Land Stewards Gathering
As the Albertan government continues encouraging some of the dirtiest industries, such as the Tar Sands or nuclear companies, in the world to invest in the province, especially rural people, farmers, and landowners in general violated in their rights. Several laws were passed during the last years to cut landowners' rights back, i.e. "Bill 19"; currently a new law, "Bill 36" is going to be forced through. Therefore, on May 30-31, 2009, a gathering of concerned landowners and organizers took place in the Forest Community Hall in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada).
Some two dozens of concerned people gathered to discuss current issues, possibilities to resist, and future networking. Several speakers informed about advances people in other areas made.
Topics were experiences, strategies, and goals of further activities. Some experts gave presentations about the criticized Bill 36, held media workshops and introduced in opportunities for municipal engagement. The gathering ended-up discussing passionately the next steps of creating a good network against governmental and industrial desires violating people's rights and destroying the environment.
A not inconsiderable media interest was shown by a number of journalists visiting the event, including radio and TV. The short-term news motivated some additional people to join the gathering spontaneously.
Topics discussed were the intrusions caused by the Tar Sands industry, that is the maybe dirties kind of oil extraction, waste deposits, and the nuclear industry's plans to construct new reactors.
The event was organized and funded by some environmental NGOs, as the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the Council of Canadians, the Rainforest Action Network, and the Alberta Environmental Network. The participants were mostly elder people of the Edmonton area - unlike the young organizers with NGO background.
Saturday, May 30th
9.00-12.00 am: Introductions, Sharing Stories
1.00-3.00 pm: Presentations from land stewards networks
- 1-2 pm: Northern Plains Resource Council (Geni Alderson)
- 2-3 pm: Coal River Mountain Watch (Hillary Hosta)
3.00-4.00 pm: Discussion "Bill 19 - What Next?"
4.15-5.30 pm: Presentation and Discussion on Bill 36 (Jason Unger, Environmental Law Center)
Sunday, May 31th
9.00-11.45 am: Workshop "Media Skills" (Mike, Denise) 12.00-1.00 pm: Presentation and Discussion "Municipal Engagement" (Oscar Steiner) 1.30-4.00 pm: Discussion: Joint Projects, Responsibilities, Possibilities 4.10-5.00 pm: Next Steps, Conclusions
Bill 19 - What Next?
After a short introduction to Bill 19, groups were broke out to discuss two questions:
- What are some things we liked about how resistance to Bill 19 was organized?
- What are some things we would like to see in the future around issues like this?
What did we like?
- This Bill was more public
- The rally happened!
- There was a public out cry!
- Urban folk connecting to land rights/access issue
- Urban folks appreciating farmers!
What would we like to see?
- An easy to access website to get information on legislation; criticism; actions to support.
- Better media coverage
- Connecting with other regions to better work hearings.
- More preparation with public demonstration (elected leaders to direct the group)
- Better promotion of info events.
- More youth involvement
- More support by allied groups.
What we liked?
- more coverage via email than any other issue. 8-10 diff. sources (list-serves).
- once the ball got out of gov't hands, they had to play catch-up.
- it went into areas that were most affected.
- that people are getting their voice back.
- starting to see allies from different places.
- how all the diverse orgs. came together.
- brought or started to bring rural & urban groups together.
- starting to open people's eyes.
What we would like to see?
- get more student groups involved. (high school/university)
- disconnect b/n rural =|= urban centres.
- more coalition-building in opposition to gov't.
- -> this needs to be sensitive in certain rural communities.
- getting out facts = more knowledge = better decisions.
- using democratic ways to show democracy in information meetings.
- overload the systems (-> PRAM JAM (baby buggy bog down)) =|= officials you have access to.
- writing letters to ministers.
- going to MLAs offices to talk.
What we liked
- succeeded in getting amendments.
- using riding assoc. to wield power with MLAs.
- ability to work to tw. urban + rural.
What we want to see
- better communication.
- faster discrimination of info.
- using existing networks to carry out plans.
- revolution from the inside:)
- more urban issues/expression of resistance.
What we liked?
- Joe's presentation/whistle blowing
- presentation/knowledge of bill
- calling different grps to set-up info sessions
- mtg at legislature
- media attention
- PC's revealed arrogance
What are want to see in the future?
- more outreach to large rural grps (legislature)
- outreach to MD's/town and councellors regarding getting support for our positions
- doing an ally analysis -> who are our friends? what are the interests of others? that don't support us?
- how do we actually translate anger into change?
- better use rural media
- ABC? -> frozen horse #*!**
- perhaps join the party (trojan horse) embarrass them / Nominating
- wild rose
Media Skills Workshop
- What Makes News
- Controversy and corruption
- Interesting visuals
- Success stories
- Disaster stories / tragedy
- Something already in the news
- Stories about ppl who are underprivileged
- Dangers to society
- Political events / stories
- Large gathering
- New messages, voices, info
- Anniversaries of events.
- Using humor
- Established Channels
- letters to the editor
- call in's
- editorial boards -> experts are key
- Media tracking
- who are the reporters covering your issue?
- personal interest stories
- google alerts - web stories
- Making your own news
- press conferences
- media timeline
- media advisory
- media release
- pitch calls
- sound bites
Good Events: things to consider
- Timing: T-Th / 10am-2pm
- Length: 15-45 mins
- media greeter - get cards/presskit
- reinforce message
- everything convey message
- Fun: have it.
Some posters invited to add comments to certain questions.
These Are the Ressources & Tools We Have Available...
- Alberta Surface Rights Associations
- Alberta Environmental Network
- Media Publications [Western Producer etc.]
- trainings on public speaking / media messaging.
- June 4th - EPCOR CCS Open House.
- Alberta Election in 2012
- Municipal Elections 2010
- Public Hearings on Bill 36
- Bill 19 - @ Royal Assent.
- Crafting an alternative Energy/Econ Plan
Common Problems / Challenges We Are Facing
- Getting Media
- Public Awareness of our issue
- Sharing information
- unresponsive regulatory agencies