FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Alexandra Park (Dundas & Bathurst)
Photo Opportunity: Banners, floats, and people in costume representing the extractive industry.
Environmental and Climate Justice Activists Take a Toxic Tour of Toronto
Expose Canada, G8 and G20 leaders’ record on mining, climate and environmental injustice
Toronto – Environmental, climate and mining justice activists have taken to the streets today to expose the devastating environmental and social impacts of Canadian extractive industries at home and abroad. The Toxic Tour is winding through Toronto, using creative action to highlight Canada’s, and the G8 and G20’s, roles in perpetuating these monstrous industries, and showcasing grassroots solutions that benefit our communities and safeguard the planet.
“Canada’s extractive industries have caused environmental devastation leading to water shortages, pollution, disease, and forced migration across this country and countless others,” said Sakura Saunders, mining justice activist and editor of protestbarrick.net. “The Toxic Tour is tracing the path of destruction back to where it starts, Canadian corporations and politicians. By financially supporting the expansion of these mining projects, Canada and the rest of the G20 are complicit in human rights atrocities and irreversible ecological destruction worldwide.”
Climate justice activists point out that the G8 and G20 represent over 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and are historically responsible for bringing the world to the brink of climate chaos. Canada alone bears a climate debt of at least $8 billion per year to communities in the global south, communities of colour and Indigenous communities here in North America who will be hit hardest, and first by climate change. Collectively the G8 owes $141 billion per year in climate debt to the global south.
“The individuals meeting behind closed doors at the G8 and G20 meetings are the same people who are responsible for standing in the way of stopping catastrophic climate change,” Kimia Ghomeshi, Canadian Youth Climate Coalition’s G20 and Climate Organizer explained. “Climate change is not an issue that can be solved in private boardrooms, Copenhagen proved that. What we need are people’s solutions that respect and involve everyone, like the world saw at the Cochabamba Peoples Summit on climate change.”
Canadian is home to over 75% of companies involved in environmentally and socially destructive mining projects around the globe. The Canadian government subsidizes global mining projects, including 2 billion dollars a year in oil and gas subsidies.
“Canadian mining companies are destroying lives around the world through practices and projects that destroy the environment and tear the social fabric of the communities they operate in, especially communities of colour and Indigenous communities,” mining justice activist Dave Vasey said. “They are taking over our economy, our health care system, and we have a responsibility to hold them accountable for everything that they do around the globe.”
Mining and climate in-justice come together in Canada, home to the largest, most destructive project on the planet, the Athabasca tar sands in northern Alberta.
“The largest point source of industrial carbon emissions in Canada, and the source of millions of litres of toxic waste water, the tar sands are turning First Nations aboriginal and treaty rights, land, water and the atmosphere into a dumping ground,” said Jasmine Thomas, a Carrier First Nation youth resisting Enbridge pipeline developments through her land. “And for what? Destructive extractive industries are not the things we need when there are clean, just alternatives available. It is everyone’s fundamental human right to have unhindered access to clean water, air, and land; we need to be able to live on a healthy planet. Everyone deserves access to basic needs for survival, this is environmental justice.”
The Toxic Tour started at 11:00 am at Alexandra Park, corner of Dundas & Bathurst, and features creative visual actions including a bitumen march, floats, and a few surprises! Speakers included Jasmine Thomas, Riannon Ball, and Mel Basil from First Nations communities resisting tar sands pipeline developments representing the Defenders of the Land Network, and Naty Atz Sunc and Isaiah Kipyegon Toroitich from the KAIROS Climate Justice Tour.
The Toxic Tour is part of the Environmental and Climate Justice Day of Action in the themed days of resistance called by the Toronto Community Mobilization Network.