September 2, 2010

Stand Up For What You Believe In.

Yesterday, the First Nations people in British Columbia stood toe-to-toe with mega oil pipeline company. Enbridge Inc., the world’s largest pipeline construction company (and the same one responsible for Michigan’s oil spill) has proposed to open export markets for tar sands oil outside the United States — most notably China by building a massive pipeline from Alberta’s tar sands and British Columbia’s north Pacific coast over more than 1,000 streams and rivers and introduce super oil tankers (revoking an existing moratorium on large ships) to transport oil through the pristine waters of the Great Bear Rainforest.

But the First Nations stood together and said “no” — they took a stand for their people, their home and their way of life.

“We have drawn a line in the sand. There will be no Enbridge Pipeline and there will be no crude oil tankers in our waters. This is not a battle we intend to lose.”

And I believe them. I’m working with the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) who have joined forces with the First Nations to tell their story through provocative images. I’m sitting here at my desk in Portland, Ore., but when I read the news of the protest yesterday, I was struck by the courage of those people. They stood up to the world’s largest oil pipeline company and aren’t backing down.

What if we all had that kind of passion to stand up for what we believe in? If you think you’re doing enough. You’re not. I’m sure not. Remember when you were little and you learned to stand up for what you believe in? Well, do that everyday. Be empowered. Be human…

And if you need more inspiration to take a stand — to have the courage to do it — read this speech from Martin Luther King, Jr. that I found this morning over on the Ode blog.

“I say to you, this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren’t fit to live.
You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be, and one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid.

You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab or shoot or bomb your house. So you refuse to take a stand.

Well, you may go on and live until you are ninety, but you are just as dead at 38 as you would be at ninety.

And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.

You died when you refused to stand up for right.

You died when you refused to stand up for truth.

You died when you refused to stand up for justice.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
From the sermon “But, If Not” delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on November 5, 1967.

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