Be Kind To Mother Nature: Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline: Too great a risk!
Don’t miss Mother Nature’s pitch on the Enbridge Northern Pipeline Proposal. Listen to her persuasive podcast: casting out of the pod (aka petroleum’s odourous defect).
Mother Nature pitches her pod (petroleum’s odourous defect) regarding Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal. Listen, watch and for rationale, go to ‘Jolly Green Midget’ page.
Actor or Activist? © JoanBoxall, April 2012
Am I an actor or activist if I drive an SUV but also take the bus, cycle and walk?
‘The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.’ Andre Gide
Know this from the get-go: I’m a hypocrite…well, a kind of actor. If you are human, you are too. A person acting in contradiction to his/her stated beliefs…from the Greek: an actor. A mass of contradictions. With a carbon footprint as large as Shrek and the Jolly Green Giant’s combined.
Gone somewhere by airplane? For work or pleasure? Hypocrite. Driven a car, even in a co-op or taken a bus or sky train? Hypocrite. Diversified your assets, no doubt with oil company holdings? Hypocrite. And those thousands of plastic products in your home? You’re giving a false appearance of virtue, Pretender. And somehow in the midst of all this we imagine we’re preserving or protecting what Mother Nature has given us. Any guilt twinges? Spasms? Compulsion toward convulsion or even revulsion, Actor?
Purity? Where is S(He)? Perhaps in that central British Columbia watershed and Great Bear Rainforest where the Enbridge Northern pipelines propose to go: two Siamese-twinned pipes: one, 20 inches in diameter, flowing east filled with natural gas condensate, to dilute the crude bitumen, and the other, a 36-inch pipe of crude bitumen; thinned and flowing west, across 1177 kilometers from Bruderheim, Alberta to B.C.’s coastal city of Kitimat. Separate pipes, singular purpose.
Elevens and sevens are lucky numbers for the first roll in a game of craps, but this game’s probability of hazard is horrendous. Imagine the colossal roll of die, clattering and careening; skipping like yodeling yetis, their echoes crossing mountains, valleys, waterways, the Great Bear Rainforest and landing in the fjord-like inlet where Kitimat nestles. Die. Have they been cast? Or is it death by degrees, fading in the west where the sun doth set? Crap.
Destination Kitimat is aTourism B.C. gem:
“Kitimat is beginning to gain significant recognition for its impressive number of easily accessible outdoor activities, ranging from freshwater and saltwater fishing and endless hiking opportunities to cross-country skiing…Set along the Kitimat River, at the tip of the Pacific Ocean’s Douglas Channel, near a variety of lakes and streams, Kitimat offers anglers a variety of fish to catch. All five species of Pacific salmon, steelhead, halibut, and many more fish swim in Kitimat’s ocean waters.”
http://www.hellobc.com/kitimat/things-to-do.aspx (paragraph 1-3)
Douglas Channel is one of the main inlets along B.C.’s coast and is a narrow stretch of water, a 90-kilometer-long fjord, at times only 1000 meters wide. Where it meets Hecate Strait, it encompasses another 60 kilometers with side inlets streaming in. As an already busy shipping port to/from Kitimat’s aluminum smelter, how will 300-meter-long supertankers (three football fields or five NHL hockey arenas in length) snake their way in and out without one big venomous bite?
The history of pipeline leaks precedes Enbridge…600 in the past ten years. But the technologies are improving, they assure us. They’ll manage the menace and diminish steel pipe corrosion and optimize leak detection. Leading up to that, the siphoned-off waters of the Athabasca River leave hundreds of fish, birds and mammals growing a third eye from tailing-pond cocktails. To be honest, it’s actually fish with cataracts, back tumors, lesions and liver, heart and stomach abnormalities according to Andrew Nikiforuk’s report to The Tyee in September, 2010, but maybe an all-seeing third eye is what’s needed to make sense of the madness.
How many jobs are provided in building a pipeline? Minimum. And once it’s laid? Maximus-minimus. And once it’s leaking, what then? What about the many more jobs in hunting, fishing, farming? Is their loss worth the short-term reward: bottom-of-the-barrel bitumen? That tarry viscous molasses they’re calling oil is our big black eye. And why does a new oil artery need to bypass B.C. when an Alberta to Vancouver/U.S.A.-bound pipeline already exists? Why does the healthy patient need double or quadruple-bypass surgery? And the natural gas condensate means we’re on blood thinners, too.
When affecting change, what do we do with our own living spaces? Renovation is the most cost-effective way to alter or adjust our setting. Build on what you’ve got. What’ve we got? A society built on oil and 700,000 kilometers throughout Canada transporting it: it being heavy and light crude, refined gasoline and diesel. Edmonton is crude central with Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline cutting a diagonal to the Pacific Northwest coastal community of Vancouver Pretending we’re too pure for scummy oil is just that: pretension. Which community, which coastline, which watershed should be the recipient of a spill? Don’t all raise your hands at once. Hands down, it’s a stinky proposition.
In northern Alberta, we’ve dug it up. We’re in deep, invested in the billions with an obligation to ship it out, like asbestos, because it’s a resource we must cash in on before it runs out, or we’re found out. The barrel is empty, and we’re scraping it…bowing and scraping and running on empty. Mr. Obama stalled on Keystone, so Mr. Harper’s going east…far east. Signed, sealed, delivered? What deals have been signed? What delivery promised? And as far as the seal goes, it’s full of holes. We’re sinking in what Stephen Harper has referred to as “an ocean of oil-soaked sand”. (Well, P. & McMahon, T. 2012)
The well-oiled roulette-wheel spin east/west would cross Mother Nature’s rugged yet delicately-balanced land and seascape. The stakes are high; pointing straight at Her heart. What can She do to a pipe; to a super-super-super-tanker? Freeze it, thaw it, corrode it, throw debris at it, over it, under it. She can twist it and wrest it from its path because She cuts across grains and gains with weathered curve balls. Gnarly.
To further quote Paul Wells and Tamsin McMahon’s report to ‘Maclean’s Magazine’ in early April 2012, Mr. Harper speculated in a London, 2006 meeting with British investors that Alberta’s export of oil would be “an enterprise of epic proportions, akin to the building of the pyramids or China’s Great Wall. Only bigger.’’ (Well, P. & McMahon, T. 2012)
The Canadian ‘project’ spurred on by Mr. Stephen Harper and a possible 1,000-3,000 workers over a three-year duration (a short-term elected official providing short-term jobs) as compared to several pharaohs and up to 30,000 labourers on the Egyptian mega-project. Then the first emperor of China, subsequent Han and Ming Dynasties and hundreds of thousands of labourers (short-term lives) on the Chinese front.
The ancient tombs and wall have crumbled but no leaks to date. As for the pipelines: sleek marketing but weak scheme.
The true North strong and free…
We stand on guard for thee.
From far and wide, we see thee rise, our home and native land.
(‘O Canada’ Canadian national anthem)
And why didn’t I ‘tuck my hair up under my hat (and go) in to ask them why’?
(Five Man Electric Band’s. Signs. 1970)
Hypocrite, that’s why. But we hypocrites must find a balance somewhere. In doing business with non-democratic nations our government has erroneously replaced the democratic rule of the people for ruling people. In omitting the possessive (of the), are we now the possessed? That’s the pot calling the kettle black; those in glass houses throwing rocks; noticing the straw in the others’ eye with a log in our own.
What kind of word is this thing called interest? This national interest? Interest has become assets, claims and legal share. What happened to awareness and concern?
In these changing times, how strong and free is our true north? Hasn’t our guard let us down? Perhaps we’ve let down our guard. In Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi’,
‘Don’t it always seem to go,
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot.’
En garde. It’s time for hypocrites to quit acting, start activating, step up and tip the balance. Inaction might be a worse hypocrisy. Surely we’re not so numb as to have lost the perception of deception. Pinch me.
‘We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.’ Edward R. Murrow
‘How clever you are, my dear! You never mean a single word you say.’ Oscar Wilde
- 1. Wells, Paul, and Tamsin McMahon. Oil Power. Maclean’s 12 Apr. 2012 pages 15-16. Print.
- Routhier, A. French lyrics, Lavallee, C. (music) 1880. Weir, R. (English lyrics) (1908) O Canada, national anthem
- Five Man Electric Band (1970). Signs
- Mitchell, Joni (1970). Big Yellow Taxi
- http://www.hellobc.com/kitimat/things-to-do.aspx (paragraph 1-3)
- Nikiforuk, Andrew. “A Smoking Gun on Athabasca River: Deformed Fish. The Tyee [online] 17 Sept. 2010, online ed., sec. news: online. Print.