I'm a reluctant protester.
It's true. A childhood spent being dragged to every peace march and picket line between Vancouver and Surrey left me a little more selective as an adult. And unlike childhood me who didn't care, adult me likes to know what she's protesting before taking it to the streets.
The rally on Saturday at Magee Park to protest the en masse industrialization of prime farmland in Delta was easy to support, and so we spent our afternoon with about 200 other people listening to speakers and walking through town in a torrential downpour.
As a reluctant protester, I'm not the type to wear a costume or paint my face. I won't even bang pots or pans, and I only accepted the yellow Farms Not Ports sign thrust into my hand by a helpful volunteer to be polite. (I did, however, wear my Che Guevara T-shirt as a symbol of defiance, even if just the star on his beret was visible above the zipper on my rain jacket.)
To any critics I must stress: I am not a dirty hippy (I showered just before the protest), I have a job (two, if you count writing this column) and I live here (the lights from the port give my deck a warm glow on dark evenings).
But I'm no less committed to the cause than the people who walked under the giant canvas salmon or brought the drum set; I, too, believe the $98 million plan by a warehouse developer to turn hundreds of acres of prime farmland and wildlife habitat into port-related industry is a disgrace.
Like speaker after speaker iterated, these industrialization threats are systemic of a larger problem impacting the entire world: We're too greedy.
As I've noted before in this space, the province's Pacific Gateway Transportation Strategy document names B.C. the preferred gateway for Asian trade to North America and the world.
Demand for our natural resources is expected to soar so that by 2020, the amount of coal moving through this corridor is forecast to increase by 150 per cent at the same time as the increase in forest products could be as high as 100 per cent and the increase in metals and minerals is expected to top 300 per cent.
Contrast this with a Vancouver Sun report on Friday about compensation paid to top executives at B.C. firms and it's no surprise to find mining and forestry companies heavily represented (the former president of Ivanhoe Mines is the province's top earner with $23 million in salary, bonus and share options, which is more than the municipality of Delta spends on fire and emergency services for the whole year). No wonder our environment is under threat.
While my Che Guevara shirt was largely hidden, my husband braved the rain in order to show off his Stop Corporate Greed T-shirt. One gentleman smiled at him and said, "Good luck with that, Buddy."
We'll need a lot more than luck, and protests like Saturday's rally at Magee Park are a good start.
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