This fantastic story ran in The Montreal Times this week: huge kudos to Alison Gu and Sarah Mitchell!! Check out their blog here: www.cyclistsinsolidarity.com
Story by Jillian Clark, original here.
The debate surrounding Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is deep and ongoing. The potential socio-economic, environmental, and indigenous impacts are many.
Rather than viewing the efforts to stop construction comfortably from Quebec, McGill students Alison Gu and Sarah Mitchell have a plan to truly join the anti-pipeline efforts. They will bike across Canada this summer and donate all the funds raised to the legal costs of the communities fighting against the pipeline.
The pair will be leaving Ottawa on June 24. “From there, we will bike an average of 80 kilometres. We will head towards Algonquin Park, and will take the train from Sudbury to Winnipeg,” Gu said. This section of the highway in Northern Ontario is quite dangerous, so they will resume biking in Winnipeg.
They will cross the prairies, through Regina, Grasslands National Park, and Calgary. Their destination is Burnaby. “We are aiming to be in Burnaby—where the pipeline will be implemented—August 9.”
Gu and Mitchell have a fundraising goal of $4466, which is the number of kilometres from Ottawa to Vancouver. They have reached about $900 so far with a few weeks left before their cross-Canada trip.
In exchange for the funds raised, Gu is offering photo packages from their cross-Canada bike ride. “For example, best of British Columbia, or top ten from the entire trip,” Gu explained. They have also organized fundraiser events and are working with sponsors.
The funds will go to Pull Together, an online crowdsourcing platform that stands strongly against the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
Sarah and Alison were inspired to fight the Kinder Morgan pipeline because of three core reasons: It prioritizes profits over people, sacrifices the youth’s future, and denies climate change. Both girls have a strong interest in environmental responsibility.
“I was inspired by the hype around Canada 150,” Mitchell added. “I think it’s an interesting thing because if you think about Canada 150, it’s a flawed idea. To think that Canada has only been around for 150 years ignores the fact that people have been living here for thousands of years before that. They have every right to clean water, clean air to breathe, and clean land to live on.” The Kinder Morgan pipeline puts these rights of some people in danger.
For Gu, who is from British Columbia, wants to fight against a threat that feels close to home. “Kinder Morgan will be implemented about five minutes from where I went to high school,” she said. “It’s a big risk in the amount of destruction that Kinder Morgan can cause. I want to do my best to make sure that Kinder Morgan doesn’t go through. One of the best ways to do that is through the court cases.”
Essentially, these students will bike “to find a way to bring light to what is happening in a tangible way by raising money.”
Neither Alison or Sarah have ever completed a bike trip this long, but both have been training since March. “It will be a challenge physical and mentally,” Sarah said. “But that is one of the goals of the trip.”
Alison Gu and Sarah Mitchell hope to open a discussion while on their trip: There can be a compromise between economic issues and environmental problems. “We want people to get involved with us. Whether that is helping to raise money, or spreading the word. Anything is great,” Gu said. They want to hear the opinions of others concerning the economic, social, and environmental issues surrounding the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
“We want to emphasize that at the end of the day, the trip is not about us,” Gu said. “It is about climate change. It is about indigenous rights and solidarity. We are just small cogs in the large wheel.”
Learn more about Alison Gu and Sarah Mitchell’s trip at www.cyclistsinsolidarity.com