This declaration was written by activists of the Montreal coalition of the World March of Women for the action "Wall of women" against pipelines in front of Suncor in Montreal on the occasion of the launch of the 4th international action of the WMW on 8 March 2015.
« Free our bodies, our Earth and our territories » from the World March of Women
The Earth is not a gift from our parents. We borrow it from our children.
Put in context
- We, women united today in front of Suncor, strongly denounce the oil pipeline projects and the unrestrained development of fossil energies. The oil pipeline projects are intended to carry oil extracted from tar sands. This is currently the largest industrial initiative in Canada, and the most polluting and destructive on a global scale.
- We are acting in solidarity with the struggles everywhere in North America to counter the megaproject of extracting oil from tar sands. The refining of this heavy oil, its extraction and its passage through multiple oil pipelines will have devastating effects on the environment.
- We declare our support for all the women who have been struggling for years on Mother Earth, to defend against the industrial megaprojects that threaten their health and pollute the Earth and destroy their territories.
- We are particularly supportive of Native women, who are on the frontline of this struggle. They stand against the extraction of oil from tar sands, and against the pipeline projects that will directly affect their territories.
- Our action echoes the "Wall of Women against Tar Sands" initiated in British Columbia in March 2014 by a group of native women. We are acting in defense of our bodies, our land, and our territories from coast to coast.
Free our bodies
- We, the women present here, denounce the damage to the physical and mental health that this project is causing. We contend that indigenous communities are particularly affected. In the community of Chipewyan located near Fort McMurray in Alberta, there has been an alarming increase in the rate of cancer diagnoses, and particularly the diagnosis of rare cancers.
- We consider it unacceptable to sacrifice the health of a population for the sake of this industrial project.
- We denounce the fact that in the areas surrounding the tar sand extraction sites, there has been a marked increase in prostitution and domestic violence.
Free our Earth
- We denounce the threats to drinking water from many water sources in Canada, namely, the Ottawa river, Milles-Iles and the St. Lawrence river. Oil extracted from tar sands is extremely harmful when it spills into the environment : it sinks in water instead of floating, making it very difficult to clean.
- We denounce the impacts that the refining of heavy and viscous oil will have on air pollution in the east end of Montreal particularly. In Pointe-aux-Trembles, 40 per cent of residents currently suffer from at least one chronic disease: the Pointe-de-l’Île is the territory where we find the most people with chronic diseases in Montreal.
- We denounce this megaproject that threatens biodiversity; whether it be the survival of beluga whales in Cacouna that is at risk due to the pipeline project in Quebec, or the survival of humpback whales in Kitimat, British Columbia, at risk due to the Northern Gateway project. The cutting down of forests as a direct result of oil industry activity in the valley of Athabasca in Alberta is also alarming.
- We are outraged by the fact that our government nonchalantly accepts the high risk of oil spills onto Native land, agricultural land, and in cities, towns and villages. Since 1999, there have been over 800 oil spills caused by one company alone. The largest oil spill on North American soil occurred in 2010, in the Kalamazoo river in Michigan, and it has still not been cleaned.
- We denounce the impacts of tar sand extraction on climate change, such as the melting of the ice cap and an increase in greenhouse gases.
Free our territories
Our territories are a political, economical, and living space.
- We denounce an economy based on the expansion of an industrial sector that perpetuates inequality.
- We denounce the industrial sector, which does not create appropriate jobs for women. The jobs offered to women in this sector are precarious, lesser paid, and fewer in number than jobs offered to men.
- We denounce a system of employment based on long absences of workers from their families. This has resulted in an increase in the burden of unpaid domestic labor, and an increase in family responsibilities for many women.
- We denounce the impacts of industrial projects on the way of life of many communities, including farming communities. Indigenous peoples are losing their autonomy, and losing access to their land.
- We are angry that these projects are resulting in the militarization of the territories, as well as the criminalization of demonstrations of resistance, and the increase in violence related to the repression of protests.
- We denounce the laws that aim to restrain civil liberty, such as the C-51 bill.
- We denounce the fact that citizens are not consulted adequately, nor included in the decision-making process regarding the extraction and transportation of oil from tar sands.
This is not a wall that divides. It is inclusive of various and diverse struggles. We are here, creating a wall of women to stop environmental devastation, acting as protectors of Mother Earth. In contrast to the walls erected around the world to divide its people, our wall is intented to be a force that unifies.
We are in solidarity with…
- The convergence of feminist movements, indigenous rights organizations, and ecologists, as well as the mouvements acting against austerity mesures and militarization.
- We are in solidarity with native women who face a large problem of disappearances and murders of women of their communities.
- We are in solidarity with all those who are seeking a transition toward a fair and sustainable economy based on renewable energy sources.
We demand :
- That our government take into account the voice of the people in the decision-making process, and that all citizens have access to clear and complete information in their own language (which is not the case in Quebec, as the reports are currently available in English only.)
- We demand that issues of women’s safety and the proteciton of the environment be at the heart of the decision-making process in these cases.
- We demand that the authorities mandated to evaluate the pipeline projects take into account the potentially devastating impacts of extraction, refining, transportation and consumption of oil derived from tar sands.
- We demand that the the exploitation of tar sands cease, in order to protect the rights of all people to live in a healthy environement, as well to protect future generations from the effects of long-term pollution.
- We demand an ideological transformation in our society with regard to fuel consumption, and a massive investment in renewable and alternative energies.