Josh Fox: Why I Got Arrested

Uncategorized — the tar sands action team September 2, 2011 at 4:35 pm

It’s late and I am pretty wiped out, but before I have to resume shooting Gasland 2 and running around the country tomorrow I want to set down a few words about why I chose to be arrested at the Tar Sands Action sit in at the White House today.

First of all, the mining tar sands for oil is incredibly destructive.  It can and must be stopped. I felt that standing against it, shoulder to shoulder with climate justice activists and fracktivists was a moral imperative.  For more on why the Tar Sands extraction is horrifically tragic and wrong, please see my video on the subject, here:

Secondly, fighting the development of the Tar Sands in Canada is also a component of the fight against fracking for Natural Gas.  Oil is extracted from the Tar Sands by strip mining the Canadian Boreal forest for oil-saturated sands, which must be boiled to yield crude.  The process uses an enormous amount of water and natural gas, often fracked gas from other parts of Canada.  Using fracked gas to make oil, then transporting it thousands of miles to refineries in the US is an incredibly inefficient, wasteful and dangerous process. Fighting the Tar Sands is fighting fracking.  You can’t make dirty tar sands oil without dirty fracked gas. For more info on fracking go here.

Thirdly, the tar sands extraction fits into a pattern of extreme energy development which has become a disturbing trend on the planet.  As we run out of fossil fuel, as sources of oil, natural gas and coal become more sparse, the extractive fossil fuel industries have turned to ever more polluting, dangerous and contaminating forms of energy extraction.  These new extractive techniques are not “technological innovations” as the energy companies often claim, they are desperate, relentlessly damaging and insane.

Mountaintop removal for coal, fracking for natural gas, and deepwater drilling and tar sands extraction for oil are inherently contaminating, incredibly destructive and irreparably harmful techniques.   All four methods have ramped up in recent years, churning enormous areas of land that were once habitable by people into toxic sacrifice zones.  We should be turning as fast as we can toward viable and deployable renewable energy such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and other innovative and sustainable strategies as we run out of fossil fuels. That would be logical, since they are available now, clean and sustainable.  Instead, we are letting the extractive energy industries turn the world inside out.  Renewables are not a thing of the future, they are here now. For more info on that go here.

Fourthly, non-violent civil disobedience has historically been the only tool that has created real change.  From Henry David Thoreau to Susan B. Anthony to Gandhi to King and now to DeChristopher and McKibben, getting arrested for one’s beliefs is the only way to show that there is a higher moral imperative than unjust laws and policies.  If not for civil disobedience, women would not have the vote, children would still be working in factories, there would be no unions, India would still be ruled by the British and people of color would still be second class citizens in the United States.  The history of real change in the world, when it was most direly needed, has been written by actions of non-violent civil disobedience.  A great film is this the recent doc, Freedom Riders.

Lastly, I have been deeply compelled by Bill McKibben’s book “Eaarth”, which paints a very dire picture for the future of the planet if we don’t act to curb greenhouse gas emissions immediately.  I highly suggest you pick up a copy.  I was reading mine while my house was being battered by Hurricane Irene last week, which, if I am not mistaken, was the first Hurricane to hit Central PA just about ever.  Patterns of extreme weather, the warming of the planet, the melting of polar ice caps, massive droughts, the list goes on and on.  We have to heed this warning.  Get it here.

The sit-in itself was intensely moving and beautifully organized and orchestrated.  The police were friendly and in some cases, supportive.  The camaraderie of the activists gave me hope and a sense of support that I have direly needed during this fight against fracking and the leadership of Bill McKibben,, Peaceful Uprising and so many others was inspiring to say the least. Taking a stand with so many others right in front of the White House, urging Barack Obama, a president that I support, to do the right thing, gave me an immense pride as an American.  I encourage everyone to take part however you can.

Thanks so much for reading.  We have many hurdles ahead as a movement against fracking, tar sands and against other forms of fossil fuel development .  I can only hope that we can proceed with as much dignity, poise and urgency as the tar sands action organizers have these past two weeks.  I am eternally thankful for their urgency and to all who have taken part.

  1. Rchrdmetzler says:

    Thanks for all that you do Josh. You are an inspiration to many. God bless..

  2. Alison says:

    Australia is just starting to realise the impact of fracking unfortunately!

  3. Steve Todd says:

    Thanks for your relentless and selfless service Josh. You are the kind of guy I want my son to turn out like. Peace.

  4. Cry_liberty says:

    Thank you Josh you Rock! Come to Morgantown & WV to film for Gasland 2, please…

  5. Laurence says:

    I dont’ know how you can keep being non violent when you see this! Money’s power jeorpardize our planet. Congratulation for all what you do, I will keep sharing to get even more people invlve and support.

  6. Cat Gareth says:

    Hey, Josh. Cat Gareth here – the one with the Roots Power painting at St Stephen’s Wed night. Began to feel like a stalker following you around trying to give it to you as you were surrounded by others wanting a piece of your time. It is signed as you requested and is yours if we ever meet up again. On the back it reads:Thanks Josh for opening our eyes and inspiring us to action. It was a pleasure being arrested with you. CG

  7. Larryuzarski says:

    If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. ~ Julius Caesar

  8. lawoh says:

    I grow weary of Americans.

    It is your war machine and your population’s insatiable appetite for gasoline that demands our oil. It is your companies who tear up our forests and pollute our surface/ground waters and air and waste our natural gas resources. It is your banks and Wall Street and your attitudes that raises the money used to bribe and corrupt both our political and tax systems. It is your implicit threat to spread nuclear waste all over our country (like you did in Iraq and now in Libya) if we don’t mine and send our shitty oil to you. It is your companies who have demanded the XL pipeline so they can profit from adding value and taxable jobs within the United States and it is your peoples who are the problem.

    Even the issue of ‘global warming’ has been perverted so ‘special’ Americans like Al Gore can handsomely profit.

    A pissed off Canadian.

    • Kevin_rinjer says:

      It is a global issue and a human one at that. Doesnt matter if you are american , canadian or australian etc. Please do your best to stay away from seperatism, this does not help things, its what the system wants. Time to get legal on this whole aspect of things. Liens have been launched.

  9. Gaike says:

    Agree with all that has been said below. Unite together and consciously vote for change. Fossil fuels out finished with … renewables are the only hope and way forward. UNITE for change. We only have ONE SPECIAL PLANET to all live on. We can do it!! Stand united for positive change. Gaike New Zealand.

  10. Urbano V Davila says:

    Actually this is Linda Sue`s husband, Urbano Davila.
    As soon as I log out of here, I am calling my congressman to let him
    know he must vote to close the Halliburton loophole. HR 2766 S1215

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