The capitalist principle of relentless growth has had devastating impacts on the life and well-being of people, communities, non-human species, regional landscapes, water systems, and climate. The endless extraction of resources for profit from the oceans and waterways, from the forests and the soil and from within the earth has produced irreversible harm to the planet and its life-forms. Indigenous communities have been most negatively affected by industrial resource extraction projects, such as corporate fishing, mining and oil and gas industries. The land and water they have depended on for millennia to support their lifeways have been destroyed, and they have been forced off their traditional territories to make way for corporate resource extraction enterprises, aided and abetted by the state with its political, legal and bureaucratic apparatus. This sweeping system of resource extraction has impacted indigenous communities in so-called “Canada”, as well as indigenous and non-indigenous communities throughout the world, through Canada’s numerous multi-national corporations.
To stand alongside impacted communities and fight against the forces that are destroying the earth and displacing people from their homes and communities is an essential dimension in the struggle for justice. Resistance to tar sands development and pipeline construction, expanded mining projects on indigenous territory, without free, prior and informed consent of the first peoples, has become an important component in the work of Streams of Justice.
Over the years …
We have organized forums on and participated in marches against the Tar Sands and proposed pipeline expansions (Enbridge, XL Keystone, Pacific Trails Pipelines, Kinder-Morgan Trans-Mountain Pipeline, etc.), and we have tried to educate ourselves about large international agreements, such as the Security and Prosperity Partnership and Trans-Pacific Partnership, that grant immense power to corporations and state security apparatus over the interests of local communities. We’ve participated in information sessions and street actions against Canadian mining initiatives at home and abroad (Goldcorp, Imperial Metals, etc.), and have organized with other groups to oppose local freeway expansion projects, including a month-long blockade of a proposed highway route.
Some SoJ folks have participated in the Unist’ot’en Action Camp and the remarkable effort of grassroots Wet’suwet’en to set up permanent sites to block pipelines from going through their traditional territories, and we have helped raise funds for indigenous individuals and groups to join these actions of collective resistance and self-determination. In this work we have connected with indigenous people and communities, and collaborated with environmental and climate justice groups (Stop the Pave, Council of Canadians, Mining Justice Alliance, Rising Tide, etc.); we have learned much from them all and are deeply honoured to work alongside them in this urgent fight for justice.