Tuesday, January 13, 2009

For Sale On eBay: Toxic Alberta Tar Sands Water Bottle

Hello! What I have copied below is a press release from the Sierra Youth Coalition about a very unusual item up for auction on eBay. They did a brilliant job of writing this press release, so I have chosen to directly copy it below instead of paraphrasing. For more information about the Sierra Youth Coalition, contact Youri Cormier – National Director, Sierra Youth Coalition or visit www.syc-cjs.org.


Press Release - for immediate release. For Sale On eBay: Toxic Alberta Tar Sands Water Bottle

CAUTION! ATTENTION! ACHTUNG! CUIDADO! This product is not recommended for human, animal or plant consumption.

January 12, 2009: The Sierra Youth Coalition, Canada's largest youth environmental organization, is selling a bottle of water from the Athabasca River on eBay. Proceeds from the sale will go towards a nation-wide campaign in high schools and universities to raise awareness on the ecological and social impacts of tar sands development in Alberta. The eBay webpage can be found by typing "Tar Sands" or "Tar Sands Water" into the search bar at: www.ebay.ca.

The bottle was filled by cyclists during SYC's To The Tar Sands bike trip in 2008. The cyclists pedaled from Fort McMurray to Calgary carrying such bottles for the ride, in order to engage with people along the way, as they noticed its brown and mucky bitumen sediments. The water, which is being directly contaminated by the growing mining and extraction of bitumen from in the northern regions of Alberta, has exceptionally high levels of mercury, arsenic, and volatile organic matter. The increasingly potent cocktail has be linked to a sudden surge in rare and virulent cancers in local downstream communities.

Sierra Youth Coalition National Director, Youri Cormier, describes the eBay initiative, "The sale of bottled water is something that SYC normally advocates against, because we find it wasteful, and we regard water not as a commodity, but a human right. But what if you are living in Alberta and the oil industry has destroyed your ecosystem to that point that not buying bottled water can kill you? We decided to turn this equation around for a try. We want Canadians to know what's happening to their beautiful wild lands and rivers. We want to give someone else in Canada the opportunity to touch this water, and imagine the everyday reality of living in an impacted community. It's a touch of history, a time capsule for this decade. It's something we'll all regret in 50 years, regardless, but really, we should be regretting it and fighting it right now."

Tim Murphy, SYC member, tar sands cyclist, and editor the book Journey To The Tar Sands adds, "Once you've seen the tar sands mines, you ask yourself: what on Earth are we doing to our planet? It's the biggest industrial project in the world already, and it could grow to be the size of Florida. It produces nearly as much greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in Canada combined, and frankly when you reached that that point, it's time to start setting limits, saying 'no more!' and at the very least, enforcing environmental protection laws... and even that's not being done."

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