14 Indigenous Activists Arrested in Canadian Pipeline Standoff
A standoff between indigenous activists and TransCanada over a proposed natural gas pipeline in British Columbia (BC) came to a head Monday as Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) stormed a checkpoint set up by protesters to block construction, arresting 14, The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) National News reported Tuesday.
The RCMP were enforcing a court injunction issued Dec. 14, 2018 saying that Coastal GasLink, a subsidiary of TransCanada, could access unceded Wetsuwet'en territory in order to build a pipeline. The company says it has approval from the elected representatives of all 20 First Nation groups along the pipeline route, but the hereditary Wetsuwet'en leaders say that they are the ones who control access to the land, and they do not want any fossil fuel development to take place on it.
"The RCMP's ultimatum, to allow TransCanada access to unceded Wet'suwet'en territory or face police invasion, is an act of war. Canada is now attempting to do what it has always done—criminalize and use violence against indigenous people so that their unceded homelands can be exploited for profit," the main protest camp said in a statement reported by The Guardian.
This is Canada in 2019. Indigenous people getting ripped from their homes by militarized police. Gidumt'en Clan spo… https://t.co/7WG82UlhuG— Michael Toledano (@Michael Toledano)1546910071.0
The main camp, the Unist'ot'en camp, was established almost ten years ago on the Morice River to prevent three different pipeline projects from passing through the area, APTN reported. A separate Gidimt'en checkpoint, which the police rushed on Monday, was set up within days of the court injunction, according to The Guardian. The Unist'ot'en and Gitimd'en are two of the five clans that make up the Wet'suwet'en.
The Gitimd'en checkpoint was toppled Monday, and it is not known when police will move on the Unist'ot'en camp, APTN said. Police first arrived 9 a.m. on Monday and set up a barrier and an "exclusion zone" blocking public and media access.
This is preventing reporters at the scene from doing their jobs. https://t.co/j0Uj3bIM6n— Kathleen Martens (@Kathleen Martens)1546897481.0
APTN shared the experience of 72-year-old protester Carmen NIkal:
"They (police) spent some time trying to get the barricade down and I stepped away… and there were a couple of the protestors who had secured themselves to the barricade inside, I'm not exactly sure how the rest of us were standing and singing," she said in an interview on Facebook.
"The only thing I could do was try to block the path between the bus and the bridge. I'm not a big person but I was big enough to stand and they had asked me to move and I said 'No I'm not moving' and he said, 'Well, we can arrest you,'" she said.
"And I'm proud to have been arrested."
Gidimt'en Clan spokesperson Molly Wickham was also among those arrested. Four hereditary chiefs attempted to negotiate with the company outside the checkpoint, but the company would not compromise.
"We may have lost this battle but not the war," said hereditary Gidimt'en Chief Madeek told APTN.
The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) issued a statement ahead of Monday's police action criticizing the RCMP's intention to enforce the injunction.
"We strongly condemn the RCMP's use of intimidation, harassment, and ongoing threats of forceful intervention and removal of the Wet'suwet'en land defenders from Wet'suwet'en unceded territory," UBCIC President Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said.
UBCIC Condemns RCMP Intimidation of Wet’suwet’en: “We strongly condemn the RCMP’s use of intimidation, harassment,… https://t.co/R01sFJzaox— UBCIC (@UBCIC)1546822637.0
The $4.6 billion Coastal GasLink pipeline would carry natural gas 670 kilometers (approximately 416 miles) from Dawson Creek to Kitimat, on the BC coast, The Guardian reported.
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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