Here is an email from Wilderness Committee that I would like to share:
I have just returned from two weeks in British Columbia’s northern interior, documenting issues impacting the region’s fresh water. I’ve been travelling with the Wilderness Committee’s climate campaigner, Eoin Madden, and videographers David Lavallee and Jeremy Williams. (See our road-trip blog here). We’ve spoken to community leaders and to every day folks trying to live their lives under the shadow of some very big threats.
Our first stop was the beautiful Peace River Valley where farmers, First Nations and conservationists have banded together to defend against the proposed Site C dam. A wonderful annual event called Paddle for the Peace drew more than 400 people to travel down the river in canoes, kayaks and all manner of small boats. Then paddlers gathered together in a river-side farm field for an afternoon of food, fun, and powerful words from community leaders. The speeches from First Nations were especially inspiring!
If the Site C dam were to be built it would flood over 100 kilometres of valley bottom lands – including more than 6,000 hectares of farmland. Some of these beautiful farms have been in local families for generations. Sacred First Nations sites would be drowned and important wildlife corridors would be severed. Earlier dams on the Peace River have caused local fish populations to be contaminated by mercury and have resulted in the near disappearance of a local caribou herd. These all were once important sources of clean healthy food for the surrounding tribes. Let’s support the people who are working to save what’s left. Click here to take action and help stop Site C!
After Paddle for the Peace, we left the valley bottom to follow the gravel roads leading to BC’s Gas Empire, where the deadly practice of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) is spreading across the land. The gas industry is sucking up millions of litres of clean fresh water from just about every source you can imagine. Pipes suck water from the massive Williston Reservoir, BC’s biggest source of fresh water. Pipes also snake into community water supply rivers. Even the smallest little creek will often have a pipe and a pump chugging away, draining its life into a plastic lined frack water impoundment.
Why all the water sucking? The industry uses the water by first mixing it with a deadly cocktail of chemicals, then injecting it deep underground at extreme pressure to fracture rock layers and free the gas.
We saw (and smelled) what happens to the polluted water next. The rusty-coloured, foul-smelling mixture is collected and held in massive pits. Strips of foil flutter in the breeze around these sites in a feeble attempt to scare off birds who may attempt a fatal drink. As an added wildlife repellant, propane-fueled cannons explode now and then, giving the whole scene a weird war-on-nature feel.
Widespread fracking is new in BC, only a few years old. We need to end it – before it ends our clean water. Click here to tell the BC government to put the brakes on BC’s gas industry!
The final stop on our journey was Williams Lake, where the federal Environmental Assessment hearings were just getting started regarding Taseko’s New Prosperity mine. The Tsilhqot’in Nation and its supporters put on an amazing event in a local park just prior to the start of the hearings. Chief after Chief from all parts of the province called for the mine project to be stopped, reminding the crowd that for Canada to allow the project to go forward without Tsilhqot’in consent would be theft.
The Tsilhqot’in are rightfully concerned that the proposed mine would put the future of local waters like Fish Lake and the Chilcotin River at risk from toxic pollution.To write to the Environmental Assessment Agency about the proposed New Prosperity mine, click here!
All of these stories could end up two ways – happy or sad. I am betting that you want what we want: clean water, healthy communities and justice for people and nature. Please write to our decision-makers today, and join the call for a happy ending.
Enjoy the summer!
For the wild,
Joe Foy | National Campaign Director Wilderness Committee
Thank you for supporting wilderness.
The Wilderness Committee is Canada’s largest membership-based, citizen-funded wilderness preservation organization
These are very important issues well worth the time to Take Action on!