My heart was breaking for the river. My heart was breaking for every bird, animal, fish and bug that was suffering. I was angry to learn that our provincial government pulled the funding to monitor pipelines one month before the spill and I was angry that the pipeline was leaking for 14 hours before anything was done. What can I do? Cry. Post a few things on Facebook voicing my concern. Write this blog. What I wanted to do is march up to our leaders door and tell them that NO, this is not acceptable. Instead I was heading to northern Manitoba to play at a festival with Rosie & the Riveters. I felt better to know that there were others who felt the same way I did, who were rallying at the Provincial Legislature. I asked the girls if we could perform the song Le Grand Gosier at our performance that weekend. The song paints a picture of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In Louisianna French, the translation is: “The sky is red, the sea is black, the great pelican is covered in oil. You would have to be there to see it with your own eyes to realize the devastation.” We performed the song with a dedication to the North Saskatchewan River. Perhaps the oil spill in Saskatchewan is small compared to others, but if this is considered acceptable pollution of our home to those in power, I wonder how far will they let it go before it’s too late? Will there be anything left for our children and grandchildren?
In Rosie & the Riveters we choose songs that are meaningful, bring joy, but also have important messages such as environmental issues. Well, Well, Well, a song by Bob Dylan, After the Gold Rush by Neil Young, Le Grand Gosier by Rocky McKeon, and Watching the Water Rise written by us, are all part of our repertoire. The songs all deliver a message of a warning that if we continue down this path of destruction and greed, there will be nothing left. Singing these songs is our way of reaching out and spreading the message of environmentalism.
Our water systems are all connected. Saskatchewan has over 100,000 lakes and rivers and streams. Fresh water is being polluted and depleted at an alarming rate. Everything you put down your drain ends up in our water system. You can help in so many ways. One is switching to biodegradable eco friendly soaps and shampoos, free of phosphates, sulphates, parabens, and microbeads, if you haven’t already. You can say NO to pipelines and demand cleaner sources of energy such as wind and solar. We deserve better. Take a look at all the countries who are leading the way.
I know sometimes it’s easier to not think about it. Avoiding the news, because it’s depressing. However there comes a time when a person realizes no one else is going to stand up and make these changes for you. For me, its like I’m screaming inside and I can no longer hold it in. I will outwardly speak my mind, I will stand up for Mother Earth, I will not tolerate it’s destruction.
In August 2016 we celebrate the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote in Saskatchewan. Do you think those women got us there by sitting silently waiting for something to happen? No! They fought for that right, and worked hard against those in power to make it happen. Let’s break the silence and follow in their footsteps. We are not helpless.