If we had to answer "what is International Stop the Tar Sands Day?" in one sentence this would be our answer:
International Stop the Tar Sands Day (ISTSDay) is a series of international events to raise awareness around the world about the destructiveness of tar sands development in northern Alberta, Canada.
But ISTSDay is so much more than this...
It is a day
ISTSDay is not an organization or a group. It receives no funding and it has no office. It is like any other day that has some sort of meaning or purpose like Christmas, Easter or a national holiday. You could call ISTSDay a network, but we prefer to think of it as global citizens' initiative.
It brings people tgether from all different parts of the world, from all different walks of life to do the right thing - shut down the tar sands and move on towards sustainable energy (wind, solar, geothermal, etc.) and a better future.
Do what you can, do what you want
What each person does for ISTSDay is up to them. Some people send out emails for us, put up posters, blog, or create the symbol of ISTSDay (see Francis' story on the right!). With people around the world doing what they can and what they want ISTSDay has been able to grow from nine events in 2010 to fifty in 2011!
And just like Christmas, Easter or a national holiday which are celebrated by people in their own way, we encourage people to raise awareness about the tar sands in their own unique way. All we ask is that they use our three pillars of raising awareness to guide them:
Be Creative, Stay Positive, Have Fun
We encourage people when putting together their ISTSDay event to make it as creative as possible, bursting with positivity and make it in a way that the organizers and the participants have a lot fun. It may sound surprising to some, but it is possible to have a good time and save the planet in the process. The demo-fest is probably the best example of this (see "what is a demo-fest?" to the right). If stopping the tar sands will have a positive outcome, why not use positive methods to get there?
Getting the uninvolved involved
By being creative, staying positive and having fun the possibilities for ISTSDay are endless! It is also a great way to get the uninvolved involved in stopping the tar sands. People are drawn to positive activities and fun. ISTSDay tries to make activism, making the world a better place or whatever you prefer to call it accessible to everyone. We hope it will encourage and inspire people to get involved in stopping the tar sands, extreme energy and climate change.
There are many ways to bring about change. International Stop the Tar Sands Days is just one.