I know the world feels like a lot these days. So forgive yourself if you haven’t been intently following the half-dozen pitched battles over resource extraction playing out across British Columbia. But after a summer of deadly wildfires and heat waves showed the impacts of building new pipelines and logging ancient forests, there’s no better time to tune in.
All over the province, regular people are putting their bodies in the way of the industries driving global temperatures higher and higher, year after year. These folks are not zealots—they are mothers, healers, leaders—people who take their responsibility to care for this land seriously.
Many are Indigenous. When your culture depends on the land, these fights for survival are not abstract. These nations and families have been pushing back against Canada’s colonial project to take their lands and resources for generations.
And many are relative newcomers to these territories but understand their lives rely on them as well. If we keep pumping carbon pollution from the burning of fossil fuels into the atmosphere and clearcutting the colossal forests that absorb it, we will face escalating climate disasters.
Our elected officials should be protecting us from these impacts. After all, what is a government for if not to keep its citizens safe? In 2021, that means ending these destructive practices while creating new jobs and industries for workers and communities who rely on them.
Instead, it’s left to your average Jane to take a stand against multibillion-dollar corporations that are on a collision course with the planet. In Wet’suwet’en territory, the Gidim’ten clan and their supporters have evicted Coastal GasLink pipeline crews from a drill site next to the Wedzin Kwa river.
Next door in Gitxsan territory, members of Wilp Git’luuhl’um’hetxwit have set up a gate at the entrance to their lands that blocks access to logging trucks.
On Vancouver Island, dramatic scenes from the Fairy Creek blockades have been broadcast around the world, with police violence even being called out by the B.C. Supreme Court. Near Revelstoke, a smaller group has shut down a logging road to protect some of the last inland temperate rainforests on the globe.
In the fight against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, tree-sitters in Burnaby are mourning the loss of a treehouse built above Lost Creek after RCMP recently removed people who had been living there in shifts for more than a year. Further up the route, the Tiny House Warriors remain at the site of the company’s man camp in Blue River even as construction and arrests unfold.
All these efforts have two things in common. They involve communities coming together at this moment in history when the stakes couldn’t be any higher—and they need your support.
Not everyone can drop everything to join these struggles on the ground. But we can pay attention. Visit these frontlines when they call for supporters to come. Share their stories on social media and in person. Hold or participate in solidarity rallies in your community. Or book a meeting with your MLA and demand respect for Indigenous rights, an end to new fossil fuel projects and the protection of old-growth forests.
Premier John Horgan’s government will continue to dither on these issues until it hears from enough of us. We can’t afford to stay silent. Our future depends on people like you getting involved.