Dan Lewis is Executive Director of Clayoquot Action. Photo by Marnie Recker Photography.
It’s time to draw the line
Pundits have been saying that Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project will be the ‘Clayoquot’ of our times. No wonder. There is no more pressing challenge facing our planet and thus humanity than the climate crisis. It’s time to draw the line.
I suspect Prime Minister Harper has no idea that he will be unable to build a pipeline from Alberta to the Great Bear Rainforest. I totally get why he will try to do it—under his leadership Canada has become a petrostate, and doubling tar sands production is the only vision he has for our country.
23 year old Tamo Campos grew up in North Vancouver. A sponsored snowboarder who chased winter for the last 12 years, he’s now putting roots into both environmental and humanitarian work. This led him to cofound Beyond Boarding, to spread awareness in the
Was Clayoquot Summer worth all the effort? The Peace Camp in 1993 was a glimpse at an alternative to corporate control of our world—direct democracy. It was a radical university, empowering over ten thousand people with the techniques of peaceful direct action and consensus decision-making.
Jennifer Abbot, director of The Corporation stated in the 2006 film Clayoquot Sound Resistance and Renewal “I actually did feel that 300 people reached consensus, which was quite shocking. I’d never experienced that in my life. It was to me a model of consensus-building that I’ll never forget”.
Today the name Clayoquot has become synonymous with mass peaceful protest. Just as Clayoquot Summer found its roots in the civil rights movement, it is now part of one river that flows through movements such as Occupy Wall Street. The Enbridge resistance threatens to become the next “Clayoquot” according to media pundits.
Was Clayoquot Summer successful?
The arrests were largely symbolic. Most days the loggers eventually got through. However, temperate rainforests were put on the map as an important conservation issue alongside tropical rainforests such as the Amazon. And the cumulative results had a huge impact on logging here in Clayoquot Sound.
The roots of Clayoquot Summer
Twenty-five years ago Tofino residents and Nuu-chah-nulth locals stood together in Sulphur Pass to prevent a road from being punched into the wildlands of northern Clayoquot Sound. The theme song of the blockade became Midnight Oil’s Beds are Burning. Campfire circles led to wild fantasies of the Oil playing live on the road, shutting the company down.
Fast-forward five years to Clayoquot Summer 1993, the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history. Midnight Oil played a show at the Peace Camp on a stage made of charred timbers from the Black Hole clearcut, with David Suzuki boogying down in the front row. Meanwhile hundreds of people, feeling their collective power, chose to remain seated on the road, and the loggers never did get through that day.
How did this happen? The answer is simple: we organized. Inspired by Redwood Summer in California (which was in turn inspired by Mississippi Summer, part of the civil rights struggles of the 1960s), we decided to focus on organizing mass protests.