Kinder Morgan expansion: a plea for personal action

Simon Fraser University is a progressive academic think-tank of 30,000 students and 6,500 faculty and staff, with a handful of critical departments who pride themselves on breeding socially responsible citizens.

   However, SFU seems to be allowing Kinder Morgan to expand its pipeline infrastructure through Burnaby Mountain, SFU’s home. Please take a minute to understand the grim irony in this situation.

From my experience at SFU, many students, faculty and university representatives are opposed to any kind of pipeline expansion. So, now that there is a pipeline of crude black gold — the currency of corporate rule — soon to be built right under our feet, we should do something about it.

Many of us will do what we have been taught: try to understand why this is happening by raising critical questions about all stakeholders involved. Why does a corporation have power over the municipal governmental body and the university? If Derek Corrigan, Burnaby’s mayor, really does not support the pipeline expansion, it’s odd that he’s simply supervising the Kinder Morgan worksite and only intervening if bylaws are broken.

Where are the municipal outreaches and community initiatives to work together to stop the pipeline expansion? Where is the response from SFU’s political and legislative bodies? Why are local media outlets reporting the story as a clash between the municipality and Kinder Morgan, when the approval of the pipeline expansion  already sounds the municipality’s downfall?

But before we propose questions that shift responsibility into the hands of others, perhaps those of us who do not support the pipeline expansion should look into the level of personal responsibility we have invested in the cause.

As SFU students who don’t want to see an oil pipeline [on campus], we are powerful stakeholders.

It’s important to understand that natural resource commodification, corporate takeover, and government legislation at all levels have resulted in blunders in the past.

If we do not want to see a pipeline built under our feet on Burnaby Mountain, we need to recognize the conditions that have manifested around us over time. We must take some level of responsibility to push the transition to our future into conditions that are more equitable than the ones we live in today.

Every day at SFU, I see a large populace of students who have no sense of certainty behind their values and self-proclaimed moral codes, but I also see a portion of individuals who are grounded in their beliefs and passionate about a cause.

So where is this passion on a pragmatic level? If you take a strong oppositional stance on the pipeline expansion, maybe you should also take a few minutes to reflect on how much responsibility you’ve taken to change the conditions, and how you can take leadership to create positive change.

As students of SFU who do not want to see an oil pipeline go through the land upon which our education is built, we are powerful stakeholders. As students of the university, we have access to a wide range of resources and networks, an open space for collaboration, and a large portion of forward-thinking individuals who already stand against the project. Whatever cause you believe in that has led you to oppose this pipeline expansion, it connects you with a range of other individuals whose passions have led them to take the same stance.

Yes, Kinder Morgan is looking to build a pipeline through Burnaby Mountain: what are you going to do about it?