Video: A Child’s Song About Tar Sands
June 25, 2012
Kid can sing. Video has hit almost 100,000 views.
It’s got a good beat and you can weep to it.
en-year-old Ta’Kaiya Blaney stood outside Enbridge Northern Gateway’s office on July 6, waiting for officials to grant her access to the building. She thought she could hand deliver an envelope containing an important message about the company’s pipeline construction. But the doors remained locked.
“I don’t know what they find so scary about me,” she said, as she was ushered off the property by security guards. “I just want them to hear what I have to say.”
The Sliammon First Nation youth put in a great effort learning about environmental issues and the pipeline in particular, and hoped to share her knowledge and carefully crafted words. Enbridge officials said they were unable to provide Ta’Kaiya space or time and failed to comment because the Vancouver office is staffed by a limited number of technical personnel. Their headquarters are located in Calgary.
So Ta’Kaiya stood outside, accompanied by three members of Greenpeace, her mother, and a number of reporters and sang her song “Shallow Waters.”
She co-wrote her song after learning of Enbridge’s bid to build twin 1,170 km pipelines to transport oil from the Alberta tar sands to British Columbia’s north coast. Like the proposedTransCanada Keystone XL pipeline that would connect the Canadian tar sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast, Enbridge’s Alberta-B.C. pipeline is widely opposed, largely because it would bring hundreds of oil supertankers a year to the Great Bear Rainforest – an ecologically significant region along a particularly dangerous route for tankers.
“Oil pipelines and tankers will give people jobs, but if there is an oil spill like the [BP spill] in the Gulf of Mexico, that will take other people’s jobs and the wildlife will die,” said Ta’Kaiya.
According to a Greenpeace website, “Twenty-two years after the Exxon Valdez tragedy, crude still coats Alaska’s shores. Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council estimates that 21,000 gallons of the 11 million gallons of crude oil that bled from the stranded tanker Exxon Valdez on the night of March 23, 1989 remain in the subsurface.”
And Dustin Johnson, a Tsimshian youth who works at the Sierra Club in Edmonton, says that the tankers that are proposed to transport tar sands crude from northern Alberta to the B.C. north coast are much larger than the Exxon Valdez. “If the tar sands pipelines are successfully built on the coast,” he said, “this would lead to at least 250 tankers per year navigating the intricate B.C. coastline – a risk the salmon- and ocean-dependent Northwest coast communities and economies cannot afford to make.”
10 year old Ta’Kaiya Blaney is Sliammon First Nation from B.C., Canada. Along with singing, songwriting, and acting, she is concerned about the environment, especially the preservation of marine and coastal wildlife. Shallow Waters was a semi-finalist in the 2010 David Suzuki Songwriting Contest, Playlist for the Planet. The song was recorded in studio by Audio Producer Joe Cruz. Footage from Vancouver, BC was filmed by Colter Ripley. Footage of the traditional ocean-going canoe from the Squamish Nation (Burrard Inlet, North Vancouver, BC) ; Ta’Kaiya in traditional cedar bark regalia (Tofino, BC); the Oil Refinery in Burrard Inlet; and the Vancouver Aquarium was filmed by Tina House. Additional footage contributed from Canada Greenpeace and Living Oceans Society. Lyrics on Drychum channel