Oil. The world’s appetite for Canada’s oil resources seems bottomless. While the U.S. debates the Alberta-to-Texas Keystone Pipeline, British Columbia is debating sending oil tankers to Asia.
There are currently two proposals to bring more and bigger oil supertankers to B.C.’s coast, so that Alberta’s oilsands crude can be shipped to overseas. In the north, the proposed Enbridge pipeline would bring 225 oil tankers into the coastal inlets of the Great Bear Rainforest. In the south, pipeline company Kinder Morgan proposes tripling the number of oil tankers navigating through Vancouver Harbour. It is a tale as old as time: The people and the environment bear the risk of spills while oil harvesters enjoy the profits. And some British Columbians are not willing to sit back and watch their resplendent coastline be put at risk of catastrophic spills. They are targeting federal, provincial and local governments to legislate bans and and pass motions to create multi-layer protection against an assult on the beautiful coast.
To build support, NoTankers.ca launched an oily ducky campaign. Black, oily rubber duckies are popping up in fountains all over Vancouver. The stunt is part of a campaign to remind British Columbians they have a powerful voice in the debate over the future of B.C.’s coast.
“British Columbians bear the burden of risk should the proposed pipelines go ahead,” says Emma Gilchrist, Communications Director for Dogwood Initiative, which runs the No Tankers campaign. “These wee rubber duckies are up against oil companies with multi-million dollar advertising budgets and we want to make sure citizens know they can take a stand, sign the petition at notankers.ca and become part of the No Tankers movement.” The campaign launched yesterday with 450 oily rubber duckies released into the urban jungle starting at the Bentall 5 fountain in downtown BC. The rubber ducks will not be doused in real oil, of course. In case you were worried, they will be cleaned and given to good homes afterwards. It is the organizer’s hope that real ducks, and other wildlife, can be saved by this campaign.
So far on the federal level, 142 of 308 Members of Parliament (MPs) support a tanker ban on B.C.’s North Coast. On the provincial level, 36 of 85 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) oppose the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project. And on the local level, only 17 of 119 affected local governments oppose proposals by Enbridge or Kinder Morgan. The campaign’s goal is to garner 100% support from all government levels to create a lasting and iron-clad defense against future projects and protect B.C.’s beautiful coast.
You can join the movement to keep tankers out of B.C.’s pristine waters by adding your name to the growing petition of more than 130,000 signatures at notankers.ca. Follow the conversation on Twitter by searching #NoTankers.
Connie Kwan is the founder and CEO of RealMealz.com in Silicon Valley, CA. She holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School, and covers stories on food and health sustainability. Follow her on Twitter @RealMealz and @conniemkwan.