In Photos: Activists Put Their Bodies On the Line to Stop a Destructive Oil Pipeline

by Ryan Schleeter

March 20, 2018

If a giant oil company threatened to build a dangerous pipeline through your backyard, what would you do?

Thousands gather in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, for Indigenous-led "Protect the Inlet" mass mobilization against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline. ©Zack Embree

If a giant oil company threatened to build a dangerous pipeline through your backyard, what would you do? For these activists, the answer was simple — take action to stop it.

Yesterday, ten activists peacefully blocked the entrance to a Kinder Morgan construction site in Coast Salish territory near Vancouver, Canada for several hours. Their bold action further delayed the construction of a tar sands oil pipeline that would violate Indigenous rights, threaten clean air and water for thousands of people, and contribute to global climate change.

 

 

One of those activists was Greenpeace founder Rex Weyler, who joined the action in solidarity with Indigenous communities to “preserve the ecological integrity of this coast for ourselves and future generations.”

 

 

He was joined by Barbara and Bob Stowe, the daughter and son of late Greenpeace founders Dorothy and Irving Stowe, who added, “if our parents were alive today, they’d be standing right here with us.”

 

Vancouver resident Nancy McLean, left, and Rex Weyler, second from right , along with Bobby Stowe, right, and his sister Barbara Stowe, join indigenous activists, senior citizens and other activists to block the gates to Kinder Morgan’s construction site on Burnaby Mountain in British Columbia. In solidarity with Coast Salish communities, they aim to show the world that Canada is going down the wrong path on climate and on reconciliation with Indigenous Nations in building this pipeline. ©Protect The Inlet

 

But Rex, Bob, Barbara, and their fellow activists who were arrested for standing up to Kinder Morgan yesterday are not alone.

Today’s blockade was just one in a series of inspiring acts of courage opposing Kinder Morgan’s destructive pipeline — and it certainly won’t be the last. Just over a week ago, more than 10,000 people joined a march and rally in solidarity with Indigenous communities to send a clear message of resistance to the oil industry.

 

Thousands gather in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, for Indigenous-led “Protect the Inlet” mass mobilization against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline.

 

The movement to put people over pipelines is gaining momentum — but we still need you.

 

Thousands gather in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, for Indigenous-led “Protect the Inlet” mass mobilization against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline. The mobilization, led by Tsleil Waututh spiritual and cultural leaders, includes the building of a “watch house” grounded in the culture of the Coast Salish peoples, who, in the past would use watch houses to monitor their enemies and prepare to defend themselves in case of attack.

 

Taking down the oil industry, protecting land and water, and defending Indigenous rights is no small task; we’re going to need everyone to step up.

 

A woman and a child hold onto each other as they indigenous activists, senior citizens and other activists to block the gates to Kinder Morgan’s construction site on Burnaby Mountain in British Columbia. In solidarity with Coast Salish communities, they aim to show the world that Canada is going down the wrong path on climate and on reconciliation with Indigenous Nations in building this pipeline. ©Protect The Inlet

 

Now is the time to join in solidarity with Indigenous land defenders: sign on to voice your resistance to Kinder Morgan and all tar sands oil pipelines today.

 

Thousands gather in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, for Indigenous-led “Protect the Inlet” mass mobilization against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline.

Ryan Schleeter

By Ryan Schleeter

Ryan Schleeter is a senior communications specialist with Greenpeace USA covering climate and energy. His writing has appeared in National Geographic, Grist, GreenBiz, EcoWatch, and more. Find him on Twitter @ryschlee.

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