Former New York Rangers goalie and Sierra Club member Michael T. Richter has a great op-ed piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune discussing the future of Winter Olympics, global warming, and Canada’s oil sands industry.
This publicity follows action taken in February when champion winter athletes joined with international environmental groups calling on Canada to save the Winter Olympics. Amongst the athletes were snowboarder Jeremy Jones and Skier Alison Gannett.
“Canada has some of the best snowboarding in the world, but the oil sands industry is going to blow it. This is the dirtiest oil on earth. If want to save our snow, we have to stop it,” Jones said.
Increasing concern over the impact of global warming on the future of snow sports is putting a spotlight on Canada’s oil sands industry, the country’s fastest growing source of global warming pollution and the dirtiest form of oil in the world.
In conjunction with athlete protest, Sierra Club launched a United States-based “Love Winter, Hate the Oil Sands” campaign that includes ads targeting winter sports enthusiasts, a new website and tens of thousands of emails asking Americans to sign a petition to President Obama.
According to Sierra Club, oil sands production emits three times the global warming pollution as conventional oil and requires clear cutting ancient forests, wasting and polluting water, and leaving behind massive toxic lakes. By accelerating climate change, the oil sands threaten to bring more drought, receding glaciers, and early snowmelt, creating a bleak future for Olympic sports like skiing and snowboarding.
“As a skier, I’ve already witnessed glaciers melting and ski areas closing around the world because of climate change,” said Alison Gannett, world champion freeskier and founder of the Save Our Snow Foundation. “The global warming emissions from the oil sands are a threat to the future of skiing and the health of our kids.”
In Richter’s opinion piece, he argues that Americans should reject oil produced from the Alberta tar sands, stating:
We can’t seriously combat global warming while getting fuel from the world’s dirtiest source. If we allow Canada’s oil sands project to creep across our border, it will lock our nation into dependence on yet another foreign source of oil, just as our local clean-energy industry is beginning to thrive.
The decision rests with the Obama administration who, according to Richter, should concentrate on growing the U.S. clean energy economy and deny permits for pipelines and refineries on American soil. Such action may just save the future of winter Olympics in North America.
Article by Kate R. appearing courtesy Celsias.
photo: Gord McKenna