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Birchbark Blog

Why The Tar Sands?

Louise Erdrich - Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dear Bookish Ones,

Why would our inoffensive little bookstore, loving as we do to please our friends and customers, suddenly decide to show a move that will break your heart?   

H2Oil, the movie that we will be screening on October 27 and 28, at next door Kenwood Cafe, is honestly so upsetting that it is hard not to cry when you watch the trailer.  Why would we ask you to see such a film? Why would we become so compelled by this particular issue, when all we've ever done before is recommend books?

Why so crucial, why this urgency? Simple. There is nothing more important -- right now, right here.

The Tar Sands operation in Canada produces three to four times more carbon that regular oil extraction. Bill McKibben has called it a carbon bomb. Climatologists have termed the operation "game over" for our climate. The boreal forest is basically scraped away in this method of strip-oil-mining -- removing the lungs of the earth. As you watch the movie, you will understand the tragic impact of this project on Native people and communities. Billions of gallons of fresh water are used to steam the tar out of the sand, and the Keystone XL pipeline, a huge plan enlarging drastically on pipelines already built, could spill into our largest fossil water aquifer, which lies beneath South Dakota. Even now, living where we do, we are using 80% Tar Sands oil.

Wildly profitable oil companies don't want you to know this: the future belongs to those countries who conserve their fresh water and develop clean energies.    

At this moment, President Obama could just say no. He could stand up for our future -- stand up to big oil. He could keep his promise to heal the planet and reduce our dependence on oil in favor of clean energy. Obama could stop the Keystone XL pipeline, and send a powerful message to the world. He is expected to make his decision in mere weeks.

That is why it is so important to show H2Oil, to see this film, to tell your friends, and to pull up Bill McKibben's website and find out what is happening, and why, on November 6 -- it will be a historical day for the climate.

I don't have any books to talk about tonight. Friends, our existence is a narrow miracle. Can it really be that we'll make earth, this green joy, into a place where we cannot survive?


H2Oil Trailer


Bill McKibben and
Encircle the White House and Stop the Tar Sands on November 6!

Connect with people working on this issue:

Indigenous Environmental Network

Tar Sands Action (National)

Tar Sands Action (Minnesota)
Facebook: (National)

MN350 (Minnesota)

Michael M commented on 31-Oct-2011 04:31 PM
Thank you for showing the movie. It was as heartbreaking as you described. One action we can do right now is write to our senators. When asked what their stand is on the tar sands pipeline, both of our senators said they have not taken a position yet because
they have not heard from their constituents. So let's let them hear from us!
Paul commented on 18-Nov-2011 02:18 AM
How bad is it in North Dakota, now that they're getting oil out of shale there?
Sherry Bronson commented on 01-Dec-2011 08:14 AM
Thank you for posting the H2Oil Trailer. I sobbed. I don't believe 99% of the population has any idea what is really happening 'up there' myself included. It is heartbreaking beyond words. Windows of Clarity...yes. Another incredible book entitled "The
Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight" by Thom Hartmann is an amazing treatment on the subject of the challenges facing our planet. Thank you again for taking a stand and speaking out on these existence-threatening issues.
sharon day commented on 01-Feb-2012 03:57 PM
Not only do we need to stop the tar sands pipeline,we also need to stop the Open Pit Mine that is being proposed for Lake Superior near the Bad River Reservation. The toxins from the mine will flow north into Lake Superior, damage the water and the manomin
(wild rice beds). It's so sad that our water is being attacked on so many fronts. Mi'ew and Migwetch for listening.
ann commented on 19-Nov-2012 01:31 AM
Presidential election is over and life is still complicated and reading can open thoughts of what has been and what will be. It is not bad in Williston Basin North Dakota, in fact life is good after a year of mildest winter and greatest grain and grass growing year Williams County has ever known. Internal combustive engine uses fuel at this time and we all need to waste less and walk more. Fracturing shale has produced more natural gas than can be sold and this may be a real problem as it is being flared bringing crude oil on line.
Nick bob commented on 13-Feb-2013 08:31 PM
earth has been there for us for a long time ago,thank you for show us this film. It's rely hurt inside know that the earth we stay has been damage by human doing. We lost a lot of thing that actually we don't have deserve to do it. I hope this movie make people realize the important of keeping the world.
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