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Endbridge – Why The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Proposal And All Tar Sands Expansion From Alberta To The B.C. West Coast Will Be Stopped In Its Tracks By The Unity Of Indigenous Nations

Endbridge – Why The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Proposal And All Tar Sands Expansion From Alberta To The B.C. West Coast Will Be Stopped In Its Tracks By The Unity Of Indigenous Nations

If you have ever driven on most of the northern highways in northern Alberta you will be presented with a picture of a tame prairie terrain, with sprawling fields and farms holding cows and the occasional conventional oil pump jack. A few kilometers on any of the gravel access roads however and you will see a much more bleaker picture of out of control industrialization and poisoning of the land. This is unless of course you witness the tar sands machines of death on Highway 63 near Fort McMurray and Fort McKay, or the massive underground mining operations in the Peace River and Cold Lake regions disrupting and contaminating underground water. What most modern thinkers fail to understand is thousands years of history from the ancestors of Cree, Dene, Blackfoot, Nakoda and Metis people. Living nations of people who simply cannot afford the luxury of packing up and moving as settlers when there is no longer work. These lands are home to these nations and are not sacrifice zones. And like a deadly contagious all-consuming disease, what has been done to Alberta by the oil industry cannot be allowed to spread to other parts of the world killing indigenous ways of life and jeopardizing the future for all.

Enbridge, and the expansion of the Alberta Tar Sands Gigaproject, is attempting to retrace the steps taken by the Hudson’s Bay Company with classic colonial strategy. The Hudson’s Bay Company was the first corporation on Turtle Island, here in North America. The Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading forts also became the first settler governments for the British Empire. In Alberta, the first settlement and colonial government in Alberta was in Fort Chipewyan, which would today is seen as the international poster community for a Cree, Dene and Metis community directly impacted by 40 years of out of control open pit tar sands mining. The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline is renewing a pipeline proposal and expansions originally proposed nearly 10 years ago and is supported by the Stephen Harper Conservative Canadian Government.

Just one week after the largest oil pipeline spill in Alberta in 30 years in unceded Lubicon Cree Territory, a spill that took six days for the Alberta government to respond in a half-assed, indifferent manner, starting with faxing a one-page “fact sheet” update about the disaster, a large contingent from the Yinka Dene Alliance from the northwest interior of B.C. were arriving in Calgary to confront Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project and tanker traffic.

On May 11th, 2011, on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy in Calgary, Alberta, a historic solidarity statement of opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal was signed by leaders of the Blood Tribe, Alexander First Nation, Lubicon Lake Nation, Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation, Sai’kuz First Nation, Nadleh Whuten, Takla Lake First Nation and the Nakazdli First Nation.

The day after the Enbridge AGM a rally was held in Prince Rupert, B.C. on May 12th, outside a meeting sponsored by Enbridge for the Northern BC Municipalities Convention. With a historic turn-out of over 500 Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents of the island of Lach Kaien, known in the mainstream society as Prince Rupert, publicly and loudly demonstrating their opposition to the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline proposal as well as any tar sands tanker traffic that would support the industry of dirty crude oil and liquid condensate.

Lach Kaien, or Prince Rupert, is known to the Tsimshian as the “Cradle of Tsimshian Civilization,” according to a hereditary chief of the Gits’iis tribe, Sm’ooygit Nisyaganaat. The Prince Rupert Harbor contains the most dense archaelogical sites north of Mexico City and is the second deepest harbor in the world. Lach Kaien is surrounded by Tsimshian communities traditionally comprised of 11 Tsimshian villages, as well as neighboring nations from the Haida, Haisla, Heiltsuk, Gitksan, Nisga’a, Tahltan, and Tlingit. To this day the indigenous population of the town of Prince Rupert is still between 40-50%, with all industries heavily dependent upon the commerce, labor and resources of Indigenous coastal nations.

A few coastal communities however have not yet made a clear position on whether or not to support the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project and any western tar sands crude oil expansion. These include among the largest of coastal communities of Lach hlgu K’alaams (Lax Kw’Alaams) or Port Simpson, and Gitkxaahla (Kitkatla), where the still active traditional laws and feasting systems of hereditary chiefs is still strong and holds much influence over the non-surrendered tribal territories in the region of Prince Rupert, Hecate Strait, and the Skeena and Nass Rivers.

These are nations still waiting to awaken to take their place and decide for themselves what is allowed into the lands and waters of nations that have lived and thrived on this edge of the world for thousands of years. To uphold the traditional laws and protocols of respect and responsibilities known as Ayaawk and Gugwiltx Yaans and not be steered by any settler government, environmental group, or any funding body with non-Indigenous agendas. Especially is true that Indigenous grassroots leaders are still fighting the oppression of the Indian Act system and the federal Canadian employees of many Band Councils maintaining the silencing of traditional hereditary leadership systems through which the sole jurisdiction of all territories flows through.

Indigenous lands and waters are to be spoken for and by Indigenous minds and communities. Enbridge Northern Gateway, and all tar sands pipelines and expansions such as the Kinder Morgan TMX Northern Leg Extension, the Pembina Pipeline, the PNG KSL Pipeline, the Kitimat and Prince Rupert Liquid Natural Gas Terminals, and the Prince Rupert “New World” Container Ports are just a few of the many modern obstacles in the path of standing up the original structures and ways of life with which to free Indigenous nations on this edge of the world.

Links to the rally and demonstration held in Lach Kaien and declarations of war against Enbridge -

Statement of Solidarity of Indigenous Nations opposed to Enbridge Northern Gateway -

May 10th, 2011 – Calgary, Alberta, territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy

Our Nations are bound together by the water which is our lifeblood. We have protected our lands and waters since time immemorial, each according to our laws and traditions. The waters of Indigenous peoples throughout the lands known as western Canada are being threatened by fossil fuel exploitation and transportation.

We exercise our rights to sustain our cultural and economic well-being. The laws of each of our peoples are deeply embedded in our cultures and practices. These laws have never been extinguished and our authority continues in our lands. Our peoples continue to live by them today.

We have come together on May 10, 2011 in the city of Calgary, Alberta, in the traditional territory of the Blackfoot Confederacy, to declare to the governments of Alberta, British Columbia, as well as Enbridge Inc., all of its subsidiary bodies, and the domestic and international financial institutions supporting Enbridge, THE FOLLOWING:

The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and tankers project will expose Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities from the Pacific Coast across to Alberta to the risk of pipeline and supertanker oil spills, just as we have seen recently with Enbridge’s massive spill in Michigan, the recent devastating spill in Lubicon Cree territory, the recent TransCanada pipeline spill in North Dakota, as well as the effects of the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon disaster. Tar sands bitumen has been demonstrated to corrode pipelines more rapidly than conventional oil, increasing the likelihood of catastrophic spills. Given the seismic volatility of the region, the recent earthquake in Japan also underlies our grave concerns about the risk of oil spills.

The urgency of global climate change, and the fact that Indigenous peoples are among those most impacted by climate change, also compels us to act.

We have witnessed the Coastal First Nations Declaration banning crude oil tankers on the Pacific North Coast, and the Save the Fraser Declaration banning crude oil transportation through the Fraser River watershed. Each of these Declarations is based in Indigenous law and is an expression of Indigenous decision-making authority.

Enbridge states that it intends to proceed with its Northern Gateway pipeline and tankers, with or without First Nations consent. A decision by Canada to approve this project, without the free, prior and informed consent of affected Nations, will be a violation of our Treaties, our rights, and our laws, and will be in breach of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international accords.

THEREFORE we stand in solidarity with the Coastal First Nations, and the Nations who have signed the Save the Fraser Declaration, and are united in stating that Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and tanker project, as well as other fossil fuel development projects including Keystone XL, must not proceed without obtaining the free, prior and informed consent of all affected First Nations.

AND FURTHER if such consent is not obtained, no construction of such projects shall proceed.

SIGNED in the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy, at the city of Calgary, May 10 2011

Sai’kuz First Nation

Nadleh Whut’en

Takla Lake First Nation

Nakazdli First Nation

Blood Tribe

Alexander First Nation

Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation

Lubicon Lake Nation

Americans For Prosperity call youth activists “Eco-hypocrites” and “Hitler Youth”, post VIDEO of their own

“Eco Hypocrites Fly in Jets Across Atlantic to Attack AFP in Copenhagen”


(from the ‘eco-activists’)

1. We didn’t come to Copenhagen JUST to attack you, AFP.  Don’t be so full of yourselves.

2. Great job admitting carbon pollution is bad (i.e. ‘flying across the Atlantic’)… Seems like you’re beginning to see the light.

High School Teacher’s Assignment: “Expose the Myth of Global Warming”

I was sitting at home in my pajamas, glossily checking Facebook, when I saw a status update that caught my attention.  It alluded to homework which forced a student to prove that global warming is a hoax.  Eyebrow raised, I investigated.  Turns out, a public school teacher in my state, Utah, gave this assignment to students last week:

“Write a 2-page paper exposing the myths of global warming, and giving scientific information show that global warming is not the major catastrophe the media would have us believe.  Must include a full bibliography and include a copy of your highlighted sources.”

Of course, I had to sleep on this before I trusted myself to react.

The next morning, I decided I needed a couple of questions answered before I could decide what to do about this.  Here’s what I asked and what I found out:

Q: Was the teacher giving some sort of clever lesson aimed at waking the students up to the overwhelming evidence in favor of global warming?  A:  No.  In fact, the teacher specifically told the students that they could NOT turn in a paper to the contrary or they would receive no credit.

Q:  How could the teacher get AWAY with this?  A:  The teacher isn’t getting away with it.  Disciplinary action is being taken by the school.

Here is an image of the assignment, complete with doodles:


Continue reading ‘High School Teacher’s Assignment: “Expose the Myth of Global Warming”’

Unity over Divisiveness: Generational Approaches to the Climate Crisis

Photo Credit: Shadia Fayne Wood

There are massive differences between how young people in the United States and around the world have organized in response to the climate crisis and the traditional environmental and political organizations focused on energy and environmental challenges. These include the elevation of unity as a goal, as well as a means to accomplishing political action on climate. The Energy Action Coalition is a testament to this mentality, with 50 organizations ranging from traditional environmental youth groups to environmental justice groups to political empowerment organizations all banding together in a joint campaign – including joint fundraising and targeting. This is something that no-one is expecting from any of the major environmental organizations, to submit to a consensus based, joint funding effort with all organizations from all political angles pitching in together.

Online, It’s Getting Hot in Here is another testament to the diversity of the youth climate movement, bringing together voices from all across the political spectrum, from radical direct action activists who don’t really like infrastructure, to young policy wonks able to bring expertise to exact provisions of the 1,400+ Waxman-Markey Bill. This blog features youth leaders from organizations even further flung, including the Indian Youth Climate Network, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, and newer organizations like Grand Aspirations or the Alliance for Climate Education. We together pool our opinions, our voices, our analysis through one outlet, this site, to reach our audience – the youth climate movement. We don’t agree with each other, a lot, but we work together because together we are the largest youth blog on any social issue in the world. That is our strength. It may also be our weakness, or at least Joe Romm thinks so.

Joe Romm is a blogger that Rolling Stone called “America’s fiercest climate-change activist-blogger“. He writes the largest climate blog in the world and he is a sharp analyst that has written posts that have been invaluable to me as I desperately try and track the legislation, studies, and incessant lobbying that swirls around the climate policy world. However, he just wrote a piece attacking our “otherwise fine blog” as serving as a platform for The Breakthrough Institute’s anti-climate disinformation. Particularly, he singled out Jesse Jenkins, one of our most prolific bloggers and contributing editors.

Continue reading ‘Unity over Divisiveness: Generational Approaches to the Climate Crisis’

UN climate talks, Bonn: USA is back – but still not good enough

Well, that was refreshing.

A few hours ago, the new US administration made their first public input into the UNFCCC process! It was yet another pleasurable reminder that G.W. Bush is gone, and that his legacy is slowly dying.

Todd Stern, the new, much-celebrated, US Special Envoy on Climate Change, opened his speech with a message that he transmitted ‘direct from President Obama':

We’re very glad we’re back. We want to make up for lost time, and we are seized with the urgency of the task before us.”

This was received with a rapturous, enthusiastic round of applause – the sound of hope ringing in the room.

You will not here anyone on this very skilled US team cast doubt upon the science of global climate change,” said Stern, again demonstrating how substantive a shift occurred on November 4. Every climate campaigner in the room, when reflecting back to the dark days of climate scepticism in the US administration, seemed to breathe a sigh of relief at that moment.

Stern even said that ‘the US acknowledges their responsibility as the largest historical emitter of greenhouse gases’. Another big step forward. Another sign of hope. With all this hope, it would have been so easy to get carried away.

Thankfully though, Tuvalu, an AOSIS member, brought the room back town to earth after America spoke, warning us to take the words of the US with a grain of salt:

“It is beholden on me as a representative of the most vulnerable country in the world to speak out. We welcome the United States remarks… but we hope the rhetoric is matched by reality.”

With this in mind, I’d like to offer some advice to US activists – don’t pause your campaigning to celebrate the government’s rhetoric. Let’s not be stupid about this. Don’t ‘give them time’ without criticism, naively hoping that they’ll do the right thing, translating good words into real action. If you don’t push them, hard, then you won’t be rewarded. We learned this the hard way in Australia, after the election of Kevin Rudd, November 24 2007. Let me tell a story to illustrate…

Continue reading ‘UN climate talks, Bonn: USA is back – but still not good enough’

On Movement Transformation

[The author is currently part of The Summer of Solutions, but views are personal]Movement Transformation

Over the past few days, we have seen a lot of contention on Its Getting Hot in Here over the critiques posed by the Breakthrough Generation fellows. On the one hand, recent posts call for open and collaborative discourse so we can more carefully evaluate our strategies and tactics, sentiments with which I generally agree. Conversely, responding comments took offense to the frequent posting of Breakthrough fellows, the perceived attack on certain tactics like “Direct Action”, and the privilege of a group whose alleged central organizing strategy is to think, talk and message (check the comments on the above linked posts to review these critiques). I have close friends on both sides of the argument, and I agree with much of the Breakthrough philosophy as much as I feel that many of its recent tactics are not in alignment with their frame. Far from seeking objectivity, I’m simply pointing out that as we start operating under an interest group mentality we lose the ability to appreciate the truth in the other person’s voice, obscuring participants’ internal conflict – as powerfully expressed by a recent Breakthrough Generation post. A friend here in Minnesota introduced me to a new term yesterday after we read all of the critical back-and-forth: “flame war” – something that happens on blogs and other internet sites when everybody’s well-reasoned arguments turn into fiery antagonism.

Friends – and the pun is intended: its time for a break through. Continue reading ‘On Movement Transformation’

Hillary Clinton Supports Seriously Energy Dumb Gas Tax “Holiday”

Hillary Clinton and John McCain support seriously Energy Dumb gas tax holiday

There’s Energy Smart, like Mark Udall and this slate of Energy Smart US Congressional candidates.

Then there’s seriously Energy Dumb, like touting a temporary gas tax holiday as an appropriate response to high gas and oil prices.

Hillary Clinton solidly aligned herself last week with the Energy Dumb camp, vociferously supporting a gas tax holiday first proposed by Energy Dumber John McCain that amounts to blatant pandering for votes.

This “quick fix” proposal, a three month suspension of the 18.4 cents/gallon federal gas tax during the summer “driving season,” would at best save the average American about $30.00 this summer. That’s right, Hillary Clinton and John McCain’s idea of a solution to high energy prices is to mail you a check for half a tank of gas!

So, is $30.00 enough to buy your vote?
Continue reading ‘Hillary Clinton Supports Seriously Energy Dumb Gas Tax “Holiday”’

Some Earth Day readings…

I wanted to quickly share a few Earth Day articles with folks…some interesting food for thought here:

1. “This Earth Day, Let’s Scrape Off the Greenwash” by Sheldon Rampton of the Center for Media and Democracy

2. “Stop Waiting for ‘Leaders’ to Act on Global Warming, Greener energy in your community depends on strong grass roots” by Peter Asmus published in the Christian Science Monitor

3 “Is Earth Day Still Relevant 18 Years On? As Corporate Sponsors Mount, Some Activists Believe the Charity Strayed from Its Purpose” by Moira Welsh in the Toronto Star

4. “Quit recycling” by Ashley Braun at Grist (a funny one)

Did you see or hear about anything interesting this Earth Day? Continue reading ‘Some Earth Day readings…’

Post-Bali Dispatch: “Lighting Up” a movement in Upstate New York!

Lighten Up Caroline on April 19The bustling halls of the United Nations climate negotiations still ringing in my ears, it’s been an incredible few months since I and other youth delegates from SustainUS returned from Bali. So many friends and neighbors emailed or stopped by to say “Thanks for sending your email updates from Bali!” and “Welcome home!” I still feel the excitement of working with the best & brightest of the youth climate movement around the world.

Upon returning from Bali as a US youth delegate, I was filled with hope that humanity will create a global consciousness by rising to meet the climate emergency. In the last few months, worsening scientific predictions have only strengthened my belief that we are the leaders we seek. It’s up to us. We have the power to make the climate emergency, and the immense economic opportunities we will realize from solving it, our top priority. A bold, broad movement is needed on a scale larger than the mobilization for World War II. This mobilization will only be accomplished by unleashing a renewed civic engagement.

Continue reading ‘Post-Bali Dispatch: “Lighting Up” a movement in Upstate New York!’

Advice, fwiw

I do fall easily into using religious language. It comes natural, it’s the way I was raised.

But seriously, the advice not to put one’s faith in people, that’s just good sense all day long. No shared ideology or affiliation should encourage us to turn off our skills of critical observation when dealing with others of our kind. Trust the people you have a reason to trust and be on the lookout for false friends.

I have friends who’ve held my head and hands and brought me tea when I was so sick I just wanted to be put out of my misery. I trust them. I have friends and family who helped me when I didn’t know where my rent or grocery money was coming from. I trust them. Settled and done.

Then there are people who’ve argued and worked and fought for the ideals I hold dear for crappy, but mostly no, pay, through times when it seemed that the whole world thought they were a laughingstock; and I include bloggers in that, but also people in the larger, global progressive movement. I trust them.

Continue reading ‘Advice, fwiw’

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