"U.S. Tar Sands?” is a documentary film I'm producing this summer that will explore the current effort by a Canadian company to build the United State's precedent setting Tar Sands strip mine in the Green River watershed, a major tributary of the Colorado River. The film will explore this issue through the lenses and voices of musicians and performers at Desert Rock Music Festival, held near the Green River.
Tar Sands extraction is one of the most polluting, as well as one of the most energy and water use intensive forms of energy production on the planet. The Tar Sands strip mines in Alberta have already devastated vast stretches of boreal forest, yet few people know about the proposal to bring this destructive industry to fragile, arid land in the U.S.
If the initial test mine is approved, the precedent will be set for more of these strip mines to cover roughly two million acres of eastern Utah. Water quality and quantity in the Colorado River watershed are at stake.
Making liquid fuels from Tar Sands generates two to four times the amount of greenhouse gases per barrel of final product as conventional oil. If combustion of the final products is included, Tar Sands extraction, upgrade and use emits 10 to 45% more greenhouse gases than conventional crude oil.
Billions of taxpayer dollars are spent every year subsidizing polluting industries such as oil and coal extraction.
Our National attention has recently turned both to the Keystone Pipeline proposal, and mega-load shipments, both of which would support the Tar Sands mining in Alberta. These controversies have set the stage for a National debate about whether or not we will allow Tar Sands strip mines here.
We have the technology, the skills and the resources to usher in a clean energy future utilizing solar and wind energy. What we need is the will. NOW is the time to act.... We need to call upon the leaders of our great Nation to take the subsidies currently allocated to mature, declining and polluting coal and oil industries, and shift those subsidies to the clean, renewable energies of our future.
The time is upon us to act decisively, and individual's participation in fostering the change has never been more critical. It will only happen with a huge boost for this issue on the public radar and the intention behind this film is to help make that happen.
Music has an incredible power to unite people, and musicians can motivate and inspire in ways unavailable to those who are activists and issue experts alone. This story, typically dry and 'wonky,' will be told by the musicians and performers of Desert Rocks Music Festival. The festival is held near the Green River, and this year's theme is “Celebrating Consciousness.”
Desert Rocks is inviting their performers to join a 2-day float trip on the Green River just prior to the festival. The trip will be led by the Colorado Riverkeeper, a local river guide whose job description includes both knowing the watershed like the back of his hand, and also speaking up for the river in legal and political settings.
The purpose of the float trip is to educate and inspire the musicians and performers and encourage them to make comments for the film, both in the natural beauty of the river environment and also during their performances. The festive vibe of Desert Rocks will be captured; performances including “shout-outs” about the issue will be recorded, and we will seek to interview all of the musicians and speakers possible.
The influence of their statements will be memorialized in the film, extending the life of their important messages and supporting a national campaign to reform energy policy during this Presidential election year.
All of the funds raised in this campaign will be used to offset costs of production. These costs include renting a secure mobile production unit for 9 days in the beginning of June, which will allow the team to download footage, charge batteries and have secure storage for their expensive equipment.
Other travel costs for the production crew and rafting guides will also be covered.
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