Environmentalists have been taking swipes at Enbridge, over its controversial Northern Gateway pipeline, for months. But this time, a Vancouver filmmaker and a B.C. anti-supertanker campaign are the ones dealing punishing blows to the company.
They’re getting major attention after posting a heartfelt video, showing sites along the route for Enbridge’s proposed pipeline. The video is called “This is not an Enbridge animation”. It’s in response to an erroneous animation by the energy giant showing a tanker traveling an open channel. The problem is this channel is actually full of several smaller islands. And Enbridge has come under fire for not showing any of those in its video.
Strikingly different to Enbridge’s computer animation, the ‘not Enbridge’ video features beautiful lakes, a waterfall and magnificent coastlines. At the end, it urges viewers to sign an online anti-tanker petition organized by the Dogwood Initiative.
Emma Gilchrist is Dogwood’s communications director. She told HuffPost B.C. that since the video was posted on Sunday, the B.C. campaign has collected nearly 2,500 new signatures: “I think it really struck the right tone with people. It wasn’t aggressive, it was just showing people what really is at risk in British Columbia and leaving them to make up their minds about it. Obviously a lot of them decided they were going to join the ‘No Tanker’ side”.
The video has hit 21,000 views in less than three days. Its filmmaker, Dave Shortt, told HuffPost B.C. that he has a strong personal opposition to the Enbridge pipeline: “I think a lot of people are pretty frustrated, they don’t feel like they’re having their voices heard. I felt this was an opportunity for me to use my skills and do something good.”
HuffPost reports that Shortt initially planned to make a five-to-10 minute video documenting the various locations where the Northern Gateway pipeline would be located. He found an Enbridge-sponsored map of the pipeline’s route and then set about scouting locations, having to bushwhack just to get to some sites that weren’t accessible by road.
While on the trip he learned about Enbridge’s island-less ad and immediately changed the focus of his film.
Shortt also told HuffPost that he filmed for 10 “very intense, challenging days” that included hiking over cliffs and swamps just to get the right shots, carrying a dolly and a camera with him all the way along.
Once finished, he contacted the Dogwood Initiative and asked whether he could link to their petition. The group agreed.
Meanwhile, Enbridge has defended its pipeline route animation. In a blog, the company wrote:
“Our pipeline route animations were never meant to provide you with information about our proposed marine operations, the Douglas Channel or the B.C. coast. In the animated pipeline route flyover video we provided the following disclaimer: “The animation is for illustrative purposes only. It is meant to be broadly representational, not to scale.”
The Dogwood petition claims that “some of the most powerful oil companies in the world” are looking to bring “supertankers” to B.C.’s coast. The petition also claims that those tankers would “jeopardize the livelihoods of tens of thousands of British Columbians and the stability of the Great Bear Rainforest and southern Gulf Islands in the name of profit.”
The petition has collected about 130,000 signatures so far.