It did not take a mastermind to know that the National Energy Board (NEB) was going to recommend approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, again. With that in mind, the Climate Convergence coalition organized an education and action campaign before the February 22nd announcement deadline, as well as a major mobilization in front of the NEB's downtown Vancouver offices for that day.
When the inevitable announcement hit, people were ready. Despite a snowstorm in the afternoon, over 700 people still showed up in front of the NEB office to make sure that opposition to the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion was front and centre, on the streets and in the news. It was also an important opportunity for people to come together for a beautiful and dynamic action to get motivated for the work yet to come.
The rally was loud, spirited and colourful. A group from Victoria brought several massive inflatable orcas, organizers from Seattle, U.S., brought their beautiful artwork and banners, and many others brought handmade signs. Climate Convergence also had their growing supply of banners, as well as a newly made one declaring, “United for People and Planet.” There were also 13 large picket signs summarizing the key findings of the recent UN climate report which people wore while forming a human chain near the front of the rally. The climate report was explained in a leaflet which was handed to people observing the march and rally.
Indigenous drummers from many Nations led the way with their songs, while behind them chanting continued from the front all the way to the back of the march.
The rally was a solid demonstration of the strength and diversity of the Indigenous-led climate justice movement. Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs opened (read his remarks on page 4) and was followed by Will George a Tsleil-Waututh Nation member and spokesperson for Protect the Inlet. Next was Cedar George, a member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Helen Tommy of the Wet'suwet'en Nation shared the struggle of young Indigenous people fighting the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline in Northern British Columbia, while Morgan Michel from 350 Seattle brought greetings and update from organizing against the pipeline expansion from Washington State. High school student Maya Mersereau-Liem of Sustainabiliteens Vancouver spoke of the ongoing student strikes which she is part of organizing in Vancouver, and the Solidarity Notes choir distributed song sheets and got the crowd to sing climate justice songs together.
As the sun set, rally MCs and Climate Convergence organizers Alison Bodine and Brenna Rosen invited everyone to get involved in the ongoing climate justice organizing which has stalled the pipeline expansion effectively so far. Over the past ten years of struggle, it has been determined and committed people coming together which has so far been vital to continue our struggle.
No Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion – Not Now, Not Ever!
United for People and Planet!
Build Our Future, Not a Pipeline!
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