This Tuesday, an unprecedented journey started on the shores of Vancouver. For the first time ever, six people from as many First Nations set sail on board the Greenpeace ship MY Esperanza to Haida Gwaii, to help connect coastal communities opposing pipelines and super tankers to the seven-million-strong global movement against Arctic oil drilling.

Our brave First Nations fellow sailors onboard the Esperanza this week are Taylor George-Hollis from the Squamish Nation, Candace Campo from the Shíshálh Nation, Audrey Siegl from the Musqueam Nation, Victor Thompson from the Haida Nation, Robert Holler from the Anishinabe Nation (also a fire-keeper at the Tsleil Watuth Sundance sweat) and videographer Mike Auger from the Woodland Cree Nation in Alberta.

As climate change accelerates the melt of the Arctic, as Canada’s tar sands and pipelines struggle to extend their tentacles and oil tankers line up by our coasts, these last few months have seen the spectacular multiplication of growing solidarities raising against new oil developments all across Canada and the United States, from Seattle to Nunavut and from Quebec to Vancouver.

At the same time, activists and ordinary people have been protesting Arctic drilling all around the world, from the Pacific Ocean to Norway and from Russia to Buenos Aires. The movement is growing, incorporating new voices from all walks of life, and this summer the West Coast is having a leading voice in the global opposition to Big Oil.

There is a lot at risk in British Columbia if new pipelines from the tar sands and Arctic drilling in Alaska go ahead. For BC, all new oil developments mean unavoidably more supertankers sailing by its coasts, either to export oil from Alberta or to bring south oil from the Arctic. And more supertankers spell a notably increased risk of oil spills. As if the west coast had not learned the lesson of the Exxon Valdez which sunk 26 years, and whose oil is still visible on the shores of Alaska, our governments seem determined to repeat the mistake.

But the people do remember, and that’s why they are now uniting to fight oil. There won’t be another Exxon Valdez on the west coast. The people will prevent it.

Among those most severely affected and threatened by oil developments are the coastal First Nations of British Columbia. They are on board the Esperanza today, to connect with each other and with the rest of the world, and bring us a single message of hope: people will prevail, and our coasts will not be devastated.

“Every single person on this planet is powerful and when we each understand and embrace our inherent power, we can change anything. What happens to the planet happens to each of us. So, let’s join hands with every single human to change things now.” - Victor Thompson from the Haida Nation

Recklessness and corporate greed wanted that the Alberta tar sands and the Alaskan Arctic ended up being close in the imaginary map of environmental destruction. But contemporary History also wanted that Burnaby Mountain, Cacouna, Seattle, Portland, New York, Quebec City and now British Columbia coastal communities ended up together in the very real and diverse movement which will sooner than later put an end to oil madness. That movement speaks today from the shores of BC, and from the MY Esperanza.

As I finish these lines I know that the west coast is now, more than ever, committed to prevent oil spills. The equation has become blindingly simple: it is time to say no to oil and yes to people.

Diego Creimer is a Communications Officer for the Arctic campaign at Greenpeace Canada.