Let’s make our voices heard on May 10th!

With just a few weeks until May 10th, preparations are well under way in cities all across the country. In the east coast, event posters are ready to hit the streets! In cities like Toronto and Montreal there’s talk of large marches and exciting speakers taking part. And out west – well, let’s face it, organizing environmental actions are in their DNA.

This year’s demonstrations are even unleashing people’s impressive inner artists. In addition to rallies, there will be art builds in diverse communities with participants from all walks of life. That’s something that never fails to move us. The sheer scale and variety of citizens demanding a serious conversation on climate change has been awe-inspiring, to say the least.

It’s time now to remind elected and public officials that what we want is breathable air and healthy communities. We live in a country where the impacts of extreme weather conditions are felt from coast to coast. Last season’s polar vortex, which shocked and awed with the harshest winter of the past 25 years, was reminder enough to take drastic weather fluctuations seriously.

At the time of writing, people in New Brunswick are cleaning up after homes and businesses have been destroyed by high waters – and the threat of more flooding still hangs over the province. These are just some of the many climate stories that are unfolding daily.

We must step up and challenge industry when they tell us that continued fossil fuel development is inevitable. As scientists, indigenous communities and environmentalists warn us with urgency, we must be in active pursuit of sustainable solutions. There are clean energy alternatives that would bring good, green jobs.

On May 10th let’s make our voices heard, again!

Wishing you all a vibrant and creative lead up to the national day of action.

We dare you not to get inspired by this!

Between runaway climate change from the tar sands and the Rob Ford Toronto train wreck, Canada is getting a lot of bad press these days.

But on Saturday, Nov 16, thousands of beautiful Canadians from coast to coast to coast were determined to change that story. We dare you not to be inspired by this. Please share to help grow this movement!

Canada: our leaders may suck at climate, but our people make great signs

On Saturday, tens of thousands of people in over 130 communities across the country stood together to show that there is a growing movement to stop pipelines, reckless tar sands expansion and runaway  climate change.

Despite snow and blizzard conditions, people stood shoulder to shoulder in communities like Wolfville in Nova Scotia, Kanesatake in Quebec, Naujaat, Nunavut in the Arctic Circle and all the way to Sointula, British Columbia. Families, elders, First Nations, children, teenagers, and lots of dogs came together to stand in solidarity with First Nations and stand for a better future.

People put a lot of effort into their protest signs, and we wanted to make sure that they got some credit for their humour, ability to tug on the heart-strings, and use of pets.

It was difficult to choose, but without further ado, here are 17 of our favourites that show that our movement is young, old, diverse, artistic, beautiful and growing.

17. This sign from Calgary:

Calgary AB

 

16. Bonus points go to the person who drew this sign: 

 Art sign

 

15. This group in Sherbrooke for possibly having the most signs per square centimetre (and a mention of Rob Ford): 

Sherbrooke

 

14. This kid’s handmade sign: 

This kid

 

13. We approve of signs you can snack on: 

Victoria and bread.

 

12.We can only imagine how difficult it must be to kayak and hold a sign:

kayakers 2

 

11. She kind of has a point:

Canada Used to be Cool

 

10. Two words: Bitumen Sauce. 

Bitumen sauce

 

9. Bonus points for their use of “prorogue”: 

Toronto

Photo credit: Yasmin Parodi

 

8. These kids’ signs in Hartley Bay, B.C. are pretty awesome:  

Hartley Bay

 

7. This sign from Halifax.

Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 3.17.43 PM

 

6. Pet signs. We love pet signs. 

Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 2.54.58 PM

 

(Oh, and we couldn’t resist adding this Weimaraner’s sign:) 

Photo credits: Georgia Straight

Photo credits: Georgia Straight

 

5. And just to make sure no cats were left out: 

Halifax

 

4. No further explanation necessary: 

Crude is rude

 

3. In Penticton, BC they left a message for MP Dan Albias:

Penticton

 

2. This kid in Victoria. B.C. who could not possibly be any cuter:

This kid

 

1. Because our movement is made up of unexpected allies, like this woman who found her own path to standing up for what is right:

Enbridge

 

Saturday was amazing — but it’s just the beginning. Thanks for being a part of a movement that is growing.

Canada is a little different now

canada is different todayThank you so much to everybody who helped make yesterday’s Defend our Climate, Defend our Communities national day of action a huge success!

Every time you organize a protest or petition you always hold out a faint hope for some kind of BIG change that happens right away. Yet change doesn’t seem usually happen that way. With the exception of the few moments when the whole world seems to be transformed in a day, change is usually slow and incremental.

Many of the  people who organized of the action shared one goal going in – to connect people who are concerned by the threats of pipelines and dirty energy projects all across the country.

With over 130 actions and well over 10,000 participants, we are connected as never before. So while the issues we’re fight for won’t be won on one Saturday afternoon, here are five ways I think this country a little different now.

1. The movement is nationally connected from coast-to-coast-to-coast and welcoming new organizers every day. The day kicked off with an action in Halifax that connected concerns about pipelines and tar sands expansion to local struggles against fracking. It was a day where we heard many stories of new allies and first time organizers participants. In many cases, these pioneers are creating a safe space in traditionally non-political or conservative communities to discuss and act on changing our country’s direction.

2. While there’s a lot of work to be done, there’s a growing spirit of solidarity between settlers and Indigenous people. One attendee reported 50% of the 200 protesters in Prince George, BC were First Nations. Events in Edmonton and Calgary were led by First Nations, as was one of the largest, in Oka, Quebec just outside of Montreal. In Halifax, the crowd cheered and gave thanks for the leadership of Amy Sock of the Elsipogtog First Nation. First Nations and Indigenous communities have been leading the struggle for environmental ontariojustice around the country, and many of today’s youth activists are at least as motivated by justice issues as they are by environmental concerns. This is a powerful combination.

3. Ontario is organizing. More than half of the rallies took place east of Manitoba, with nearly 40 in small town and suburban Ontario. The rally at Toronto City Hall dwarfed the “dozens” who gathered in the same place against Rob Ford. If Ontario keeps growing, it’s size and scale could quickly tip the balance.

4. Quebec’s social movements are leaning in. Canada’s social and environmental movements have often been (at least) “two solitudes.” Time and again, Quebec’s social movements have proven themselves to be incredible organizers – when was the last time a quarter million people have been mobilized to march in the Rest of Canada? They’ve put a moratorium on fracking, and oil industry lobbyists know they’ve got little hope of gaining traction in this province. And now, with not one but two dangerous tar sands pipelines about to be punched through la belle province, Quebec’s social movement leaders are reaching out to organize nationally.

5. We’re connected to a global movement. On the very day of our protests, former 1399768_10151685256961455_1116534308_oIrish President and global Elder Mary Robinson called out Canada’s energy industry at the UN climate conference. The day after Defend, Australia did the exact same type of day of action with 140 events.

More importantly, the global climate movement has the moral high ground. The urgency of climate action is recognized by almost all of the globe’s most respected leaders as the moral struggle of our times. And the world increasingly sees the outsized role Canada is playing in deepening the problem – but holds out hope our true values can play in the solution.

Canadians are learning that having a progressive nation that does the right thing – even when it’s difficult – isn’t going to come naturally to our country anymore. Big oil knows how to get what it wants, and it’s clear the threat of planetary catastrophe isn’t going to stop it from finding and burning every last bit of carbon they own.

So we need to organize – and with this mix of elements – it looks like we could be on the edge of being part of something powerful and new.

Canada’s a little bit different today, and it’s a good thing. And we’re just getting started.

Photos and Media Coverage so far

Share this video:

We still have hundreds of amazing photos and dozens of rally reports pouring in from coast to coast to coast, along with notes about rallies we had no idea were being planned. Lots of you have been asking for photos. Here are the some of the highlights:

Also, check out the full photo stream at flickr.com/leadnow

Got an amazing photo from the day? Send it to us at photos@leadnow.ca including the location in the subject.

Media coverage, too, has been unbelievable. From small town newspapers, to the Canadian Press, here’s what we’ve managed to find so far…

 

National (English)

National (Français)

By City

Local

Alternative

 

Found some media coverage we missed? Let us know at defendourclimate@leadnow.ca. Thanks!

12 photos that prove today was awesome.

Today, thousands of Canadians from coast to coast to coast came together to show their opposition to reckless tar sands expansion, pipelines and runaway climate change. Some braved blizzards.

We spent our day poring over thousands of pictures, posts and tweets that you sent in from today’s event and now we’re feeling inspired and even more committed to working together for a better future.

But in case you were busy and couldn’t make it to one of the over 130 actions, we wanted to make sure you saw some of our favourite photos from today.

 

12. We applaud this use of food in action signs.

Victoria and bread.

11. Over 150 people showed up in Ottawa to help sandbag Stephen Harper’s office in Ottawa and prevent the Prime Minister from flooding Ottawa and the country with dirty tar sands crude.

Ottawa

 

10. Invermere, BC wants climate action (and has a pretty beautiful way of showing it):

Invermere

 

 

9. In Edmonton, they piled 116 barrels on the steps of the legislature to represent the amount of CO2 that will come out of Shell’s Jackpine mine every second, showing their support and solidarity with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

Edmonton

 

 

8.  Victoria, BC today. Whoa.

Victoria

 

 

7. This powerful shot taken today in Oka, Quebec: 

Oka, Quebec

Photo credit: Robert Van Waarden

6. This human pipeline outside City Hall  in Toronto.

Toronto

 

5. These amazing people in Nunavut who braved a blizzard to get this photo for you.  

Repulse Bay defends our climate

Repulse Bay defends our climate

4. This kid. 

Photo credits: @growupgreen

Photo credits: @growupgreen

 

3. This amazing human sign from Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac, Quebec that translates to “United for Our Future”.

Quebecrally

 

(Oh, and this follow up photo that’s just: “future”)

Avenir

 

2. This photo from Vancouver, where up to 5,000 people said No Enbridge!

photo credits: Zack Embree

photo credits: Zack Embree

 

1. This image from Toronto. Because we can’t prorogue climate change. 

Toronto

Photo credit: Yasmin Parodi

Today was amazing. Our movement in Canada is growing. Thank you for being a part of it.

National Day of Action Wraps on the West Coast

Christy Clark’s recent endorsement of the tar sands, it would appear, has awakened Vancouver.

Today, over 3,000 people gathered at Science World to stand together against pipelines, reckless tar sands expansion and runaway climate change.

Vancouver City Councillors Andrea Reimer and Adriane Carr, MLAs Robin Austin and Spencer Chandra Herbert and MPs Murray Rankin and Nathan Cullen were in attendance.

Skeena Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen has a message for the provincial and federal governments: “You may have all that oil money, you may have all the lies, but we’ve got all the people and we’ve got the truth. And the truth with people always reigns supreme.”

It was the biggest anti-pipeline rally Vancouver has ever seen and the diverse crowd included children, families, high school students, faith groups, First Nations, and seniors. Today’s event proves the movement is growing.

According to host Ben West, “It’s hard to look out at crowd like the one we had today and not feel hopeful about stopping these pipelines. Politicians give the permits but the people give the permission and today the people of Vancouver said loud and clear: No tar sands pipelines, and yes to alternatives.”

 


 

 

 

Resistance in the Interior

inver2

 

 

One of the largest actions took place in Prince George, where more than 150 demonstrators standing with the Carrier Sekani and Yinka Dene marched to MLA Shirley Bond’s office with a police escort. It was a peaceful procession; the allied participants carried homemade signs and large banners decrying climate crimes and corporate greed, but the mood was one of hope and solidarity.

 

Many actions across the interior took place at the MP offices, emphasizing the need for larger, sweeping action to combat runaway climate change.

 

Awareness builds along 2 new routes in Ontario and Quebec

ontarioWhen you think of the tar sands and pipeline movement in Canada, the first thing that probably comes to mind is British Columbia. Yet Ontario and Quebec now have – as of this year – not one but two giant tar sands pipelines punching through their communities to contend with now.

Much of Enbridge’s Line 9 and TransCanada’s giant Energy East pipelines are slated to run dangerous high pressure bitumen pipelines right through the most populated parts of Canada and over hundreds of community water sources.

So communities under attack are doing what they’ve always done – getting educated, getting angry, and getting organized.

Today we saw rallies in over 20 communities along the new pipeline routes: from London to Hamilton, Oakville to downtown Toronto, Oshawa to Coburg, Kingston to Montreal, Oka to Sherbrooke. Many of these suburban and exurban towns in vote-rich Southern Ontario are, according to legend, deep Stephen Harper country.

But looking at the rallies today, a shift might indeed be underway.

 

Looks like the start of a prairie fire

There’s a common misconception that the prairies don’t care about reckless tar sands and runaway climate change. But today, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Swift Current and Churchill put that myth to rest.

A cold front moved in bringing snow to much of the prairies, but the cold temperatures didn’t seem to deter what appears to be a growing prairie movement.

In Winnipeg, supporters gathered for a drum circle at the Forks at Oodena Circle. In Saskatoon people gathered together and marched to MP Kelly Block’s office. In Swift Current, people gathered together despite the snow and ice outside MP David Anderson’s constituency office.

Chilly temperatures nor blizzards stopped Calgarians and Edmontonians from standing together. In Calgary, people gathered outside TransCanada and Enbridge’s corporate offices to oppose pipelines and tar sands expansion. In Edmonton, 150 joined together to pile 116 barrels on the steps of the city’s legislature to represent the amount of CO2 that will come out of Shell’s Jackpine mine every second, showing their support and solidarity with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations opposing their project.

Looks like the start of a prairie fire.