Why I engaged in civil disobedience at Kinder Morgan (now Trans Mountain)

I engaged in peaceful civil disobedience at the gates of the Kinder Morgan (now Trans Mountain) oil facility because I believe that confronting the harm of fossil fuels is the most important question of our generation.

I often wake in fear about what is happening to our planet, and I want to be able to tell my children and grandchildren (if I’m blessed to have them ) that I did everything I could to protect them from the ravaging effects of climate change.

I grew up near Horseshoe Bay, where I swam in the salt water bays of the Salish Sea all summer long. This childhood was a gift. I grew up inside this coast – its rain, salmon, whales, barnacles, starfish –and its dark and mysterious forests. My parents taught me to feel a sense of reverence entering an old growth forest, or motoring at dusk across Howe Sound in my father’s wooden boat. Day by day they were teaching me to appreciate the beauty that surrounded me.

As a child I didn’t know I was swimming in waters that had belonged for 30,000 years to the Coast Salish people. But I know this now, and this deepens my sense of reverence, and my obligation to listen to their voices.  I feel I have a sacred duty to protect what gives me joy, and which fosters my soul so deeply, and which is, ultimately, a land I have lived on only recently, compared to the Tsleil Waututh, Musqueam and Squamish.

As a writer, my inspiration comes from the well-spring that is our coast, and I cannot turn from it when it is endangered.

I have a deep respect for the law and for Canada’s legal system, and I am a law-abiding citizen and I fully accept the consequences of my actions and the sentencing. However, in this matter I have felt — as have so many others with whom I’m proud to stand today — that I must answer to a higher moral law. It comes from the tides and the rain, from deep within this place I call home. It comes from within my heart.  And it tells me to act for future generations, for the animals and wild things I love. To act for life itself.

Shaena and daughter arrested for crossing the police barrier at the Kinder Morgan (now Trans Mountain) pipeline facility