A Failure of Reason

In British Columbia, opposition to Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline is fierce and runs deeper than any politician wants to admit. With people willing to put their lives on the line to prevent it, it is shaping up to be Canada’s biggest environmental battle ever—and one that the rest of the country barely knows anything about. For that reason, dozens of athletes, locals, and general caretakers and lovers of the land have undertaken, over the the past five years, to walk, run, hike, swim, kayak, raft, bike, sail, snowboard, surf and stand-up paddleboard the pipeline and tanker routes to bring awareness to the plight of this sensitive and unique area, a tumultuous but beautiful coastline of spirit bears, whales, hidden coves, mountains and vanishing temperate rainforest that is too precious to risk for short-term monetary gain that will benefit only a select few, mostly outside the province. And yet against all evidence against its viability or potential safety the project pluges ahead, spurred on by the federal conservative government and it oil & gas industry supporters. A complete failure of reason.

We had Feet Banks, founding and current editor of Mountain Life Coast Mountains investigate, interview and synthesize the efforts of this coterie of modern-day crusaders, and the tale he has woven is more than compelling. But seeing parallels between the efforts of these folks and author Joseph Campbell’s classical hero arc, he also had some fun with it.

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clockwise from top left: Ali Howard, Norm Hann, Frank Wolf, Kim Slater, Dmitri Gammer, Tamo Campos.

Wondering which heroes inspire the heroes, he asked the story’s protgonists who their favourite superheroes were:

Norm Hann: Spiderman. I think it was the cartoon. I remember waking up every Saturday, it was on at 7 a.m.. I was so fascinated by this guy. I wanted to write school reports about him and my mom would say something like, “No,you’re going to write about good decision making,” or whatever. Peter Parker, he was a regular guy but he was a hero. Anyone can do it.

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Dimitri Gammer: I was a Zorro fan. I would draw pictures of him all the time. My mom would send them off, you could get those mugs with your art on them. I think I still have a few.

John Olson: Silver Surfer. His world was destroyed and he was out protecting other worlds.

Kim Slater: I didn’t have any real superheroes growing up but these days I have been called ‘Kim Possible” in reference to that sarcastic crime-fighting Disney cartoon. So that’s cool.

Ali Howard: My hero was always my dad because he is an amazing man. He taught me how to swim and passed on his love of rivers.

Arno Kopecky: My favourite was Drizzt Do’Urden, the protagonist of R.A. Salvator’s Dark Elf Trilogy. He was a bad-ass dark elf who renounced his people’s evil ways and killed monsters in the dark caverns of the Forgotten Realms. Totally the master of his domain. I was also pretty hyped on Odysseus.

Frank Wolf: I was a big Spiderman fan. He had a sense of humour and always fought the good fight despite the odds and being constantly hassled by the money and power of the Man (J. Jonah Jameson, the police). It’s always better to fight the good fight and the bigger the odds against you, the better it feels when you win in the end.

Tamo Campos: Probably Spiderman, but I didn’t spend too much time on the potato couch… My parents just threw me outside.

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