BEYOND BOARDING’S 2014 DECLARATION
Act now on Climate Change Beyond Boarding was born out of the idea that we didn’t have to leave the snowboard community to jump into social and environmental activism. Our identity as “snowboarders” and “everyday youth” has given our projects a level of relatability. Even with our values, interests and visions constantly changing our story of being a bunch of snowboarders and close friends gives an approachable story.
On our first ever project we saw the raw destruction that Climate Change is creating in the Global South. Getting to know a community in the Peruvian Amazon that is suffering from worsening floods every single year from melting snow in the Andes has a way of putting climate change in perspective. People are being displaces and dying while as youth it is the existential crisis our time. The time to act is now.
Promote System Change not Consumer Change No one in the midst of the anti-slavery or civil rights movement said that boycotting cotton shirts and eating organic would create change. Yet after decades of consumerism we’ve been socialized to see change only coming from consumer choices.
During the first parts of Northern Grease we promoted recycling and picking up garbage. After traveling across the province we realized that these personal choice glorified by the media aren’t going to create change when our province is pushing for an LNG industry, 13 pipelines, mines across the Sacred headwaters, Oil pipelines from the Tar Sands and fish farming. A trend of aiding corporate profits over the health of communities and the environment that supports them.
At Beyond Boarding we’ve always promoted being an active citizen. If we see the world as consumers then we only have one action. (Consume or not consume) when we see ourselves as citizens actively fighting for a just world we can; vote, not vote, campaign, organize, take action, break unjust laws etc. As a collective we need to push people to be citizens and not play into consumer green washing.
Promote a diversity of tactics. Education, outreach and action could define Beyond Boarding’s activism strategies the past three years. Whether it’s standing in front of classrooms packed with students, making documentaries or spending time on the frontlines of blockades and rallies, our collective has actively taken a role in creating change.
Understand privilege and use BB as a platform for other voices to be heard.
Make clear that although the snowboarding community is being directly affected by climate change it is in no way on the front lines. We're a very privileged community that spends lots of time outdoors which can in turn engage us to see the bigger picture; that climate change is creating social and global effects that disproportionately affect the global south, low-income families and marginalized communities of colour. This doesn't mean we have to stop snowboarding but it does mean that we have to use Beyond Boarding projects, films, actions and events as platforms to give space, promote and prioritize the voices of those most affected.
Support the fight for indigenous sovereignty and self-determination.
One of the most fortunate experiences of our Beyond Boarding projects has been building relationships with indigenous communities across so called BC. From the Northern Grease Trip to Cycle to the Sacred, our projects have allowed us an entry point into getting to know some of the most powerful indigenous land defenders of our time. Their lineages go back thousands of years as true stewards of these lands. Our time in these communities have taught us of the dark history of Canada. That Canada was built on the backs of indigenous people and the dispossession of their territories. That this land theft and continued genocidal assimilation of their cultures is one of the deepest injustices on the lands we grew up on and one that we’ve inevitably benefited from as settlers(those that came to Canada to settle and immigrate on stolen lands). These relationships we’ve built with these resistance groups comes with a responsibility to tell the true story of Canada and to support the fight for these communities to have self determination and ownership over their occupied territories
Promote system change solutions
That System change means solutions as much as it means taking the system down.
By promoting systemic solutions to big problems like community owned renewable energy, affordable green transit, redistribution of agricultural land from big agro to sustainable small scale organic farming, and the right for indigenous communities to say no to industrial extraction on their territories.By promoting larger solutions such as these and many more we’ll be promoting the vision of the world we want to see.
Understand that the injustices we fight are rooted in capitalism and colonialism.
That if we don’t start fighting the roots of our problems we’re going to lose. As David Suzuki explains “the environmental movement since the 60’s has always concentrated too much on individual projects rather than the roots of them”. So what are the roots of many of the social and environmental injustices of the 21st century.
Capitalism is an economic system that promotes infinite growth on a finite planet. This unsustainable economic system creates poverty, exploitation for the sake of profit and over the past hundred years has been put above our ecological systems of the planet. As important as it to fight “Enbridge” or “Kinder Morgan” pipelines our projects should acknowledge that these projects are simply a continuation of capitalist projects and that we have to organize in an anti-capitalist manner.
Another main driving force is colonization. That many of the environmental and social injustice we see stems from discrimination, domination, and violence that are inherit in a colonial occupation and expansion. This is the case of Canada and nations across the world.
Capitalism and colonialism are at the roots of what is killing our planet and the health of our communities and it’s vital we organize in a decolonized and anti-capitalist worldview.
Continue to strive for an anti oppressive projects and organizing space.
We’ve learnt first hand how we can bring in oppressive behavior without noticing it. In our first films we featured only the men in the film and left the women out of the development of the film when they had fully supported, fundraised and planned the project. This patriarchy is but one of many oppressive behaviors that we are actively trying to work out of our projects and organizing a space. That although discrimination may rise up it’s important that we work through it and strive to eliminate all forms of oppression and discrimination including, but not limited to, racism patriarchy, white supremacy, classism, disableism, ageism, homophobia and transphobia.
Support each other.
That at the end of the day everyone makes mistakes, gets down about the state of the world or needs a pick-me-up. Supporting each other and the friendships that have grown out of this Beyond Boarding project is key.
It’s about getting shit done while realizing that justice is an intergenerational struggle and we should be supporting each other to allow this group to operate for the long run J