Climate Activists

Yan Roberts, Huffington Post: TransCanada Got Punked While Promoting Pipeline, Aug 28, 2013, and
Andrea Harden-Donahue, Council of Canadians: TransCanada schooled in North Bay: Local organizers present their side at company open houses, August 28, 2013

A group of about fifty concerned residents showed a stroke of genius when they staged an attention-grabbing and effective piece of theatre at a TransCanada Pipelines’ “open house” in North Bay, Ontario. Their clothing displayed a “SaveCanada” logo that was almost identical to the TransCanada logo, and it made the activists hard to distinguish from TransCanada employees. Their hand-outs on the dangers of the Energy East pipeline were likewise designed to look like the TransCanada promotional brochures. People who attended were slightly confused at first, but the net effect was that more became informed of the need to beware of TCP’s spin. The group also set up a game in which those attending could play “Pin the Spill on the Pipeline” by attaching illustrated sticky notes to TCP’s giant route map at one end of the room.

SaveCanada (from Energy East bitumen pipeline) North Bay, Aug 2013
SaveCanada (from Energy East bitumen pipeline) North Bay, Aug 27, 2013

Clayton Ruby, The Star: Harper government unfairly limits public input on Enbridge pipeline, Aug 18, 2013

This highly regarded activist-lawyer outlines the troubles both with Enbridge Line 9’s likely cargo of tarsands crude, and with the National Energy Board’s newly condensed assessment process. He points out that before the process was truncated, hearings for the Northern Gateway pipeline handled 1,544 oral or written submissions. The new hearings for Line 9 which crosses the most heavily populated area of Canada, will hear only 175. He then describes the lawsuit in which he is taking part:

“ForestEthics Advocacy, which I chair, is suing the Harper government to strike down the rule changes — specifically, section 55.2 of the National Energy Board Act — as an unconstitutional violation of free expression rights. We are also asking for the Application to Participate Form to be quashed as an unreasonable limit on citizen expression. In addition, we are seeking a court order that the NEB accept all letters of comment from groups and individuals who want to participate. Finally, we’re requesting an injunction to prevent the NEB from deciding on Line 9B until the court has decided on this case.”

Nick Fillmore, Action needed to stop ‘climate deniers’ from winning the information war, May 21, 2013

This Canadian journalist and activist points out how the mainstream business media continue to propagate doubt about the human-generated causes of global warming, still giving prominent coverage to the tiny fraction of so-called scientists who deny climate change, or at least deny that human activity causes it. Fillmore feels that the deniers are winning the information war, and “must be stopped!” He wants environmental activists to focus attention on this. He suggests organizing networks to watch for climate disinformation, and to challenge it within hours with blitzes of emails, phone calls or visits from activists to media outlets. He lists several more suggestions, all with a view to making sure that false messages are exposed and rebutted. We’d be wise to give this our attention.

Wen Stephenson, The Phoenix (edited): Interview: Naomi Klein on motherhood, climate justice, and the failures of the environmental movement, Dec 15, 2012; and
‘I’d rather fight like hell’: Naomi Klein’s fierce new resolve to fight for climate justice, Dec 12, 2012

These two wide-ranging interviews give an account of Klein’s partnership with Bill McKibben and their now combined effort to expose the oil companies’ willful denial of the climate crisis as well as corporate avoidance of responsibility for world-wide social and economic justice and environmental degradation. She does not hold back on the need for complete system change, including degrowth, and says much of the lack of action on climate change stems from the left as well as the commonly blamed right. She says the left, like the right, has been trying to uphold the traditional economic growth model. She is presently working together with her husband, Avi Lewis, on a new book, an ambitious project intended to tie the aims of social justice with the goal of weaning ourselves from fossil fuels. She likens our oil dependence to drug addiction, the oil companies being the pushers. Klein points to the need to simultaneously kick our habit and stifle those who profit from it. She also reflects on her recent entry into motherhood.

A video interview with Bill Moyers covers much of the same ground, though not so thoroughly as in the above printed interviews. Telecast Nov 16, 2012. Published Nov 17. (32 min)


Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island) makes an unambiguous and impassioned plea to stop false denials and respond honestly to the perilous threat posed by climate change. Whitehouse makes clear that the denial movement has been funded and organized by oil interests to prevent interference with their dirty business as usual. From US Senate session, Dec 5, 2012. Published Dec 13.


Eric Swanson, Dogwood Initiative’s blog, No Tankers motion passed by B.C. local governments, Sept 28, 2012

The Union of BC Municipalities have passed a resolution to oppose projects that would lead to the expansion of oil tanker traffic along the BC coast. This is the strongest province-wide statement so far in the campaign to stop the Enbridge pipeline/tanker plan. Councilors and mayors noted the effectiveness of letter-writing campaigns in shaping their opinions.

Oil executive son’s powerful testimony at Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline joint review panel, Feb 18, 2012

Twenty-six-year-old Lee Brain, born and raised in oil industry culture, tells of his short but intense immersion in the bowels of oil refining and transportation: the vastness and complexity of the facilities and, notably, the addicting rush one gets when working within such a huge and powerful system. It’s a psychological state which he says drives CEOs, prime ministers and the prevailing economic growth theories. The panelists interrupt him at times, but he receives loud applause at the end. (20.5 min)

For the uninterrupted transcript, and missing portions of the speech, see the Vancouver Observer, Feb 20 2012.