Ecojustice Blog – Climate change, Nature Posted on July 4, 2019 (updated: July 4, 2019)

Building a future where the climate is safe and whales are abundant

Margot VentonLawyer
L87 and onlookers
Photo by Miles Ritter, via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

I have some of the world’s most magnificent neighbours — but lately, I haven’t seen them around.

Ever since I moved to Pender Island, B.C., I’ve looked forward to the summer days when I look out my window and can spot Southern Resident killer whales, making their way past my home. No matter how many times I see the whales, I feel the same wonder.

This year, however, the Southern Residents are late returning to Canadian waters. And I’m worried.

Normally, these endangered orcas spend winters off the coast of the western United States and return to Canada to feast on salmon throughout the summer.  The fact that they’re so late this year is an obvious sign that human activity has tipped the balance in the wrong direction for this iconic species.

The fact is that Southern Resident killer whales are struggling in the face of existing, imminent threats to their survival. The Trans Mountain expansion and associated increase in tanker traffic would only interfere with their abilities to hunt and navigate, and leave ocean waters they call home vulnerable to the risk of a catastrophic oil spill.

That’s why, on behalf of our clients, Ecojustice went to court in 2017 to fight the government’s Trans Mountain approval. Our victory in that case struck down Cabinet’s decision, forced the National Energy Board to re-evaluate the project’s marine shipping impacts, and halted construction on the expansion.

But now the government has re-approved Trans Mountain. And the stakes are greater than ever.

When I picture my daughter’s future, I hope that the Southern Resident killer whales will be around for her to marvel at. But I also hope, deeply, that she will inherit a climate-safe world.

We are in a climate emergency. In order to avoid climate breakdown, we must halve emissions by 2030 and reach zero by 2050.  We simply can’t afford to build a project that will increase emissions at precisely the moment we need to be dramatically shrinking our carbon footprint.

I’m committed to building a future in which the climate is safe and the whales are abundant. And I know Ecojustice’s incredible community of supporters — including you — are too.

That’s why we need to continue to fight Trans Mountain. It’s a risk we simply cannot afford to take. Will you stand with me?

Please, show your support for this vision of the future by sharing this blog with friends and family who are also committed to defending nature and combatting climate change.

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Photo by Miles Ritter, via Flickr. Image obtained under Creative Commons.

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