When it comes to resource extraction and exportation of fossil fuel resources most people will agree that Canada is a world leader. There are pros and cons to current industry practices; but is it time to start looking at sustainability and innovation? Maybe the time has come for Canada to stop considering an increase in oil exports. In our rapidly changing world is a coastal port expansion like the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline project in British Columbia necessary?

Is Environmental Balance a Reality for the Trans Mountain Pipeline

Writing on this subject is a bit of a deviation from my normal subject matter. However, because I have fallen in love with the rugged and wild natural world of beautiful British Columbia, I believe it is relevant. Because I spend so much time in the outdoors I realize that we only get one chance to make decisions that help maintain its natural state. Every day I try to inform myself on both sides of this subject, and I wonder: is environmental balance a reality for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline.

I understand that discussing the science is important and I know that many people believe in climate change with its related studies and reports. I think we should educate and inform the public on this subject and the most seriously consider the recent 2018 UN IPCC Climate Report.

The focus for this blog post will be elsewhere though, it will be on the tactile and visual natural world that engages our soul and leads to our passion to protect it. What we can see and touch right here, right now, in this present moment. From the waters of the Salish Sea, to the mountains of the coast and all the flora and fauna that call it home.

Vancouver Island Black Bear Chris Istace Trans Mountain Pipeline Environment

We are not the only ones who call the coast home – Black Bear on Vancouver Island

Learning First Nations Traditions and Respecting Their Territories

One of my greatest concerns is that so many miss out on the stories & the way of life of BC’s indigenous people. There is much to be learned from the coastal first nations. Their life was and still is lived in a manner that deeply respects the ethical and sustainable balance of nature. We must respect Mother Earth; this was evident to me while reading the following at an interpretive plaque while visiting the Kwisitis Visitor Centre .

A Chief’s traditional territory includes: the land, the ocean, the people, and everything living and non-living within. On behalf of his people, the Chief’s responsibility is to care for his territory for generations to come. He achieves this through recognizing everything is one, which embodies respect and spiritual connections to all life forms.

Reconciliation and How it Shapes Environmental Policy

The government of Canada keeps saying that it wants to foster reconciliation with First Nations Canadians. Yet it seems to balk when this involves land or money. There is a continued lack of inclusion for the Indigenous Tribes when it comes to their traditional unceded lands. It is said that the Federal Government is not listening to the concerns of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation. They are trying to let them know how the Trans Mountain Pipeline impacts their land.

Recently I read an article that a friend shared about recognizing the traditional territories. It was written and published by Karly Blats in the Alberni Valley News.

“Recognizing the land and the communities informs people of the colonial history of our region, specifically, that treaty processes/land surrenders have not yet taken place,” said Laurie Meijer Drees. “The land is what hosts us all, it is a precious resource that holds all our lives. Acknowledging where we are is good for our souls and it keeps us humble and grateful.”

Actions like this are what push the country further away from reconciliation, not closer.

If we took the time to listen and learn the ways of the Coastal First Nations we would know that they care about balance with “our mother”. The first indigenous people walked on the land we now call British Columbia more than 10,000 years ago. Those Nations flourished in this bountiful region that offered them beauty and sustenance. European exploration brought many more to this province and today we have a mix of residents that is truly global.

“Rather than the authority being the truth ~ Let the Truth be the Authority” Chief Mike Willie of BC’s Vancouver Island

People live on the West Coast because of their love and connection to the earth and the healthy lifestyle that is possible. We can’t find balance with the land, air and water when we risk destroying it. Perhaps nothing will happen and our worries could be for nothing. BUT – what if the unimaginable did happen? What then?

Nothing will change unless we change our ways and embrace a new path forward. Trans Mountain pipeline could be that defining moment.

Vancouver Island Tofino Ucluelet Pacific Rim National Park Reserve Kwisitis Visitor Centre

Nuu-chah-nulth totem on the west coast of Vancouver Island


Reducing Your Own Impact on the Environment

Drive a little less or choose more efficient means; own smaller homes; shift away from a disposable consumer mindset. Shift to a new way of thinking and living; shop more locally. Consider living where you don’t need to drive to go to work, shop or meet your daily needs. Heck, it can even be as simple as reduce, reuse, recycle.

I drive my car to go hiking; I buy goods and use services, and I rely on natural resources everyday. Never do I try to deny this but at the same time, I try to be mindful of all my actions. In a previous blog post, I wrote The Best Plan is a Simple Plan on how I am trying to do a better job with this.

It all adds up, and until society, which is ultimately the consumer, changes its behaviours, those that profit from those behaviours have no reason to act differently. We need to decrease our dependency on fossil fuels. Only then will the global drive to deliver a profitable product will be decreased. Fights like those happening in Burnaby at the Trans Mountain Pipeline right now would become a distant memory.

Super, Natural British Columbia

In summary to end this post I have decided to share with you another sensory message. Captivating and educational this video created by Destination British Columbia is a fine way to leave my feelings on this topic with you.

We need to start to #ExploreBeyondTheUsual

Hy’ch’qu Siem

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Well expressed, Stasher!

  • “Nothing will change unless we change our ways and embrace a new path forward.” So true. The fact that these issues are issues at all is a sign of the greater system that needs to be changed. We don’t live in a post oil world yet, so I still see the need for more sustainable fossil fuel extraction, production, transportation and consumption…although I wish I didn’t have to. It’s hard to see a way out of it at times, but when I think about the natural world, and the impact that even a small mishap (or a very large one) can have, I feel that the way forward, out of fossil fuels, needs to be traveled down a lot quicker than we are currently going. Making drastic changes will create drastic new innovations and actions towards the human world we all want to see. A healthier, safer, cleaner, more sustainable one.

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