“I have a voice, I have legs, and I’m committed to using them to make change.”
Monday, June 1 2015, Gwich’in ultra-marathon runner Caribou Legs will embark on a 4400 kilometre run from Vancouver to Ottawa to draw attention to the tens of thousands of lakes and rivers threatened by pipelines, fracking, mining and extreme energy project across the country. When he arrives in Ottawa, Caribou Legs will call on MPs to restore legislative protection for our lakes and rivers. Please sign and share the #Pledge2Protect petition supporting Caribou Legs' message.
The run is sponsored by the Council of Canadians. Monday evening from 6:30 pm the Chilliwack chapter of Council of Canadians will host a traditional welcome and a potluck dinner for Caribou Legs at the Stó:lō Resource and Research Management Centre, Bldg #10 – 7201 Vedder Road. You can follow Carbou Legs' progress to Ottawa on his Facebook page. Update: Caribou Legs will be staying in Port Coquitlam tonight so the potluck is unfortunately off.
Below is the text of a message of support from WaterWealth for the 9 AM send-off of Caribou Legs' journey, taking place at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
We would like to send a note of gratitude to Caribou Legs as he embarks on his action to raise awareness about the threats to water across the country. It takes remarkable courage to embark on a 4400 kilometre run, but it is equally courageous to speak up about issues that are threatening waterways and harming communities.
Today Caribou Legs will run through Coast Salish & Stó:lō Territories within a watershed that is filled with incredible water wealth. Stemming from glaciers that are nestled between the Cascade & Coastal Mountain ranges, these streams, rivers and lakes provide world renowned drinking water, fish habitat, farmland and recreational spaces. However lax regulations, and the gutting of the Navigable Waters Act and the Fisheries Act have left many of these waterways unprotected from agricultural impacts, gravel mining and of course pipelines and tankers. As the Kinder Morgan pipeline enters the Fraser Valley by way of the Coquihalla Canyon, it intersects vital waterways, including the Fraser River, and drinking water aquifers relied on by communities and private wells. We know from the recent oil spills in English bay, the Fraser River and even on the California Coast that an oil spill could alter the local waterways forever.
Furthermore bottled water companies – including the multinational company Nestle - are extracting millions of litres of groundwater for free and selling it at mega profits.
But local people are reclaiming their power to protect their shared home waters! In our home town of Chilliwack, local people came together, with the leadership of the Sto:lo Tribal Council to oppose the building of a toxic waste processing plant on the banks of the Fraser River. As well we rallied to push our city council to turn down $800,000 linked to a favourable outcome for Kinder Morgan in the NEB process for their new tar sands pipeline.
People in the Valley love their home waterways, but the decision makers and politicians continue to need strong reminders about the importance of protecting them.
So again thank you Caribou Legs for making this effort. You are sending a strong message at an important time. No doubt your run will serve to engage and excite the growing movement of communities organizing and speaking up for water across the country to see that we are not alone, and that as individuals and collectively we are much bigger and much stronger than we might think!
We look forward to meeting you in Chilliwack and celebrating the first leg of your trip.
The WaterWealth Team