Standing on High Ground

Standing on High Ground

Civil Disobedience on Burnaby Mountain

Edited by Rosemary Cornell, Adrienne Drobnies and Tim Bray


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So what am I doing to address the climate crisis? How far will I go to defend the earth? What price am I willing to pay for climate justice?

Since 2014, hundreds of people have been arrested while engaging in non-violent civil disobedience to protest the “TMX” Trans Mountain pipeline project. Standing on High Ground: Civil Disobedience on Burnaby Mountain includes twenty-five stories of people who put themselves on the line for climate justice. While some of those arrested were longtime activists, others felt compelled to act for the first time in their lives. Editors Rosemary Cornell, Adrienne Drobnies, and Tim Bray showcase the profiles of Indigenous leaders, academics, faith leaders, political leaders, engineers, artists and writers, scientists, physicians, and ordinary folk from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Their reflections on the protests and their arrests explore our moral duty to future generations, government’s collusion with corporate power, the violation of Indigenous Law, and unsustainable worldviews. Climate activists in protest movements such as the one against the TMX pipeline are critical in the existential fight for a sustainable future and habitable planet. They show us that we can all take a stand.


Preface How This Book Came to Be
Introduction and Background
Part 1 Resistance from Turtle Island

Jim Leyden, Watchman

April Thomas, Secwépemc Matriarch

Billie Pierre, Nlaka’pamux Land Defender
Part 2 Resistance from a place of spirit

Tama Ward, Storyteller and Educator

Hisao Ichikawa, Activist, Musician

Emilie Teresa Smith, Anglican Priest
Part 3 Resistance from a place of privilege

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada

Romilly Cavanaugh, Professional Engineer

Tim Bray, Software Engineer and Writer

Robert A. Hackett, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, SFU School of Communication

Robert Stowe, MD, Neurologist

Barbara Stowe, Writer
Part 4 Resistance from high in the trees: The Brunette River Six

Tim K. Takaro, MD, Public Health Researcher

William Winder, PhD. Emeritus Professor of French Linguistics

Zain Haq, Student Activist

Janette McIntosh, Presbyterian Elder and Educator

Ruth Walmsley, Quaker, Environmentalist

Catherine Hembling, Teacher, Unitarian, and Buddhist Practitioner
Part 5 Resistance through art

George Rammell, Sculptor

Tawahum Bige, Poet, Spoken Word Artist

Elan Ross Gibson, Actor

Earle Peach, Musician

Rita Wong, Poet, Professor, Social and Environmental Justice Supporter
Part 6 Resisters fighting for their future

Emily Kelsall, Storyteller

Maya Laframboise, Community Organizer
Appendix Reflections on Civil Disobedience in the Face of Environmental and Colonial Injustice
Acknowledgements and Thanks