As Island dwellers, we know that we live in coastal communities located on a spectacularly beautiful West Coast. But with the hurly burly of ordinary life, we sometimes take for granted the fragile balance between human activity and protection and sustainability of our marine environments. Only when we take the time to reflect on how significant our marine landscape is to our quality of life, that we truly recognize and appreciate that it is within our collective power and control to protect our coastal waters and all natural marine habitats on and around Vancouver Island.
Visiting Tofino and Ucluelet recently brought home to me once again that pipelines, tankers and movement of fossil fuels on our West Coast is a high stakes gamble where the odds do not favour our marine landscapes and natural habitats. One big spill, one big pipeline break or one overturned rail car or tanker truck can have a devastating and lasting impact on our coast and related water courses. There have been numerous incidents in North America that demonstrate how devastating these “spills” can be to the environment, citizens and communities. In fact the term “spill” grossly understates the terrible threats and damage to our environment, some of it irreversible and much of it long lasting.
Spending three quiet days at Long Beach, Tofino and Ucluelet, with many opportunities to walk, hike and take photos of the stunning natural landscape, again brought home to me the public urgency about all the oil tanker and pipeline buzz that fills the news. Public protests, the work of climate action and conservation organizations, warnings from well respected academics and scientists who decry proliferation of fossil fuels and reliable research data all seem to fall on the deaf ears of governments and the private sector that support expansion. Capitalism, economics and global markets continually trump the obvious hazards and risks of extracting and moving fossil fuels by sea and over land.
A picture says a thousand words and I hope that the photos attached to this article speak deeply to you about the fact that we are only one oil tanker, one rail car or one pipeline away from environmental disaster on our West Coast. If you agree, then how will you get involved to ensure that the West Coast is protected from the ravages of such an environmental calamity? Drop me a note and let me know at: firstname.lastname@example.org I will post your comments on this site.