Bloody oil - shut down the tar sands!

A note from the editor

Jess Worth

The extraordinary destructiveness of the tar sands is further proof – if any were needed – that we have to move away from our reliance on oil. But like it or not, that’s a big ask.

Here at the New Internationalist Co-operative we try to put our principles into practice. So over the last few weeks we have been putting together a travel policy that, as one of its explicit aims, is intended to reduce the amount of flights we take as an organization.

It’s controversial. Most people in our workers’ co-op support, in theory, a cap on the number of flights we take collectively over the year. But how do we decide?

Should we ban flights to places in Europe, even if it takes more than a day to get there by train? Is it more important for an editor to fly to somewhere like Iraq or the Arctic for on-the-ground reporting, or for a member of staff from our Canadian, Australian or New Zealand/Aotearoa offices to come over to Oxford for face-to-face meetings, ensuring close, effective working relationships? Are we fetishizing flying when actually we only take an average of seven flights a year, which is already much lower than most similar operations? Are we risking losing touch with the world on which we report if we reduce the amount of time we spend out of the office?

As we continue to tie ourselves in ethical knots, we would be interested to know what you think – and especially if your organization has attempted something similar.

Jess Worth for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

The big story

Man and machine: the scale of the project is mind-boggling. This 170 metre long bucket-wheel reclaimer is used to shift tar sands along conveyor belts.Photo by: Thomas Ball

Man and machine: the scale of the project is mind-boggling. This 170 metre long bucket-wheel reclaimer is used to shift tar sands along conveyor belts.

Photo by: Thomas Ball

Taking on Tarmageddon

The international campaign to shut down the tar sands is shaping up to be an iconic battle, reports Jess Worth.

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‘If local indigenous communities tell us they don’t want the Sunrise Project, then of course we won’t do it,’ Peter Mather, boss of BP UK, said to me earnestly.

I could barely believe my ears. Was the oil giant, poised to enter the tar sands for the first time, really claiming it would be prepared to back down in the face of local opposition? My strange evening had just got stranger.

I was in Oxford’s swanky Randolph Hotel. It was last October, and I’d gone with a group of student...




Features

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Canada's curse Photo by JIRI REZAC

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Vast reserves of the black stuff are bringing the country nothing but trouble, argues *Andrew Nikiforuk*.

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Activists on an inflatable boat next to the world’s biggest tuna fishing vessel, the Albatun Tres. The ship can take 3,000 tonnes of tuna in a single trip, almost double the annual catch of some Pacific island countries.Photo by Paul Hilton / Greenpeace

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The Athabasca River winds peacefully through the boreal forest.Photo by david dodge / canadian parks and wilderness society

I’ll die doing this

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Take action

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Simple things you can do NOW, and a directory of films, books and organizations.

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Dark material: a lump of bitumen found in Congo.Photo by Elena Gerebizza (CRBM)

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Regulars

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Young Tunisian women studying photography at technical college.Photo by Giacomo Pirozzi / Panos

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Film, Book & Music Reviews

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