Retired Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu arrived in Alberta on Thursday May 29th to speak at an oil sands conference in Fort McMurray. He has publicly opposed the Keystone XL pipeline which he has called “appalling” and he refers to Alberta’s tar sands as “filth” created by greed. The 82 year old Nobel laureate has championed environmental protections and aboriginal rights. He has further urged divestment from fossil fuels and he supports a boycott against corporations that contribute to climate change. While his remarks are being construed as controversial all he is really doing is asking people to come together to care about both people and the planet.
“The fact that this filth is being created now, when the link between carbon emissions and global warming is so obvious, reflects negligence and greed,” Tutu told those in attendance at the conference. “The oilsands are emblematic of an era of high carbon and high-risk fuels that must end if we are committed to a safer climate. Oilsands development not only devastates our shared climate, it is also stripping away the rights of First Nations and affected communities to protect their children, land and water from being poisoned.”
“This is why I have stood in solidarity with communities across Canada and the United States that are opposing the proposed oilsands pipeline,” Tutu said. “The struggle of citizens against the pipelines puts them on the front lines of the most important struggles in North America today.”