One Tree May Provide Cover from the Rain but One Thousand Trees Can Protect Us from the Storm

Submitted by One Thousand Trees on April 8, 2013 - 7:34am
by Earl Lambert

There’s an old saying that states “This too shall pass”. This is a simple sentence I have repeated to myself several times during life’s many storms. It was tough to fathom in the beginning but over time I realized everything does pass if I am willing to just move forward and continue doing the next right thing. Before I knew it this old proverb became a natural part of me and life’s storms became much shorter in duration.


Today though, I see a new storm in the forecast and these words don’t seem to be shedding any light on the horizon. For this storm is not one that will simply pass, it is one which can only be calmed by the unified effort of Canada’s First Peoples and all Canadian’s who are willing to be courageous enough to take a stand and be the voice for Mother Earth, our natural habitat and our environment.


The seeds of dictatorship have been planted as we see the federal government imposing, yes imposing, several bills, policies and agreements focused on capitalism and greed onto Canadians. They have negated democracy by refusing to engage proper parliamentary debate and consult with or gather any input from First Nations, environmental organizations, various interest groups and numerous concerned Canadian citizens, before passing several new laws or pieces of legislation that have a devastating impact on not only First Nation’s people, but Canada’s eco-system and the future of all Canadians.


Recently, the federal government signed a Foreign Investments Protection and Promotion Agreement with China, a 31- year deal that gives them significant control over our natural resources. In addition to this, Omnibus Bills C-45 and C-38 have removed crucial environmental protection laws and opened the door for foreign interests to extract these natural resources and bulldoze their way through Canada’s waterways and territories in any way they see fit.


Two major projects are the focal point of these dealings and have heavily influenced recent changes to laws and legislation surrounding the Fisheries Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, the abolishment of environmental protection laws and the blatant disrespect of the First Nations-Crown treaties and their inherent rights.


One of these projects is the Alberta Tarsands and the other is the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline.  If one could part the clouds of ambience shrouded with safety and security created by the federal governments’ aggressive $78 million dollar advertising campaign, known as “Canada’s Economic Action Plan”, a slew of television and media advertisements that illustrate to Canadians that double-hulled tankers, oil and gas pipelines are environmentally safe, we would see the light and know what devastation lie ahead if they are successful in achieving their ambitions.


With regards to the Alberta Tarsands, scientists recently discovered that since the last study performed in 1960, pollution levels have significantly increased and various toxins and pollutants have spread as far away as 90 miles away, harmfully affecting fish, environment, lands and rivers. Now with the new legislation and laws that negate the need for environmental assessments and reduce protected lakes from 32000 to a mere 97 and 2.5 million rivers to just 62, foreign investors and interested corporations want to increase production 25 times over the next 20 years.


If we take a closer look at the background of Enbridge who is seeking to be the main source of both extraction and export via the Northern Gateway Pipeline, we would see this corporation does not have a good track record whatsoever. Between 1999, and 2008, Enbridge pipelines were responsible for 610 recorded spills that released approximately 21.3 million litres of crude oil into the environment, an amount equivalent to half of the oil spilled in 1989 by the Exxon Valdez. In July 2010, nearly 4 million litres of oil gushed from a ruptured Enbridge pipeline into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River, where local residents now suffer serious health problems resulting from the accumulation of heavy metals in the environment.


They have been aggressive in their attempts to bully First Nations into allowing them to plow through traditional lands and territories, but have not succeeded due to First Nations strong stance in asserting their rights and defending the treaties, as well as the support of non-Aboriginal allies who are willing to stand alongside them to defend Mother Earth and our environment. Unfortunately the federal government intends to extinguish these rights and make the removal of traditional land, aka un-tampered Canadian green space, easier with their recently imposed laws and legislation.


First Nations people are the sacred keepers of this land to which they have been inherently connected to since the beginning of their very existence. It is only natural that they can hear or feel Mother Earth crying for help, pleading for people to take a stand and be her voice. Like wolves protecting their pups and their territory, they have been courageous in their willingness to stand strong in the face of blatant racism, discrimination and continue to walk tall amidst the hostility of non-empathetic individuals who disregard a sacred relationship meant to last until the last river flows, as well as those who simply choose to remain oblivious or apathetic to what is really transpiring at the government level.   


Our First Nations are not willing to sit back and be idle while corporations and foreign interests dictate the direction of our federal government, with no regard for the sacred land and water-bodies that form the beautiful place we all call home. Our First Nations are honoring their roots and have planted their feet firmly into the soil of Mother Earth, remaining committed to standing strong and protecting her as long as the sun shall shine.


It is my hopes that you will join in as allies and offer your support to the original peoples of north-america as they advocate and take a stand against the assimilative and capitalistic agenda of our federal government. It is my hopes that you too will plant your feet into the soil of Mother Earth and take a stand. This may be a storm that won’t simply pass, but if we come together in one heart; one mind, in the spirit of unity, as a community, we can make the clouds of darkness part and help the light break through!


“It only takes one person to create a world of a difference, but with a world of support behind that one person, the difference they make is that much more powerful.”


love the title

Earl I love your title, i think it is such a powerful statement that I am starting to see manifest itself everywhere as we face ever growing challenges.  I was fortunate enough to take part in powershift 2012, a youth leadership conference in Ottawa about building capacity to take on the challenge of climate change.  I was amazed by the leadership and determination of the first nations people in this.  We are building a community of communities across this country and across the world that are sowing the seeds of change.  This could look like go local initiatives like the transition town movements or large scale mobilizations like  We are stronger together then we are seperate, it however takes time to grow a healthy forest and we must diligent stewards.