Each week, farmers across the province set up their farm stands, selling the fruits of their hard labour. Farming is not a huge money maker, and this year, with barely any rain for months, I hear stories from farmers who fear crop failures at significant financial loss. And yet Richmond-based Sweet Digz Farm, Saanich Organics, and many more farms are donating proceeds to Pull Together through the summer: “As farmers, we share a love of the earth, a dependence on the land and water, and a concern for how pipelines and oil tankers will affect indigenous lands,” states Farmers for Pull Together.
They join businesses from across B.C. that are stepping forward, educating their customers, and donating profits to Pull Together in support of the First Nations in court to stop the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tankers project.
These businesses understand that tar sands pipelines and tankers are not good for our economy. Looking beneath the slick ads and inflated jobs promises, British Columbians know that international corporations like Enbridge don’t have our best interests at heart. Their sole goal is to make a profit for their shareholders, whether that is through transporting oil or profiting from spill response.
Local businesses are a different story; offering hope and possibility for a more robust economic future.
Many have jumped on board the Week to End Enbridge, June 13 to 21. Together, we are marking the one-year anniversary of the federal decision to approve Northern Gateway with a groundswell of support for the First Nations legal challenges that seek to overturn that decision.
There will be a community dance in Prince George, a picnic in Kitimat, a paddle in Victoria, and many more gatherings already planned all across the province, from Fort St. John to Kelowna.
In Revelstoke, Sangha Bean Cafe will be donating 25 cents of every coffee sold during the Week to End Enbridge to the Pull Together campaign. Uprising Breads Bakery in Vancouver will donate 20 percent of their proceeds from the weekend of June 13 and 14, and The Soap Dispensary will donate 10 percent of theirs.
The Pull Together initiative was launched by Sierra Club B.C. and RAVEN Trust as a tangible way that individuals, community groups, and businesses can offer moral and financial support to these First Nations legal challenges. Over $390,000 has been raised so far, by online fundraising, businesses donating their profit margin, and community events. Our goal is to raise a total of $600,000 by the summer, so the Heiltsuk, Kitasoo-Xai’xais, Gitga’at, Haida, Gitxaala, Nadleh Whut’en, and Nak’azdli nations have the resources they need before court hearings are held this fall.
Daniel Terry of Denman Island Chocolate developed a Pull Together chocolate bar that’s now for sale at over 70 locations across B.C., with proceeds going to support Pull Together. Who knew stopping a pipeline could be so delicious?! “I feel like it’s really important to not just cheer for First Nations from the sidelines, but to actually participate in enabling their legal fight,” says Terry.
Moksha Yoga has raised over $13,000 through yoga classes and film screenings. Spirit Bear Lodge, a community-based ecotourism venture owned and operated by the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation, will donate 100 percent of the package price of the next two guests who request that their trip cost be donated to Pull Together. “The Spirit Bear and the Great Bear Rainforest are too precious to all of humanity to let Enbridge take chances with the future of the coast,” says Spirit Bear Lodge general manager Tim McGrady.
If we play our cards right in the transition toward a clean energy economy we can replace big corporate ownership with diverse and resilient local economies that are more equitable, democratic, grounded within ecological limits and respectful of First Nations.
Denman Island Chocolate teamed up with Bandidas Restaurant and Marketworks to send an open letter to the B.C. business community, inviting others to support Pull Together: “As social entrepreneurs we have the power to have a strong voice in the community. If this is a cause that is meaningful to you, if you believe that keeping B.C.’s interior and coast free from tar sands pipelines and tankers, we invite you to risk standing for the importance of this issue in a visible way. You may be surprised at what is possible when we take these kinds of risks.”