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Connections in the Peace

As I stood on the shores of the Peace River in Northern BC this past spring, I was reminded of the incredible diversity of land and water we hold here in beautiful BC.

Our children and future generations deserve to experience all of this amazing biodiversity. They deserve to know where they live and develop a connection to the place they call home. If we plan to nourish that connection then we must plan to protect it for the future. Children need opportunities to learn how they are part of this place so they don’t feel like they are separate from the rest of life that surrounds them.

As Sierra Club BC’s Environmental Educator for the past 3 years, my job has been to facilitate an opportunity for children to connect with nature in their home place.

Kirsten with Peace Valley farmer Arlene Boon.

This year I have had the pleasure of traveling to Fort St John and visiting the Peace River Valley during the fall and springtime.  My favourite experience was standing beside the Peace River and taking in all the scenery, then speaking with students about how they connect with the Peace and the surrounding area in the community of Hudson’s Hope.

Students shared with me their concerns about flooding and what will happen over the next few years to their home if the Site C dam goes ahead. Students and teachers spoke of the changes they have seen already within their community due to forest fires, the pine beetle infestation and the building of hydro dams. This has all caused changes to the river and the natural landscape.

Life along the river is getting tougher for these folks. Each day brings more challenges for holding onto the farms and forests, and of course their homes along the river. Learn how you can get involved in our campaign to stop the Site C dam and protect the Peace River Valley.

As I spent more time in Hudson’s Hope I soon realized that these students have a close connection to this place. They told me stories about their favourite experiences in nature: fishing, hunting, camping and snowmobiling in the area. Some kids travel quite a long distance to school each day and many spend their time helping out on their families’ farms along the river.

Kids in the Peace River Valley. Photo by Don Hoffmann.

One Grade 5/6 class took me to see a local forest they love to visit. This is a place they said, where “you can always see lots of deer.” Indeed, we saw lots of deer making an appearance in the forest and foraging for food after a long winter. I took walks with students to the toboggan hill near their school each day and we used that space to explore the variety of plants and animals by doing a fun and interactive nature scavenger hunt. I believe one of their favourite activities was rolling down the hill after our closing circle.

One thing I have become very aware of, no matter where you are in BC, is that finding as many earthworms as you can after a rain is truly a favourite activity!

The Peace River Valley holds a dear place in my heart. I send them lots of positive thoughts as the future of the river, the wildlife and the people are at stake with decisions to be made about the Site C dam. Help kids in the Peace protect the places they love – tell Trudeau to halt construction on the Site C dam.

Sierra Club BC’s K-8 environmental education programs delivered in classrooms across the province are all developed to meet BC curriculum requirements and connect kids with nature in their own community. I encourage you to check out our upcoming programs and keep connected to receive updates regarding fall registrations. This has been a very rewarding year for the education team with the hire of our new program manager and the success of our Climate and Place pilot program delivered in the CRD. I look forward to connecting with all of you in the fall. Enjoy a wonderful and relaxing summer in the great outdoors.

Donate today to help us reach more children next year!

UNESCO calls urgently on Canada to protect Wood Buffalo National Park

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 6 2016

New draft decision calls on Canada to conduct a proper assessment of Site C dam and make good on earlier promises.

June 5, 2017, FORT MCMURRAY – The UN’s World Heritage Committee is preparing to push Canada for immediate action to better protect Wood Buffalo National Park following Friday’s release of a strong decision proposed for the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee this summer.

The draft decision calls on Canada to, by February 1 2018, have made progress towards fully implementing all 17 of the recommendations from the fall 2016 UNESCO mission to Wood Buffalo National Park. This includes finally conducting a proper assessment of the downstream impacts of the Site C dam and developing concrete mechanisms to improve water governance for the Peace Athabasca Delta. The draft decision also urges Canada to make good on its promise to develop a major Action Plan for ensuring the Wood Buffalo’s protection and to move more quickly to develop and implement that Action Plan. The absence of a timely action by Canada will result in Wood Buffalo National Park being relegated to the list of World Heritage in Danger.

“Once again the international community is calling on Canada to safeguard Wood Buffalo National Park against encroaching industrial pressures. It’s time for Canada to immediately implement UNESCO’s recommendations and start protecting the Peace Athabasca Delta,” said Mikisew Chief Steve Courtoreille.

“The UNESCO report was a wake up call for Canada. We intend to continue working with the World Heritage Committee to hold Minister McKenna to her commitment to take real action to protect this amazing area,” added Melody Lepine, Mikisew’s lead on its UNESCO petition.

Mikisew’s supporters also welcomed the draft decision.

“This decision lays out what Canada’s governments need to do to live up to their responsibilities under the UN World Heritage Convention to safeguard Wood Buffalo on behalf of the world community,” said Alison Woodley, National Director of CPAWS Parks Program. “It’s a clear message from the UN that the threats facing the park from upstream hydro-electric projects and oil sands development are unacceptable, and that Canada needs to take concerted and immediate action to save this global treasure, working in partnership with Indigenous peoples.”

“We are pleased that the World Heritage Committee is poised to strongly reaffirm its position that the Site C dam poses a threat to Wood Buffalo National Park and the Peace Athabasca Delta, and that impacts from Site C must be understood,” Says Galen Armstrong of Sierra Club BC.  “Sierra Club BC is calling on the Trudeau government to suspend its approval of Site C and order an immediate halt to construction, while Canada assesses the report’s recommendations and implements changes. In the long run Site C simply cannot be built.”

“Canada keeps saying that nothing can be done about Site C, but the World Heritage Commission isn’t buying that and neither are we,” says Candace Batycki of Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. “The incoming BC government has committed to send Site C for assessment by the BC Utilities Commission. Meanwhile Canada is being asked to make every effort to understand the possible impacts of the Site C project on Wood Buffalo. They don’t need a legal mechanism to do that, they just need the will.”

The World Heritage Committee will vote on the draft decision at its upcoming meeting in July 2017.

For more information, visit mikisewgir.com/projects/.

For interviews with Mikisew Cree First Nation representatives:

Melody Lepine, Mikisew Cree First Nation Industry and Government Relations, 780-792-8736, melody.lepine@mcfngir.ca

For interview with environmental group representatives:

Alison Woodley, BSc, MA, CPAWS, 613-203-1172, awoodley@cpaws.org

Caleb Behn, Keepers of the Water, caleb.behn@gmail.com

Galen Armstrong, Sierra Club BC, 778-679-3191, galen@sierraclub.bc.ca

Candace Batycki, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, 250-352-3830

The clock is ticking on Site C

The results of the BC election are finally in, and the message is clear: Almost sixty per cent of voters called for a review or cancellation of the Site C dam. Their concerns must be honoured by the incumbent government.

There is no political mandate to push the dam further. There is no economic case to push it further.

The project can still be stopped, and this reality is closer than ever. We have a government-in-waiting that has said it will review the dam.

Territory of Treaty 8 First Nations on the Peace River. Photo by Louis Bockner.

The current government has no social license to authorize BC Hydro to award new contracts. But Christy Clark may still try to push the project forward in whatever way she can.

The Boons and Meeks, farm families in the Peace, have had their evictions postponed till the end of June. But if road realignment work continues, they remain in danger of losing their homes. This work would also cause devastating and irreversible harms to First Nations’ grave sites and cultural heritage. Given the current uncertainty over Site C’s fate, BC Hydro must put a pause on these evictions and destructive activities.

In just a few short weeks, a $2 billion construction contract could be also be signed by BC Hydro, locking Hydro customers into even higher Hydro bills, even if Site C is shelved. This major contract for a generating station, powerhouse and spillways could be announced as early as July 2017, but has not yet been signed with any of the four shortlisted proponents. There have been many on-site problems and non-compliance issues. In February, a huge tension crack suddenly appeared in the slide-prone banks of the Peace River.

Yvonne Tupper of the Salteau First Nation. Photo by Louis Bockner.

Christy Clark must not allow BC Hydro to award any new dam contracts before the BC Utilities Commission concludes its review of the Site C dam.

The incoming government has committed to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the calls-to-action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Tsilhqot’in Supreme Court decision. In light of these commitments, destructive activities that harm First Nations’ heritage should be stopped immediately.

Christy Clark has lost her mandate on Site C. She needs to hear loud and clear that you’re watching and you expect her to respect the wishes of the majority of BC voters.

Sierra Club BC is working quickly with our partners to ensure that Site C remains in the spotlight and goes for a full and rigorous review of the project and alternatives. Help us keep the pressure on – donate today.

No new contracts, no evictions, while the Site C dam faces review

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 1, 2017

VANCOUVER—BC Hydro must not award any new dam contracts before the BC Utilities Commission concludes its review of the Site C dam, say a broad coalition of citizens’ and environmental groups across BC and Canada. Given the current uncertainty over Site C’s fate, BC Hydro must put a pause on evictions and damage to First Nations heritage sites.

“The incumbent government has no mandate to push Site C further, since the government-in-waiting has committed to a review of the project by the BC Utilities Commission,” stated Morag Keegan-Henry with the Lower Mainland group FightC.

A new $2 billion contract for a generating station, powerhouse and spillways was expected in 2017, but has not yet been signed with any of the four shortlisted proponents. There have been many on-site problems and non-compliance issues. In February, for example, a huge tension crack suddenly appeared in the slide-prone banks of the Peace River. The river is named after a historical peace agreement between the Cree and Dunneza peoples of Treaty 8 territory.

“BC Hydro could make a ‘business as usual’ announcement about the $2 billion contract as early as July 2017. This is something that the NDP and the Greens must prevent,” according to George Smith with the Alliance 4 Democracy on the Sunshine Coast. “This white elephant must be stopped in its expensive, wasteful tracks.”

The Boon and Meek families in the Peace have had their evictions postponed till the end of June, but if road realignment work continues, they remain in danger of losing their homes. “Multi-generational farm families still face eviction this summer under the dam’s rushed timelines,” said Andrea Morison of the Peace Valley Environment Association. “No one should be evicted from their homes until the BCUC has completed its work.”

Craig Benjamin of Amnesty International pointed out, “Even if the BCUC review is expedited, devastating harms to farming families and First Nations will still result unless the dam’s planned schedule is suspended during the review. In particular, no activities should be permitted that would cause irreversible harm to First Nations’ grave sites and other cultural heritage.”

“Given the incoming government’s commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the calls-to-action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Tsilhqot’in Supreme Court decision, First Nations’ concerns must be honoured,” added Joe Foy of the Wilderness Committee.  “BC Hydro should suspend activities that are destructive to the Peace River Valley.”

“As the province moves forward with the BC Utilities Commission review, activities on the dam site should be limited to environmental monitoring and addressing impacts such as those related to minimizing silt leakage, sedimentation, and slope stability,” suggested Candace Batycki, Program Director of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.

“The current government has no social license to authorize BC Hydro to award new contracts,” said Tim Pearson of Sierra Club BC. “The results of the election clearly show the voters have serious concerns about Site C, and those concerns must be honoured by the incumbent government.”

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For more information contact:

George Smith, Alliance 4 Democracy  604.989.5094

Andrea Morison, Peace Valley Environment Association  250.793.7279

Joe Foy, National Campaign Director, Wilderness Committee  604.880.2580

Tim Pearson, Communications Director, Sierra Club BC  250.896.1556

Document: Media release

Groups send open letter to party leaders calling for immediate pause on Site C dam

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2017

VANCOUVER – In an open letter sent today to all recently elected MLAs and their party leaders, several non-government organizations and citizen groups are urging them to pause construction on the Site C dam and have the project thoroughly assessed by the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC).

The popular vote numbers show over half the voters in the province supported either the BC NDP, who stated they would bring the project to the BCUC for review or the BC Greens, who stated that they’d stop the project immediately.

“The homes of multi-generational farm families are hanging in the balance as we speak,” said Joe Foy, National Campaign Director for the Wilderness Committee. “The first two homes are at risk of being destroyed if action is not taken soon.  It’s not a stretch to say that given the uncertainty of the election outcome at this time, it is simply unjust to proceed with this level of irreversible damage.”

“We don’t need to spend anywhere near $9 billion on energy infrastructure right now, even BC Hydro stated we may not need the amount of power that Site C would provide for up to 40 years from now.  It makes more sense to take that public money and build much needed public infrastructure throughout the province:  like hospitals, schools, water treatment plants, affordable housing and daycares.  Projects that all British Columbians need now,” states Andrea Morrison, Executive Director for the Peace Valley Environment Association.

Not only are the farm families bracing themselves for imminent destruction of their homes, but First Nations are also deeply concerned about the road realignment work planned in the coming weeks, which will destroy a grave site and significant archaeological sites. The West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations along with the Peace Valley Landowner Association have requested the results of the Multiple Accounts Analysis that justifies why this particular highway route was chosen over other options, but BC Hydro has not released the document.

“Now is the perfect time for the elected representatives of all parties in BC to show that they are listening to the electorate by addressing Site C before any more irreversible harm is caused by the project,” says Galen Armstrong, Peace Valley  Campaigner for  Sierra Club BC.  “When people’s homes and ancestors’ grave sites hang in the balance, the time for action by the parties is now.  Our elected representatives have a huge responsibility and this is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that they will honour the faith that the people of BC have put in them.”

–30–

For more information, please contact:

Joe Foy | National Campaign Director, Wilderness Committee
604-880-2580

Galen Armstrong | Peace Valley Campaigner, Sierra Club BC
778-679-3191


DOCUMENT: 
Open Letter to Hon. Christy Clark, John Horgan & Andrew Weaver

120,000 Canadians call for immediate action to protect the environment and human rights from disastrous impacts of the Site C dam

27 April 2017

Citizens’ groups, Indigenous peoples, human rights and environmental organizations are asking British Columbia MPs to take a message to Ottawa.

BC MPs Elizabeth May and Kennedy Stewart with Grand Chief Stewart Philip and environmental groups. Photo courtesy of Amnesty Canada.

“British Columbia’s Site C dam is one of the largest megaprojects of our generation,” said Andrea Morison, Executive Director of the Peace Valley Environment Association. “Our political leaders cannot continue to ignore the devastating impacts it will have on our waters and on the rights of Indigenous peoples.”

More than 120,000 people have signed petitions, postcards and letters calling for an immediate halt to construction. Petitions were presented to BC MPs today as they prepared to return to the House of Commons after a Parliamentary break.

Organizers included Amnesty International Canada, Leadnow, Sierra Club BC, the Peace Valley Environment Association, KAIROS, Keepers of the Water, Peace Valley Landowners Association, Alliance4Democracy and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.

They are calling on parliamentarians of all parties to press for clear answers as to why the Site C dam is still going ahead despite established harm to the natural environment, farmlands, and the rights of Indigenous peoples.

Last week, a detailed study published by the University of British Columbia Program on Water Governance concluded that proceeding with Site C would be “uneconomic”, since future electricity demand will be much lower than BC Hydro had stated during the review process, the cost of the project will be higher than previously estimated, and the cost of alternative sources of energy would be lower.

Sierra Club BC Peace Valley Campaigner Galen Armstrong. Photo courtesy of Amnesty Canada.

Candace Batycki of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative said, “Even before Site C was approved, the environmental assessment process raised serious doubts about the claimed economic benefits that supposedly justified the terrible harm that would be done by flooding the Peace Valley. Now that this report from UBC has declared Site C uneconomic, it’s clearly time for both levels of government to give this project some sober second thought.”

The federal government has acknowledged that it approved the Site C dam without consideration of whether doing so was consistent with their legal obligations under Treaty 8, which protects the right of the Cree and Dane-Zaa to use their traditional lands. Despite a series of judicial reviews of the approval of Site C, Canadian courts have yet to render a verdict on this fundamental question.

“Site C is a disaster in the making,” said Brittany Smith, campaigner at Leadnow. “Canadians deserve to know why our governments have continued to back such a harmful and costly project in the face of serious, unresolved legal challenges from First Nations.”

The Site C dam also seriously threatens water flows in the Peace-Athabasca Delta, part of Wood Buffalo National Park. A recent UNESCO report strongly criticized Canada for failing to protect the park. The country’s largest World Heritage Site risks being added to the List of World Heritage in Danger unless the Canadian government acts immediately to address these threats, which endanger the ability of the Mikisew Cree to practice their way of life.

“The UNESCO report shows the Site C dam should have never been approved in the first place. Now, it is damaging the relationship between First Nations and Canadian society,” said Galen Armstrong, Peace Valley Campaigner for Sierra Club BC. “It is time for the federal government to stop abdicating its responsibility and immediately suspend its approval of Site C.”

Grand Chief Stewart Philip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. Photo courtesy of Amnesty Canada.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs said, “The future of Site C has become a hot topic in the current provincial election. Whoever forms the next provincial government after May 9th, it is going to be very hard for them to continue ignoring the impact of this unnecessary megaproject. The missing piece is for the federal government to break its silence on this crucial issue.”

Jennifer Henry, Executive Director of KAIROS, said, “Our organizations are grateful to the Members of Parliament who have already spoken out on Site C. We hope that MPs of all parties will agree that a project that is of such concern to so many Canadians deserves closer scrutiny.”

This week at a United Nations meeting on the rights of Indigenous peoples, the federal Minister of Indigenous Affairs Carolyn Bennett once again repeated her government’s promise to fully uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples recognized in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the right of Indigenous peoples to say no to unwanted development on their lands.

Craig Benjamin, who is attending the UN meeting on behalf of Amnesty International,  said, “The federal government has never explained how it can reconcile its claims to champion the rights of Indigenous peoples on the world stage while turning its back on those same rights in the Peace Valley.”

 

Tell Prime Minister Trudeau to honour his promises to First Nations and suspend approval of Site C:

120,000 Canadians call for immediate action to protect the environment and human rights from disastrous impacts of the Site C dam

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

27 April 2017

Citizens’ groups, Indigenous peoples, human rights and environmental organizations are asking British Columbia MPs to take a message to Ottawa.

“British Columbia’s Site C dam is one of the largest megaprojects of our generation,” said Andrea Morison, Executive Director of the Peace Valley Environment Association. “Our political leaders cannot continue to ignore the devastating impacts it will have on our waters and on the rights of Indigenous peoples.”

More than 120,000 people have signed petitions, postcards and letters calling for an immediate halt to construction. Petitions were presented to BC MPs today as they prepared to return to the House of Commons after a Parliamentary break.

Organizers included Amnesty International Canada, Leadnow, Sierra Club BC, the Peace Valley Environment Association, KAIROS, Keepers of the Water, Peace Valley Landowners Association, Alliance4Democracy and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.

They are calling on parliamentarians of all parties to press for clear answers as to why the Site C dam is still going ahead despite established harm to the natural environment, farmlands, and the rights of Indigenous peoples.

Last week, a detailed study published by the University of British Columbia Program on Water Governance concluded that proceeding with Site C would be “uneconomic”, since future electricity demand will be much lower than BC Hydro had stated during the review process, the cost of the project will be higher than previously estimated, and the cost of alternative sources of energy would be lower.

Candace Batycki of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative said, “Even before Site C was approved, the environmental assessment process raised serious doubts about the claimed economic benefits that supposedly justified the terrible harm that would be done by flooding the Peace Valley. Now that this report from UBC has declared Site C uneconomic, it’s clearly time for both levels of government to give this project some sober second thought.”

The federal government has acknowledged that it approved the Site C dam without consideration of whether doing so was consistent with their legal obligations under Treaty 8, which protects the right of the Cree and Dane-Zaa to use their traditional lands. Despite a series of judicial reviews of the approval of Site C, Canadian courts have yet to render a verdict on this fundamental question.

“Site C is a disaster in the making,” said Brittany Smith, campaigner at Leadnow. “Canadians deserve to know why our governments have continued to back such a harmful and costly project in the face of serious, unresolved legal challenges from First Nations.”

The Site C dam also seriously threatens water flows in the Peace-Athabasca Delta, part of Wood Buffalo National Park. A recent UNESCO report strongly criticized Canada for failing to protect the park. The country’s largest World Heritage Site risks being added to the List of World Heritage in Danger unless the Canadian government acts immediately to address these threats, which endanger the ability of the Mikisew Cree to practice their way of life.

“The UNESCO report shows the Site C dam should have never been approved in the first place. Now, it is damaging the relationship between First Nations and Canadian society,” said Galen Armstrong, Peace Valley Campaigner for Sierra Club BC. “It is time for the federal government to stop abdicating its responsibility and immediately suspend its approval of Site C.”

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs said, “The future of Site C has become a hot topic in the current provincial election. Whoever forms the next provincial government after May 9th, it is going to be very hard for them to continue ignoring the impact of this unnecessary megaproject. The missing piece is for the federal government to break its silence on this crucial issue.”

Jennifer Henry, Executive Director of KAIROS, said, “Our organizations are grateful to the Members of Parliament who have already spoken out on Site C. We hope that MPs of all parties will agree that a project that is of such concern to so many Canadians deserves closer scrutiny.”

This week at a United Nations meeting on the rights of Indigenous peoples, the federal Minister of Indigenous Affairs Carolyn Bennett once again repeated her government’s promise to fully uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples recognized in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the right of Indigenous peoples to say no to unwanted development on their lands.

Craig Benjamin, who is attending the UN meeting on behalf of Amnesty International,  said, “The federal government has never explained how it can reconcile its claims to champion the rights of Indigenous peoples on the world stage while turning its back on those same rights in the Peace Valley.”

 

Contact:

Galen Armstrong, Peace Valley Campaigner

Sierra Club BC

Cell: 778-679-3191

 

Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations

Amnesty International Canada

613-744-7667 ext. 236

Be bold: Stories from the women who inspire us

By Sue Elrington, Sierra Club BC

April 2017

(L-R) Songhees Elder Joan Morris, Rachel Vincent, Casey Camp-Horinek, Helen Knott, Caitlyn Vernon, and Sue Elrington.

We stand at a moment in time where we are witnessing clear threats to our environment and our social structures. It is a moment that demands action, whether that be action to defend our civil liberties, our rights to security, our rights as women, or simply the planet.

Women are at the forefront of resistance to these threats. Earlier this year, more than 4 million people took part in women’s marches around the world. Women are inspiring and being inspired.

Some of their stories have been captured in Rachel Vincent’s When We Are Bold: Women Who Turn Our Upsidedown World Right. To encourage new and longtime environmental activists, in March Sierra Club BC invited Rachel to anchor an evening of storytelling based on the book.

Helen Knott on protecting her ancestral lands from the Site C dam.

Joining Rachel Vincent were Casey Camp Horinek, a Ponca Elder in the midst of the Standing Rock battle, Helen Knott, a Treaty 8 poet and activist against the Site C megadam, and Sierra Club BC’s director of campaigns, Caitlyn Vernon.

Rachel opened the evening talking about why so many women become environmental activists. In her work around the world, she repeatedly she sees women forced into activism to protect their homes, their water, and their agricultural land from extractive industries. That was certainly the case with Berta Cercares, the Honduran activist whose resistance so threatened the powerful that they murdered her in 2016.  (Rachel read from a story by Berta’s daughter that is featured in When We Are Bold).

Helen Knott clearly feels she has no choice but to be an activist in the struggle to save her ancestral land and cultural home from the destruction of the Site C megadam. One of the hardest things about being an activist is persisting in the fight when you feel outgunned by the powerful who have no respect for the world you want so passionately to protect. Helen brought much of the audience to tears are she explored the emotions that can overwhelm us in “For The Mamas on Frontlines with their Fists Raised up High,” a poem written to speak to us as activists. (Read Helen’s poem here.)

Caitlyn Vernon, Rachel Vincent and Casey Camp-Horinek.

Caitlyn Vernon, Sierra Club BC’s director of campaigns, has never known a time when she wasn’t an activist. She felt Helen’s poem deeply, sharing her very personal experiences in her journey as a fierce advocate for the environment. In speaking of the condescension, ignorance, touching and groping from men who were supposed to be working with her, Caitlyn shone a light on the dual struggles of most female activists: the primary one—in her case, defending nature—and the second one, usually hidden from view, where women battle the very people we should be able to trust to have our backs in the big fight. But we persist. As an activist, you keep your eyes on the goal.

For Casey Camp-Horinek, this has meant taking on new roles. Casey is a Elder from the Ponca Nation who describes herself first as a matriarch of her clan. She followed her sons to join the encampment at Standing Rock where she was arrested for nine days. Casey spoke eloquently about moving beyond inertia by finding new ways to act for the planet. She wants municipal governments to give nature the same standing and and the same rights in law as humans have. She has become a Council member to push this dream into reality.

There was much talk throughout the evening regarding how, for so many women, their activist journeys started with conversations. Conversations around kitchen tables with neighbours that led to decisions to act. There is no act too small, no vision too big to take on. We just have to BE BOLD.

“If we all stand together, there’s a beautiful way forward.” Casey Camp-Horinek shares about her experiences at Standing Rock and the importance of alliances between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Special thanks to Kirk Schwartz, MediaNet and Pacific Peoples’ Partnership for producing these videos.

Casey Camp-Horinek on defending land and water

“If we all stand together, there’s a beautiful way forward.” Native rights activist, actor and Councillor of the Ponca Nation Casey Camp-Horinek on her experiences at Standing Rock and the importance of alliances between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to protect the land and water we all depend on.Special thanks to Kirk Schwartz, MediaNet and Pacific Peoples' Partnership for videography, production and technical support.

Posted by Sierra Club BC on Tuesday, May 2, 2017

“It’s crucial to start honouring those promises that were made.” Watch and share this powerful interview with Helen Knott to learn why stopping the Site C dam is critical for Canada’s relationship with First Nations:

Help Helen stop the destruction — tell Trudeau to honour his promises to First Nations and suspend approval of Site C:

 

Feature image by Kat Zimmer.

Six ways you can make a difference for the environment this election

April 2017

It’s official—the BC election period has begun.

From now until Election Day, the rules make it difficult for Sierra Club BC to draw attention to issues you care about like the Site C dam, Kinder Morgan tankers and protecting old-growth forests.

That’s why we need your help more than ever to amplify these critical election issues. Here are six ways you can make a difference for BC’s environment this election:

  1. If you haven’t already, join our Facebook community and follow us on Twitter. Checking our news feed is an amazingly simple way to keep track of the issues you care about most and share them with your own network. We’ll be keeping close tabs on the news for you, and we’re hoping you’ll share it like you’ve never shared before!
  2. Talk to your friends, family and neighbours. Encourage them to get informed on the issues in your riding. Share what you know about how the Site C dam will cause their hydro bills to skyrocket to provide subsidies to oil and gas corporations. Voting is more fun together – make a plan with friends to walk to the polls together or offer them a ride to the polling station if you can!
  3. Attend an all-candidates meeting in your riding. Ask your candidates where they stand on the Site C dam and Kinder Morgan’s tar sands pipeline and tankers proposal. Find our team at meetings in Victoria, Esquimalt, Sidney, Vancouver and Tri-Cities.
  4. Volunteer with us! Right now, we need canvassers on the ground and on the phone helping to get out the vote. Contact galen@sierraclub.bc.ca to join our team.
  5. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper on the issue you care about most. Whether it’s supporting clean water, good green jobs, a livable climate, or keeping big old trees standing, you are in the best position to influence your own community by taking a stand.
  6. And of course, don’t forget to vote on May 9 or in the advance polls! (Not sure if you’re registered? Sign up here)

Elections come and go. Politicians rise and fall. Communities are here to stay, as is the natural world we depend on. And no matter who is in power after May 9, Sierra Club BC will continue working hard to defend the places you love. We hope you’ll join us.

5 short videos that explain the Site C dam boondoggle

What’s the deal with the Site C dam?

Here’s the situation in the simplest terms: the government wants to put a huge, unnecessary dam on a major river, and it’s a really, really bad idea.

Here’s a little more detail: the BC government and BC Hydro (BC’s publicly-owned electricity utility) have started construction on an earthfill dam called Site C in Northeastern BC, near Fort St. John. Flooding of the valley is slated to start in 2021. With less than $2 billion spent so far, it’s much smarter to stop the project now, rather than letting costs balloon to between $9 and $17 billion.

Here are five short videos that help explain how the BC government got us into this mess, and why we need to stop this dam in its tracks:

  1. BC HAS A SURPLUS OF ELECTRICITY. This DeSmog Canada video answers the question, “What is the Site C dam?” Dr. Harry Swain, former chair of the Joint Review Panel on Site C, explains how BC doesn’t need Site C power and won’t need it for a very long time.

Cutting Through the Spin on the Site C Dam

Last week DeSmog Canada published a video about the Site C dam that — after generating nearly 120,000 views in 36 hours — was suddenly removed by Facebook due to a complaint filed by a B.C. government contractor. Fear not, we've done a new cut. This is the video they didn't want you to see. Read more about the complaint: http://bit.ly/2fdejyn

Posted by DeSmog Canada on Wednesday, November 2, 2016

 

  1. FIRST NATIONS HAVE RIGHTS. Indigenous poet, writer and activist Helen Knott speaks about what Treaty 8 First Nations stand to lose if the Site C dam is completed in this Amnesty Canada video. First Nations are fighting the dam in court, and the federal and provincial governments are pretending not to hear.

 

    1. BRITISH COLUMBIANS CAN’T AFFORD TO SUBSIDIZE CORPORATIONS. At this point, you might still be wondering why the government is pushing the dam ahead if it’s such a terrible idea. This Sierra Club BC video shows how the dam is part of the BC government’s plan for a $9 billion handout to fracking and LNG companies, with hydro customers footing the bill.

Hydro Bill Madness

Your BC Hydro bill is going up so Kinder Morgan and Petronas' PNW fracked gas plant can have cheap power. TELL YOUR CANDIDATES: end the handouts, STOP the Site C dam: actionsprout.io/62C809

Posted by Sierra Club BC on Monday, March 27, 2017

 

  1. PEOPLE NEED FOOD TO EAT. Agrologist Wendy Holm found that Peace River Valley farmland could feed more than one million people (nearly a quarter of BC’s population). In this Little River Productions clip, Wendy also discusses the NAWAPA theory that the dam is part of a continental water sharing plan for bulk water exports to the US.

 

 

  1. IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO STOP THIS DAM. Former BC Premier Mike Harcourt tells DeSmog Canada it’s better to cut our losses at $2 billion rather than go bankrupt (BC Hydro already has $76 billion in debt).

 

Site C Dam an ‘Economic Disaster’: Former Premier

The Site C dam is an “economic disaster” that could end up costing B.C. more than $15 billion, according to former Premier Mike Harcourt in this new video interview. Rather than wasting money on power we don't need, Harcourt says B.C. should cut its losses and get building infrastructure we DO need like schools, transit lines and bridges. What do you think?Read more on DeSmog Canada: http://bit.ly/SiteCDisasterDon’t miss out: http://bit.ly/DeSmogNewsLearn more about the Site C dam: https://www.desmog.ca/site-c-dam-bc

Posted by DeSmog Canada on Thursday, March 2, 2017

 

TAKE ACTION: SITE C THREATENS A WORLD HERITAGE SITE. Site C not only threatens the Peace River Valley, but it also threatens Canada’s largest World Heritage Site: Wood Buffalo National Park and the Peace Athabasca Delta. UNESCO is urging the Canadian Government to do an environmental and social impact assessment of the Site C project. Please take action by telling Prime Minister Trudeau to halt the dam construction and do a proper assessment:

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