Monthly Archives: October 2013


A short series of my poems has appeared in the October issue of SOL: English Writing in Mexico. This issue (as always) is filled with beautiful poetry, fiction and non-fiction, and I encourage you to read it through with a cup of tea in hand!

20 films and short videos about tankers and pipelines

I read an email today letting people know that one of my favourite tanker-and-pipeline films is newly available to stream for free online.

Frank Wolf unofficially debuted “On the Line” in Bella Bella in May 2010 when we hosted an arts event called the Gathering Coastal Voices Festival. We had an amazing lineup of speakers, art exhibitions, live music, incredible seafood, and a multi-venue film festival to raise awareness about the threats posed by the Enbridge pipeline and increased tanker traffic on the coast.

Three and a half years later, there’s an impressive array of artistic protest and multimedia storytelling to voice our opposition. Thinking back to Gathering Coastal Voices made me realize just how diverse that list would be. So I thought I’d share some of my favourites!

In no particular order,

1. Groundswell: A Small Film about Making a Big Stand. We all have a responsibility to advocate for the places we love, and those marine mammals who have a voice – crazy surfers included – have a unique opportunity to be a voice for the marine mammals that can’t speak for themselves.

You can watch the trailer here, or stream/download the full film here (all proceeds support Raincoast Conservation Foundation).

2. Black Wave: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez. The first time I watched this film, I wept. And the first time I heard Dr. Ricki Ott speak in person, I felt empowered by the knowledge that the survivors of this disaster are fighting at our side to help prevent this from happening on the BC coast.

You can watch a clip or buy the DVD here.

3. On the Line. We hear a lot about the proposed pipeline route, the hazards, the streams it crosses. See it for yourself through the eyes of two amazingly spirited men who traversed the 2,400 km. on foot, by bicycle, and by watercraft.

You can stream it for free here, and find a link to their TEDx talk about the project.

4. Stand and StandUp4GreatBear. When Norm Hann traveled the length of the proposed tanker route on his stand-up paddleboard, his arrival in Bella Bella inspired our youth so much that two woodshop classes at our local high school made their own wooden SUPs. These two films tell a pretty incredible story.

You can watch the Stand trailer here and purchase the DVD, and watch StandUp4GreatBear here.

5. Petropolis. It’s hard to understand how overwhelmingly huge and devastated the Tar Sands in Northern Alberta really are. Greenpeace gives you a window in with Petropolis. Short of being there for yourself and feeling the grit in your teeth (which I don’t recommend), this film can at least give you an aerial view that brings the visuals home in a very visceral way.

You can watch the trailer here, or learn more about the film here.

6. Reflections: Art for an Oil-free Coast. In the summer of 2012, Raincoast Conservation Foundation brought 50 incredible BC artists into the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest to capture some of the magic of this place. I was privileged to meet them and spend time with them, and contribute to the book project that came out of the trips. Watch Reflections and see the deep connections between art and politics; there is beauty in dissent.

You can watch Reflections online here, and learn more about the book here.

7. SpOil, Oil in Eden, Cetaceans of the Great Bear Rainforest and Tipping Barrels. This quartet from Pacific Wild looks at Enbridge Northern Gateway from a variety of angles. SpOil looks at the pipelines and tankers through the lens (no pun intended) of world-class photographers, while Oil in Eden gives a powerful bird’s eye view. Cetaceans of the GBR is an engaging animation I’ve often used in school presentations that explores potential impacts on marine mammals. And Tipping Barrels is another view from the surfboard.

See them all for free! You can watch SpOil here, watch Oil in Eden here, watch Cetaceans of the GBR here and watch Tipping Barrels here.

8. From Tar Sands to Tankers: The Battle to Stop Enbridge. This is another good bird’s eye view of the issue. It’ll give you some quick insight into the project, its potential ramifications, and the First Nations and environmental opposition.

You can watch it online here.

9. Your Voice, Our Future. First Nations opposition to Enbridge Northern Gateway has been monumental. But not many of the films available to date are told in a strong First Nations voice from a deep, rich cultural perspective. Gaiasixa to the Wet’suwet’en for bringing that to the forefront with this film. It will move you.

You can watch it online here.

10. BC’s Huge Gamble. This is another great short piece on Northern Gateway, this one by Corey Ogilvie. It opens with a quote from Emily Carr: “There are no words, no paints to express all this, only a beautiful dumbness in the soul, life speaking to life.” Anyone’s who’s been to the coast will know that the majesty Carr points to in this quote absolutely lives here in the GBR.

You can watch it online here.

11. The Collected Works of Deep Rogue Ram. If the above pieces have worn you out (or worn you down), or if you simply don’t have time to watch a full documentary or short film, Deep Rogue Ram has lots of incisive and incredibly funny things you ought to watch. You can check out their whole Youtube channel here, but these are some of my favourites:

Janet and the Orca, an animated Dan Murphy spoof based on a leaked TV script for a canceled Enbridge ad.

Building a Butter Pipeline, for anyone nauseated by the new “Open to Better” TV ads Enbridge is running right now.

LaMar’s Tar Sands Souvenir Stand!, because Canada is NOT just a place full of polar bears.

Call the Tar Sands Love Line, for anyone worried about fallow pipeline tubes.

Tar Sandz Pimpin’, because who doesn’t love rapping puppets?

and the ever-popular Weathergirl Goes Rogue, which is an entirely appropriate reaction to climate change in my books.

Now, I know I’ve missed a ton of great films and short videos, and I know there are also amazing poems, books, music, art, journalism and more that I haven’t even touched. Leave your favourites in the comments and I’ll happily share round-ups of other creative work in the future!