When I got back home after the tar sands Healing Walk last month, I had the strange sensation of being both exhausted and invigorated.
Participating in the Healing Walk was an experience unlike any other that I've had. My colleagues Adam and Sabrina were also profoundly moved by the Healing Walk. We wanted to give you a taste of what the Healing Walk was like for each of us. So we made video blogs for you during the Healing Walk. Check out Adam's video blog, Sabrina's video blog and my video blog.
Back to how I felt after the walk was over, I was exhausted from a walk that felt much longer than the 14 kilometres that it was. I was exhausted from the emotional weight carried by the elders and communities who are impacted by the tar sands every day of their lives. And I was exhausted from coming to terms with the scale of the tar sands projects and how fast they are growing.
But I also brought home a sense of hope and a spirit of optimism. I was inspired by the courage local communities are showing through their opposition to some of the largest and richest corporations on the planet. To witness the peaceful and unwavering determination of our First Nations and Métis hosts changed the way I will see our struggle for a clean energy future forever.
As hundreds of us walked slowly around tailings pits and refineries, our movement grew. We grew in strength, in solidarity and in understanding. We felt with every breath why a clean and renewable energy future is the only path forward if we want to protect the climate, the air, the water, the ecosystems, the economy, and each other.
We were also reminded of the tedious position of the workers in the tar sands - many of whom only see their families every few weeks after travelling long distances and who would jump at a chance for a good job in a place with clean air, closer to home. We need to build those jobs so that workers no longer need to make the difficult choice to move thousands of kilometers from home in order to support their families.
At the Healing Walk, the elders at the front of the walk held a banner that bore the message: Stop the Destruction, Start the Healing. It's time to build a future that we can all be proud of and I'm more inspired than ever to be a part of that.
If you haven't already, take a few minutes to watch this mini-documentary about the Healing Walk.
For the truth about the tar sands visit: www.tarsandsrealitycheck.ca
Follow Hannah McKinnon on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mckinnon_hannah