I took my son to Buckley Bay to protest against coal mining in our backyard.
My son, eight years old, made a sign that said No Coal and had a picture of a skull surrounded in thick black smoke. He tells me he’s worried all the time, worried about pollution and how the world’s going to be when he grows up.
I felt guilty when we got out of the car and headed toward the gathering with the other protesters. Guilty of being a hypocrite. How could I, having spent my life working in resource industries, some with questionable track records, be against another industry?
Another guy’s chance at some good money without having to go to “Alberia” to earn it. I have three kids and I know how it is to do what you have to do to feed a family, pay your taxes and keep a stable home together.
We stood with the others and my son asked me, “What are we doing here anyway?” I told him that we were exercising our right to free speech and standing up for what we believe in.
I told him it’s one of the most important things you can do in your life. He listened to people speaking eloquently and passionately about their concerns for coal mining, the burning of coal and the future of our planet.
I pointed out Ruth Masters with her walker and ‘Senior Shit Disturber’ sign around her neck. There was someone who has always stood up for what she believed in.
She made me think about hiking. I started out from Cumberland last summer with 10 others and hiked along the Beaufort Mountain range, coming down and hiking out to the old highway near Fanny Bay after three amazing days in the alpine.
I thought about looking down from up there and noticing a coal mine and equipment instead of the Coast Mountains and the Gulf Islands of Georgia Strait.
This proposed coal mine is wrong on so many levels. Chewing through the earth and burning it up at the rate we have been is abysmal.
With the world’s population approaching seven billion our ways have to change. We need alternative work opportunities that are sustainable and well paying enough to keep our kids and their kids in jobs. Canada and specifically British Columbia need to show the world that we are stewards of the earth and that we care about our Earth and our kids’ future and our grandkids’ future.
I have done precious little to help this Earth and a whole lot to hinder it. I guess selfishly I took my son with me because I am guilty like the rest of us, guilty of leaving this Earth in such a state.
I want my son to know that the buck stops here with this coal mine in my backyard and I don’t want him to think that I didn’t care or stand up for what’s right.