Radiohead singer Thom Yorke took to the band's site Thursday (Aug. 11) to voice his opposition to the ongoing Alberta Tar Sands project, especially the construction of Keystone XL, a proposed 1700-mile pipeline stretching from the Alberta Tar Sands to oil refineries located in the Gulf of Mexico.
"President Obama is soon to make a decision on whether to press one of THE big red climate self destruct buttons", Yorke wrote in a post called "Real vs. Astroturf?" The singer added Obama is "under considerable pressure" from certain interested parties who've created a "fake grassroots campaign" (aka astroturfing) who are pushing for "the Tar Sands nightmare to go ahead."
The note also pointed to "Stop the Pipeline!" - a two-week peaceful sit-in protest set for Washington, D.C. from Aug. 20 to Sept. 3 - to lend support to Tar Sands Action opposition groups. "As seems to be the way of politics this won't happen unless a strong show of resistance can be seen to help Obama say no", Yorke said.
Yorke is no stranger to the topic. In March 2010, he took to Radiohead's site with a "Sticky Tar Chart Rant" after the Canadian Government's demand to increase carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at the 2010 Copenhagen Summit. "I find it hard to correlate this all with the Canadians I know who are very forward-thinking", Yorke wrote at the time. A post later in the same month asked people to see how their banks may be investing their pensions, adding "if you have one, in the Tar Sands of Canada ... that is messed up. Your pension won't be worth sh-t if you don't have a planet to live on."
A handful of Canadian artists have also lent their voice to the cause, perhaps led most notably by singer-songwriter and enviro-crusader Sarah Harmer. Harmer contributed music to "White Water, Black Gold". a full-length documentary earlier this year which discussed the Tar Sands project and the connection between fossil fuels, climate change and water supplies. The film also featured music by Josh Ritter and Rachelle Van Zanten. Harmer also did a public service announcement in 2009 in support of the Kyoto Plus Petition, a petition designed to pressure the Canadian government to take quick action regarding climate change.
The Alberta Tar Sands are responsible for a vast proportion of the crude oil sent to the U.S. According to Alberta government reports, in 2009 the province exported approximately 1.4 million barrels of crude oil to the U.S. each day.