As I watched the news headlines stream in this morning, I couldn’t believe it. Energy East was cancelled? There’s no way! I must have read that first Globe and Mail article three times before I believed it. Congratulatory emails began flooding my inbox.
For years, I’ve been a vocal opponent of expanding fossil fuel infrastructure. We desperately need a managed transition to renewable energy. In 2013, I embarked on a mapping project that resulted in Line 9 Communities, a website that’s been viewed 93,937 times from people in 118 countries across the world. In the end, that pipeline project was approved, putting my childhood community at great risk for an oil spill.
Pouring your heart into these issues isn’t easy. It’s time-consuming. It blurs the lines between work and private life. It alienates you from friends with differing views. Over the years, I’ve experienced countless defeats as nations failed to meet their climate commitments and pipelines, export facilities, fracking operations, and tar sands mines continued to fast track their way through regulatory processes and receive a giant stamp – Approved!
As the Energy East news sunk in this morning, I couldn’t help but hug my 10-month old son and cry for a moment. Although many argued that the 30-day suspension requested by TransCanada foreshadowed cancellation of the project, I had little faith that would be the outcome. I was prepared for the long battle ahead and saw this as a political game TransCanada was playing to test all those involved in the process. The sudden announcement this morning shocked me.
I don’t even know why I shed tears. Relief, perhaps? The fact that all those people I’ve personally connected with in Winnipeg, Kenora, Thunder Bay, Aroland, Constance Lake, Ginoogaming, Timmins, Nipigon, North Bay, Pembroke, Ottawa, Montreal, Fredericton, Saint John, Wolfville, Digby, Yarmouth, and Halifax were now free from the threat of the largest ever proposed oil pipeline in Canadian history?
Joy, perhaps? The happiness that we fought to have the climate impact of this mega project included so that my son and all children have a fighting chance at growing up on a hospitable planet?
Fear, perhaps? That I had built my home business on helping communities organize and have their voices heard in opposition to Energy East, but was now out of a job?
Likely, it was a mix of everything.
As I tuck my son in tonight and finally get some rest myself, I have to admit that my heart is at ease. I’m honoured to have worked with the incredible individuals, organizations, and communities who devoted their time and energy to defeating this reckless project. As an Environmental Community Organizer, I am so excited to take on the next challenge, knowing that we are truly working toward a better future.
Most of all, I have never been so happy to be unemployed!
Thank you, Energy East.