Submitted by Irene Skyriver
A group of citizens concerned about the Canadian government’s decision to allow the expansion and operation of its Trans Mountain Pipeline took its trepidations and opposition to the very waterways that are threatened. On June 9, kayakers, dory rowers, sail-boaters and skiff drivers, as well as activists on land (who leafleted the long Sunday ferry lines), converged to bring attention to the serious issues that a 700% increase of tanker traffic will likely cause.
It is not a question of if but when an increasing “superhighway” of takers will have a catastrophic spill event. Pairing with existing pipelines, the new capacity would triple oil transports to 900,000 barrels a day. The dilbit oils, produced from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, are not floating oils, they are heavy, gooey and they sink to foul the seafloor habitat. They cannot be recovered.
Our already suffering and dwindling resident whales would become subjected to a virtual gauntlet of tankers plying their waters. Do we make a stand for them or witness their demise? When do we say enough?
The United Nations report on climate change states it is urgent that we cut global emissions in half by 2030. There is no time like the present to phase out our dependence on dirty fossil fuels. It is time to leave them in the ground!
To those of us who have the joy and privilege of living here, surrounded by the magic and beauty of the Salish Sea, we must realize that we are the gatekeepers of this bioregion. The First Nations peoples along these waterways have always known this and have also joined in solidarity, officially opposing expansions in oil production.
What can we do? Be an activist! Write, call and vote green; don’t use plastic; drive less; fly less often; and, though one might note, many of our vessels used in the action are not constructed of natural materials, they do already exist, and they make good “war ponies” to ride into battle, voicing our opposition! This particular “battle” was sweet; the on-water activists were regaled with cheers and waves from onlookers and toots from one of the many ferry boats that came through.
If you would like to be a part of future actions on the water, contact Irene Skyriver at firstname.lastname@example.org.