Monday, October 22, 2012

Suzuki On the Broader Issue at Stake in the Northern Gateway Battle

David Suzuki and the executive director of Coastal First Nations, Art Sterritt,  write in today's Globe and Mail that the upswelling of opposition among British Columbians to Harper's Northern Gateway initiative is about far more than just pipelines.

However hopeful it is to see everyone looking closely at pipelines and tankers, it’s time we took a distant look – from 10,000 metres up and 200 years in the future.

That’s because this is about far more than the proposed Enbridge pipeline and the tankers they plan to fill. Back in Alberta’s tar sands, oil companies are tearing up hundreds of square kilometres of earth, polluting millions of litres of water and pumping millions of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere just to extract oil from the tar sands.

And once the oil is in China, it will be burned to make us more cheap products, sending ever more carbon into our shared atmosphere, and edging us closer to catastrophic climate chaos.

Underlying the widespread opposition to tankers on the coast is a much broader discontent with the way our social and political systems are working. People are angry about the decisions that degrade and destroy the foundation of life on Earth. When government should have stepped forward to protect Canadians and the environment, ours gutted Canada’s environmental laws.

People are rushing to stop the pipeline, because it is such a drastic attack on nature. But we are reacting to a single soldier from a single battle in a much bigger war, and ignoring the bloodbath. That bloodbath is the war on nature, a war on the very foundation of life – on the air we breathe, the water we drink and the soils that provide us with the food we eat. We are simply failing to address the fundamental issue; it’s about our long-term survival and quality of life, not whether B.C. gets enough money from the pipeline.

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