Sierra Club offering assistance for Water Protectors to get to COP 15 in Montreal

December 2, 2022

Join us in Montreal December 10 -11

Do you have an up-to-date passport?  Want to visit Montreal in solidarity with water protectors there?  Want to show the Biden and Trudeau Administrations that we say NO to Line 5?

Well, we can help you get there!  First, a few facts:

COP 15, the Council of the Parties on Biodiversity will take place in Montreal, Quebec, Canada from December 7 to December 19.  A coalition of Canadian environmental groups has asked us to come for a rally on Saturday, December 10, and a teach-in on Sunday, December 11.  The Sierra Club Wisconsin Chapter, our partners in our Tar Sands Team, have found funding to pay for gas for carpools to Montreal and a large Air BnB in Montreal for three nights. If you come, you’ll only need to pay for food. (Though we do expect to have enough money to buy some trip food.)

What does this COP 15 have to do with Line 5?

This is an international meeting about biodiversity, taking place right in the midst of the Great Lakes (on the St Lawrence Seaway).  You can be sure that all the participants, including official delegations from the U.S. and Canada, will be reassuring the world that they care deeply about preserving and increasing biodiversity. But these two nations have not taken a position against Line 5, which threatens the biodiversity of the Great Lakes, the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total area. In fact, the Trudeau Administration is trying to pressure the Biden Administration into approving the proposed Line 5 tunnel underneath the Straits of Mackinac! Powerful deciders from both sides of the border will be at this conference, and we need to hold their feet to the fire.

Line 5 – a threat to biodiversity

We know that a spill in the Great Lakes could cause horrific damage to wildlife, drinking water, human health, the tourism and fishery industries, and more. And thanks to Waadookawaad Amikwag (Those Who Help Beaver), who are busy documenting the severe damage done to Northern Minnesota when Enbridge installed the new Line 3, we also know that the mere installation of a pipeline can deal a huge blow to biodiversity.

Why should we go all the way to Canada? Can’t we just phone it in?

Of course, a long trip like this is not for everyone, and there will be digital ways of expressing your opposition to Line 5.  But nothing says “Controversy!” like big crowds in the streets. Wisconsinites in attendance will be part of the Line 5 contingent in the Greenpeace-organized rally that starts at noon on Saturday, December 10, following a 3-day student strike that’s predicted to have tens of thousands of students on the streets.

Other reasons include:

  • To make and strengthen ties with other pipeline fighters on both sides of the international border.
  • To be in a new city in a different country, doing good!
  • To learn from the speakers at the teach in (held near but not in the COP 15 space) on Sunday Dec. 11, who include Jami Gaither and Ron Turney of Waadookawaad Amikwag, (Those Who Help Beaver), Michelle Woodhouse of Environmental Defence Canada,  and our own Tar Sands Team member Marc Rosenthal.
  • You’ll strengthen bonds with your fellow activists, and have stories to tell your grandchildren.

What you need to know:

1.  You need an up-to-date passport to get into Canada. No visa or medical records are necessary.  Just tell the customs person that you are there as a tourist.

2If you can self-fund this trip, and want to fly, please register on the sign-up form anyway, so that we can send you any updates, and so that you can have a place at the Air BnB that Sierra Club has paid for, for the nights of December 9-11. Hurry, beds are first come-first serve. Others will have to sleep on couches or the floor, so consider bringing a pad and blanket/sleeping bag.

3If you want to join others in a carpool, we (the Tar Sands Team of Sierra Club and 350 Wisconsin) can offer you space in a car (assuming people with cars sign up to drive them), for a long trip there and back, reimbursement for gas and tolls, and space in an AirBnB. It is advisable to bring a pad and a sleeping bag, as some people may need to sleep on couches or floors.)  For a detailed itinerary of the cars, click here.

4.  And if you want to come, or think that you might, click here to fill out the form

Thank you for considering taking this important step. It’s a big commitment, but it will be exciting and important, and you’ll be part of something big.  Please fill in the form if you think you want to go, whether by car or by plane.  Don’t delay, we only have enough funds for 4 cars of 5 people each. 

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