Monthly Archives: March 2011

Chemical Valley and Beloved Community: A panel discussion

Experiences from around Sarnia-Lambton and Aamjiwnaang

Posted by Toban Black

Before and after a screening of the film Beloved Community, four panelists spoke about their relationships with the Sarnia-Lambton petro-chemical industries addressed in the film.  This event took place at the University of Western Ontario, in London.

You can listen to the recording here.

The chemical and fossil fuel industries in Sarnia and surrounding townships surround the Aamjiwnaang native reserve.  There are many different health and psychological impacts in the area.

The panelists

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Monster’s breath

Captured by Wilson Plain

Excessive Flaring at Suncor

7 a.m Mar 20/11

Photo by Wilson Plain

An environmental rap from M.C.S.

M.C.S. performed this rap at the Urban Nature Centre in Sarnia during a recent environmental justice arts event, where the Beehive Design Collective also gave a presentation.

The recording is posted here.

M.C.S. performing the rap in this recording

M.C.S. lives on Aamjiwnaang territory — inside of Sarnia-Lambton’s Chemical  Valley.  He is in the Warrior Society Rap group, he is the Chair of the Young People’s Council within Aamjiwnaang, and he also is part of the Aamjiwnaang Green Teens.

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Arts and environmental justice issues

That image is from a set of photos from a recent arts event in Sarnia.

At the event, photos from the Aamjiwnaang Green Teens also were displayed, and M.C.S. came in from Aamjiwnaang to deliver a couple of raps. Here is a Facebook video of his second rap.

The Beehive Design Collective also gave an interactive presentation. Here’s part of an announcement about the visit from the Beehive

The Beehive Design Collective will be coming to Sarnia to share their stories and art work. The local situation in Sarnia-Lambton will be connected with the coal industry, and with community responses from people who are trying to build a better future.

The presentation and discussion will revolve around the True Cost of Coal graphics, which will be linked up with local issues – http://www.beehivecollective.org/english/coal.htm

The 16 foot by 8 foot coal banner comes from discussions, story-tellings, and song-sharings that have taken place over two years, between the Beehive Collective and folks in Appalachia whose lives and livelihoods have been impacted by the coal industry. This story is about people and nature under attack, but it also is about the better world our communities are building and defending every day, in many ways. Continue reading

Responding to major releases from industry

From a recent article in The Observer

Seemingly, with every Chemical Valley mishap there comes a familiar pattern of action. Municipal officials call for a followup meeting with local industry to find out where the breakdown in the communication plan occurred, after public complaints pour in.

The latest occurred following a Feb. 24 incident at Imperial Oil when a power outage resulted in a release of hydrocarbons to the air and a leak of diesel fuel to the ground. One worker received first aid treatment and several others were evaluated as a precaution.

City police were inundated with phone calls from schools and day-care centres asking if staff and children should take shelter. And neighbouring companies sent their employees to voluntary shelters, despite assurances from Imperial there were no off -site impacts.

A day later, a minor propane leak at the BP Canada plant in Sarnia escalated into a vapour release, prompting the closure of Plank Road. Warning codes were issued and the sight of police cars and fire trucks at the plant alarmed a number of residents. Criticism followed that the company provided very little information about the incident.

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