Students and faculty march in protest of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

The march was organized by health science professor as part of climate change education

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A large group of students standing outside with protest signs reading “STOP TMX”
Initially meant to be an extracurricular activity for a health science class, the march garnered campus-wide attention and attracted many supporters. Tim Takaro / PPST

By: Yelin Gemma Lee, News Writer

On December 7, 2021, approximately 150 people marched down Burnaby Mountain in protest of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX), according to Burnaby Beacon

An announcement regarding this event was posted on Protect the Planet Stop TMX’s (PPST) Facebook page. It details the route starting from SFU Convocation Mall in front of W.A.C. Bennett Library and ending at the Trans Mountain Burnaby Terminal at Shellmont Street and Greystone Drive. 

According to PPST, SFU health sciences professor Dr. Kate Tairyan organized this event with the original intention of making it an extracurricular activity for first year students in her foundations of health science class. It quickly gained campus-wide attention and was supported by SFU students, faculty, community members, and activist groups. Many of the protesters included SFU students and faculty, including Tairyan and PPST activist Dr. Tim Takaro.

“Many students are shocked to learn that the Burnaby Terminal with its massive tanks of flammable petroleum products sits so close to our campus, let alone that it’s intended to be doubled in size,” said Tairyan in a press release posted by PPST. 

“While studying the impact of climate change on health, I believe in creating opportunities for students to learn about what is happening in their community right now and to actively demand the type of future they want to see.”

The press release stresses BC’s grave situation this past year with record deaths caused by numerous climate and health emergencies. It also states the Trudeau government is continuing to push forward TMX despite these natural warnings against building new fossil fuel infrastructure. 

Takaro referred to the activists involved in this march as “a spirited group” and commended their efforts to learn how to fight the system’s “bad policy,” Burnaby Beacon reported. Takaro had been extracted and arrested from the treetops of Stoney Creek tree sit a little over a week prior to the event.

Trans Mountain stated its facilities meet high safety standards and have not had a tank farm fire incident occur in the last 65 years of operation.

This event was also backed by Burnaby Climate Hub, Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion, Climate Convergence, Hummingbird Coordination, SFU350, and Stand.Earth. To keep up to date on anti-TMX events, check out PPST’s website and their Facebook page.