By Karl Perrin, Suzuki Elder.
The fight to stop the TMX (Trans Mountain Pipeline and Tank Farm Expansion) has been going on since 2012), and it isn’t over yet. Yes, the pipeline is being built, but the fight continues.
Why? Because the new pipe would carry 590,000 barrels of dilbit (diluted bitumen) per day. SFU Prof. Mark Jaccard worked out that the GHGs from that would equal the GHGs of twenty million cars on the road every day. If we stop it, we stop a lot of GHGs.
The struggle continues on many fronts. SFU professor and medical doctor Tim Takaro has been very concerned about the dangers of fire in the TMX tank farm that would easily spread to a forest fire engulfing all of Burnaby Mountain.
Tim last year built a platform high in a cottonwood tree near the shores of the Brunette River in in Burnaby’s official conservation area. But TMX got court permission to override his and Burnaby’s objections and to cut down 1,308 trees on the pipeline pathway. Dr. Tim’s tree-happened to be in that pathway.
Another Tim, Timothee from Quebec, built an tree house further down the TMX pathway and lived there all winter. In spring, a bird watcher who was a member of BROKE spotted hummingbird nests, which developed into a ban on tree cutting due to the federal migratory birds convention act. In late September we lost this treehouse, but we delayed construction for months.
Another BROKE member, Ruth Walmsley, a Quaker, organized a monthly prayer circle near the tank farm and supported the tree-sits. The group also prayed at two downtown Royal Bank branch lobbies, since RBC is a major investor in the Tar Sands.
Catherine Hembling, who attends the Unitarian Church in Vancouver, organized a team to bring hot food to the tree sitters throughout last winter, and organized weekly tours to their site. The tours required some work to hike to them, and a bit of danger, but many elders and families participated, and enjoyed the forest buffer between the freeway and the river—a buffer now being cut. At one point, Catherine and Ruth were arrested for supposedly blocking tree-cutting machinery.
Katherine Maas, one of our Suzuki Elders, has been involved in WE-CAN, the recently formed West Coast Climate Action Network, to spread the news that we’re still trying to stop TMX. It’s so important.
I call the two Tims, Ruth, Catherine, and Katherine, and many others in this struggle climate heros. Lately, I’ve been reading Seth Klein’s book A Good War. He draws many lessons from Canada’s hesitant entry into World War II, and makes a convincing case that we need to get climate justice, and the fight against Global Warming, on to a war-time footing, right now. We cannot stop fighting.
What can we do to slow Global Warming? Fly less. Eat less beef. Lobby elected officials. Join/Donate to climate action groups. Sacrifice? Yes, but do it OUT LOUD!
Below this article are many links for people to learn more and take action.
Karl Perrin, a Suzuki Elders, is a spokesperson for BROKE, Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion. Opinions in this article are those of Karl and BROKE, and have not been officially endorsed by the Council of the Suzuki Elders.
Stop TMX page on Facebook
The Migratory Birds Convention Act
WE-CAN, The West Coast Canadian Action Network
Stand.earth letter to the BC Government on the Climate Urgency