The Crowd claims
Stop tarsands mining, protect the world’s most important carbon sinks and hold Canada accountable for breaking their constitutional promise to the Beaver Lake Cree Nation.
Next legal action of the crowd
Preparation for going to trial. This is scheduled around 2017. To cover the ongoing costs for this legal step in this winnable landmark case, the crowd needs US $28,000 (25.000 euro).
Beaver Lake Cree Nation is accusing the governments of Canada and Alberta for breaking their treaty promises by allowing 19,000 permits for mineral developments (mostly tarsands) on their territory. In their legal challenge, the First Nation claims that the more than 19,000 fossil fuel projects in their traditional territory threaten to destroy their way of life – by polluting and fragmenting the land and water that have sustained them for centuries.
Preparation for trial is moving steadily forward with the retention of several experts to produce reports ranging from socio-cultural impact assessments and ethno-historical data gathering to the effect of the mineral developments.
Case background and who The Crowd supports
In 1876, the Canadian Crown promised the First Nations, including the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, that in exchange for sharing their lands and keeping the peace, they could keep their way of life, culture and the right to “hunt, fish, trap in perpetuity”. Canada has not kept its part of the bargain by approving some 19,000 fossil fuel extraction projects which have had devastating impacts on indigenous peoples’ ability to maintain their culture and way of life. To fish or to hunt is quite difficult where the ground has been plowed under more than 30 feet. The caribou in the region are on the verge of extinction.
Tarsands mining is the most inefficient oil extraction (it requires the energy-equivalent of three barrels of oil to produce only one) and produces around five times more greenhouse gasses than normal oil extraction. The tarsands in Canada represent the largest industrial area in the world, the size of a small Switzerland. On top of that, the tarsands have already destroyed big parts of the Canadian taiga, the world’s largest boreal forest. Many scientists warn that the massive destruction by tarsands mining may irreversibly push our planet past the tipping point of climate change.
The 900 Cree people live in an area of the taiga, and their homeland is under threat on the front lines of destructive tarsands mining. In order to protect one of the world’s most important carbon sinks, with caribou habitats, and dotted with hundreds of freshwater lakes and rivers, this First Nation is in the process of taking the Canadian government and the province of Alberta to court.
RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs) is the NGO/nonprofit that The Crowd Versus works together with for this case. The people of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation are supported by RAVEN, a nonprofit organization based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
The next legal action is to shoot a video that will be used by the legal team to assist the court in visually understanding how Beaver Lake Cree way of life is affected by development. It will ensure that elderly community members can have their stories documented for later use in court, and it will also be used by the community generally for education and by community advocates to raise awareness of the issues faced by BLC members. The video will include four shooting sessions throughout the year to capture seasonal use.
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