Sunday, October 14, 2012

Defend Our Coast - Toronto Solidarity Event

While I was volunteering for Toronto's environmental film festival Planet in Focus, I was told about an upcoming solidarity rally against the construction of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. The host of the event is Olivia Chow, the NDP Member of Parliament for the federal riding of Trinity-Spadina.

Location: Bellevue Square Park, Toronto, ON
Date: Sunday, October 21, 2012
Time: 1 PM - ?
Event page at Facebook

I don't know much about this pipeline project even though it's been in the news often, so I looked at the project website for more information on it. From what I understand on the website, the purpose of the project (which is currently just a proposal) is to build a petroleum and liquids pipeline system between Alberta and British Columbia's coastline, and possibly ship oil between Canada and other countries across the oceans. It is a mega project that will [supposedly] create more jobs and bring economic benefit to Canada, but at the cost of potential local environmental damages to all communities, biophysical resources, and biotic life living around the pipeline. If the environmental damages actually occur, it would affect not only the local environments in its proximity, but the whole natural system on the Earth itself (because everything is connected).

Personally, I don't like the scale of this mega project. Forget about how long it would take to finish constructing the pipeline, the real question is can they finish constructing it at all? From what the media portrays and the people who I know, there are hundreds (maybe even millions) of people inside and outside of Canada who are against this whole project. Those people may be capable of stopping the whole thing half-way through its construction. It would suck if Enbridge started building the system but was never able to finish it; that would be a total waste of time, money, and natural resources.

The whole project itself is a good way to slap people on the wrist though. If we don't built a pipeline system to transport oil, where would we get our oil? I mean, I remember living in Prince George, British Columbia for about 3 months. In that short amount of time, it was pretty obvious that you won't get anywhere around that small town without a vehicle. Public transit felt non-existent, and biking or walking would take way too long to get anywhere. Heck, getting to the town itself requires driving a long way or taking a smaller airplane from Vancouver. What I'm trying to say is that people on the west coast depend on oil as much as anyone else in the rest of Canada, and we aren't going to change our habits of using oil-consuming vehicles in [most likely] the next hundred years. We also want our economy to flourish, which Canada does by exporting its natural resources.

To built the pipeline, or not to build it-- I don't know where to stand firmly. I am concerned about the environmental impacts, but I also know that people need oil for products and their daily activities. I will still attend this event though, because I am interested to see what they will do and discuss.

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