The art of the protest can be a tricky thing to master. An effective one can help change the course of history, but a protest for protest’s sake might alienate the masses rather than bringing them together to support a common goal.
That was the problem with the farce that plodded its way from downtown Victoria to Island View Beach on Saturday. The march was allegedly to protest the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline but, in reality, it was more about people protesting because it’s fun to disrupt things for a day, and then convince yourself that you made a difference.
Don’t like pipelines? Then talk to the decision-makers. Don’t like climate change? Then become part of the solution.
Count the Saturday protest as a fail on both counts. In Greater Victoria, there is a good chance that many people have serious concerns about last week’s pipleine approval, and most would agree with the need for action on climate change. There is little they can do, however, while caught in a traffic jam.
The march caused major traffic tieups. In some cases, police stopped drivers or directed them to take long detours. On smaller roads, police left drivers to fend for themselves. Overall, the march resulted in the burning of more fossil fuels, making a mockery of the claims that organizers cared about the environment.
The marchers were accompanied by gas-powered vehicles, including a bus. One car stopped, idling, at Sayward Road so its occupants could chat with walkers. How did the marchers get back from Island View Beach? And so on. The march reeked of hypocrisy.
Climate change is a serious matter; it is not a stretch to say it is a matter of life and death. We need to take action now, and we need to convince those in power, around the world, that something must be done quickly.
Some of the changes are obvious. For example: Why don’t we stagger work times? Taking the edge off rush hours would reduce the time wasted idling.
And that brings us back to the Saturday nonsense, which also saw extra gasoline burned for no good reason.
We need answers and we need solutions. We should not expect to get them from those souls who are easily led.