We are pleased to invite Sierra Club BC members to a pre-film gathering on October 10 at the West Coast Grill (Prestige Oceanfront) from 5-6:30 in Sooke.
By Environmental Educator Kirsten Dallimore
The days have begun to cool down and the rain has returned to nurture the plants and animals as we welcome a new season—a new journey. I welcome you back for another exciting and inspiring school year full of possibility for wonderful nature connection moments with students across B.C.
I’m pleased to be returning for my 5th school year and I’m curious who I will meet this year and what I will learn and be able to share.
Something I’ve been reminded of recently is that in order to model and share nature connection with kids, I need to embark on my own nature connection journey. That’s why this summer I was part of a one-week deep connection workshop called the “Art of Mentoring” that took place on Salt Spring Island.
During that time I was reminded of the core routines: offering gratitude, the importance of sharing my story with someone, and the “sit spot.” A sit spot provides time for students to find their own place in nature, sit quietly, and take time to observe and reflect on what is happening around them. Sit spots are an ideal way to start off your nature play time each time you go outside as a class. Observing seasonal changes throughout the year at their sit spot will enable your students to develop a deeper nature connection to a place.
I encourage all of you to try out these core routines in your own nature connection journey and see how they fit into your life. The key question to ask yourself is: what would make this year more meaningful for my journey out in nature?
You might be wondering what’s new this year in Education at Sierra Club BC.
I am excited to announce that my fellow Environmental Educator Amira and I are working collaboratively to develop and deliver our education programs across the province. When we visit a school together there will be greater capacity to reach more classes and make a deeper impact in that one school community. That’s exciting, and I am looking forward to experiencing the impacts this will make in schools, specifically in the conversations that teachers have with one another when they share their stories about their workshop and what they did with their class when we visited.
We have been busy preparing our programs for a relaunch of our Going Wild! workshops. In the spring, we were fortunate to have our programs go through a formal evaluation process based on specific environmental education standards. We were delighted for the feedback that our programming is exemplary overall.
The workshops continue to focus on planting seeds to sprout environmental stewards through a holistic, shared lens of Indigenous teachings and scientific understanding. Highlights include greater time spent outdoors, Indigenous teachings intertwined throughout the workshops, greater hands-on exploration time, and a focus on building environmental stewards throughout our province.
This year our Education program is celebrating our 20th birthday. It’s a fabulous time for us all to reflect on the role we have played in supporting children to spend more time outdoors connecting with nature, where our efforts continue in the present and into the future keeping in mind the future generations.
I would like to personally thank all of you for your continued support for the education team at Sierra Club BC.
Feature image by Brynne Morrice.
We are pleased to invite Sierra Club BC members to a pre-film gathering on October 10 at the West Coast Grill (Prestige Oceanfront) from 5-6:30 in Sooke.
Guest blog by Sierra Club BC member Frances Litman
Frances Litman is a 2018 City of Victoria Honorary Citizen Award Recipient, 2017 Victoria Leadership Award Winner, 2012 CRD EcoStar Community Leadership Award Winner and founder of the non-profit, CreativelyUnited.org. She wrote this guest piece for us about her inspiration to defend nature in BC and the importance of supporting proportional representation in BC’s referendum this fall.
I jokingly blame Robert Bateman and Sierra Club BC for adding another 40 hours to my already full work week.
I started the non-profit Creatively United for the Planet Society in 2012, shortly after finding myself at a special Sierra Club BC donor recognition event with guest speaker Robert Bateman at the Upland’s home of community patron, Paddy Stewart.
At first, I thought I received the invitation in error. After all, how could a self-employed photographer, like me, be a top donor? I learned that my earnest $50 monthly donation did qualify me as one of Sierra Club BC’s top donors.
The penny really dropped when Robert Bateman asked the group present, “Who is looking after the environment?” He pointed at each of the two dozen people present, myself included, and said “You are!”
Given I was one of the youngest in attendance, I was shocked. I realized action needed to be taken to educate and inspire others to find compassion for the environment to ensure we would all continue to enjoy the natural health and beauty of a functioning ecosystem. With Sierra Club BC and other groups already doing the hero work in our communities, I could see a need for more people to know about these organizations.
CreativelyUnited.org was born of that desire. I love that the word passion is in the word compassion. My compassion for the underdog became my passion project.
I suppose I’ve always related to the underdog having grown up in foster care and mostly alone. My happiest memories are those I experienced in the company of nature, my nearest and dearest friend during the majority of my most impressionable years. And nature, my friend, has been and continues to be very much the underdog given the lack of respect and compassion it has received since these lands were colonized a little more than 150 years ago.
Fortunately the forest and the ocean were never far from my reach as my early attempts to make friends often resulted in me being bullied where I lived in Campbell River from 1968-1970. From my experience there, I have come to see that Indigenous rights, social justice issues and the destruction of our natural world are directly related. The systematic dismantling of families, culture and the environment and a complete lack of compassion and respect for Indigenous values and wisdom has led to the crisis we are now in.
Just think how many decades we’ve been negatively conditioned to see those who care about nature as “treehuggers,” “hippies,” “conspiracists,” “bleeding hearts” and on it goes. It seems compassion has become increasingly more commodified like so many other things.
Fortunately, we are awakening. Part of my personal awakening and my growing compassion for people and planet led to me pouring my heart and soul into supporting those I saw doing the hero work to raise awareness and bring action to important environmental and social justice issues affecting us all.
I recognized that it would take creativity and compassion to help rebrand “environmentalism and prejudice” so that we could move away from anger-based activism to compassionate, caring communities of people who recognize that we are empowered in togetherness, resulting in healthier, happier compassionate communities that benefit everyone.
Given I was maxed on the amount of money I could give to non-profits and charitable organizations, I gave, and continue to give, my time, skills and energy to CreativelyUnited.org where you’ll find fascinating videos, stories, events and resources and learn about the many non-profits and organizations in our community making a difference.
We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. We are greatly fortunate and privileged to be here.
We can no longer be complacent. It’s our right and our responsibility to create the change we want to see in the world, because we can! Many only dream of doing so.
On this note, having a system of Proportional Representation can really make a tremendous difference. We have a historic opportunity this fall to take part in a referendum that could potentially change this archaic voting system so that every vote counts moving forward.
By doing so, we can actually move toward more compassionate ways of living compared to fossil fuel corporation-led initiatives that are destroying this beautiful land, water, air and democracy, trampling Indigenous rights, and destroying cultures.
By having every vote count, we can elect people who are invested in the greater good of all and show the rest of the country what’s possible. In fact, only the US, Canada and the UK still use the First Past the Post voting system that dates back centuries. It ensured wealth and power remained in the hands of those who already had it. The system was based on the first horse to past the post during a horse race…unreal!
No wonder those with the most money and power are mounting campaigns of fear and confusion. I’ve already seen full page ads and editorials in corporate-bought media…and using names very similar to FairVote Canada, like FairReferendum…ugh!
One compassionate initiative that could arise from having Proportional Representation is the creation of a basic income for all by simply raising the tax rate by a few percentage points for those who can afford it—namely multi-million dollar corporations and the super wealthy.
For example, it’s been said that if the wealth of the 12 richest people in the world was shared equally among the 7.8 billion people in this world, that everyone would be a millionaire.
Just think how that could change everything! That’s compassion in action.
Had we had Proportional Representation in place federally as Trudeau promised us, I can assure you that we, the taxpayers, would not have Site C and pipelines to pay for. Initiatives like a basic income for all would be possible if we weren’t subsidizing rich oil companies. Real jobs could be created in giving real power to the people through solar installations on every building, with affordable carbon-free power from the sun.
If we want to regain control of our governments in the interest of what’s best for people and planet, tell your friends and neighbours, get involved with non-profits like FairVote BC and be sure to vote YES to Proportional Representation. Anything is better than the current archaic system we have.
The Dalai Lama has shared that we won’t have peace in the world until women and girls are treated equally. It makes sense, when we stop and think about this.
We can break the cycle of submission and suppression by voting not only with our dollars in how and where we spend our money, but in electing governments that truly share the power proportionally.
We are currently using up five times our share of planetary resources in this region, which is not very compassionate. However, solutions exist!
Using the power of compassion, prayer and/or meditation and lending your support to non-profits and grassroot organizations like FairVoteBC and Sierra Club BC in whatever way you can makes a positive difference.
I invite you to live with gratitude and compassion for every moment in the spirit of a compassionate one planet community.
Feature image by Frances Litman. www.FrancesLitman.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 2, 2018
Victoria—LNG Canada’s final investment decision to proceed in the absence of a credible science-based provincial climate plan demonstrates the provincial government is disregarding the latest climate science, says Sierra Club BC.
“It is irresponsible for the provincial and federal governments to continue to allow new fossil fuel projects to go ahead without strong, detailed climate plans and accountability mechanisms,” said senior forest and climate campaigner Jens Wieting. “We need a climate test for all major energy projects, a test that stops projects whose carbon footprint makes meeting targets impossible.
“We haven’t yet seen any evidence that the LNG Canada project can fit within a credible climate plan. The latest climate science demonstrates that far more ambitious targets are essential, both in B.C. and globally. Even the Paris carbon pollution reduction pledges are so weak they will result in 3°C of warming by 2100, according to the United Nations.”
The carbon footprint of LNG Canada’s Kitimat project cannot fit in any climate action plan that is in line with the central goal of the Paris Agreement—to limit warming to between 1.5 and 2°C. Scientists are expecting increasingly unmanageable climate impacts even in the 1.5 to 2°C range. Beyond 2°C, impacts will be catastrophic.
Credible estimates of emissions from LNG Canada by the Pembina Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives range from 8.6 to 12 million tonnes, more than the entire emissions of the country of Costa Rica.
“It is absurd that the climate plan being developed by the B.C. government is forced to accommodate LNG Canada,” said Wieting. “The responsible way to proceed would be to set targets the science tells us we need, then have LNG Canada prove it can fit within those targets.”
LNG Canada would consume the vast majority of B.C.’s remaining annual carbon pollution budget by 2050 (13 million tonnes), even under today’s weak reduction target. Abroad, the project would add another 68 million tonnes annually from burning gas exported from B.C., exceeding all emissions from within B.C. today (equivalent to the emissions of Greece).
The B.C. government is expected to release its revised climate action plan later this fall.
Premier Horgan has already acknowledged that if climate targets are to be met, every other sector of B.C.’s economy would have to significantly accelerate the reduction of their carbon emissions just to accommodate LNG Canada within B.C.’s current weak targets.
Earlier this month, Sierra Club BC’s executive director Hannah Askew wrote to Premier John Horgan, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman, and Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Michelle Mungall. She called on the B.C. government to strengthen provincial targets and ensure a robust plan for implementation so targets are actually met.
“We are looking at a collapse of the global economic system and of human civilization as a whole if warming pushes past 1.5 to 2°C,” said Wieting. “Recent wildfires, hurricanes, flooding and heatwaves will be seen as the good old days in comparison.”
New fossil fuel projects will be at increasing risk of becoming stranded assets as costs for renewable energy plummet and governments take stronger action to reduce emissions to avert devastating climate change impacts.
For more information:
Sierra Club BC letter regarding LNG Canada and climate action https://sierraclub.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/SCBC_Letter_LNG_Climate.pdf
Graph: BC climate goals vs. LNG Canada https://sierraclub.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/BC-climate-goals-vs-LNG-Canada.jpg
Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner
Sierra Club BC
You did it!
You helped stop the Trans Mountain pipeline and tankers in the courts!
On August 30, we celebrated a major victory as the project’s approval was quashed by the Federal Court of Appeal. This court ruling is fantastic news for orca whales, for our climate, for Indigenous peoples defending their title and rights, and for the rights of all of us to defend the land and waters we love and call home.
And it happened in part thanks to the help of hundreds of people who stepped up in solidarity with First Nations by supporting our Pull Together campaign. With your help, we raised more than $650,000 for the nations fighting this project in court!
Take a moment to pat yourself on the back. First, we sent Kinder Morgan home to Texas, because the company knew this project was a sinking ship. Now, with your support, Indigenous peoples fought back – and won.
The court agreed with what we’ve been saying all along: that the National Energy Board review was deeply flawed and fell far short of the mark in consulting Indigenous peoples.
The fact that the NEB decided not to include in its review the impacts of marine tanker traffic– which it agreed would pose significant adverse effects to endangered orca whales – meant the government could not rely on the Board’s recommendation in making a decision. And because Canada failed to engage meaningfully with Indigenous peoples, the court ruled this consultation needs to be redone.
This is a stunning blow. And it offers the perfect opportunity for Prime Minister Trudeau to walk away from this pipeline and tankers.
But instead, he’s already doubled down his efforts to push this dangerous project through communities that do not consent.
Trudeau has asked the NEB to reconsider its recommendations – and he’s given it an incredibly tight 22-week timeline to do so.
To make matters worse, this hasty new review is already showing signs of the same flaws that were present in the original review. On September 26, the NEB announced the new review.
We did some digging and found out the NEB was misinforming people about this process.
We found that their website contained inaccurate and conflicting information, leading many people to believe that the deadline for comments on the project was October 3 – less than a week away. It also suggested people need to send in an application to participate and prove that they are “directly affected” or have “relevant information or expertise,” just like the first NEB review process in 2014, which was designed to shut people out of the process.
But we found out that if you want to send a letter of comment on the project, you don’t need to apply and you don’t need to comment by October 3. This deadline is only people who want to apply to be an intervenor or comment on the scope and process of the review (which you should do too, if you can!)
After we pestered them all day, the NEB finally updated their website to correct the wrong info.
It doesn’t look like the NEB has learned much from their past mistakes. Instead, it looks like they’re up to their old tricks and that we’ve got another sham process on our hands – a process destined for another predetermined outcome.
This is what happens when you do a rush job. We see no difference yet between this and Harper’s approach – they’re still trying to confuse people and deny participation.
Get a refresher on the flaws of the last NEB review with our “Credibility Crisis” report: https://bit.ly/2H6zm60
If the Trudeau government takes its commitment to reconciliation and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples seriously, then these rigged and superficial approaches need to become a thing of the past. Indigenous peoples have the right to free prior and informed consent – and they still do not consent.
It’s time for a more modern, democratic process that involves much closer scrutiny, especially of the many environmental, social and economic dangers posed by projects like this.
We are thrilled that the courts have overturned federal approval of this dangerous pipeline and tankers project that would have put so much at risk. But the fight is far from over.
We’ll be helping people ensure they are heard in this new process, and keeping a sharp eye on the NEB to ensure they don’t keep pulling more tricks. It’s still important to use this opportunity to raise your voice, and we hope you’ll participate by sending a letter of comment. Once more details are released on the process, we’ll be in touch about how you can have your say.
Say yes to orcas and salmon – donate now to help us keep fighting this pipeline and oil tankers.