The UK Tar Sands Network campaigns in partnership with Indigenous communities affected by the Alberta Tar Sands oil developments in Canada. The extraction of tar sands oil from is decimating entire ecosystems and devastating indigenous communities who live there. From our beginnings at the Blackheath Climate Camp in 2009 we have used creative interventions to shine a light on the devastation being caused by UK corporations, such as Shell and BP, investors and the Canadian government.
We strive to bring the felt impact of the tar sands home to people in the UK. This has involved pouring molasses over ourselves, the doorsteps of decision-makers and even toy ducks during the RBS sponsored Edinburgh Fringe Festival, to name a few of our actions. We work with climate justice activists, environmental NGOs, policymakers, student campaigning groups, and anyone else who is concerned about the impacts of Tar Sands. We have supported a guerrilla ballet at a BP sponsored event in Trafalgar Square, giant puppet tar monsters in the home constituency of transport ministers, and street theatre-style bird-dogging. [I'm not totally sure what bird-dogging is -I think it's a North American term]
During the 2012 London Olympics we worked with groups to highlight BP's sponsorship of the 'Oilympics', bestowing “Greenwash Gold” awards in a public performance in Trafalgar Square.We helped found the Reclaim Shakespeare Company and have collaborated with artists such as Reverend Billy to expose the unholy alliance of BP's relationship with the Tate, working with other members of the Art Not Oil coalition.
The EU is in the process of deciding whether to allow tar sands into its fuel mix, or keep it out using a piece of EU transport legislation. We used a pop-up “oil orgy” at a major meeting of the Tar Sands industry and the Canadian and UK government, to expose the attempts of big oil to scupper this piece of climate legislation, and to interrupt 'business as usual.'
We continue to collaborate with artists and explore different styles of creative interventions to make sure that the voices of those communities on the front lines of tar sands devastation have the resounding solidarity of people in the UK.