While sailing on the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale, it is difficult to comprehend how anyone could want to threaten the beauty of this pristine coastline. This past Earth Day, Beyond Boarding was invited to screen Northern Grease at the Gibsons Heritage Playhouse as part of the Green Film Series. Scott Knowles and I are both members of Beyond Boarding and were fortunate to be the ones to do the screening.  

 Beyond Boarding is collective made up of snowboarders, surfers, activists, and artists who want to bring environmental awareness and positive change to our community. Northern Grease is one of our latest projects. After purchasing an old school bus and converting it to run on used vegetable oil, Northern Grease tells the story of Tamo Campos, John Muirhead, and Jasper Snow Rosen’s journey in the bus around so-called British Columbia and Alberta where they learn about different industrial projects that are threatening this land. I was excited to go to the Sunshine Coast and to share the stories of not only the communities that are being directly affected by these projects, but also the stories of those directly resisting them. What I did not realize is that I would receive so much in return.

After arriving in Langdale, Scott and I were greeted and picked up by Ross Muirhead, the father of one of the guys who was in Northern Grease. Immediately, I notice that is car ran on used vegetable oil, just like his son’s school bus. After a beautiful drive along the coast, we arrived at his home. Ross’ family live in cooperative housing, which is phrase I had heard a lot about, but had never seen for myself.  I am ashamed to say that I live in a townhouse complex where I know at most three households out of the forty. It is such a wonderful concept to have a community of people of different demographics actively living together and sharing food, work, and skills. In my neighbourhood, no one takes the time to chat and it seems as if the only thing we are sharing are the walls.

After a day of lounging in the warm sun, watching porpoises and napping, we went to the Gibsons Heritage Playhouse for the screening. Bev and Bille of the Green Film Series created such a warm and welcoming atmosphere and we were greeted by almost everyone who attended. After the screening, we had a question period where both Scott and I were blown away by the amount of engagement and passion coming from everyone in the theatre. Real people caring about real issues. The question period lead to many great and thought provoking conversations that continued over beers once we left the theatre. 

 Our time on the Sunshine Coast was short, but definitely not forgettable. Driving used vegetable powered cars, living together, sharing knowledge, valuing community, learning from each other, having conversations, admiring nature, and taking action is what is going to change our society. Seeing how the community we met on the Sunshine Coast is doing that is my motivation for continuing to fight the battles against industrial projects and to keep this coastline clean and beautiful.