadians, Americans, 
immigrants and citizens of the world.

While open dialogue is primordial, make no mistake, we will be heard, we 
will seek answers. We cannot have both a stable climate and unabated Tar 
Sands development. This is clear.

We hope to return home from the bike trip with a solid understanding of 
the problem and its many facets. It is expected that first hand 
knowledge of the issue, will assist us in better framing our demands.

The time is ripe for such an adventure and we hope you will join us in 
making it a reality. Please let us know if you are interested in taking 


Tim Murphy and Joana Dafoe
On behalf of the Sierra Youth Coalition Executive Committee


Appendix - A Chronology of SYC Bike Trips

SYC has long history of bicycle powered campaigns. Such campaigns serve 
to inspire the public, but even more so, they forever change the lives 
of those who partake:

In the summer of 2001, the Climate Change Caravan, a group of 40 
concerned citizens, primarily youth, engaged in a self-propelled, 
fossil-free movement across Canada, starting in Tofino, British 
Columbia, via Newfoundland, and finishing in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This 
caravan of bikers and a bus powered by used vegetable oil complete with 
solar panels (all engineered by students) delivered The BET campaign to 
all Canadians. The BET asked Canadians to commit to a seven out of 
twelve steps designed to help reduce personal greenhouse gas emissions 
by 50%. It was a challenge to the federal government that Canadians 
could go further than it could in reducing greenhouse emissions. The 
Climate Change Caravan visited roughly 120 towns and cities along the 
way, making presentations about climate change to town councils, 
schools, and community groups. Subsequent to the summer tour, a small 
group of caravans bought land in rural Nova Scotia and are in the 
process of becoming one of the youngest Community Land Trusts in the 

In 2003, the Sierra Youth Coalition coordinated the Deconstructing 
Dinner Caravan. On this bike tour, 18 Canadian activists rode from 
Vancouver to Cancun, Mexico in order to demonstrate against the WTO's 
5th Ministerial. Along the way, they collected stories about the 
connections between Trade, the Environment, and Agriculture. Education 
and information sharing are always priorities in SYC's work, and 
reporting and documentation of our involvement in these events reached 
1000s of SYC volunteers, members, supporters and youth.

In the summer of 2005, the Sierra Youth Coalition held its first ever 
Bike Action Gathering (BAG). 15 high school aged youth cycled through 
South East New Brunswick. The trip sought to strengthen understanding 
between the region 3 most prominent cultural communities: English 
Canadian, French Acadian and Native Mi'kmaq. Youth visited organic 
farms, eco-homes, native reserves, national parks, wild beaches. 
Workshops ranged from cultural sensitivity, homophobia, supermarket 
tours, green design, eco-forestry and food production. The BAG was 
repeated in the summer of 2006 when a group of youth cycled from 
Sackville, New Brunswick to Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia to attend 
Ecotopia, a 3-day gathering of learning, leadership, music, art and 
action organized by the Sierra Club of Canada's Atlantic Chapter.

Lindsay Telfer
Chapter Director
Sierra Club of Canada - Prairie Chapter
lindsay at sierraclub.ca

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