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How to eat local forever: lessons on food security gathered from First Nations

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Wet’suwet’en testimony exerpts, from the JRP hearings: Our chiefs have decided no Enbridge oil pipeline through Wet’suwet’en territory ever. Can I be any clearer? ---Keep your pipeline in your own backyard, we will keep grizzlies in ours. --- The pipeline threatens my livelihood even before it bursts. --- Our chiefs do not want this pipeline. --- My family don’t want no pipeline through our area. ---If Enbridge doesn’t get the message that they are not welcome on our territory unless their pipeline is moving honey, or something like that. ---We are Wet’suwet’en warriors, we are here to scream --- My culture will be devastated if this pipeline breaks. We all see what happens in other parts of the world. We’ve been here since time immemorial. We want the safety and security and good health and well being that we have always had. --- My responsibility is to stand with my clan to oppose devastating pipeline. --- Mr. Harper, 98 hereditary chiefs say our land is not for sale. No pipeline. ---Third season the [trespasser] was still on the trap line. So [my grandfather] took a rope out of his pack. Wrapped it around his neck killed him and tossed him into the river. They were strict about their territory. We don’t want the pipeline to go through my grandfather’s territory. --- Our title is the right to make decision on our lands and headwaters. The decision has been made that there will be no pipeline on our territory. Through the generations we have fought wars for this territory.

They work to regain local control over renewable resources so you can re-create sustainable management.

According to Yvonne Lattie, Hereditary Chief of the Wet’suwet’en, “We need to look at the health of Mother Earth and the wealth of our people and consider the impacts of everyone of our decisions. The resources need to be renewable. Economic development needs to happen on a community basis where we’re not trying to employ the rest of Canada. We need to employ the people of our community who have gone through thick and thin and have stayed here and brought up their children here.”

Leslie Brown, speaking as a member of the Haida Nation, told me, “My first thought is I want our nation and our island to dictate what business happens on Haida Gwaii. In the past, we’ve had business opportunities with people who have come to us and I think it is time for us to say, ‘This is the direction the island is going together as a collective unit.’ I don’t mean just Haidas or non-Haidas, but everybody who is living on Haida Gwaii.”

The newsletter of the Haida Nation, Haida Laas, states,


[W] e're not just talking about the blocking of one pipeline or some industrial projects. This is about the right to reimagine our relationship to the environment. And First Nation's are resisting precisely to protect the alternatives: like the unrivaled marine eco-management system of the Haida Nation, near whose stormy shores on the B.C. coast an oil tanker would spell catastrophe. Or, like so many First Nations along the trail of the potential pipeline and across the country, who are struggling to win recognition of conservation agreements, of sustainable forestry, of the possibility of mixed economies, and of the principle that we must respect the environment that we are a part of.

They see climate change as a food security issue.

April Churchill, Vice President of the Haida Nation, said, “This Pacific Ocean has become 32% more acid. Do that in a garden, put that much extra acid in lettuce patch and you will see what happens. No one is an island into themselves.”

One billion people of the seven billion people on earth go hungry. According to the UN, food supply needs to double by 2050 to feed those who are hungry now and to accommodate the projected population increase from 7 billion to 9.5 billion people. Meanwhile, one quarter of global food production could be lost by 2050 due to climate change.

According to NASA climate scientist James Hansen:

[E] xploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts. The tar sands are estimatedto contain at least 400 GtC (equivalent to about 200 ppm CO2). Easily available reserves of conventional oil and gas are enough to take atmospheric CO2 well above 400 ppm, which is unsafe for life on earth. However, if emissions from coal are phased out over the next few decades and if unconventional fossil fuels including tar sands are left in the ground, it is conceivable to stabilize earth’s climate.

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