KAIROS’ Response to the Tar Sands
Development of the Alberta tar sands poses a serious ethical dilemma for Canadians. How can we create meaningful employment and meet our energy needs while at the same time respecting Indigenous rights and the Earth’s natural limits? The way, and the extent, that the tar sands are developed will affect the lives of all Canadians and greatly influence our economy, our trade and foreign policy priorities, and the legacy we leave to future generations. KAIROS has engaged on these questions through its 2007-2010 “Re-Energize” campaign and the current “The Land, Our Life” campaign, which focuses on resource extraction, Indigenous rights, and sustainability. Our work includes the discussion paper, Christian Faith and the Canadian Tar Sands, the experience of a high-level Church leaders’ delegation to the tar sands in May 2009, its statement of findings and KAIROS’ position paper, ‘Drawing a Line in the Sand‘, adopted by the KAIROS Board in 2010. ‘Drawing a Line in the Sand: Why Canada needs to limit tar sands expansion and invest in a green economy’makes the following recommendations with regard to the Tar Sands: 1) No further approvals for tar sands projects; 2) Support Indigenous communities’ and environmental groups’ longstanding calls for independent studies, funded by the Alberta and federal governments, on the cumulative impacts of the tar sands development, especially on health, water and ecosystems. These studies must involve Indigenous people and be accessible to them and the public. 3) The federal government must develop a clean and sustainable energy strategy, based on conservation and the development of renewable energy as well as a funded transition plan for sustainable jobs in a reewable energy sector. The principles of ecological sustainability and Indigenous Rights must be applied to the development of a renewable energy projects.