Grassroots Action on Climate Change

Here at Dogwood initiative, we’ve been busy doing research on BC’s coal industry and we’ll soon be releasing two major research reports, which will form the foundation of a Dogwood coal campaign.

In the meantime here’s a note from a member of a grassroots group that’s stepping up to take on the coal industry.

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Citizens across BC are banding together to take action on climate change. Kevin Washbrook gives us the dirt on coal, and the need to put an end to it in BC.

I’d like to think of British Columbia as a place with lush forests, teeming salmon runs, and healthy cities where people take care of each other and have meaningful work. My dream is to see my children thriving and healthy in a place like this.

Unfortunately, this dream is crowded out by my growing anxiety for the future. I worry about millions of beetle-killed pines, rivers too warm for salmon to spawn, and people struggling so hard to get by that they are hard-pressed to lookout for themselves. I don’t want my kids to have to grow up in a place like this.

I’m frustrated that our government says it takes climate change seriously, but then recklessly encourages big-polluting industrial projects that cause it, like the development and export of oil, gas and coal. I feel sick that the world is coming apart before my eyes, and that my kids will have to deal with the results.

I think it’s time to actively choose which future I want to live in, and lately I’ve been talking to other people who feel the same way.

Together we’ve decided it’s time to do more than just write letters to politicians, donate money to environmental groups, and show up at rallies. These things are important, but we’re running out of time to stop climate change. It’s time to take it to the next level.

If you share our concerns, we want you to join us. Take our action pledge.

Our first goal is to stop the mining and export of coal from BC. We can use your help!

If coal is too dangerous to use in BC, why are we exporting it around the world?

Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel, and in many ways the most dangerous substance in the world. If all the world’s coal is dug up and burned, global warming will tip past the point of no return. This will mean the end of the safe stable climate that has allowed humans to flourish and prosper for thousands of years.

If we burn all the coal in the world, we’ll be forced to contend with catastrophic climate changes. If we do everything we can to keep coal in the ground, we will buy time to find solutions to climate change, and get back on the path to a healthy future.

Our government knows that coal is far too dangerous, dirty and toxic to use as a source of energy.  That’s why it effectively banned coal-fired power plants in 2007.

However, BC is still a big player in the coal world. Western North America’s biggest coal port sits right next to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. We mine and export an impressive amount of coal. In fact, when BC’s coal exports are burned overseas, they produce global warming pollution almost equal to the amount we produce from all other sources here at home.

If coal is so dangerous that we’ve banned its burning here in BC, why are we exporting it around the world?

Our government says that the climate damage caused by burning BC coal exports is somebody else’s problem. I question their judgment on this, given that Victoria collects $230 million per year in royalties from coal mining. It is time to put the interests of our children and the planet ahead of short-term financial gain. If government won’t act in our interests, it’s time to do it ourselves.

We’ve planned our first event for late January in Victoria. It’s a symbolic gesture, but a formal request to government: stop the mining and export of BC coal by 2015.  If you are interested in joining-in, please visit stopcoal.ca, take the action pledge and we’ll be in touch.

Kevin Washbrook
British Columbians for Climate Action

Together we can stop coal and get BC on the path to a healthy, prosperous future.

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