At the boonies when I was a kid
I love my tiny homestead. My parents have had the cottage since before I was born, and have spent days, weekends, weeks there. We call it the Boonies because it is pretty much in the boonies. I still have the scar on my forehead there when I was a kid and hit my head on the cement when they were building the house. When I was five, I was playing by myself outside and a coyote walked right past me. I used to hate going there when I was 13 because my friends started going to the movies with boys and I wasn't allowed to go because I had to go up to the Boonies instead with my parents.
But now, I adore it. When I was in Australia for six months, it was the thing I missed the most in the whole wide world. When I'm stressed out during the week figuring out how to make sustainability work in real life, I can't wait to finally jump in the car with the love of my life and my cat (yes, we seriously take our cat there every time we go) and get to the country. In the summer, when our downtown apartment feels stale, and all I can smell in the city is leftover food, garbage, and car fumes, breathing fresh air at the Boonies is...heaven. This past summer, I remember hoeing my potato patch, getting blisters in the sun by myself, listening to my bees hum, and thinking - man, this is the only place I want to be right now. This is exactly what I want to be doing.
And then I realized on Monday morning that there is a pipeline that goes from Montreal through the Eastern Townships and passes about 3.5 miles from my cottage. It's been there for decades and so far seems fine. I heard something last week about Enbridge's Pipeline Nine Project, which reverses the flow of oil between Sarnia, Ontario, and Montreal. After some research, I realized this pipeline would take Tar Sands oil (less refined and thicker - higher possibility of a leak) to Montreal, and the Trailbreaker pipeline would then take it to Portland, Maine to export it.
I was shocked. The pipeline crosses the river a few miles up the road from us. This river:
We're downstream from the pipeline. Which means that over the next few years, there is an increased chance that there could be an OIL SPILL on the river that I love. The river that I go kayaking in. The river that we have bonfires next to to watch the moon rise over the trees. The river that one time when I was a kid, I saw a bullfrog swimming by me and I caught it out of the water with my bare hands. That one.
So I guess I found a new project for myself - working with the other PowerShift kids, pissed off landowners in Quebec, and community organizers to stop this thing.
I'm an eco-conscious girl from Montreal, Quebec. I'm currently an adjunct science professor at Champlain College of Vermont (Montreal Campus). I'm interested in any opportunities to expand my experience with grassroots activism, climate change legislation, or environmental education.