ROOM FOR OIL IN OUR FUTURE? – Hundreds rallied at March’s Point to lift up the vision of an Oil Free Salish Sea on Saturday, Oct 7. Of immediate concern: the pipeline transporting bitumen crude oil from Alberta’s tar sands. – Photo by Judy Booth
Two hundred people sang, prayed and rallied at March Point, marching for an “Oil Free Salish Sea” Saturday, Oct. 7, a cold, rainy day. “This is to open people’s hearts, eyes, and spirit – to break from fossil fuels,” said Ronald Day from Swinomish, one of the organizers of the event. The scent of cedar, sage, sweet grass, and tobacco gently fanned with an Eagle feather mingled with the sounds of fuel-thirsty traffic on Highway 20. Environmentalists, activists, Greenpeace, kayaktivists, 350 Seattle, the Mosquito Fleet and Red Line Salish Sea were present – as was the State Patrol. The walkers wanted to raise community awareness of the proposed enhancement of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, operated by Kinder Morgan. The pipeline transports bitumen crude oil from the Alberta tar sands to the March Point refineries. The proposal would nearly triple the present capacity of oil – from 350,000 barrels per day to 890,000 bpd at March Point. Kinder Morgan has faced over-whelming opposition to its proposal from diverse groups, municipalities and governments across Canada. The company’s latest provocation was the discovery, published on a blog site, that Kinder Morgan had installed mesh across salmon spawning streams to stop the salmon from spawning during construction. Under court order the pens have been removed. Marchers have a different vision: For a future free from fossil fuels. “We wanted to meet with like-minded people – share our vision hopes and dreams. We realized it would be hard – to understand the Coast Salish world view – how do we treat Mother Earth in a kinder way,” said Ray Williams, from Swinomish.
The former director of Seventh Generation Fund shared his plans for reducing our carbon footprint, from building solar panels to growing food. He suggests the Coast Salish people – from Oregon to British Columbia – lead in forming sustainable communities and then to reach out to other indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. The forty-year old Seventh Generation Fund is a non-profit dedicated to helping indigenous communities who are engaged in cultural revitalization, sovereignty and culturally appropriate economic development strategies. The group joined several kayaktivists and canoes at the Point at the march’s peaceful end. The march was hosted by Protectors of the Salish Sea in solidarity with Pull Together’s nine days of action, Oct 2-15, and the four First Nations of Canada. The First Nations will be in court litigating against Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline this week.