On Saturday, May 5th, people around the globe were out in the streets for the third annual International Stop the Tar Sands Day.
From New York to Australia, people stood up and said no to the forest destruction, poisoned communities and climate change linked to Tar Sands extraction and refining.
Thousands of people participated in over 60 events in 13 countries, making this one of the largest days of action against the Tar Sands ever.
I had the privilege of spending the day with dozens of activists in Anacortes, Washington, a community living in the toxic shadow of two Tar Sands refineries.
Through increased emissions of sulfur dioxide—which threatens human breathing and heart function—and a heightened risk of refinery fires and explosions, refinery use of Tar Sands has made a bad situation worse for the people of Anacortes and the Swinomish tribe on whose ancestral land the Anacortes refineries sit.
People around the world are making it clear they don't want to buy products shipped to market with fuels from Tar Sands refineries. And big American companies—16 so far, as different as Walgreens and Whole Foods—have made public commitments that relate to the Tar Sands problem.
Unfortunately some American companies, like Dole, are choosing to ignore the Tar Sands problem. But, as the global resistance to Tar Sands grows, the Tar Sands problem is going to get harder for every major company to ignore.