A group of local artists with a strong environmental connection have chosen a different way to promote protest against Enbridge Inc.’s controversial Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, which many feel will boost the Canadian economy.
Crescent Beach painters Jennifer Clark and Reuben Kambeitz, and South Surrey painter, printmaker and multi-media artist Don Li-Leger – joined by Mission painter and tattoo artist Bonnie Dobbin – believe, however, that the project poses significant environmental risks to B.C.’s north and central Pacific coast.
And they’re encouraging the public to get involved by offering a chance to win prints of four of their original art works.
Clark says that everyone who writes a letter of opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline to either provincial or national politicians, or B.C. and national newspapers, will be in a draw for the art works, all of which celebrate scenes from nature.
To be eligible for the June 2 draw, writers must copy their original emails to Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org) or provide a photocopy of an original letter and addressed envelope.
Clark, who came up with the idea, said she had no trouble persuading Kambeitz (her husband) and friends Li-Leger and Dobbin to participate and promote the draw on Facebook.
“All of our work is very much involved with nature and the environment,” she said.
Information on her website –including government and media addresses and a sample letter – aims to make it easy for people to get involved, she said.
“The draw gives people something to be excited about. There’s so much to be concerned about these days – they’re overly exposed to so many things that need to be addressed, and I think people can end up feeling overwhelmed.”
Enbridge proposes to build a pipeline 1,170 km long from Alberta’s tar sands to a new port in Kitimat, where crude oil would be loaded onto tankers for export to international markets.
Supporters of the project claim the benefits will include some 3,000 construction jobs, plus more than 1,700 positions over a longer term, including manufacturing and maintenance workers to keep the pipelines operating.
Other benefits would include an estimated $2.6 billion in local, provincial and federal tax revenues over a 30 year lifetime of the project, while Enbridge is offering some $380 million over the same period to the First Nations communities whose land would be crossed by the pipeline.
Even more crucially, proponents say, the project would help enlarge and diversify the markets for Canadian energy resources.
But that fails to impress Clark, who said she feels different levels of government are streamlining a lot of the approval procedures for the project, which she fears could imperil the environment through the risk of a pipeline rupture, or a maritime disaster in B.C.’s coastal waters involving one of an estimated 225 tankers per year sailing from Kitimat.
Clark, who is a breast cancer survivor, she said she did a lot of thinking about pollution and the need for environmental protection after she was first diagnosed in 2010.
“It’s important for me to give back and protect the environment,” she said.
“This is not something I’ve done a lot of. I’m not an activist, although it could be something I end up doing a lot more of.”
For more information on the draw, visit www,jlcstudio.com