Caitlyn Vernon's Posts
As we reflect on the recent election and look forward, to the next 4 years and beyond, any question of the economy, environment or justice must consider a historical perspective.
One of my take-aways from the recent election is that people voted for the economy, the environment, and social justice; but not necessarily at the same time. Whether it is on twitter or a brief quote on the evening news, our public dialogue is so often reduced down to one-liners that can’t possibly convey the complexity of the moment.
Underlying the pipeline and tanker debates in this election is the question of whether we as a province want wild salmon, resilient communities and sustainable jobs for our children, or whether we want to leave a legacy of oil spills and rising seas. In other words, will we elect a government that will take responsibility to do something about climate change?
The ocean-carved sandstone cliffs and rocky outcrops along Gulf Island shores have been a favourite of mine since I clambered on them as a kid.
The strength and power of the ocean instilled in me at a young age a sense of humility, that there are things bigger than us, things we can’t control. As any coastal person will tell you, the ocean demands respect.
The posting on Craigslist caught my eye. I don’t normally associate Craigslist with opposition to tankers and pipelines, but this wasn’t the first time.
Yesterday in Vancouver I stood as a witness as the Tahltan Central Council, the Tahltan Band Council, and the B.C. Métis Federation signed on to the Save the Fraser Declaration. Over 130 First Nations have signed this declaration over the past 3 years, prohibiting the transport of tar sands crude through their lands and waters.
For the past few days I’ve been in Prince Rupert, to help organize a petition delivery and rally calling on Enbridge to stop misleading the public. And I’m here to attend the first few days of the Joint Review Panel technical hearings in Prince Rupert.
The Kinder Morgan pipeline would lead to increased global warming. And the Salish Sea is an incredibly special place; home to resident populations of killer whales, rookeries for great blue herons, abundant intertidal life, and so much more. This is my home, and I for one will not sit quietly as the beaches and waters I love are put at risk of oil spills.
Enbridge continues to claim that the Northern Gateway pipeline wouldn’t run through the Great Bear Rainforest. This is an affront to geography, ecology, First Nations, and the history of land use planning on the BC coast. The pipeline would indeed travel through the Great Bear Rainforest, as would the tankers - and here's the map that shows it.
What a week! Earthquakes, tropical storms, 10,000 people taking action across BC, and a youth movement rising up. As the news comes my way, I alternate between fearful anxiety and inspired joy. And I am reminded of that saying, that if we take care of the land, the land will take care of us.
We have but one atmosphere, and one coast of BC. The opportunities available within our lifetime, for our grandchildren, and for all other species depend on the choices we make today.
These days in the Great Bear Rainforest, First Nations’ Guardian Watchmen are patrolling the lands and waters. They are recognizable by the flag they fly and the uniforms they wear. And by the yellow books and handheld mobile devices that they use to collect data.
Listen to Caitlyn Vernon's interview about her book on public radio in the US.
As they make the journey, the Panel members will be traveling into the heart of the rainforest. They will fly over snow covered mountains, steep granite slopes where trees barely hang on, and lush river valleys below.
Simgaget, sigadimanana. These words recognize the chiefs and matriarchs, in the language of the Gitga’at people. So many chiefs and matriarchs were present, in their button blanket regalia, that they filled up three rows along the end of the gymnasium where they sat for hours, watching over the speakers and the dancers.
We are under attack. By our own government, flanked by the oil industry. I don't know how else to describe it.
In school we learn about the precautionary principle. But in life, it so often seems that we throw caution to the wind. It’s time we remembered this principle of trying to do no harm. It’s time we listened to the scientists and the First Nations who are telling us to be more cautious.
First Nations stood together today in Vancouver, on Coast Salish Territory, to publicly declare a ban on oil tankers and pipelines on both the north and south coasts.
There is an old saying - Don’t Mourn, Organize. We tell ourselves there is no time to feel sad, that we need to get on with the work. But we are bearing witness to a changing world. When it comes to climate change, we need to mourn and organize.