Category: Climate Action

Stories from Vancouver Unitarians at the front lines of climate action.

Vancouver Unitarians Join Extinction Rebellion at Cambie Bridge Shut Down

Above: We joined the die-in at the intersection of Broadway and Cambie, then marched to the middle of the Cambie bridge for the sit‑in

Above: Vancouver Unitarians Carry the Flame at the Cambie Bridge Sit‑In

A group of Vancouver Unitarians, including Mairy Beam, Rob Dainow, and Vivian Davidson, joined several hundred protesters at the March 27 Extinction Rebellion march for old growth trees and climate justice.

“Logging old growth directly violates Extinction Rebellion’s demand to Act Now,” said Kelly Tatham, a volunteer with Extinction Rebellion.

We are all standing up for the climate and for our ecosystems, whenever we can and in whatever ways we can. Every little bit counts.

Pipelines, Brunette River and ME/WE

By Catherine Hembling

Pipelines, Brunette River and ME/WE…
I think there’s a song that goes something like that!

These past months along the Brunette have brought great resolve and activity to the lives of many activists, many of them seniors. I feel invigorated by my involvement in something so much bigger than I am. As well, I walk in beauty, at least once a week, along the Brunette as part of my “work”.

I am a member the Prayer Circle, in turn part of PPSTMX (Protect the Planet Stop TransMountain Expansion). There are legal fees to pay, there is soup to be delivered, there are people to meet!

We are publicly and peacefully defending the Brunette’s Salmon runs, riparian zones, trees, water quality, environment. As well, we actively support the courageous tree sit which has been going on since Dec. 21/20 with little Press coverage. By doing so we hope to increase the public’s resolve to speak out against this urban pipeline construction. We hold PM Trudeau to his assertion that there has to be community support for TMX.

This salmon run is a particular treasure, one of very few urban salmon streams in the world. It has been restored from open dumping site by volunteers, starting in the late 1970’s. A public Greenway full of birds and wildlife now runs almost the full length of the river and its tributary creeks, under the administration of Metro Vancouver.

Long term could the Brunette be re-restored? Maybe, …..but not the Climate. Climate changes are happening already. More oil burned is more CO2 in the atmosphere. Climate changes can only get worse before they get better. We think to the future. Overall, time is on the side of protesters. Each delay to construction gives the market and economic facts of the project a better chance to be understood by the public. Green job creation brings prosperity to many more workers than pipeline construction. Politicians will always want to be elected and then re-elected. That is our lever.

Electorates are powerful if ME/WE choose to be involved!

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Outreach Opportunities Fund New Recipient: Burns Bog

Our Outreach Opportunities Fund recipient for the June-Sept 2020 period is the Burns Bog Conservation Foundation, which was set up in 2002 as an endowment fund for the Burns Bog Conservation Society. Burns Bog is a globally unique ecosystem functioning as a major regulator of regional climate and as the “the Lungs of the Lower Mainland”. Endowment funds are also to be used for research relating to peatlands/wetlands and the development of an Education Centre. Read more about the connections between Burns Bog and the Vancouver Unitarians.

CUC National Voice Statement, February 2020

The recent RCMP raids of Wet’suwet’en land defenders in northwestern British Columbia has provoked widespread rallies, blockades and protests, world-wide media coverage, public statements by First Nations, politicians, industry, labour, and the public.  In view of these developments, we think it timely and important to restate the initial position taken by the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) on January 10, 2019:

CUC Pledges Solidarity with ​Wet’suwet’en

The Canadian Unitarian Council has joined thousands of organizations and individuals pledging solidarity with the ​Wet’suwet’en​ Hereditary Chiefs, who are blocking the development of a Coastal GasLink pipeline on their traditional territories in northwestern British Columbia:

  1. WE COMMEND the courage and vision of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and their community of activists.
  2. WE ARE WATCHING across the province, country and internationally.
  3. WE DENOUNCE any attempt by Coastal GasLink Pipeline, the federal government, provincial government or RCMP to interfere in the rights of the Wet’suwet’en to occupy, manage or maintain their lands.
  4. WE URGE that any and all actions taken by the federal and provincial government, industry, and policing agencies must be consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Anuk Nu’at’en (Wet’suwet’en laws) and collective Title.
  5. WE PLEDGE support to the frontline land defenders and affirm the collective hereditary governance of the Wet’suwet’en who are enforcing Wet’suwet’en laws on their unceded lands.

Obviously, the situation has continued to evolve since last year. We recognise this is a complex matter and many of us bring strong opinions and passionate voices to the conversation—given our Unitarian Universalist principles and history, that is how it should be. We recognise, as well, quoting the Afro-American abolitionist Frederick Douglass, that “if there is no struggle, there is no progress” for “power concedes nothing without a demand.”

While we reaffirm the January 10, 2019 CUC Statement pledging solidarity with Wet’suwet’en, we urge Canadian Unitarian Universalists to reflect on how we live our faith and convictions when interests and constituencies are polarized.  We urge each other to live our principles.  May our actions be guided by respect for each other’s dignity, by compassion and empathy, by the voice of conscience and reason, by a desire for justice and equity, and by a deep respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

We urge Canadian Unitarian Universalists to read and become familiar with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples—our nation is a signatory to this Declaration; many of its articles clarify and promote the work of reconciliation and de-colonialisation which we dare hope is still alive in Canada today and will be for generations to come.


Birthday Party Fundraiser for Climate Action

A Night of Good Cheer and a Rousing Success! $3000 Raised for Raven Trust’s Anti-TMX Campaign!

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On a cold, rainy night in January, over 50 friends and family gathered in Hewett Hall to celebrate Tamiko Suzuki ‘s 60th birthday. After a moving welcome by Sto:lo elder and activist, Kwitsel, the evening turned raucous with parlour games. Guests were given coloured dots on their name tags to show how they were connected to Tamiko  (family, work, UCV, book club, etc) and asked to sit at a table with as many colours as possible! The tables then competed in games of rock/paper/scissors  (in Japanese!), Name that Tune (music from TV and film from the 60’s,70’s  to today), Trivial Pursuit, and Charades, all with some connection to Tamiko’s life. Try to imagine contestants acting out the charades challenges;  “Being charged by a rhino” (which was a true story) and “skinny dipping on New Year’s Day (also true). The winners got to dress Tamiko with items from a box so that at one point she was wearing a diving mask, blond wig, life jacket, and belly dancer belt.

The games were followed by delivery of a cake decorated with a dinosaur and speeches both funny and warm. The evening finished with International folk dancing and many brave friends trying out  Bolivian, Finnish, and Greek/Roma dances.

Instead of presents, Tamiko asked guests to make a donation to  RAVEN Trust’s anti-TMX campaign and over $3000 was raised. An additional $400 was donated to support the Wet’suet’en opposition to the Coastal Gas pipeline.

A big thanks and much love to the Environment Team who sponsored the event, provided the food, set up, cleaned up, matched a portion of the donations, and took part in the games and dances with grace and humour.

 

Global Climate Strike in Vancouver


Contact the Enviro Team | Join Our Email Group

Photo: Vancouver Unitarians join the Global Climate Strike in downtown Vancouver on September 27th 2019

Above: Vancouver Unitarians join thousands at the Global Climate Strike in downtown Vancouver on September 27th 2019

An estimated 100,000 people, including Unitarians from all four Metro Vancouver congregations, rallied at Vancouver City Hall on September 27th for the Global Climate Strike

Unitarians from all four Metro Vancouver congregations – including three Unitarian ministers – gathered under the Vancouver Unitarians banner at the start of the Global Climate Strike in Vancouver on September 27th.

The event was organized by students and we proudly joined with tens of thousands of them to fill the length of Cambie Street on our way through downtown Vancouver to the CBC building at West Georgia and Hamilton streets.

photo: Vancouver Unitarian youth at the 2019 global climate strike in downtown Vancouver

Above: Kiersten M. with UCV youth at the historic September 2019 global climate strike in downtown Vancouver

It was exhilarating – and reassuring – to be a part of this massive mobilization of Canadians. Police estimated that 100,000 people participated – perhaps the largest march ever in Vancouver.

Would you like to join us for future rallies, marches and activities? Learn more about Environment Team or contact the Outreach Coordinator by Email

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Many tens of thousands gathered for the Global Climate Strike at Vancouver City Hall September 27, 2019

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Greta Thunberg Inspired Global Climate Strike on September 27th

Photo of Greta Thunberg, Global Climate Strike

Join Vancouver Unitarians under our banner at the
Vancouver Global Strike for Climate
Sept. 27 starting at 12:45 pm
City Hall 12th Avenue and Cambie St
(Northwest corner in front of City Square)

Greta Thunberg at United Nations

Watch Greta Thunberg deliver her historic message to the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September 2019

Change is coming whether you like it or not — Greta Thunberg

This Global Climate Strike will likely be the largest mass mobilization for climate the world has ever seen. Led by youth, including Greta Thunberg, millions around the world will be walking off school and work to demand a rapid end to the fossil fuel era and climate justice for all.

On September 27th, we will stand together with people across the planet to demand climate justice. This global strike is not just for youth – this time, we need EVERYONE. We need you to put your normal life on hold and show up in the streets to demand dramatic and urgent action against the climate crisis. We will bring together citizens from Vancouver, the surrounding areas and the rest of BC to show our local and federal governments how much bolder we need them to be going forward. This action will build momentum to a federal election where we elect climate leaders.

Click here for 23 Reasons Why You Should Climate Strike On
Friday, September 27th


64 Red Dresses — Art Installation by Doreen Manuel


Above: Red Dresses to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women

Honour the Women Project

At the Stop Trans Mountain Pipeline rally at Creekside Park on June 9, 2019, Doreen Manuel, Secwepemc Nation film maker, and sister of the late Chief Arthur Manuel, announced that she is collecting red dresses (the symbol of missing and murdered Indigenous women) for her “Honour the Women project”. She will hang red dresses along the route of the pipeline in Secwepemc Territory both as an art installation and as a reminder to all who the victims are.

Thank you to all who contributed red dresses and cash! A total of 64 red dresses were collected from UCV members or purchased from thrift stores using donations by UCV members.

These dresses were delivered to the BC Union of Indian Chiefs and will be hung along the Trans Mountain pipeline route in Secwepemc territory.

This red dress collection drive at UCV  was sponsored by the Social Justice Committee and supported by the Environment Team and other individuals.

The recently released report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls states that there is a correlation between resource extraction and violence against Indigenous women and girls. Work camps/man camps built for resource extraction projects are implicated in higher rates of violence against Indigenous women at the camps and neighbouring communities.


For more information about this project, please contact Doreen Manuel at: honourthewomen@gmail.com

Youth Taking Action with Rallies for CBC Leaders’ Debate on Climate

Above: Vancouver Unitarians standing with youths leading the July 17 rally calling for a CBC federal leaders’ debate on climate and the Green New Deal

Vancouver Unitarians rallied once again in support of climate justice. This time it was on July 17 at CBC Vancouver.

The rally was organized by Our Time, a national campaign of young people, in order to push the CBC to broadcast a federal leaders’ debate focused on climate change and a Green New Deal for Canada.

What would a Green New Deal for Canada look like?

A cohort of over 30 young persons led the rally with speeches, songs, and cheers. We were several hundred in Vancouver and we were joined by many hundreds more in over 20 cities across Canada. We were proud to stand with these committed and inspiring young people.


A Green New Deal for All – Cross Canada Tour in Vancouver

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At least ten Vancouver Unitarians were among the 350 person sell-out crowd on June 21 at the Canadian Memorial Church to participate in the Vancouver stop of the Green New Deal for All cross-Canada tour.

All the presenters were passionate, well informed, and inspiring. It was a great event, part of the grass roots movement that started with over 150 town hall meetings across Canada – including a full house event with about 100 people at UCV on May 24.

Support for the Green New Deal (GND) is rising up across this country with the intention to become a powerful voice in the coming federal election.

The entire Green New Deal for All event was video taped and posted online, or you can watch it below. The table shows the time for each presentation to help you navigate through this nearly 3 hour long video.

  00:00 -- 07:15      Intro Slides
  07:15 -- 09:00      MC Anjali Appadurai
  09:00 -- 18:40      Chief Reuben George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation
  18:40 -- 21:00      Green New Deal
  21:00 -- 26:40      Remarks by Anjali
  26:40 -- 41:20      Youth-led Chant
  41:20 -- 1:04:30    David Suzuki
1:04:30 -- 1:24:00    Kanahus Manuel, Indigenous Activist
1:24:00 -- 1:45:10    Harsha Walia, Activist and Writer
1:45:10 -- 1:47:30    Youth-led Chant
1:47:30 -- 2:10:10.   Kim Mortel, Poet and Singer
2:10:10 -- 2:42:35.   Avi Lewis, The LEAP
2:42:35 -- 2:44:00.   Presenters' Tributes