Posted by: bluelanternstudio | September 22, 2012

Why I’m supporting the Dogwood Initiative

I feel very privileged to have been born and raised here in BC, a province with  an abundance of wild spaces and home to incredible biodiversity.

Western Toad (acrylic on wood panel, artist: Robi Smith)

Because of the province’s natural capital, there’s long been a tension here between those who want to profit from BC’s incredible “resources” and those who want to protect the forests, lakes, rivers and oceans for future generations and other species.

Solitude (acrylic on canvas, artist: Robi Smith)

Enter Enbridge, Kinder Morgan, Stephen Harper and China. These four players, and the very wealthy and powerful few who control them, will profit greatly from shipping crude oil from Alberta’s tar sands across BC’s wild landscape to the coast, and from the coast to Asia on huge supertankers. The environmental risks and subsequent social and economic costs for doing this are huge, which is why most British Columbians are opposed to the Enbridge proposals.

For years, the Dogwood Initiative has been running a No Tankers campaign to raise awareness of the risks posed by the supertankers on the BC coast. The campaign started with little clear stickers that people can place on the Canadian $1 loonie, which puts the loon in an oil slick. This simple campaign has raised huge awareness (it’s how I first started learning about these issues) and has led Dogwood to be one of the most visible organizations demanding that the BC coast be ridded of oil tankers altogether.

Dolly Varden (acrylic on canvas, artist: Robi Smith)

Unlike many environmental organizations, the Dogwood Initiative has chosen to stay grassroots. It is not a registered federal charity and does not receive government funding. Rather, it relies on like-minded people to support its work. In my opinion, this has led the organization to be more able to respond creatively to the challenges ahead and to be a true advocate for the coast than others (under federal law, registered charities in Canada are limited in how much advocacy work they can carry out).

The Dogwood Initiative‘s effectiveness in raising awareness about oil tankers and its ability to galvanize citizens into action are the main reasons I’ve chosen to support the organization through the sale of my calendars, along with the Wilderness Committee and the Georgia Strait Alliance (blog posts on those two to come).

To find out more about my calendar project, and to support the work of  organizations like Dogwood, check out my Indiegogo campaign. Thanks to my fans, I’m more than halfway to reaching my goal!

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