Beauty Destroyed

I have been blessed to have seen the awesome beauty of nature, especially our National Parks. It is sad to think of the contrast between that time of visionaries who set aside those wonders for the enjoyment of all, and the current Administration’s efforts to despoil that beauty solely for corporate greed.

It was the vision of my beloved Rocky Mountains hidden in smog that changed the course of my life. I had to do what I could to protect Mother Earth which included giving up owning a car myself. This became a spiritual journey for me ever since (circa 1975).

Then I saw the terrible images of tar sands mining, which added to both my sorrow and resolve. First by being trained by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) to plan and execute nonviolent direct actions to try to stop the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. Later engaging in efforts to bring attention to and stop the Dakota Access pipeline.

It occurs to me few people have seen the nauseating images of the tar sands mines because of efforts to keep them from view. The link below is to aerial photos of the tar sands mining from the book Beautiful Destruction.

Canada’s tar sands landscape from the air – in pictures.

A new book of aerial photographs, Beautiful Destruction, captures the awesome scale and devastating impact of Alberta’s oil sands with stunning colours, contrasts and patterns. The book also includes 15 essays by prominent individuals from environment and industry, sharing their insights, ideas and opinions. Photographs by Louis Helbig.

Louis Helbig, The Guardian, August 2015

These years of efforts against pipelines, especially with little success, are often discouraging. On the positive side, there are wonderful communities of water and land protectors supporting each other. The Wet’suwet’en people I’m learning about are part of the fight against this new threat, the Teck Frontier Mine.

January 20, 2020, Vancouver, BC, Coast Salish Territories – Indigenous Climate Action (ICA) gathered Indigenous leaders and land defenders outside Minister Wilkinson’s office in North Vancouver to raise alarm about the impacts of the Teck Frontier Mine proposal – the largest proposed open-pit tar sands mine. Members from the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), Tiny House Warriors, Smith’s Landing First Nation, and Wet’suwet’en Solidarity Network came together to assert inherent Indigenous rights and put the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, on watch for his decision on the project proposal and Joint Review Panel’s (JRP) recommendations. The leaders tied together climate change and Indigenous rights impacts created from tar sands extraction, pipelines, refinery and energy infrastructure, citing this project would set the country back on its commitments to the climate and Indigenous Peoples.

The Teck Resources Frontier Mine would be over 29,000 hectares in size and create 6Mt of GHG emission annually, while also impacting local wildlife, waterways and Indigneous communities. Findings from the 2019 Joint Review Panel report stated, “there will be significant adverse project and cumulative effects on certain environmental components and Indigenous communities,” including “use of lands and resources, and cultural practices of Indigenous communities.”

For years Indigenous communities in the region have been working tirelessly to address the legacy of harms from tar sands expansion through regulatory participation, legal challenges, and direct negotiations with government, yet no project has ever been denied approval.

Public support to reject the Teck Frontier Mine has been increasing, with celebrities such as Jane Fonda and Joaquin Phoenix endorsing the #RejectTeck campaign at a recent Firedrill Friday event in Washington, D.C.


I hope you will look at the article about the photos of the tar sands by Louis Helbig, and share it with others. Louis Helbig, The Guardian, August 2015


This entry was posted in #NDAPL, decolonize, Indigenous, Keystone Pledge of Resistance, Native Americans, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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