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It’s been days and many musings since I last wrote. Lately, it feels like I’m being served up a huge buffet of tasks, with left overs that I just can’t seem to finish; blogging being one of the most lamentable. You’d think my hunger would’ve diminished by now, but I feel like taking action to find alternatives to the tar sands is feeding my soul. Here’s a bit of an update in case you haven’t heard the latest…   

For the past year and half, I have been following the tar sands developments with mounting concern. It began as a distant storm on the horizon of my consciousness that moved in quickly and grew to be a torrent of conviction. Conviction is when the mind and the heart agree upon the truth, and when there is a tsunami of conviction swirling in your gut it wants OUT real bad!! It simply became impossible for me NOT to do something, and that is when this blog was born. 

I began reading more about the impacts of an oil spill, not just on the land, but on our economy and communities. I started listening to TED talks, reporters and analysts all stating in nearly perfect unison that the tar sands are a disaster- literally the largest industrial complex in the world that is accelerating climate change, destroying the boreal forest and causing rising rates of cancer in neighbouring communities.  

It also became abundantly clear that our government has absolutely no intention of listening to the legitimate concerns being raised about the tar sands atrocity and pipeline projects like Enbridge’s Northern Gateway and the one that Kinder Morgan is quietly trying to expand. It became crystal clear that I needed to do more.  

Conversations with thoughtful and compassionate friends helped to reveal my path. I would run across BC this summer, connecting with others to find alternatives to the tar sands. The campaign is called Band Together BC.

Piping and shipping crude from the tar sands threatens so many of our values as British Columbians- clean air and water, pristine ecosystems, vast wilderness and recreational areas, traditional livelihoods, First Nations’ culture and beliefs, tourism and land-based industries, even our democratic process- that many people are taking a stand against building pipelines and allowing oil supertankers to enter the inside passage.

But there are those that work directly and indirectly in the oil and gas industry and are understandably protective of their jobs. There are others that may not know much about the issues and are confused by conflicting reports in the media and statements provided by government spokespeople.

Regardless of my personal standpoint against expanding the tar sands, I think it is critical to hear and share other perspectives with the world. The tar sands is a project that has huge ramifications for all Canadians, therefore it is a conversation to which we should ALL contribute.

So this summer, I will run through the communities located along highway 16 (communities that will perhaps be the most directly impacted by the Northern Gateway pipeline) to capture perspectives via film and social media that will hopefully foster a dialogue (on the ground and virtually) on how we can transition from mining the dirtiest oil in the world to building an economy based on clean renewable energy. It’s not going to happen overnight, but I believe it begins with dialogue. 

Canada currently lacks a national energy strategy. The dearth is being filled by a get rich quick scheme that is stealing our future and pawning it to China (and other eager markets). We need a plan that leads us towards a clean energy future- one in which all of us- including our kids-can prosper.  I believe we all need to be part of creating that plan, to make sure that it truly serves EVERYONE’S needs. 

Together we can and must find ways of creating jobs and revenue that don’t rely on the wholesale destruction of our land and communities. 
 
There is much to be done. Fortunately, there are many passionate, unstoppable people that are doing everything they can to raise awareness and engage people on the tar sands issue. It’s been an affirming, heart expanding experience to connect with total strangers on an issue that is one of the most critical of our time. Everywhere I go, I find my tribe. And while sometimes my heart aches at the dark prospects and the terrifying trajectory we humans have set ourselves upon, I am joyously inspired by the people I’ve met and keep meeting that are envisioning a bright future and taking action to realize that dream. 

 

 

Well I’ve been gone for 12 days which in blog-landia is probably equal to 23 years or something. I’ve come to realize that bloggers, like cats, adhere to a completely different concept of time. They also get notoriously perturbed when you disappear for awhile, so I realize I’ve probably alienated all of my 5 followers. Damn. If you’re still out there somewhere, I’m sorry. I’ll spare you the details of how life stuff upended my priorities-which should of course be 1. blog 2. run 3. work 4. eat. I promise to never leave you that long ever again. Would a Whiskers Tuna Temptation make everything better? Works for Mojo…

Anyway, the good news is that 1) I am writing this on my new computer and 2) I am not writing this from prison for the brutal murder of the UPS delivery guy that despite his job title didn’t seem that interested in delivering my computer.  

The other piece of somewhat interesting news is that I will be running the relay distance. Myself. This summer. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

This thought emerged in the wake of some mega doses of inspiration from Matt Hill-an energetic soul that ran around North America (11,000km!!) raising awareness about environmental issues and actions on behalf of his foundation Run for One Planet (as a side note, Matt’s also a celebrity voice actor, whose cherished cartoon characters included Tenderheart of the Care Bears and Rafael of the Teenage Ninja Turtles?!! How freakin cool is that?!). We talked about the relay idea and he asked me if I had considered doing the run myself and I was like: “um…huh…well…maybe.” And then it just hit me….what better way to meet people in the northern communities fighting the pipeline and to share their stories with the world? I will be armed with a POV camera and can have face to face interactions with the leaders that have inspired me in their stand against Enbridge. In return they can feel that they are not alone in standing up for what’s right.  

Matt told me to ask my body for permission on my long run that day and sure enough my body gave me the thumbs up. I can’t say that it was an enthusiastic thumbs up, but there was a willingness to give it a try.

Fast forward several other conversations with trusted friends and loved ones- and lo and behold I have support. So now all I need to do, is assemble an all star team of volunteer helpers, get myself a bio-diesel RV and run across the province. 1170 km is only 29.25 days of running 40 km /day. Less than a marathon a day. I can do this. Exhale! 

I’ve found that when something is hard to grasp in the mind, (as in it’s hard for me to wrap my head around running a marathon a day for a month), its helpful to ask the heart. So that is what I’ve done and my heart has offered a resounding “YES, let’s do this.” I simply cannot sit back and allow the atrocity that is tar sands expansion to take place without doing absolutely EVERYTHING in my power to stop it. Canada’s democracy is in shambles- Harper has already promised that the Enbridge proposal will be approved (before the public review process has concluded). Writing letters to officials just isn’t going to cut it. Audacious displays of courage are what is needed.

I have been so inspired by the words and actions of the many that are fighting this proposal. There is a massive ocean of resistance to tap for strength. I work with a woman that has declared that she is willing to go to jail to stop this proposal. She’s middled aged and has worked for government for most of her adult life. She certainly does not fit the profile of a radical, although Harper and Joe Oliver would disagree since apparently we are all radicals if we have concerns about a proposal that threatens life on this planet, now and for our children.

So I have begun to train harder. I will start running twice a day. And when my body tires, and doubts start to infiltrate my mind as I know they most likely will, I will consult my heart and push on.

All I need to do is recall the words of this man: Garth Lenz, a photographer who speaks movingly about the tar sands and the plans to expand their reach. 

The True Cost of Oil:

Watch it. Be moved. Take action. 

 

 

 

 

  

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