An area of Canada"s ancient Boreal forest as large as Florida could be cleared to make way for tar sands oil extraction.© savebiogems.org
But the Olympics are polarizing, and draw the ire of activists who see the Games as wasteful, destructive and out of step with their own agendas. Figure skater Johnny Weir—who wore a fur-trimmed outfit during the Nationals—decided to stay in the Olympic Village instead of a hotel as a result of what he describes as threatening harassment from anti-fur activists.
And now Friends of the Earth is using the Olympics to generate attention to tar sands exploitation in Canada. The group is particularly concerned that several oil companies involved in strip mining operations are also Olympic sponsors.
“Big Oil is counting on America’s fossil fuel addiction to make this race profitable,” the group writes. “The industry wants to build new pipelines to double imports of dirty tar sands oil into the United States. As you read this, the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline sits on President Obama’s desk waiting for approval.”
That pipeline would carry 900,000 barrels of tar sands oil to the Gulf Coast, FOE reports, but at a huge environmental and public health cost—including the destruction of ancient Boreal forest the size of Florida, to be "replaced with open pit mines, smoke stacks and toxic ponds."They’re urging U.S. citizens—and Olympics watchers—to get wise, and use commercial breaks to take action by sending e-mails to President Obama asking that he deny the permit to extend the Keystone pipeline. And then to continue enjoying the mostly sustainable skating.
BRITA BELLI is editor of E.