Below is the statement that Rising Tide Vancouver Coast Salish Territories collectively created and placed at the start of the No Pipelines Blockades Training program.
We stand at a critical moment, in a pivotal place. Under the guise of creating jobs and bolstering the economy, corporations are destroying Indigenous land and exploiting communities for profit while our so-called ‘leaders’ cheer them on. Big Oil and King Coal push to expand fossil fuel extraction, blindly accelerating towards climate catastrophe. Here in the Pacific Northwest, destruction and displacement abound as proposed pipelines, coal ports, and fracking wells cut and carve through the land.
Despite years of opposition, shovels are about to break ground. If inaction is complicity, now is the time to skill-up, step-up and take to the streets.
We will show the governments and companies trying to force these projects upon us that new fossil fuel infrastructure will not be built. How? We will put our bodies in the way of extraction and construction, pit our wits against the PR machines, and hit corporate profit margins where they hurt. An act as simple as stepping from the sidewalk into the road reminds not only ourselves, but those that think they control us, of the enormous power we have to demand justice and create change; a power many would rather we lost sight of completely.
Our resistance must be multi-faceted, as this weekend of workshops and events reflects, and we must be willing to reflect as well as act. There is not one amongst us who need not examine our own assumptions and complicities, and deepen our understanding of how systems of oppression, built on greed and exploitation, fuel the continuation of colonialism, cultural genocide, poverty, homophobia and racialized and sexualized violence. Let us broaden our communities and strengthen our connections. Let us learn from over 500 years of Indigenous resistance to colonial violence, and as a movement take lead from the front-line communities all over the world who will be most severely affected by rising carbon emissions. As effective and empowered communities, we will look to each other, support one another, and understand that we all come with our unique struggles, in the hopes of finding our mutual liberation.
It’s time to draw a line in the sand, and build the skills, relationships and power we need to stand up to the juggernaut of fossil fuel development. Stopping these projects will not only be a huge blow to carbon colonialism and its framework of violence, but will also bottle-up a globally significant proportion of the fossil fuels that must remain in the ground if we are to slow down climate change. The fossil fuel empire will crumble; it’s up to us to speed up that process and make it an equitable transition towards a better world.
This weekend is presented by Rising Tide Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories along with help from our friends, allies, and those we strive to be in solidarity with. RT CST is a grassroots environmental justice group committed to fighting the root causes of climate change and the interconnected destruction of land, water, and air.