CLAW stands for Conservation Leadership Action Workshop. I’ve been struggling with how to blog about this incredible weekend since I got back. I don’t want to rehash each workshop and moment, as if that were even possible, and yet I learned some important lessons I think are worth sharing with all of you. So I’ll keep it simple. I’ll share some of those lessons in amongst some of the images I took while there.

Chris Around the fire Shannon

One of the most important lessons I learned and would like you all to know too is that WE, the average jos, first nations and non first nations working together are the ones that can and will stop Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline. This truth goes for other conservation campaigns as well. It’s not the big environmental groups like Sierra Club, ForestEthics or Greenpeace that are going to be able to stop often immoral and destructive projects. That’s not to say that these environmental groups don’t offer needed support and knowledge but it’s communities standing up and saying NO that’s most crucial.


Tony Virginia, Allison and Anissa John and Dan

You learn best when you’re slightly uncomfortable. Burnout is easy. Remember to have fun. Don’t have meetings for the sake of having meetings.

Talented Taylor The Red Team fighting hard to get some points Greg demonstrating his flexibility

I love Shannon's faces here! Check out that focus! Hand Stand Competition

Art can make powerful statements.

Perry and Art for Advocacy

Lydia Skyla Untitled

I want to be proud of the country I live in but the fact is, Canada is one of biggest obstacles to making agreements with governments around the world to reduce greenhouse gases and face climate change head on.

“When you think of Canada, which qualities come to mind? The world’s peacekeeper, the friendly nation, a liberal counterweight to the harsher pieties of its southern neighbour, decent, civilised, fair, well-governed? Think again.”

We need to be putting social pressure on Canada to change our ways. We need to be saying YES to the Boreal Forest (the second largest intact forests in the world and one we NEED for dealing with our current changing climate. It’s also one of the planet’s major sources of fresh water) and NO to the tar sands. YES, to seriously switching to renewable energy sources. YES, to subsidies for industry that creates green jobs and NO to subsidies for the oil and other dying and destructive industries. These are only a few of our current issues.

Megan Taylor Perry


I've got this sinking feeling about Enbridge

We need to find ways to engage youth. There’s a disconnect with many around important issues today. Engaging youth needs to also include listening to youth.

Christina and Shannon Chris Lydia explaining her art piece

Lily joined in Untitled Untitled

Sung to the tune of Rolling in the Deep:

There’s deep passion, travelling through BC
Panel of Joint Review is bringing us to the streets
Enbridge pipeline, we dread your oily sheen
You want your pipeline through but that’s just a pipe dream

Here we stand tall, and we will say to you
Don’t underestimate the power of a few
There’s deep passion, travelling through BC
Panel of Joint Review is bringing us to the streets

The spills of your past are lodged in our minds
They keep us thinking, we have to save it all.
The spills of your past, they leave us outraged
We won’t be leaving

We have to save it all
No tankers for BC
We have this life inside our hands
And we need it. Can’t you see?

(click on the below picture for the rest of the lyrics…)

Rolling in the Deep

Have you heard friends or neighbours say “We don’t want the pipeline to go through, but we have no choice; it’s going to happen anyway”? We need to stop people from believing this because it’s simply not true.


Respect costs you nothing. Being willing to listen will often allow the opposition the space to really listen in return. Learn to see people and not just positions. If you can see the motives behind the choices our opposition make, it might be easier to reach them and make change. Empathy is an incredible tool for understanding and “working with”. It’s very hard to get anything done when you are stuck in a power struggle. (Sound much like parenting?)

Taylor talking about communications Bruce Hill A great workshop with Mike and John Risdale

Caring about the environment has got a bad rap.  The thing is, the environment isn’t something separate that we can care about or not without repercussions. WE ARE THE ENVIRONMENT. Without clean air and clean water we can not live. We don’t have to choose between the environment and the economy.

I see every day on facebook status updates about the crazy temperatures people are living in. Extreme heat, wildly varying temps from one day to the next, storms, drought, power outages, fish declines…. it’s only going to get worst, especially if we don’t start making some real changes. Many people don’t know what changes to make. Driving less, using cloth shopping bags, buying local are all great solutions but we need to do more.

We need to be vigilant and aware of what’s going on in the world, our own countries, our provinces or states and our communities. We need to hold our leaders accountable to making the right choices. We need to speak out when something is wrong, to our friends, to our neighbours, to our leaders, to the public. Getting in touch with local groups or environmental groups can offer another platform for speaking out and for ideas of how to make a difference.

Special performance for Bruce Hill

Thank you to the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition for hosting this event. For allowing me to meet so many remarkable people. For helping me feeling included, even with my kids in tow. Thank you for helping me see that I am capable of more than I thought I was (we all are!)

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4 Responses to CLAW 2012

  1. k says:

    sounds like a very enriching workshop. and hear, hear to all you are saying. i hear far too many people saying the pipeline is just going to go through anyway – well it will if we all have that attitude! we need more folks thinking like you (and me, i try).

  2. erin says:

    “…Being willing to listen will often allow the opposition the space to really listen in return…” LOVE that tenet of NVC (non-violent communication), of which i am a believer and practitioner.

    i love how there are the biggies like enbridge, and the smaller, just-as-important issues like the parcel of conifer forest on my road we are working in our community to save. the opportunities to stretch and make mistakes and learn are empowering all the way around. the important thing is to act, to stand up. for something that pulls me. this looked very inspirational. xo

  3. Jacinda says:

    I give thanks to all people and communities who in small and not-so-small ways are working hard for this planets (and, therefore, our own) health against such enormous odds. What I am left with are the beautiful images and our shared belief that what will make the difference are the ordinary, every day person and communities, believing in a different way and standing up for that. Kia kaha Annie.

  4. Annie says:

    Thank you so much, Jacinda! xx

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