Understanding the crises, uncovering root causes and envisioning the world(s) we want

Conversations with the anti-pipeline movements in Canada

Authored by: Jen Gobby , Kristian Gareau

Routledge Handbook of Climate Justice

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138689350
eBook ISBN: 9781315537689
Adobe ISBN:


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Canada is facing multiple, interrelated environmental and social crises which mainstream political and organisational responses are failing to adequately address. While the urgency of climate change escalates and the need to reduce GHG emissions is more pressing than ever, the Canadian government seeks to expand the Alberta tar sands and fossil fuel infrastructure, including oil and gas pipelines. Meanwhile, the crisis of stark inequality and unjust relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada is being exacerbated by the expansion of the oil industry, which violates Indigenous rights and ways of life. We argue that mainstream approaches to addressing these crises, at best, seek to manage symptoms. At worst, they serve to reinforce the underlying forces and structures driving the crises. Drawing on over 50 interviews with movement actors, we show that while their on-the-ground activism is helping to halt pipeline development, the theorising taking place in these movements offers much-needed counter-narratives to the ineffective mainstream responses and informs more promising strategies for addressing the crises. And their conceptualisations of “the world we want” offer both ancient and innovative visions for a radically more just and ecological future for Canada and the world.

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