The Delta was hosting the Atlantic Energy Conference, an industry and government-led meeting with a 1700$ admission. Our Energy for Everyone summit was organized with a different message: “Fracked gas, tar sands pipelines and nuclear energy aren’t the future—they’re the past. The Atlantic Energy Summit promotes this extreme energy to industry insiders. Energy for Everyone brings people together to learn and organize for the sustainable Atlantic energy future we deserve.
Sponsored by: The Council of Canadians, Common Causes Saint John, CCNBAction, and Atlantic Canada Sustainable Energy Coalition”
Our summit in Saint John NB started off with the public panel discussion at the beautiful Lily Lake Pavilion. Maude Barlow and Leo Broderick, who facilitated the event, immediately expressed our solidarity with the folks in Kent County, fighting to protect the water, land, air from seismic and shale gas/fracking, which received a big applause from the crowd of about 150 (of which around 50 were university students).
Alma Brooks, a member of the Maliseet Grand Council spoke about the importance of protecting Mother Earth to her and all indigenous peoples, and to the strength of the peoples in Kent County who are currently standing up to SWN to stop their seismic testing from going ahead. Maude spoke to our opposition to the Energy East pipeline, questioning how these companies think they can get away with the pipeline out east when the people of BC and the United States won’t stand for it. Catherine Abreu (Regional Coordinator with the Atlantic Canada Sustainable Energy Coalition) rounded the evening out with a look at couple of sustainable alternatives to get us headed in the right direction, including an Atlantic Energy pool.
Many events took place the following day, starting with workshops on Energy East, Shale gas / fracking, and a Green alternative vision for energy in the region. Presentations and discussions were engaging and hopeful, focused and resolved that there is another way for the Atlantic to have a sustainable local energy economy that does not rely on extractive resources.
During the workshops, Maude, Catherine and Chief Akagi spoke at a media conference. Several outlets attended but also did interviews throughout the summit. Media coverage was great! CBC, Radio-Canada, CTV, Global, three articles in the Telegraph-Journal, and several others; we were really pleased that the media was interested in providing alternative messages to the industry conference to their audience.
A march and rally followed lunch, taking us from the church of St. Andrew and St. Paul downtown to the Delta hotel area, where we stopped and heard Maude and also David Coon speak, and then on to King’s Square. At the bandstand, we heard from a group of students from Mount Allison University, Sarah LaChance from Kennebunkport Maine, and Chief Hugh Akagi (of the Passamaquoddy First Nation). Musical interlude provided by Keith Facey, who had fashioned a couple of well know songs with new, anti-fracking and pipeline lyrics. Special guest appearance by the Fredericton chapter’s Frack Fries.
The strategy session was great and although it was a long day, participants had lots of great ideas for how to build opposition to the pipeline in the province, and countering the jobs and economy arguments will be key in New Brunswick.
CCNB-Action planned a film screening Thursday evening and workshops throughout the Friday as well, and although I was not able to stay and participate, I heard they were great! Kudos to Sharon Murphy and those who helped organize!
For more information or follow-up, contact myself or Andrea Harden-Donahue (Energy and climate campaigner)! Huge thanks to Leticia and the Saint John chapter for all of their help pulling these events together!!