Last week, the Nobel Women's Initiative sent a delegation to speak with women in the Canadian province of Alberta about the impact of the Tar Sands oil mining on them, their families and communities. As Nobel Laureate Jody Williams notes in her observations, the denuded Boreal forest area of the Tar Sands project is geographically the size of Florida, and while oil companies have made $14 billion on the project, local indigenous communities have reaped respiratory problems and cancers. As a project that daily uses enough natural gas to heat 6 million homes, one has to ask what is the point of such a project, let alone doubling its size as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper proposes.
So, as the Nobel Women's delegation listens to stories about the annihilation of indigenous peoples' independent and sustainable way of life and ever increasing rates of sickness, substance abuse and suicide, we might want to ask why the broader society finds this cultural genocide acceptable. Have consumers been so brainwashed they support any project that provides them with with more fossil-fueled junk, or is it only acceptable when it happens to someone else?
Perhaps more importantly, would our society accept this if the victims were white?