A post submitted by event organizer Claris Figueira, who did an island-hopping fundraising tour of the Gulf Islands last week.

There’s no shortage of reasons to fight the Kinder Morgan pipeline.  First Nations have loudly and clearly rejected the project on their traditional territories, it represents a carbon bomb in a time of accelerating climate crisis, and it poses an untenable threat to the coastal environment we love.

Nevertheless, as we traveled to Denman, Gabriola, Quadra and Nanaimo I was reminded of another powerful reason to stand up: the thriving, resilient communities who reside on the shores of the Salish Sea.

The communities we visited were unique, but all resemble the coast they inhabit— resourceful, boisterous, and stubbornly wild. We live in one of the most biologically rich regions on this planet, and the communities we met reflect that wealth of life.  We make up a beautiful ecology of artisans, musicians, fishermen and sailors, teachers and lawyers, academics, poets, entrepreneurs, and farmers.  Together, we are a force to be reckoned with.

All along this tour we spoke with so many passionate and powerful people who will never let this pipeline be built. Coastal communities understand what is at stake and are following the leadership of Indigenous peoples, who continue to protect these lands and waters as they have since time immemorial.  Many are standing with First Nations against Kinder Morgan because they are deeply committed to decolonization and environmental justice.  Others are driven by the simple understanding that the water connects us all, and that when it comes to an oil spill the tideline is everyone’s frontline.

The Salish Sea Tour wrapped up with an amazing night of music at the Vault Cafe in Nanaimo, featuring Luke Wallace, Wired to the Sky, and Roberts hall.  The next day I headed back to Victoria with a grand total of $5120.40 raised for Pull Together, Luke Wallace’s “Fight for Tomorrow” firmly stuck in my head, and a renewed sense of our collective power.

A  huge thank you to everyone we met along this tour who opened their halls, homes, and wallets to this cause.  Here’s to the the talented performers on Denman Island, and the generous Lasqueti islanders who are already working towards a post-carbon economy.  Here’s to the singers and IRATE rattle-shakers on Gabriola Island, and to the hard-working activists and organizers on Quadra Island. Last but not least, a huge thank you to the insanely talented musicians we met in Nanaimo, and the very special community at the Vault Cafe who opened their doors to us.

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