Young activists, led by Ben West of ForestEthics Advocacy, were handing out leaflets at Science World in advance of what could be the largest anti-Enbridge rally in Vancouver history.
West told reporters that he expects thousands to show up at the same location at 2 p.m. next Saturday (November 16) to voice opposition to Enbridge's proposed pipeline.
If the federal Joint Review Panel approves the Northern Gateway Project, it would bring tar-sands oil to Kitimat, where it would be shipped through Queen Charlotte Sound on tankers bound for Asia.
"This has really become a conversation about a gateway to global warming, about a symbol that represents a fight that's so much bigger than any one particular pipeline," West told reporters. "[It's] really part of a much bigger conversation about the tar sands, about climate change, about indigenous rights, about the power of corporations—and the strength of citizen movements to do something about it."
The anti-Enbridge rally will include music, art shows, numerous speakers, and even some laughs, according to West.
"It's going to be a fun event," he promised. "Rallies in and of themselves aren't what make the difference. These are moments that bring us all together and kick-start larger organizing efforts, where change comes from."
It's part of a national day of action to defend the climate, which includes demonstrations in cities across the country.
West urged people interested in learning more about the rally to use the #noenbridge hashtag on Twitter.
He also unveiled new signs—inspired by the movement against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline—offering average people a chance to fill in a personal description in expressing their opposition to the Enbridge project.
"We'll post it on social media," he said. "The idea is we're hoping this will go viral and people will start actually printing these themselves, at home, posting them on the Internet, sharing them around to really spread the word. We're never going to have as much money or as much resources as big oil companies, but we do have people power."
One of those promoting people power is Sam Harrison, a 17-year-old organizer of Kids for Climate Action.
He was the first to fill in the new sign, writing the words "future voter".
"My generation doesn't want to be the ones left behind with an outdated fossil-fuel economy," Harrison told reporters. "B.C. has been a leader on climate change on our domestic policy. We're one of the few jurisdictions in North America with a carbon tax. We have some progressive goals. But that will go to waste—all that leadership will be rendered useless—if we become a carbon corridor to the Pacific."
He emphasized that if all the planned export infrastructure is built for proposed oil, coal, and natural-gas projects, B.C. will export 10 times more carbon emissions than are generated within the province.
"That's not the economy we want for our future," Harrison said. "We can have a stronger, more resilient, better economy if we invest in clean energy and transit. That's the kind of thing my generation wants."
Harrison said that Kids for Climate Action has 10 "core organizers" in Lower Mainland high schools and a mailing list of over 2,000 names.
"We're trying to get high school students more involved in viewing environmental issues through a broader lens," he said.
That also includes ramping up pressure on Port Metro Vancouver officials over proposals to export millions more tonnes of coal annually from the Lower Mainland.
"I know for sure they don't have broad public support, especially with young people," Harrison declared. "And they're not having due process to make these decisions. Their board is decided by the industry that uses the port. How can you expect that to be impartial?"