A heartfelt thank you to everyone who helped this project get off the ground by donating and spreading the word.
The documentary is now under way, and we couldn't have done it without you!
Please look for updates on the project at thislandwasyourland.com
THIS LAND WAS YOUR LAND
ABOUT THE FILM
Following the route of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, THIS LAND WAS YOUR LAND, will explore the history of landownership in North America (from Native, to government, to private and now corporate) at the ground level. Walking the entire 1,700 miles on foot across both private and public land, the film will test the concept of individual freedom in an age when corporate rights supersede all laws.
THE KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE (a short explanation):
The Keystone XL Pipeline is a high heat, high pressure line that will carry 700,000- 900,000 barrels of corrosive tar sands crude oil from Alberta to Texas refineries daily. The pipeline would cross American farmland, protected wildlife zones and the largest fresh water aquifers in North America.
In its first year, Keystone I has leaked at least 12 times on the US side and 21 times on the Canadian side.
It's been said that we will either find a way, or make one. The inspiration for THIS LAND WAS YOUR LAND, comes from THE LONGEST WALK, organized in 1978 by the American Indian Movement (AIM). It was a 3,200-mile journey from San Francisco to Washington D.C. in protest of Indian water and land rights that were threatened by the US government and corporate mining interests. Natives and non-Natives walked under the same banner, a walk for survival.
In the same sense, the threat for survival has been increased by corporate sponsored environmental terrorism, in this case in the form of a pipeline. Looking for the cheapest way to the coast, TransCanada has proposed building a pipeline that would bisect the United States, placing water, air, wildlife, land, and private property rights at risk.
THIS LAND WAS YOUR LAND, will bear witness to the land intermingling facts, observations, chance encounters, and personal details into a unique travelogue. By walking the entire 1,700 mile route of the proposed pipeline, the film will offer a distinct glimpse into rural life only accessible by foot. In this sense the route of the pipeline will serve as a determined path, not a detour around reality.
For this walk to happen, we need your help. A long-term, cross-country walk of this magnitude takes planning and preparation, not to mention money. The $7,000 goal covers only a fraction of the costs of making the film but, it's enough to get us going. For every dollar you donate, the safer I'll be. With money to cover the costs of bare essentials (like food, camping supplies and gear), I can focus more on making the best film possible. Your donations will go towards things like:
• Film and Processing
• Camera and Sound Equipment
• Camping/Hiking Gear
• Navigational Devices
Land is being usurped from private landowners who are told to accept TransCanada’s financial offers or have their land stolen through eminent domain. To my knowledge, this is the first time in history a foreign company has used eminent domain in the public interest for a for-profit oil pipeline on American soil.
The Alberta tar sands operations release large volumes of pollutants into the air and chemicals known to affect human health and air quality. Communities adjacent to tar sands oil refineries face increased exposure to carbon dioxide emissions, heavy metals, and sulfurs. The Alberta tar sands operations are the largest single point source emitter in Canada.
In addition to countless rivers and streams, the Keystone XL pipe would cross fresh water sources, most notably the Ogallala and Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer. Combined, these aquifers provide drinking water to an estimated fourteen million people. There are alternative energy sources, there is no alternative to water.
For every barrel of tar sands oil, three barrels of water are used. Of that water, 90% ends up in toxic tailing ponds. These large oil lakes have been known to kill migratory birds in large numbers who become trapped and enveloped in the tar, resulting in a slow painful death.
Indigenous communities in Northern Alberta living downstream from tailing ponds have seen spikes in rates of rare cancers, renal failure, lupus, and hyperthyroidism. In the lakeside village of Fort Chipewyan,100 of the town’s 1,200 residents have died from cancer.
From start to finish, tar sands are the dirtiest, most destructive oil ever produced. Large areas of pristine boreal forest are clear cut and the topsoil is scraped away to access the oil sands. It is then mined, crushed and conditioned, using gallons of fresh water and chemicals such as Benzene, (a human carcinogen known to produce leukemia) and Toluene, (exposure has been linked to kidney and liver damage).
This issue is about survival. Air, water, and land are essential, without them life would cease to be. Jobs will not sustain us if they seek to destroy these things. By supporting this film you are walking with us, standing up against corporate desecration of our lands. You are giving a voice to indigenous communities, farmers and private landowners who stand to lose everything by opposing or allowing this pipeline to come through their lands. You are providing an image of reality that goes far beyond an abstraction on a map.
The path is before us, let's walk it.
"Was a high wall there that tried to stop me
A sign was painted said: Private Property,
But on the back side it didn't say nothing."
That side was made for you and me.
-Woody Guthrie - Original 1940 Lyrics adapted for THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND