Take a Pic, Stop the Tar Sands!

May 26, 2011
Take a Pic, Stop the Tar Sands!

There is more than one way to stop the tar sands.....

BERLIN, GERMANY - The idea came about in a conversation with Micha, who along with Ries are our organisers of International Stop the Tar Sands Day (June 18th) in Amsterdam. I had traveled to Middelburg, Netherlands shortly after returning to Europe from Mexico to meet Micha for the first time. The federal election had just been called in Canada and I was very doubtful that any our events would get off the ground in Canada this year because most concerned Canadians had thrown themselves into working on the election. Fair enough. A healthy democracy = a healthy environment and vice versa.

Micha reminded there is more than one way to raise people's awareness about the destructiveness of the Albertan tar sands. Demonstrations, events and protests are just a few methods that one can use. Getting your friends together, making the best "Stop the Tar Sands!" banner you can make  and taking a picture of you holding it up is another.

This year for International Stop the Tar Sands Day we are going to do something different. It is something that really encompasses the spirit of our philosophy (Be Creative, Stay Positive, Have Fun!). We are encouraging those people around the world who are unable to create an event for ISTS Day but still want to be involved to bring out the artist or the child from within. Get your family, friends and/or your community together and make the best banner, poster or art work of any kind with a tar sands theme that you can. Take a picture of yourselves holding up that wonderful piece of art in front of the Canadian embassy, local landmark, your favourite forest for hiking or whatever location works for you and send it to us at:


Once we receive your photos, we will upload them to our website (www.stoptarsands.eu) for all to see. We are also working on setting up a flickr account too. Do not forget to hold that creation of yours with pride for the photos (see photo attached of last year's Utah action for a little inspiration!). You are participating in the largest international event in history to support Canadians trying to shut down the tar sands industry. Do not forget to smile either! 

Micha, thanks for the great idea. And while I am giving credit where credit is due, LUSH Cosmetics joining us this year (see previous post) has very little to do with me. It is all because of the hard work of Pete, our London, UK organiser. Pete, thank you helping International Stop the Tar Sands Day reach a new level!

Quick update! Things are really rolling along nicely internationally, but especially in the US and Canada. Thanks to groups like Forest Ethics we may see 10 events in 10 major US cities (Chicago, New York, and Portland are already on board) for June 18th. And events in Canada just keep popping up! See contact list below.

Looking forward to seeing what creative banners you all come up with!




'Twas the Night Before International "Stop the Tar Sands!" Day

July 23, 2010

Submitted by Derek Leahy

Tomorrow, Europe will finally know what the words "tar sands" mean!


BERLIN, GERMANY - What a week. What a month. What a summer! At the beginning of June, it looked like we were only going to have two small demonstrations (London, England and Berlin, Germany). Instead tomorrow  Berlin and London will be joined by Copenhagen, Denmark and London, Ontario. In fact, International "Stop the Tar Sands!" Day already started today with actions in BC and Utah (near site of propo...

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Austria and the Tar Sands

July 7, 2010

Submitted by Derek Leahy

I read an article today called The Dirty Trail of the Black Gold in an Austrian newspaper. It was about the Albertan tar sands and other extreme sources of oil. It made me think about the first time I talked about the tar sands with an Austrian. He had never heard of them before. 

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - I have come full circle. Today, after sleeping very little on a 10 hour night train I arrived in the very first city I travelled to to spread the word about the Tar Sands Dem...

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Is it anti-Canadian to be anti-Tar Sands

July 2, 2010

As Canada Day slowly comes to an end in Germany, I can't help but wonder what it is going to be like for me the next time I am in Canada? 

By now, most of my friends and family in Canada have found out about what I am doing in Europe. None of them have said anything negative about the Tar Sands Demonstrations Europe Project, but I have had some experiences in the past which lead me to believe some may misinterpret my efforts as anti-Canadian.

The opinion piece I wrote la...

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Demonstration Coming To Canada

June 30, 2010

International "Stop the Tar Sands!" Day is coming to Canada!

submitted by Derek Leahy


I heard the news today oh boy!

BERLIN, GERMANY - Last March, when I sent my first email to my first group and subsequently got my first non-response, I never imagined this - a stop the tar sands action in Canada taking place the same day as our demonstrations in Europe (July 17th). 

Don't get me wrong, a demonstration or action in support of shutting down theCanadian tar sands taking place in Canada is logical....

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Tars Sands Demonstrations Europe Part Two

June 30, 2010

How the Tar Sands Demonstrations Europe Project Began - Part Two: Copenhagen and Canada's International Reputation

submitted by Derek Leahy

How does one go from being a care-free individual giving walking tours to subsidize his many many travels in Europe to organizing demonstrations in five major European cities to raise awareness about the tar sands? 


BERLIN, GERMANY - My last post explains why I decided to finally get involved in the climate change movement but not why I began with the tar s...

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The Beginning

June 30, 2010

How the Tar Sands Demonstrations Europe Project Began - Part One: Copenhagen

submitted by Derek Leahy


How does one go from being a care-free individual giving walking tours to subsidize his many many travels in Europe, to organizing demonstrations in five major European cities to raise awareness about the tar sands? 

BERLIN, GERMANY – When I told my Grandmother last March that I was going to organize tar sands demonstrations in Europe her response was: “Derek, I wish you never went to Copen...

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About Me

Derek Leahy I grew up in the sleepy little town of Brooklin, Ontario (east of Toronto). Upon completing my history degree at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2004, I began a life of travel and work in Europe. I currently reside and work as a tour guide in Berlin, Germany. After my experience as a traveller in Copenhagen, Denmark during the UN Climate Change Summit in 2009, I decided it was my time to stand up for the planet. I am the European organizer of International Stop the Tar Sands Day which will take place on June 18th, 2011 in Europe, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand to raise awareness about the most destructive energy project on the planet; the tar sands of northern Alberta, Canada.


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