Local activist Alejandro de la Torre locked himself to an underground capsule to stop the bulldozers and protect a family farm. Fellow Texans, Shannon Beebe and Benjamin Franklin were submitted to choke-holds, violent arm-twisting, pepper spray, and multiple uses of Tasers, all while in handcuffs. Even if you’re not the type to put your body on the line, how about going to hear their stories, and learn why they are doing such uncomfortable things? This Saturday, they will be holding a teach-in at East Side Social Center, along with other activists involved with the David and Goliath struggle against Transcanada and the Keystone XL.
Tar sands are a source of petroleum products that are particularly dirty. If Canada is allowed to extract and process its extensive deposits, it would be, in the words of NASA’s James Hansen in an editorial in the New York Times, “game over for the climate.” The Keystone XL is the controversial pipeline that would bring this dirty stuff down to our neighborhoods. The pipeline itself would be a ticking time-bomb for aquifers and other fragile eco-systems all across the continent. Transcanada has been taking over farm-land from family farmers in order to build their pipeline. The resulting petroleum products, despite politicians pretending otherwise, are not even intended for domestic markets, but are marked for export to Europe and Latin America. In short, Canada would be polluting, and the U.S. would be taking huge risks and burdens, just so that petroleum companies can make more money.
Juan Parras, long-time community activist in the East End and founder of the Texas Environemntal Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS)has been conducting “toxic tours” through neighborhoods around the Ship Channel for years. He will be joined by the Houston Sierra Club and Tar Sands Blockade for a presentation and discussion on the effects the Keystone XL pipeline will have on residents in the greater Houston area, covering a range of topics including air quality, the health effects of toxic refinery emissions, pipeline spills, environmental racism and climate change.
Never heard of a SLAPP? Well, it’s a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. They are intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition. Transcanda has been using them to stifle dissent towards the plan. This Saturday, participants will have the opportunity to learn about tactics like these that they increasingly find themselves up against.
Teach-In, Saturday, October 27th, 4-7pm @ East Side Social Center (4202 Canal St)