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They Tore Down the Wall, We Can Stop the Pipelines


Sierra Club

November 10, 2014

Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. When I still lived in Berlin, my favourite November 9th activity was to go to the bridge where the Wall was first breached in 1989 - the Boesebruecke. I’d sit on the cold damp concrete of the bridge, pop the cork on a mini-bottle sekt (similar to champagne) and just wonder what it was like to be there that night.

In recent years, I have become more curious about how East Germans brought down the Wall and how I can apply those lessons to my own efforts to stop the tar sands. But even after telling the ‘Fall of the Wall’ story for five years as a Berlin tour guide, I still do not fully comprehend how and why it happened. I know the steps that led to the downfall of the Wall though.

With TransCanada applying two weeks ago to build the biggest tar sands pipeline in Canada (Energy East), I started to wonder if stopping the pipelines is our fall of the Wall.

Stopping the pipelines from Enbridge’s Northern Gateway and Line 9 projects, to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain project to Energy East will not by itself shut down the tar sands. But wouldn’t it be the beginning of the end for the industry if Canadians stop tar sands bitumen from reaching our west and east coasts?

Read more from Sierra Club's Derek Leahy, originally published on the Sierra Club Canada website (