Say the Names...

Al Purdy wrote a wonderful poem called "Say the names say the names" which celebrates the names of Canadian rivers - Tulameen, Kleena Kleene, Similkameen, Nahanni, Kluane and on and on in a celebratory song.

Enbridge is planning to build a dual pipeline that will carry bitumen and condensate across hundreds of waterways between Edmonton and Kitimat. Some of these waterways are rivers like the Parsnip (or what's left of it), the Nechako, the Morice and others are smaller creeks whose names are often known only to the folks who live along their banks or who fish in their shadows or who bend to wash or drink as they cross paths.

I want to collect the names of these rivers and creeks, to collect your stories, your poems, your songs so we can collectively give voice to the land living under the line Enbridge plans to draw.

People have also sent me copies of their presentations to the community oral presentations. If you'd like to add your voice, email me ( your stories and I'll post them for you. The copyright remains with you.

All the best.
Sheila Peters

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Think tankers and what comes along with them

I received notice of this August 24 presentation in Smithers from the Friends of Morice-Bulkley - as always, it's the stories people tell that really illustrate the impact of oil spills - and bravo to the folks who take the time to share their stories, as so many have done at the Joint Review Panel hearings.

A coalition of First Nation organizers and conservation organizations are sponsoring Dr. Riki Ott, a renowned marine toxicologist and oil spill expert on a speaking tour throughout British Columbia in August.  Friends of Morice-Bulkley are hosting Dr. Ott at the Old Church in Smithers on Friday, August 24 at 7 pm. Everyone is invited to this free event.

In her talk, "Think Tankers -- and what comes along with them", Ott shares stories of accidental activists from the Exxon Valdez spill, the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster, the Enbridge Michigan spill and more, showing the devastating costs of our fossil fuel dependency on communities across North America. Her stories show what ordinary people are doing to create more self-reliant, sustainable, and democratic communities. Ott engages the audience to imagine what it would take to transition off fossil fuels and confront the dangerous expansion of corporate power – and inspires people to take action.

Ott says, "I spent a year in Gulf of Mexico communities after the BP oil disaster, warning people what to expect based on my experience with the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In Cordova, Alaska, we learned that the oil industry does not know how to clean up oil – there would be a cover up, not a clean up. Sure enough, people in the Gulf are sick, wildlife is sick, tons of oil is still everywhere, and the government and oil industry are working together to minimize the appearance of damages and BP's response costs."

Ott found this same story of deception and harm is repeating in Michigan communities after the Enbridge pipeline tar sands spill in July 2010. Ott is working with community organizers in Michigan to launch a pilot community health survey in areas impacted by the tar sands spill. "In Michigan, we're dealing with incredibly toxic oil – pretty much the same stuff that the Canadian government wants to bring through BC. Tar sands oil is concentrated in the heavy particulates that harm the respiratory system, the reproductive system, immune function, the central nervous system, the stomach, bladder, liver, skin, and more. The diluents – the chemicals used to dilute the thick tar sands – also are linked with a host of human illnesses."  

 "I want to share these stories and experiences with people in British Columbia because you still have a chance to prevent the harms that have happened in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, and Michigan. It's far better to fight to stop the pipelines and tankers now than to loose your health, your traditional foods, and your families after a spill."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Welcoming the salmon home

It's a bit unnerving to see all the people gathered on that bridge, but here are the people of Moricetown and the surrounding communities gathering to welcome the salmon back into the river and express their concern about the possible impacts of the proposed pipeline.

The caption on the photo reads :"On July 27, 2012, once again, members of the Wet'suwet'en nation, hereditary chiefs, Moricetown elected chiefs,  representatives of local governments and other residents of the valley came to Moricetown to celebrate the return of the salmon in the river and to express their opposition to proposed Enbridge rarsands/bitument pipelines."

On Monday, July 30, Smithers welcomed the people from the Hazeltons who were forced to come to Smithers to make their oral presentations to the Joint Review Panel. Once again, the presentations were thoughtful, respectful and charged with emotion at the ways in which people's lives could be affected by this project. Each participant said a resounding, "No!"