Conservation Tip #1: Action dispels despair
Feeling inspired, I have just arrived back home from the second annual People’s Paddle for the Salish Sea. “Turning the Tide” on pipelines and tanker traffic turned out to be an even greater success than last year.
On July 22, 2015, my Raincoast colleague Lori Waters and I set off with over 100 brave hearted paddlers. We departed from Swartz Bay, paddled to Salt Spring Island, Mayne, Pender Island, and then back home to Swartz Bay on July 26 to demonstrate our collective love of the Salish Sea!
Even the weather chimed in with Gulf Island solidarity after a long summer drought, bringing buckets full of rain, thunder, and wind. However, this did not dampen our spirits. In fact, it was a further testament to just how far coastal communities are willing to go to protect the waters and species of the Salish Sea from pipelines, increased tanker traffic, and oil spills.
Personally, the trip was no easy feat for me. It was the first time that I had ever canoed more than three hours in my life, and my unstable, overloaded craft threatened to throw me off course of my goal to finish. The experienced paddlers kept telling me to just keep paddling; momentum is stability.
The thunderclouds were directly on our heels as we crossed Active Pass, but we held our course with vigilance, perseverance, and determination.
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Suddenly, I heard the faint sounds of bagpipes in the misty distance, and my Scottish ancestry was awakened. As we rounded Razor Point on Pender Island, I noticed that people were waving and cheering from their patios and many were standing on shore. It was an incredible feeling. My salty tears mixed and fell deep into the Salish Sea.
The phrase “momentum is stability” remains in my memory. As my sleeping bag and gear dry on my clothesline, I redouble my efforts towards our collective goal, which is to preserve and protect the Salish Sea. The momentum is growing. A tipping point is on the horizon.
From my experience working in conservation for the last ten years, I have witnessed some extraordinary human acts, which is a testament to the power of people. Paradoxically, while we humans are the problem, we are also the solution. We are hardwired to conserve, as it is integral to our survival. I believe when we work together we can move mountains. And with the hardworking scientists at Raincoast continuing to inform the public about the risks associated with increased tanker traffic, we can harness our collective power!
Yours in conservation,