Georgia Strait Alliance is the only citizens' group focused on protecting the marine environment in and around the whole Strait of Georgia – Canada's most at-risk natural environment, and the place where 70% of British Columbians live, work and play. We are committed to a future for our region that includes clean water and air, healthy wild salmon runs, rich marine life and natural areas, and sustainable communities.

September 27, 2012

Down at the Dock: summer excitement!

What a busy boating season we had with our green boating and marina eco-certification program. This was my first summer as our Clean Marine BC program coordinator, and what a summer it was! We made it to boat shows on both sides of Georgia Strait - twice -  to spread the word about green boating. And we also made great strides with our Clean Marine BC marinas.

Georgia and a band of pirates
Vancouver Wooden Boat Festival
Our first two boat shows were on Vancouver Island, starting at Maple Bay Marina. Maple Bay is one of our eco-rated marinas, not to mention wonderful hosts and great ambassadors of green boating. The Maple Bay Wooden Boat Festival was fun and colourful, showcasing some incredible, lovingly cared for wooden boats. Add to that some live music, and it was a lovely weekend down at the dock. Also on the Island side of the Strait, the Nanaimo Floating Boat and Marine Trade Show is just down the street from our head office, so it was nice to participate in this event and talk to folks about our marine conservation work.

On the other side of the Strait we enjoyed the Vancouver Wooden Boat Festival at Granville Island. Once again the wooden boats were gorgeous, and the owners were proud to welcome everyone aboard for a tour. There was even a replica viking ship down at the dock, some lively sea shanties, and pirates plundering the Festival. Once again the Vancouver Wooden Boat Society put on an exciting event.

Photo courtesy Royal Vancouver Yacht Club 
The final show for us this season was the Boat Show at the Creek at North Vancouver's Mosquito Creek Marina. This show is very well managed and worth attending for anyone looking to purchase a boat, or just to daydream of the possibility.

But the most exciting part of the summer for me was visiting the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club Jericho Marina to present them with their Clean Marine BC eco-certification. They received a 4 anchor rating, which they should be very proud of, as no marina in BC has yet to achieve the highest ranking of 5 anchors. However, that may soon change as we have a dozen marinas getting ready for their site verification audit, as well as a few others to be re-certified as they are reaching the end of their 3 year certification term. Check out if your marina is one of our Clean Marine BC marinas, and if not, invite them to join ~ they could have the honour of being the first 5 anchor marina!

See you down at the dock!

September 26, 2012

Time to Turn the Tide on Fossil Fuels

Tammy, Rebecca and Georgia ( mermaid) at the GSA booth.
When it comes to a possible increase in fossil fuel oil tanker traffic in the Georgia Strait– whether in the form of the deadly tar sands bitumen or other forms of fossil fuels, we find ourselves in a debate of values.  Do we value our environment enough to turn the tide and live with less fossil fuel - and less products made from them?  Do we value our natural capital enough that we as societies and individuals will make the changes necessary to support this transition?  

We say, YES - and the sooner we get started on a full public debate about how we can transition our society away from carbon-based fossil fuels the better.  We at GSA are excited to be a part of this change and we have been advocating for individual and collective solutions for this region’s marine environment for over 20 years.  Recognizing that the transition away from fossil fuels will take some time, we need to ensure that current fossil fuel and crude oil tanker traffic in Georgia Strait has the absolute least possible risk of spills of any size and that we in BC have the capacity to respond should one occur.

Shane Philips play at No Tankers Ball
This weekend GSA attended the No Tankers Ball music festival at Providence Farm in Duncan -  a celebration of the community of people who have stood up for Canada's West Coast to keep it pristine, alive and tanker free.  The small and interconnected community of the Northwest Coast has come together in its unity of opposing the Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker traffic and we acknowledge and applaud their activism.  

While Georgia Strait Alliance focuses our attention on ensuring there are is no increase in crude oil tanker traffic in the Georgia Strait, no tankers carrying diluted tar sands bitumen and no new infrastructure that materially increases tanker traffic carrying diluted bitumen in Georgia Strait, we are inspired and moved by the work of our coastal neighbours and allied groups.  We joined with them to spread our local message, to celebrate the incredible efforts being made to keep this area pristine - and to dance!
People made signs at the event.

It was a lovely event, with the sun coming out just as we got our tent set up - ahhh - nothing like a sunny September day!  GSA staff and volunteers who attended the event Donna, Tammy, Rebecca, and myself, all had a wonderful time speaking with the people who came by our tent!

 We handed out our Oil Tankers in the Strait of Georgia Fact Sheet, gathered lots of signatures on our petition, gave out free GSA memberships, as well as having a free draw for a package of home-made cleaning products!  
We made a sign too!

We listened to wonderful music - Clover Point Drifters, Shane Philip, Shred Kelly, Kytami, and Kikeyambay!  We heard inspiring words from First Nations leaders, including Ta'Kaiya Blaney – just 11 years old, she had returned from speaking at the Rio Earth Summit and has won many awards and accolades  for eloquently speaking about the rights and power of all people to make positive change.  We also heard from Guujaaw, the powerful President of the Haida Nation about his communities' work to take back the environment from corporate and government interests, via Skype link.  

Every one of us can make a difference – for our beautiful coastal home and for future generations.  We can make our voices heard.  Sign up for our E-newsletter Strait Up for more information.