Unist’ot’en Camp report-back: Falling in Love

We recently highlighted Will Falk’s account as one of the Deep Green Resistance volunteers who braved the January snow and ice to help out at the Unist’ot’en Camp. Max Wilbert wrote another moving personal piece giving an overview of the Unist’ot’en Camp strategy and describing the experience of contributing to their struggle.

Snow lashed the road. The darkness was total, our headlights casting weak yellow beams into the darkness. Most people had hunkered down in homes and motels, and the roads were near empty. Still, every few minutes a passing truck threw a blinding cloud of dry snow into the air, leaving us blind for seconds at a time as we hurtled onwards at the fastest speeds we could manage.

We pressed on, for our destination was important. It was a caravan to the Unist’ot’en Camp, and we were committed.

[…]

Resistance is the antipode to the dominant culture, and the Unist’ot’en Camp illustrates two interlocking and fundamental truths. First, the system which is killing the planet and exploiting billions can and must be stopped. Second, resistance is our best chance of reclaiming the best traits our species can display: compassion, love, fierce loyalty, deep connection to the land, community and shared purpose.

Read Wilbert’s essay at Deep Green Resistance Seattle: Falling in Love and let it inspire you to support the Camp or another strategic campaign near and dear to you.

Burnaby Mountain fight against tar sands pipeline heats up

From Zoe Blunt at the Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network

Right now across North America, groups of land defenders are doing their damnedest to block tarsands oil from coming to the coasts. Big oil and the Conservative government are insisting on pipelines from Alberta to the Pacific to feed the Asian export market. But thousands of locals are pledging to put their freedom on the line to stop them.

In Burnaby BC, the front has shifted from street rallies to blocking pipeline workers from drilling through Burnaby Mountain. Hundreds of native and non-native environmentalists have joined forces to occupy a conservation area in a last-ditch effort to stop Kinder Morgan and protect the Salish Sea and the traditional territory of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, which has launched a court challenge against the tarsands pipeline.

But now Kinder Morgan has filed its own lawsuit naming the land defenders. And on Friday Nov 14, the judge granted the pipeline company’s request for an injunction and ordered resisters to leave or face arrest.

Many are not leaving. Those who feel called to defend the coast, please join these brave people. Come to bear witness and follow your conscience. I know I can’t stand aside and allow these machines to override the will of the people and open up a wilderness park and the whole south coast to toxic oil spills.

How to join:

  • Come for a day or two or a week. Bring a friend if you can.
  • Be prepared to camp. Bring a tent and a sleeping bag, rain gear, food and a water bottle.
  • Call Zoe to get connected to a team, and to check your gear: 250-813-3569
  • Directions: 300 Centennial Way, at the east end of Hastings St in Burnaby. Take the #135 bus from Waterfront Skytrain station.

There are several groups on the mountain, from tight affinity groups to community coalitions, and they are making different plans. There may be people going in different directions, so please follow your heart, or call Zoe to connect to a network.

This is where the game gets interesting. We’re playing for high stakes, and we could see a quick reversal if our side’s challenges to Kinder Morgan are heard and upheld in court.

The Tseil-Waututh Nation is joined by 150 other First Nations, dozens of community groups, and Burnaby’s mayor and council. Support these community groups on Indiegogo.

A spill of any kind – like the Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill in Alaska in 1987 – would devastate the wild coast of British Columbia, including the Great Bear Rainforest, Haida Gwaii, salmon runs, wildlife habitat, and the livelihoods and culture of thousands of native people who depend on the sea. A pipeline blowout or a tanker collision would demolish coastal tourism. We can’t even estimate the cost.

Those who love this coast are pledged to defend it.


Come to the Solidarity House in Sooke and get skilled up

I’m happy to announce that the Solidarity House is now open for land defense training. On Sundays, starting on Nov 23, we’re offering the opportunity to support the frontlines and observe first-hand as BC moves to a new phase of land defense.

Join us to talk about strategy, solidarity, and specific skills like backcountry work, mapping, and fundraising. Lend your good energy to an inspiring grassroots movement led by incredibly resilient activists.

Call 250-813-3569 or email zoe@wildcoast.ca for the address and details.

Blockade of Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline in Burnaby BC

Last week, Kinder Morgan pipeline company began clearing brush to drill boreholes for a new pipeline from the tar sands to their marine tanker terminal east of Vancouver. Local residents and allies took over the borehole sites and set up camps in a small wilderness park next to Simon Fraser University. This week, KM served the organizers with a civil lawsuit and injunction application. The hearing is set for Wed Nov 5. The resisters are not backing down. They are calling for reinforcements at the camp and in the courthouse.

Overview of the struggle

Burnaby Mountain is in the traditional territory of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, who are now challenging Kinder Morgan in court.

Other Coast Salish Nations stand with them in this struggle, united against the Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline.

Over 70% of the people in Burnaby are opposed to Kinder Morgan. Many are prepared to take direct action to stop tar sands exports. The mayor and the city council are unanimously opposed to the expansion after the existing, aging pipeline burst in a residential neighbourhood over a decade ago.

Kinder Morgan is fighting back hard, going to court to stop pipeline protesters.

A camp was set up on Burnaby Mountain and people have been patrolling to keep the company from cutting any more trees or surveying for their proposed route through Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area and under Burnaby Mountain. There are frequent rallies and actions.

Get involved

Visit the Stop Kinder Morgan on Burnaby Mtn Facebook page for the latest updates.

Sign up for a free training in civil disobedience for mountain defenders on November 9.

Sign up to join the camp and help protect Burnaby Mountain. They will contact you in a day or two. Be prepared to be self-sufficient. Being able to move fast through wet brush is a big help.

This is just one part of a much larger struggle. Over 150 First Nations have signed the Save the Fraser Declaration opposing tar sands pipelines. They are allied with community groups, environmental and labour organizations and thousands of people across BC.

Questions? Call the hotline: 250-813-3569 or email zoe@wildcoast.ca

Will Falk series on Unis’tot’en Camp

DGR member Will Falk has been writing a regular series on his experiences at the Unis’tot’en Camp blockade of proposed pipeline construction. We’ve highlighted some of them here already, but thought it would be useful to link to the whole series of thoughtful essays on what it takes to build a true culture of resistance, and for members of settler culture to ally with indigenous peoples on the front lines:

Blockading pipelines works

The article “Total shelves $11-billion Alberta oil sands mine” contains a clear acknowledgement that blockades like that of the Unis’tot’en Camp preventing construction of the Northern Gateway pipeline, and actions against the Keystone XL matter, by limiting pipeline capacity and driving down the value of tar sands product:

Rising costs for labour and materials have long worked against the economics of new projects, and limited pipeline access to ship oil has weighed on prices for Alberta oil. Total is signed up to ship oil on three major undeveloped pipeline projects facing uncertainty: Keystone XL, Northern Gateway and the Trans Mountain expansion.

Keep up the good work, everyone involved in those struggles, and for those not already involved, check them out and see how you can support them.

Support the 2014 Unis’tot’en Action Camp

The indigenous Wet’suwet’en are holding the fifth annual Unis’tot’en Action Camp to blockade the construction of the Canadian Northern Gateway pipelines, a cluster of pipelines meant to carry tar sands crude and natural gas from fracking operations. This blockade is a strategic way to fight against these extremely dangerous and destructive projects. The Unis’tot’en territory has never been ceded to Canada, so the Wet’suwet’en have both a legal standing and a deep commitment to defending their landbase. This is a battle that can be won by defenders of the land and climate change activists.

To learn more about the background of the blockade and about the Camp, visit the Unis’tot’en Camp website and watch the 2012 Deep Green Resistance West Coast Tour video below:

Call for Action Against Extraction on May 19th

Activists draw a line in the sand in the fight against fracking (Photo originally posted here)

On Saturday, May 19th, participants in the Occupy Well Street campaign against fracking are calling for a Day of Direct Action Against Extraction. We invite all who are opposed to the widespread use of energy extraction methods such as hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, mountaintop removal coal mining, and tar sands oil distillation to take creative, public direct action at local or regional points of production in these industries. All who participate are encouraged to employ a wide spectrum of tactics that appeal to their experience and comfort level, such as handing out literature, arranging speaking events, orchestrating colorful street theater, or taking up space by creative means.

Why a Day of Action? We have many reasons: We are tired of our communities being divided and conquered by gas corporations in pursuit of ever higher profits. The water that flows through our bioregion is being sold off for fracking as fast as those granted responsibility for our rivers and watersheds can rubber stamp withdrawal permits. Despite promises of gas drilling and fracking operations creating a surplus of local and regional jobs, our region is teeming with highly paid out of state rigworkers, engineers and other “specialists”, while the local jobs largely consist of temporary truck driving and dangerous “roustabout” positions. We are being lied to and manipulated, but we refuse to be passive participants in these destructive activities.

While there are many differences between fracking, mountaintop removal coal mining and the tar sands megaprojects, they are all too similar in their effects on the health of human and animal communities. Countless trucks clog the roads, the air fills with pollutants, the water becomes undrinkable, land and forests are cleared, and communities suffer from conflict and illness.

One of the main goals of the Occupy Well Street campaign is to create solidarity among all those resisting energy extraction. Our communities may be separated geographically, but voices and actions can offer effective support between regions and allow us to continue sustaining our struggles against extraction. We must communicate within and between movements, share information and knowledge, and support each others’ efforts in order to grow and evolve.

The last place the gas companies want concerned community members to show up is at their fracking sites, pipeline projects, compressor stations, water withdrawal sites, and other important facilities. The points of production are where the physical damage occurs, and we invite you to join us in throwing a wrench in the gears on May 19th!

What have participants in the Occupy Well Street campaign been up to? Groups have picketed active fracking sites, blocked industry truck traffic, drawn attention to water withdrawal sites hidden in plain view, held industry analysts and “reporters” accountable in public meetings, and distributed literature at pro-industry events. Occupy Well Street is committed to finding common ground between all those fighting extraction industries, and networking is ongoing. Stay tuned for more news soon!