Archive for category Expeditions

Band Together BC is complete!

Congratulations to the wonderful Kim Slater who ran then length of the pipeline and visited communities across Northern BC to discuss our energy future.  A marathon a day for 47 days is an incredible achievement!  Thank you Kim for your dedication, support and enthusiasm!  Read more from Kim below. 

Dear Friends,
I’ve just returned from my journey- 47 days and 1177 km across BC connecting with people about pipeline alternatives and clean energy. Along the way, I met with individuals and community groups that had a lot of great ideas for how we can collectively lessen our dependency on fossil fuels and avoid the inevitable disaster that will follow piping raw bitumen across the province and along our coast. Much of this dialogue centred around what can be done locally, and each community expressed values related to their health, security, community, First Nations cultures and ways of life, and the land, water and fish. These values were conveyed in soft and passionate tones, over the dinner table, at gatherings, and at the JRP hearing I attended. Many of the ideas for protecting these values focused on building community resiliency. This resiliency would come from community members building strong bonds with one another, diversification of the local economy, local food production, and investment in renewable technology and low carbon transportation options and it would make the Northern Gateway pipeline a lot less attractive for those that would be swayed by the (empty) promise of jobs. It would also build capacity in communities for defining their own futures. Transition Town provides an excellent model for how this transition can be initialized and I was grateful for learning a bit about if from Transition groups in Williams Lake and Prince Rupert.
I also shared Tides Canada’s recommendations for making this transition contained in their fantastic report A New Energy Vision for Canada ( I was delighted when Quesnel, Terrace and the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako endorsed this vision.
If there is a single message that I can share about my time in the North it is that people there love their home and will do whatever it takes to protect it. It is this love that is fuelling the resistance to the Enbridge project and it is powerful. It deserves to be respected and celebrated. It is the heart of a grassroots movement that I hope will swell and become the foundation for the positive change that we so desperately need. My experience has made me more convinced than ever that we have the capacity to both adapt and to change our world- for good. We must work together and it will take courage, but we can do it. It is already happening.
I find myself now in a time of personal transition. I am reflecting on my journey and envisioning the next chapter. I’m looking for ways of best communicating my experience and the stories I heard along the way, for growing the network of people interested in making the transition to a clean energy future and for pressuring our government to adopt a national energy strategy that provides prosperity and energy security while addressing climate change and our environment. Have ideas? Let me know!
In the coming weeks I will be uploading photos onto my Flickr account (link will be on the website) and compiling the video interviews into a video essay. I am happy to say the blog is complete. Please check it out:
I’m also really excited to announce that Band Together t-shirts that read: “Spill Compassion Instead” are available for sale at:
The Delica is also for sale. It was a great vehicle that carried me safely across the province and home. The engine was rebuilt before I left and it was converted to run on waste veggie oil (also runs on regular diesel), so I’m asking $11,000. Please let me know if you or someone you know are interested! Once the van is sold, I will be able to donate to Pacific Wild- so please help!
As for how I am doing, I am well. My body held up remarkably well, with only a bit of swelling in my foot and minor shin splint in the end. I think having the support of so many people before and during the campaign really kept my spirits high and body strong. Thank you to the hundreds of people that donated and to Fruv for sponsoring me. I carried you all with me- both on the Delica (I made a thank you sign for the window) and in my heart (I meditated on everyone during my run as was promised in the “perks”). Thanks to all of the people and groups that organized gatherings, promoted them, and for the donations of food and supplies. Thanks to the kind people that opened their homes to us. Thanks to all of the donations of waste veggie oil. And especially thank you to my incredible support team (drivers, massage therapists, cooks, filmers and photographers)- at home and on the road. A big thanks to Nate and my family for their support too!
If you have Skype yoga coming, please give me a shout to arrange a time: 604-698-7697. I am moving to Pemberton and will have space there and am also happy to do private classes in Whistler, Squamish and Vancouver.
Much love,

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Bikes Not Pipes Take II

Join hundreds of British Columbians in greening their commutes and raising awareness about the proposed oil pipeline development threatening our coast!

After its first season of existence and many thousands of kilometers pedaled, the cyclists and sponsors of Bikes not Pipes are happy to add their contribution to the growing opposition to pipelines and tankers in British Columbia. Several hundreds of dollars were already raised to support the work of organizations such as Pacific Wild and even more pounds of CO2 remained in the ground where it belongs.
The basic idea behind Bikes Not Pipes is to get more people to leave their cars home and ride their bikes as much as possible. Those who can’t ride regularly have an opportunity to support those who can by sponsoring their efforts and turn every kilometer ridden rather than driven into a source of financing for organizations that fight tanker traffic and pipeline development in BC.
We are excited to launch our second season from September 1st 2012 to January 1st 2013 and are hoping that many more cyclists and sponsors will join us in our effort. People can join anytime.
For more information about Bikes Not Pipes or to join in, please contact us at or visit the Bikes Not Pipes Community page on Facebook.

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A Community Priority

This is an excerpt from friends of Pacific Wild, Mike Reid and Sarah Stoner’s blog. To view the full blog, and read a letter a day to Mr. Harper, visit

July 22nd

Dear Mr. Harper, ImageThe community of Bella Bella hosted a rally against tankers and pipelines today: Community Voices III.  The Heiltsuk people, many of which call Bella Bella home, have been cast as aggressive protestors in the media.  There was nothing aggressive about this gathering, only sheer and heartfelt passion.  A passion and a duty to protect the lands and seas that are loved by so many, relied upon for nourishment and sustenance.

Over the course of the afternoon, people of all ages flocked to the rally to participate in traditional song, games, food, paint signs and flags, watch an oil-spill demonstration and hear Heiltsuk Chief Councillor, Marilyn Slett, present an informative slide show of her recent trip to Alberta’s tar sands.ImageCovered in tar for an oil spill demonstration

Councillor Slett’s testament was powerful.  She spoke passionately about a visit to Fort McKay, home to Cree and Dene First Nations.  They don’t have their cultural way of life anymore,” she said. “To hear from an elder in Fort McKay that they can’t eat the fish there, they can’t hunt, berries don’t grow—it really hit home for me”.

The tar sands tailings leaking into the Athabasca River are causing a cultural genocide in Northern Alberta.  The waters, the lands and the traditional foods and ways of life that come from them are too polluted, too toxic, to be consumed.  Cancer rates in Fort McKay and Fort Chipewyan, downstream from the tar sands are higher than average.  And even though alarm bells were raised in 2006, the Alberta government didn’t agree to fund a health study until the spring of 2011.

Downstream of the tar sands, the fate of First Nations’ health and culture is grim.  Not irreparable, but grim.  Let’s not let this become the situation on BC’s coast as well.

For the coast,

Sarah and Mike

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Taking a Stand

This is an excerpt from friends of Pacific Wild, Mike Reid and Sarah Stoner’s blog. To view the full blog, and read a letter a day to Mr. Harper, visit

Dear Mr. Harper,


It’s been a crazy week.  With the release of the US National Transportation Safety Board report, revealing Enbridge’s lack of response and inaction to the Kalamazoo spill in Michigan two years back, the media has been in a bit of a frenzy.  Some of your colleagues in the political world have caught wind of this frenzy, and the sheer ineptness Enbridge displayed in dealing with the leak, but we have yet to hear anything from you, Mr. Harper.

The report reveals that Enbridge pipe operators failed to acknowledge the constant drop of pressure in the pipeline to be caused by a leak and instead chose to increase the volume of oil being pumped through in an effort to keep up the pressure.  After 17 hours, the leak was reported by an employee in Michigan, not one of the operators choosing to throw in the towel and recognize all the alarm bells going off in front of him.

As a result, 3.8 million litres of crude spilled into the Kalamazoo River causing the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history.

Since the release of this report, we’ve seen action and clear stances being taken by your colleagues, our elected officials, in opposition of this pipeline.  Thomas Mulcair declared that the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project be stopped and referred to the NTSB report as “the final nail” in the proposed projects’ coffin.  Even the fence-sitting Christy Clark said that if Enbridge plans to operate in BC the way it did in Michigan, then they can “forget it”.

And here’s the thing, Mr. Harper… it all comes down to human error.  No matter how state of the art Enbridge’s pipeline technology has become in the last few years, nothing can make up for the fact that 3.8 million litres of crude were spilt as a result of human laziness and incompetence.

We can’t let that be our fate.  This place is too special.

For the coast,

Sarah and Mike

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Band Together BC – 170 km down, 1,000 km to go!

The latest press release

McBride, BC- July 13, 2012: On July 8, Kim Slater began her journey across the province to engage Northern communities in dialogue on renewable energy and alternatives to expanding the tar sands. She has begun to share these informal conversations on the campaign website and blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

One of the people she has spoken with along the way is Seth McDonald of Dunster. “An energy strategy should fit local and regional realities;” he says. In addition to working in the silviculture industry, Seth started his own biodiesel company called Robson Valley Biodiesel. He is committed to reducing his dependency on fossil fuel at work and at home, and helping others in the area to do the same. He runs his vehicles on waste veggie oil and biodiesel and grows much of his own food. He donated a large quantity of waste veggie oil to the Band Together Support vehicle.

So far Kim has traveled 170 km west along Highway 16, with stops in Mt. Robson and McBride, heading towards Prince George. The Sea to Sands Conservation Alliance will be hosting a gathering at Artspace at 7 pm on the 24th of July. Anyone with an interest in tar sands alternatives and renewable energy is welcome to attend.

Another dialogue-oriented gathering is planned for the day before (July 23rd) in Williams Lake. It will be hosted by Transition Town and will feature a movie screening.

While Kim intends to primarily ask clean-energy related questions at the gatherings, many of which were shaped and tweaked at an interactive dinner event in Whistler, she will also be inviting community leaders to endorse the Statement of Support for a National Energy Strategy prepared by Tides Canada. The aims of a national energy strategy should be to deliver energy security, create jobs and prosperity and to fight climate change while protecting the environment. For more information, please visit:

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This is an excerpt from friends of Pacific Wild, Mike Reid and Sarah Stoner’s blog. To view the full blog, and read a letter a day to Mr. Harper, visit

Saturday, July 7th

Dear Mr. Harper,

So you’re probably used to people talking about the devastating impacts that an oil spill will have on the coast. What it will do to the intertidal zone, the estuaries, and the mosaic of life that depend on these systems.

People talk about impacts that an oil spill will have on the salmon, and the whales and communities that depend on these species for sustenance and culture.

Experts and the media talk about environmental harms associated with an oil spill and then scale up those impacts to individuals, harvesters and communities.

These are all very real impacts, Mr. Harper, and things you need to consider.

However, Mr. Harper, what about the impacts associated with the Joint Review Panel environmental assessment?

So many people deal with the impacts associated with an incident, the incident being an oil spill. However, I challenge you to shift your thinking on this Mr. Harper. Let’s look at the project being announced as the incident. Let’s look at the effects associated with the tripe bureaucratic dribble that spews from your office and peppers headlines across Canada.

Your words and your actions have impacted people on this coast more than you know Mr. Harper. I challenge you to imagine the stress associated with someone trying push a project through your backyard. A project that will strip you (and your kin) of everything you have been taught to be, and believe.

Your project is already impacting people up and down this coast. People who feel as though their voices don’t matter.

Show them that their voice matters. Show them that you’re listening. Show them that you give a shit.

For the coast,

Sarah and Mike

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This is an excerpt from friends of Pacific Wild, Mike Reid and Sarah Stoner’s blog.  To view the full blog, and read a letter a day to Mr. Harper, visit

Wednesday, July 4th

Dear Mr. Harper,

There is a common misconception that the Great Bear Rainforest has been designated a conservation.  Yes, this is true to some extent, but in reality less than 30% of the area is assigned into various conservancy agreements.  This reality become all to apparent on our journey south yesterday.  Just North of Klemtu, we came across a heli-logging operation.

From across the channel you couldn’t see a clear cut. No, this clear cut was hidden.  Hidden in a small valley 100 meters in from the waterline.  Hidden from the cruise ships, the pleasure boaters, and the many who transit these inlets.  This represents the smoke and mirror approach to conservation that keeps the public silent and industry, along with Government, happy.

How many of these clear cuts lie just out of site? How much this Great Bear Rainforest will be logged before it is enough?  Our insatiable appetite for resources will ruin this place.

We all have a personal decision to make on this one.  We are all guilty of this glut.  At some point though we need to look in the mirror and say, “Wake up bonehead! Is this legacy you wish to leave for your children”.

You have children, don’t you Mr. Harper?  Look in the mirror.  Don’t be a bonehead and leave them something to look forward to.  A coast to explore, a region dense with life stretching from the ocean floor to the highest peaks.  If you try to pull the wool over our eyes on this Mr. Harper you’ll regret it and your children will never forgive you.

For the Coast,

Mike and Sarah

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