Canada’s tar sands is the largest industrial project in the world and it’s only getting frighteningly bigger.
Many foreign oil companies are aggressively extracting bitumen (a black, tar-like substance) from the sands which is then turned into crude oil. In the process, it’s creating serious social, economic and environmental problems for North America.
In June of 2012, we took a stand against the expansion of the Canadian tar sands. Although we ran different campaigns in Canada and the US, they both had the same clear message: building additional pipelines to transport bitumen not only accelerates the growth of Alberta's tar sands, but an inevitable rupture puts our land, water and livelihoods at serious risk.
In Canada, we worked with Dogwood Initiative, a Victoria-based non-profit that brings together everyday British Columbians to take back decision-making power over their air, land and water. Our Canadian shops gathered signatures for Dogwood’s petition calling for a tanker ban on the British Columbian coastline. The tanker ban would prevent the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline from being built. If approved, the pipeline will run from Alberta's tar sands to Kitimat, BC, exporting crude oil to China and putting our coastal waters, fishing industry and First Nations communities at risk in the process. We have good reason to be concerned; Enbridge averages one oil spill a week.
In the US, we worked with 350.org, a global grassroots organization that’s building movements to solve the climate crisis. To support their work, our American shops educated customers about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline extension. The 1600-mile pipeline would export up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta's tar sands to the Gulf Coast of Texas, crossing thousands of rivers and streams, including the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies two million Americans with fresh water. Our customers signed a 350.org petition against the pipeline addressed to President Barack Obama.
Throughout the campaign we also had Lush polling stations set up in all our North American shops to give our customers the opportunity to make their voice heard. We sold our Charity Pot Hand And Body Lotion and donated the total amount generated during the campaign to our partners, raising $16,500 for 350.org and $21,000 for Dogwood Initiative! The 3800 votes collected in Canada and the 4000 votes in the US went directly to Dogwood Initiative and 350.org respectively. In November 2015, the Keystone XL pipeline was denied, while Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline was approved in early 2016. Later that year, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned this approval, saying Ottawa failed to consult with First Nations communities.
Dogwood Initiative is still fighting the good fight, however. To take action, check out how you can help.