BC's incoming government must act swiftly
Before my much-anticipated trip to the Great Bear Rainforest, I checked the forecast and lamented having to trade the sun in Vancouver for the rainy prognosis up north.
Any misgivings I had about my trip were shed when the plane broke through the heavy clouds and I could see the familiar intricate weaving of the land and the ocean, creating the stunning landscape of the coast: the darkness of the water broken up by the gentle curves and calving of forested land. I felt an indescribable feeling of elation combined with serenity. Each time I come back to the coast it’s as breathtaking as the first. There’s always a new experience and new stories.
Yesterday there were reports of a wolverine in the vicinity, scaring off the resident river otter with her pups. This morning the water was incredibly calm and soothing as we floated in our boat toward a rainbow that was exactly the width of the channel. The sun was teasing us through the clouds and mist. This afternoon I couldn’t resist the calm waters and went for my first swim this far north in the Pacific.
The last time I was on the coast was two years ago – too long ago. It was while here, in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, that I heard the news about Enbridge’s disastrous oil spill into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. Two years later the US National Transportation Safety Board condemned Enbridge for how poorly the company handled the emergency and declared the disaster the most expensive on-shore oil spill clean up in the US.
Given Enbridge’s track record, is it really so unreasonable for coastal communities who depend on a thriving marine ecosystem for their food and cultures to be staunchly opposed to allowing tankers in these waters?
In the week ahead I’ll be reconnecting with members of the Gitga’at First Nation and others in the region. I'm looking forward to hearing their stories and seeing what I’ve missed over the past two years. Their stories and the experience of this phenomenal place reinforces, for me, that tankers are a bad idea. I hope sharing these stories will convince others, too.