Environmental protests are back—on the North Shore and on the edge of False Creek

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      As this is being written, two B.C. environmental activists are standing on a grounded barge on the shore of False Creek.

      Tzeporah Berman, a York University adjunct professor of environmental studies, and SFU health sciences professor emeritus Tim Takaro climbed onto it to draw attention to the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project. If completed, it will dramatically increase oil-tanker traffic in the Salish Sea.

      “On the heels of the latest IPCC report and the devastating federal approval of Bay du Nord, the barge is yet another clear example of government lies,” Berman, also international programs director with Stand.earth, said from on top of the barge.

      “The federal government and the oil industry want us to believe that a dramatic increase in oil tankers right through Vancouver’s harbour is safe, yet they couldn’t even stop this barge from crashing and they haven’t even  figured out how to remove it?" she continued. "What if this had been an oil spill?  It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.”

      Takaro said that a major spill would require the evacuation of between 24,500 and 105,000 people, as well as increasing cancer risks for anyone exposed.

      “A spill of diluted bitumen in Burrard Inlet could be catastrophic for public health and everyone who depends upon these waters for work and pleasure, food, and culture,” Takaro said.

      Their action comes after a series of protests this week by Save Old Growth, which employs peaceful civil disobedience to try to force the NDP government to halt logging of ancient trees.

      Today, Save Old Growth said that 21 people have been arrested at its protests blocking traffic on the North Shore and other parts of B.C.  

      “We’re only going to keep escalating. We really don’t want to be doing this, but we are not going anywhere," Julia Torgerson, a 24-year-old spokesperson for the group, said in a news release. "Humans don't lie around and let their governments kill them, which is what they’re doing with inaction on the emergency. We’re in civil resistance.”

      Traffic tie-ups like this have become regular events this week on the North Shore.
      Save Old Growth

      One of those with Save Old Growth, Brent Eichler, has not eaten for 15 days. Another activist, Howard Breen, has not eaten for eight days.

      Their request for a meeting with Forest, Lands, Natural Operations and Rural Development Minister Katrine Conroy has not been granted.

      "The message we are currently hearing from the government is PLEASE DIE QUIETLY, DIE OBEDIENTLY," Eichler and Breen wrote in a March 14 letter cabinet ministers, MLAs, and the premier. "We can't do that. Our invitation is open. All we want is respectful dialogue in a public meeting."

      Brent Eichler has gone 15 days without food to try to protect old-growth forests in B.C.
      Save Old Growth

      Eichler plans to be at the NDP caucus meeting today (April 8) at 5 p.m. at the Croatian Cultural Centre.

      "I don’t want to grow old knowing that we allowed the last great old growth forests in B.C. to be destroyed," Eichler said. "I don’t want to grow old knowing I didn’t try to do something. We have taken so much from nature. It is time to take a little less. It is time to leave something for future generations. I am waiting by the phone Katrine Conroy. I will buy lunch.”