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International 'Stop The Tar Sands' Day - Berlin

International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
01/17
Caption
Tar sands duck sheds tears of "oil" under Canadian flag at Canadian embassy
International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
02/17
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Joesph Sykes puts dirty oil handprint on petition to be delivered to Canadian officials
International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
03/17
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Jessy Tuddingham leads crowd in " duck dance" to commemorate the 1600 ducks that died when the landed in toxic tar sands tailing pond in 2008
International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
04/17
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Tar sands duck "drowning" in mock tailings pond with Canadian flag in reflection
International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
05/17
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Deirdre O'Halloran puts dirty oil handprint on petition to be delivered to Canadian officials
International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
06/17
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Derek Leahy, organizer and founder of International Stop the Tar Sands Day washes hands in the tar sands "tailings pond"
International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
07/17
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"Stop Tar Sands" sign in English, French, Spanish, German with dirty oil handprint petition
International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
08/17
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Jendrik Terasa, demo-fest Berlin organizer speaks to crowd of nearly 100 at Potsdamer Platz
International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
09/17
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Demonstrators play "tar sands twister" in front of the Canadian Embassy Berlin to create awareness that Canada's tar sands are the worst environmental disaster on the planet.
International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
10/17
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Demonstrators informing Berlin tourists about Canada's tar sands and the massive environmental impacts.
International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
11/17
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German citizens playing "tar sands twister" in front of the Canadian Embassy in Berlin.
International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
12/17
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More people playing "tar sands twister" in front of the Canadian Embassy in Berlin.
International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
13/17
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Greenpeace, Natur Freunde and other environmental groups show their support for the tar sands demo-festival
International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
14/17
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Stand-up comedian Michael Dempsey informs the crowd although the tar sands oil emits 4x more CO2 than conventional oil, "CO2 is a good thing"
International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
15/17
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Solar drummers in front of the Canadian Embassy in Berlin
International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
16/17
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Organizers paint signs the night before the Berlin International Stop the Tar Sands Day
International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
17/17
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Organizers paint signs the night before the Berlin International Stop the Tar Sands Day
  • International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
  • International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
  • International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
  • International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
  • International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
  • International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
  • International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
  • International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
  • International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
  • International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
  • International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
  • International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
  • International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
  • International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
  • International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
  • International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin
  • International Stop The Tar Sands Day  Berlin

Protesters played music, "tar sands twister", "tar sands volleyball", and "dirty oil hand painting" in front of the Canadian Embassy to create awareness for Canada's tar sands environmental disaster in Alberta. Berlin, Germany. 17/07/2010

"It's bottom-of-the-barrel oil, like sucking up the beer spilled on your rug from last night's party," says organizer of Berlin's demo-festival on International Stop the Tar Sands Day.

Berlin

"Keep Canada Green! Stop the Tar Sands" yelled participants at a 'demo-festival' in front of the Canadian Embassy in Berlin Saturday July 17. About 100 people played games like "tar sands twister" and "tars sands beach volleyball", watched stand-up comedy while engaging hundreds of tourists in Berlin's busy Postdamer Platz.

"I believe in Canadians. They will make the right choice to shut down the Tar Sands, the worst environmental disaster on the planet," said first-time organizer Derek Leahy, a Canadian living in Berlin.

Eminent NASA scientist James Hansen has called Canada's 140,000 square kilometre tar sands one of the planet's greatest threats. Located in remote the forests and lakes of northern Canada, the tar sands are the world's biggest industrial project - and perhaps its most polluting.

Not only is a pristine region amounting to 40 per cent of Germany being destroyed, there are giant “lakes” of toxic waste totaling more than five times the size of Berlin’s famous Wannsee where 50,000 flock to cool off at Europe's biggest inland beach says Leahy. Recent reports show those toxic lakes are leaking into the Athabasca river, part of world's third largest river system.

"Extracting oil from the tar sands not only destroys forests and wetlands, almost double the fresh water 3.4 million Berliners use every day is being contaminated to produce the world's dirtiest oil," Leahy said in an interview.

While public awareness is low, there is little debate among experts that squeezing oil from the tar sands is a destructive, energy-intensive process that emits three to four times as much carbon dioxide as conventional oil production. Tar sands are a mix of clay, sand and sticky tar or bitumen 20 to 50 meters underneath the Boreal forest in the western Canadian province of Alberta. After the forest is removed and lakes drained, several tonnes of earth must be processed with superheated steam and chemicals to produce one barrel of heavy oil.

"It's bottom-of-the-barrel oil, like sucking up the beer spilled on your rug at last night's party," says Leahy.

About 1.5 million barrels are produced each day by multi-national oil companies like BP, Exxon, Shell and Total with almost all being shipped to feed the thirsty US market. Canada has quietly become the biggest source of foreign oil for America.

"Oil extraction from tar sands is polluting, destructive, expensive and energy-intensive. These things are facts," John Podesta, President of the Center for American Progress, a US think tank reminded Canadian officials in Washington DC recently. The Canadian government is worried that the Obama Administration will impose a "dirty oil" tariff. Europe is considering similar rules.

Not only are major European oil companies like BP, Statoil, Shell, and France’s Total involved, banks in Switzerland, United Kingdom, France, Italy, and the Netherlands have invested in tar sands projects says Berliner Jendrik Terasa, one of the organizers of the demo-fest.

"I love Canada's beautiful nature. It is terrible what is going on there," said Terasa who has lived in Canada. "This is not just a Canadian issue, Germany is heavily involved in selling equipment and in financing there."

"The destructiveness of Canada's tar sands is far worse than the Gulf Oil spill. And billions of euros are being pumped into double the size of tar sands operations," he said in an interview.

Collin North, a young Canadian living in Berlin explained that he was participating because he does not want to be part of a generation that did nothing to stop the tar sands. "Thinking 50 or 100 years into the future, what will people living then think about what we have done to the planet," North said.

North summed up the first International Stop the Tar Sands Day in Berlin as: "...a great day -- entertaining and informative. We're taking a step in the right direction."

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