Monday, 29 September 2014

Oils well that ends well: riding for a cause.

I saw an old-school post the other day, one which inspired me to par-taaaay.

I loved seeing physical proof that I am not alone. While it's abundantly clear that humans are hard wired to ignore climate change, more and more people are definitely waking up to the undeniable fact that we simply can't continue on our present course of action without suffering undeniably dire consequences. Some people, like Leslie Askin, are shocked and dismayed to discover that as an environmental activist working to defend your beliefs in here in Canada, the Prime Minister's Office automatically considers you an enemy of the state , but it doesn't surprise me at all. 

I wasn't surprised, either, to discover that Victory Square was almost barren at the appointed hour. I had hoped to see thousands of bright, young millenials standing up to fight for their future, but apparently even they have other things to do on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

I WAS surprised to see that there were almost as many police as activists present as we waited to head out on a "Bikes, not Pipes!" protest ride. 

That's Marcus in white, one of two organisers of the day's events.
It may have been a small gathering, but everyone who came out for the ride holds the same vision: a planet sustainably powered, and a BC coastline free of a bitumen-filled pipeline, and the tankers needed to service it.

We inflated balloons the way Enbridge inflates profits. They do it for money, we do it for life.  Their actions are chock full of err. Ours are for the air.

Ready?  Set?  Let's rock and roll!

This was the beginning of the ride, and so we hadn't quite started chanting yet. It got better, and louder, as the ride moved along.  My favourite was "Use your ass, not gas!" but there were quite a few of them, dreamt up by Douglas Gook, all designed to let the general public know the purpose of our protest.  It was fun.  "Occupy Love!" I really enjoyed the look on many drivers' faces when they heard us singing "if you love your car, then set it free!"

You'll notice that the police gave us the right of way as we moved along, stopping traffic for the ride so that we didn't have to stop for lights, and ensuring our safety as we made our way through Chinatown, trying to raise awareness for the cause.  It makes for a beautiful contrast to the police presence in Hong Kong this week, don't you think?

The mother in me really appreciated that.  Most of the people we saw along the way smiled, waved and cheered us along, but one woman yelled "Get the F**K off the streets!" and had she been behind the wheel her anger would have scared me a little, at least with respect to the boys I'd brought with me.

But as it was, I felt good that the kids felt empowered to create change, to mold their own future the way they see fit.  Every child should understand that the future really does rest in their young yet capable hands.  It's serious business, the health of this planet.  The most important issue of all...

Most of today's parents are worried for their children's safety, so concerned that they never let them out of their sights, and for understandable reason. Yet don't we owe it to them to give them the tools to enable them to take responsibility for themselves?  After all, it's their future we are talking about here.  

The best teacher I had in grade school emphasized the fact that you really can't believe everything that you read, even if it is written in a text book.  For generations now, Canadians have been fed a bullshit version of history which conveniently left out the genocide of our indigenous peoples, and the eradication of their cultures.  I was a full grown adult before I was aware of the horrors many people suffered in the residential schools, and I was one of the few lucky ones who learned about it a couple of decades ago. Most Canadians are only now beginning to understand the truth.

And the real truth is that it will definitely serve our children well to question authority before they commit their allegence to anything in this day and age, especially with respect to our government and its dubious energy policies. When I was young, we were taught that government is by the people and for the people, but nowadays that's a joke. Government is nothing but the long arm of big business, and the health and wellness of the populace takes a back seat to profit. Every. Single. Time. 

Specially when it comes to pipelines.  The Hecate Strait is the third most dangerous body of water on Earth, and our damned fool Prime Minister is dead set on hauling millions of gallons of nasty crude bitumen through there.  It's not a question of whether there will be a big spill, but when, and where. And that is so not on.

If we're going to change things and create a better future - indeed, if we are to have any future whatsoever - it's time to stand up in solidarity.  It's time to stand up for life, liberty, and justice for all.

Our wee tiny party of protesters made its way through the city streets to a surprisingly welcome reception from the people we met along the way, until we joined up with a few more of our kind on Main and Kingsway. One of the officers pulled me aside once we stopped to congregate. to ask if we had any further road protest planned, and as I had absolutely no idea, I asked lovely young Marcus just what was going on. 

He was a bit miffed that they should asked me of all people, and how can you blame him? I was not the police liason. He sighed, turned, and walked over to them spell it out. He told them that yes indeed, we were going to take our protest down Main Street to let the city know what we think of our collective dependence on petrochemicals, and his passion lifted my spirits more than just a little.  

It won't take many people like him to make this world a better place and ensure the survival of the human race. He told the police we were going to take over Main Street, and take it over we did, at least for a minute or two...

I had no idea where we were headed, but the kids had an unusual plan. They had a serious point to make, and they wanted the petrochemical industry to listen to what they had to say. 

We marched down Main Street till we came to the Chevron Station on twelfth, and there we stayed to stop and play.

They roped off the site, and pumped up the sound, and then together we turned that poor proprietor's day upside down.

It really was a party against the pipeline, 

with music, drumming, 

 dancing and people galore, 

 in the hope that oil won't wash up on our shores.

It was a light-hearted event with serious intent.

Did our Premier Cristy Clark hear the drums beating?  Did Enbridge get the message?  Who knows?  Seriously. It still remains to be seen, but at least we did something to stop one of the biggest crimes against the planet today...

Since we're being crude: fuck that stinking pipeline.  It isn't going to happen. Not on my watch, and not if the kids who are awake today get the chance to have their say. Do you want to make a real difference, to be a hero?  Do you want to save the world? Then use your head.  Think about it, and then do like the kids said:  use your ass, not gas!


  1. I'm still surprised at work how most people just can't change.
    And that these people tend to be the ones "at the top"
    The only way to do it is how it has always been done.
    Oh, is that a "disparaging comment"?
    On a positive note, I rode to work today :)
    Yeh, go me... whoooo hoooo !

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Good on ya, Harry! XX

      That's certainly how it works in this country, with the man at the top making sure that nothing changes. Damned fool represents our darkest hour, and he holds so tightly to the reigns of power that the Canadian environment is wilting before our very eyes.

  2. il Pirata est Mort30 September 2014 at 05:59

    IMHO social, environmental, and physical change all occurs at its smallest particle size where it's easiest and gathers momentum from there. If it's one bike ride taken; one mind opened; and one gallon of gas saved; it is worth it.

    Question: Who'se is the black and maroon flag?

    1. You're absolutely right, of course - enromous social change happens one person at a time. THAT's why there's nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come. Once enough people GET IT, once a critical mass of minds embraces an idea, the change will happen so fast it will make your head spin.

      I just heard on the CBC news that animal populations across the planet are at 50% of what they were in the 1970's. We are causing the biggest mass extinction since the dinosaurs with our wanton consumption, and that does not bode well for us...

      I am pretty sure that it's the flag of the Coast Salish nation, the indigenous peoples whose land this town was built upon.

    2. il Pirata est Mort1 October 2014 at 09:43

      Did some checking and it didn't show up under Coast Salish nation. Does appear in anarchist flags.

    3. Hmmm... interesting.
      The group which hosted the event has ties to the Coast Salish people, but flags hardly seem and indigenous custom, do they?

  3. The thing that was nice to see to me was The People speaking their mind without getting crazy and Police behaving themselves. I wish that were the norm everywhere.
    Your info on the pipeline and ramifications is enlightening.

    1. Right?! Especially surpising considering the controlling nature of our planet-raping Prime Minister. I can't believe I am automatically an enemy of the state cause I have an environmental bent.

      We should be leading the cause, instead occupying the "worst offenders" podium...

  4. Nice pics. The wether in Vancouver looks balmy, I mean the Vancouver .looks...oh jesus...that's the worst spell of weather I can remember

  5. You are one ultra sexy legged girl!