So here we are, on the cusp of a decision about whether the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline will be pushed through our province to the shores of the Pacific.
Seems to me this is going to come down to the First Nations slowing down the Greed Monster. Sure, the oil sands aren't going to go away. But I'm not sure how they'll build a pipe across First Nations territory without consent. How many traditional chiefs does it take to stop a pipeline? One. And we have more than one.
The folks running the Unist'ot'en camp, west of Prince George and in the path of the proposed pipeline, are fueled by good old passion and inherited responsibility and dare I say, hope and optimism for their children's future. Well, I know what side I'm on. Here's the link to their page: Unist'ot'en Camp
And here's a link to the caravan this summer to support them: Caravan to Unis'tot'en Camp
The Unist'ot'en are a clan of the Wet'suwet'en people, who, together with the Gitksan and Nisga'a people in the same region, have been fighting various industry interests in their traditional territories for years. The Nisga'a quite famously signed the only modern-day treaty in 1997 and have a degree of self-government. The rest of B.C., except for a bit of Treaty 8 up in the northeastern corner, is unceded territory.
After growing up in small town B.C. in First Nations communities and studying FN history and treaty process in university, and even working for Indian Affairs in Alberta for a while (believe it or not, in the litigation department, for a case in which bands were suing the government for oil and gas royalties--oh well, everybody's rich now...) I'd have to say that First Nations issues get resolved very very very.
It just comes down to philosophy. Money now or long-term stewardship. Shiny trucks or shining waters. There's enough evidence now that the environmental cost is too high. So time to slow down.
Here's a couple recent pics for perspective.
This is from Ambleside Beach in West Vancouver, looking over at Stanley Park.
Here's a modern-day freighter, loaded up with items from China that are so essential to our lives that we would trade our ecosystem for them. Note the scale of the freighter, in relation to the park headland..
Now here's a shot, taken minutes later, of the former glory of the inlet: a stern-wheeler paddle-boat, characteristic of the steamers that used to head up Indian Arm at the turn of the century. Can you see it? Zoom in. Can you see it yet? How about now?
I think our sense of entitlement has grown in about the same proportions. Super-size.