A photo blog by Mark Worthing, Conservation and Climate Campaigner
The day was already hot at 8:30 am when more than one hundred walkers left Mile Zero in Victoria, Lekwungen Territory, the morning of May 25. The people participating in the Walk 4 The Salish Sea certainly walked the talk in terms of what a people-powered direct action can look like.
With a diversity of voices, we were unified with shared values: we love this coast, we love our ways of life, we love the Salish Sea, and we stand in solidarity with Indigenous climate action from the tar sands to the Pacific islands.
By the time we reached the gates of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline terminal on Burnaby Mountain, that hot sun had been beating down on us for four days and one hundred kilometres of walking, singing, chanting, poetry, drum sessions, stories and teachings. We learned how to Pull Together and continue in strength as Coast Protectors.
The final night of the Walk 4 The Salish Sea, four water protectors took it upon themselves to engage in non-violent action to lock down the gates of the Kinder Morgan pipeline terminal. They held the gates for almost 24 hours before ten police officers and six private security guards cut their chains and carried them off in police cruisers. Their message: “This is only the beginning.” This type of peaceful confrontation is a symptom of a non-democratic and disrespectful government process. While Sierra Club BC neither practices nor advocates civil disobedience, we understand that often it is the language of the unheard.
The Kinder Morgan pipeline is not dead. While there are some encouraging signals coming out of the election, we cannot rely on First Nations’ court cases alone to stop this pipeline. We also must uphold our promise to continue supporting them regardless of what changes happen in government. Construction is planned to begin this fall. Prime Minister Trudeau wants this pipeline very much. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley wants this pipeline very much.
We must keep our eyes on the prize and continue to mobilize our diverse and unified movement. We, the people, will stop tar sands expansion projects together.
With World Oceans Day coming up next week, now is the time to stand tall for the Salish Sea and all of the creatures large and small who depend on it—including us.
How can you help? Host a solidarity event to support First Nations’ legal challenges through the Pull Together campaign, sign up to become a Coast Protector with the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and support the efforts of Indigenous Climate Action. Or donate to help us continue to defend the places you love.
All photos by Mark Worthing.