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Kinder Morgan Pipeline Protest Grows: Arrests Include a Greenpeace Founder, Juno-Nominated Grandfather
By Andy Rowell
Just because you get older, it doesn't mean you cannot stop taking action for what you believe in. And Monday was a case in point. Two seventy-year-olds, still putting their bodies on the line for environmental justice and indigenous rights.
Early Monday morning, the first seventy-year-old, a grandfather of two, and former nominee for Canada's Juno musical award, slipped into Kinder Morgan's compound at one of its sites for the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline and scaled a tree and then erected a mid-air platform with a hammock up in the air.
Terry Christenson had taken food and water with him and said he had no intention of coming down. His non-violent direct action was in protest of Kinder Morgan's tree clearing through Burnaby Mountain for the company's highly contentious pipeline to the BC coast.
It was part of a week of direct action designed to slow construction and clearing that has to be undertaken by the company before March 26, when migratory birds start flying north for the summer.
Terry Christenson outlined why he was taking action: "This pipeline does not have consent of the Indigenous Nations it would pass through. It would endanger the livelihoods and economies of all those that depend on an oil-free coast and I for one won't stand by and let it happen. I'm taking this action to protect my grandchildren's future. I care about this land, this coast and I won't let it be destroyed, all so a Texas oil company can increase its profit share.
"We are all in this fight together," Christenson added. "We have better options to produce energy and move people around than building another dirty pipeline that the world's scientific community has said we need to move away from. It's time that the prime minister got that message and I'll be doing my best to hang out here until he does."
Christenson was arrested around 8 p.m. last night.
He was not the only one arrested. Fifteen more people were arrested by blocking the gates to Kinder Morgan's compound. This brings the total to about fifty people arrested in the past few days, with opposition against the pipeline growing daily. Yesterday, one of the first to be arrested at the gates was another seventy-year-old, Rex Weyler, who co-founded Greenpeace International in 1979 and is one of the founders of the Hollyhock retreat center in BC.
"Forty-six years ago, Greenpeace got its start right here in Vancouver protecting this coastline, and the world, from the sorts of ecological disasters and social disruption that Kinder Morgan's pipeline threatens," he said. "Like then, we stand now for protection of the natural bounty that keeps our communities alive and prosperous.
"We stand here on the land and by the waters of the Tsleil Waututh people, who have shown us generosity and taught us responsibility, in solidarity and prepared to go to jail, to preserve the ecological integrity of this coast for ourselves and future generations."
Also present were Barbara and Bob Stowe, daughter and son of Greenpeace founders Dorothy and Irving Stowe. "Today, we will stand with Coast Salish Peoples against it. If our parents were alive today, they'd be standing right here with us," said Barbara.
"If someone comes on to your property and starts drilling without approval, what are you doing to do? We're going to stop it."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Oil Change International.
- 'Like Standing Rock': Trans Mountain pipeline-expansion opponents ... ›
- What Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline will mean for B.C.'s ... ›
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If people in three European countries want to fight the climate crisis, they need to chill out more.
"The rapid pace of labour-saving technology brings into focus the possibility of a shorter working week for all, if deployed properly," Autonomy Director Will Stronge said, The Guardian reported. "However, while automation shows that less work is technically possible, the urgent pressures on the environment and on our available carbon budget show that reducing the working week is in fact necessary."
The report found that if the economies of Germany, Sweden and the UK maintain their current levels of carbon intensity and productivity, they would need to switch to a six, 12 and nine hour work week respectively if they wanted keep the rise in global temperatures to the below two degrees Celsius promised by the Paris agreement, The Independent reported.
The study based its conclusions on data from the UN and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on greenhouse gas emissions per industry in all three countries.
The report comes as the group Momentum called on the UK's Labour Party to endorse a four-day work week.
"We welcome this attempt by Autonomy to grapple with the very real changes society will need to make in order to live within the limits of the planet," Emma Williams of the Four Day Week campaign said in a statement reported by The Independent. "In addition to improved well-being, enhanced gender equality and increased productivity, addressing climate change is another compelling reason we should all be working less."
Supporters of the idea linked it to calls in the U.S. and Europe for a Green New Deal that would decarbonize the economy while promoting equality and well-being.
"This new paper from Autonomy is a thought experiment that should give policymakers, activists and campaigners more ballast to make the case that a Green New Deal is absolutely necessary," Common Wealth think tank Director Mat Lawrence told The Independent. "The link between working time and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions has been proved by a number of studies. Using OECD data and relating it to our carbon budget, Autonomy have taken the step to show what that link means in terms of our working weeks."
Stronge also linked his report to calls for a Green New Deal.
"Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies – a shorter working week being just one of them," he said, according to The Guardian. "This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like."
- Reduced Work Hours as a Means of Slowing Climate Change ›
- How working less could solve all our problems. Really. | ›
- Needed: A shorter work week – People's World ›