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Ten-year-old tar sands activist/YouTube hit

Heard much about the Keystone XL Pipeline? If you get most of your news from mainstream sources, probably not. While there hasn’t been a lack of news about the transcontinental pipeline that would run from the Alberta tar sands to the Gulf Coast, it hasn’t exactly been hitting any front pages. Oil spills get that kind of coverage, but proposed pipelines, not so much. Regardless, the environmental community has taken to the streets, and luminaries within the movement, from writer Bill McKibben to actress Daryl Hannah to scientist James Hansen, have all spent some time in handcuffs because of their vocal opposition to the pipeline.

If a pipeline running right through the middle of the country can’t get the media’s attention, you can imagine the collective yawn that this one (which stays completely north of the border) receives. But Keystone XL isn’t the only project like this planned for tar sands oil. Another is proposed to run from Alberta to the northern British Columbia coast, and in addition to the dirty nature of the oil itself and the potential for pipeline leaks and ruptures, its endpoint runs smack dab into “an ecologically significant region along a particularly dangerous route for tankers.” Of course, lots of tankers would be heading that way once the project’s complete and moving that black gold across the country.

I haven’t heard about any traditional protests of this pipeline project (though I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve occurred), but I did come across one that’s a bit more unique: 10-year-old Ta’Kaiya Blaney, a member of the Sliammon First Nation, was so concerned about the potential for a Gulf Coast-like oil spill that she co-wrote several songs with her music teacher about tit. They recorded the songs, and even shot a video for “Shallow Waters,” which has garnered just over 60,000 views on YouTube.

Maybe this will get some attention? Children writing songs usually get something akin to pats on the head, but with the help of her teacher and a producer, Ta’Kaiya’s got a pretty powerful piece of protest art here. She’s been turned away by pipeline builder Enbridge while trying to deliver a copy of her video with her mother and other activists from Greenpeace Canada, but the larger organization has taken up her cause, and Ta’Kaiya’s become a bit of a celebrity within the Canadian environmental movement. She’s even has her own web site.

Check out the song above, and let us know what you think. Worthy of more attention? Likely to get Canadians (and, hey, maybe even some of us Americans) discussing the issue? Share your thoughts.

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