Late at night, it’s possible to hear freight trains running from Davis to the Bay Area carrying 50 tanker cars filled with heavy Alberta tar sands crude on their way to East Bay refineries in Martinez, Rodeo and Richmond.
On Saturday, Yolano Climate Action, in conjunction with 350.org, is organizing a bike ride and rally to protest the practice of extracting crude oil from tar sands. The protest ride features 8-by-8-foot “train” signs conceived by Milton Kalish.
Cyclists will meet on the steps of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame, facing the Central Park lawn, at 9 a.m. The four-mile route will wind through the streets of north and downtown Davis, looping back to the Farmers Market.
“On a global level, oil made from dirty tar sands crude — which already has a carbon footprint double that of lighter oil just to extract it from the ground — has the potential to greatly increase carbon dioxide emissions,” says Matt Biers-Ariel, one of the organizers. “This is one reason that there is so much opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline which will carry Alberta tar sands oil through the heartland of America to Gulf Coast refineries.”
Adds Lynne Nittler, “On a regional level, these high-sulfur oils are potentially dangerous for the residents living near Bay Area refineries. A fire at the Chevron refinery last year sent 15,000 people to the hospitals with respiratory difficulties.”
According to a report by Forest Ethics, the processing of tar sands crude in our refineries is “the equivalent of installing a moderate to large coal-burning power plant,” Nittler says.
“On a local level, do we Davisites want to risk having our very own Lac-Megantic disaster where this past July a train carrying shale oil derailed, killed 42 people, and burned half of the downtown?”
Following the bike ride at 11 a.m., a short rally on the Rotary Stage will feature speakers addressing climate chaos from several points of view. Davis Poet Laureate Eve West Bessier will open with a song, followed by Mayor Joe Krovoza. Author Kim Stanley Robinson will speak about 350.org and geo-engineering and Biers-Ariel will advocate for biking as a way to lessen carbon footprints.
Anya McCann from Cool Cuisine, Lindsay Rubin from vegansofdavis and Tanzi Jackson from UC Davis will talk about Meatless Mondays as a way to reduce individual carbon footprints through diet.
Finally, Chris Granger will invite the audience to the Cool Davis Festival on Saturday, Oct. 12, for more climate solutions.
For more information, email Biers-Ariel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yolano Climate Action is a new group forming as a go-to place for local climate actions and events for the greater Davis area. The purpose is to bring together representatives of local groups and individuals working on mitigation of the climate crisis to amplify the effectiveness of the efforts of each group through improved communication, coordination and support.