Tutu urges end to reliance on 'filth' from oilsands

Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks in Fort McMurray, Alta., on Saturday, May 31, 2014, labelling the...

Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks in Fort McMurray, Alta., on Saturday, May 31, 2014, labelling the oilsands "filth" and climate change the 21st century's "moral struggle." VINCENT MCDERMOTT/QMI AGENCY

Vincent McDermott, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:29 PM ET

FORT MCMURRAY -- South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu labelled the oilsands "filth," arguing production is motivated by "negligence and greed," and that climate change will be the 21st century's moral struggle.

"The fact that this filth is being created now, when the link between carbon emissions and global warming is so obvious, reflects negligence and greed," Tutu told more than 300 attendees at a conference in Fort McMurray, Alta., on Saturday. "Climate change is the moral struggle that will define this century."

Tutu delivered the keynote speech at a two-day conference on aboriginal rights and climate change organized by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and the Toronto-based law firm Olthuis Kleer Townshend.

During his hour-long speech, the Nobel Prize winner charmed a crowd of hundreds with a message of empathy, peppered by a piercing, shrill laugh.


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