“The seas are by no means dead, but they are unquestionably less alive than when humanity discovered them.” – Leatherwood and Reeves, 1983
Since I’ve been in university programs in Bamfield the topic of the Northern Gateway Pipeline has come up a lot. I’d heard arguments for and against it in the past and had been on the opposition, but living on the West Coast has really opened my eyes in an entirely new way to what is at stake.
The Northern Gateway Pipeline is currently a very hot topic among Canadian (particularly BC) residents and politicians. The proposed pipeline would transport oil from Alberta to a port in Kitimat where it would be exported internationally via oil tankers. The pipeline is scheduled to be up and running by 2015, but the politics surrounding the land in BC through which it would run is throwing a wrench in the gears.
On October 22 an estimated 4,700 people attended a peaceful protest, Defend Our Coast, in Victoria to send a message to our government that BC’s coast is not for sale. On October 24th the Defend Our Coast team called for BC wide action in which over 50 communities took part. As aspiring marine biologists at Bamfield Marine Sciences Center we wanted to show our support for this cause and voice our opposition to the proposed pipeline.
- Thousands of protestors demonstrated their support for an oil free coast on October 22nd in Victoria and October 24th around BC
The morning of the 24th we were out on a field trip snorkeling in the Broken Island Group and learning about the ecology of our beautiful West Coast. It was a rainy day; we did some bird watching on the boat ride out, hiked a short trail through the lush forests typical of the West Coast, and spent the morning watching nearby seals while snorkeling with the diverse animals and algae of Barkley Sound. It was a perfect morning and really demonstrated how special and unique this part of the world is. After our morning of snorkeling we linked arms in front of the ocean in support of the Defend Our Coast movement.
That morning we said “no” to the Northern Gateway Pipeline. The vast majority of BC’s First Nations whose land is in the corridor of the proposed pipeline path have said no and an estimated 60.3% of BC’s population has said no. We are a group of 25, which in itself is a small number, but we want to show that even the smallest of communities and groups of scientists have an investment in the conservation and protection of our coast.