The warning signs of a climate in crisis are all around us. This will be the hottest year ever recorded. Islands in the south Pacific have already succumbed to the rising seas. Villages in Alaska have been forced to relocate due to climate change. Massive ice loss is occurring at both the north and south poles, and the list goes on and on.
Add to that the reality that Donald Trump will soon be in the White House, and you have more then enough reasons to act on climate.
But despite all the reasons, rallies, letters, petitions and meetings, the Canadian government is still talking about fossil fuels. In fact, it might approve one — or potentially two — massive tar sands pipelines.
The world needs to see a climate leader in North America right now and approving one, potentially two tarsands pipelines that would lock Canada into almost 30 million tonnes of emissions (upstream alone) for the next 30 to 40 years isn’t the way to become one.
In addition to the disaster that approving Kinder Morgan and/or Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline would bring to Canada’s climate ambitions, it will also be a huge setback to Canada’s commitments to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples as well.
Over 86 First Nations and tribes have stated their direct opposition to new tar sands pipelines.
Just a few days ago, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, pledged to do “whatever it takes” to stop the pipeline and encouraged other people to do the same:
“There is a battle being waged across the globe by indigenous peoples and their allies demanding a safe, healthy world for future generations. This is about water versus oil, life versus death and, ultimately, survival versus extinction.”
British Columbia has all the elements needed to become the next Standing Rock. Twenty-two municipalities, over 86 First Nations, 91 per cent of all those at Kinder Morgan public meetings stood against the pipeline and they are ready to stand again and almost 4,000 have already taken the Grand Chief’s pledge.
We don’t want it to come to that.
We don’t want to see months or years of lawsuits, protests and direct actions. We don’t want that, but if it comes to that we will stand with First Nations and do whatever it takes (peacefully) to ensure this pipeline never gets built.
We make that commitment because we care about the climate, because we care about indigenous rights, healthy communities and sustainable economies, and we will act when they are threatened. Kinder Morgan and Line 3 threaten them all.
We urge the prime minister to do the right thing.
We urge him to live up to his climate and First Nation commitments. We urge him to remember his own words, “that only communities can give permission.”
This community doesn’t give permission and we hope the prime minister will echo that call.
All of us will be watching. All of us must be ready to act. The choice of what that action will be, is the prime minister’s.
As Crystal Lameman of the Beaver Lake Cree said, “If you drink the water, if you breathe the air, this is about you.”