Sept 2015 Update: I am so excited to report the campaign blew past all its goals, raising over $600,000 in just over a year!

I don’t often post here about my personal passion projects, preferring to stay focused on content useful for digital and comms directors working in social change. But every now and then a cause comes across your desk that really captures your imagination, and Pull Together is that for me.

I spend part of each week advising dozens of tar sands and pipeline campaigns. It’s an exciting and dangerous campaign (our ENGO allies have been under constant and withering attack from not only wealthy industry but our own government) but I’m a climate guy and once you see the math on what our world looks like if we go after all this dirty oil it’s hard to turn away. In this role I’ve helped organize protests, launched lots of websites, videos and graphics, and supported hundreds of campaigns.

Though we’ve now got industry on the run (with two giant tar sands mines being cancelled already this year due to lack of pipeline capacity), you can’t always be sure the impact of your efforts. Then along comes something like this.

The Northern Gateway pipeline is the most despised project in a generation on the West Coast, and its united people from across political and generational lines in British Columbia and beyond. Canada’s oil mad Prime Minister Harper and Enbridge are not giving up, they plan to wait and divide and spend the opposition out.

But Canada now has one of the most progressive legal frameworks for First Nations in the world, and it keeps getting strengthened. Over 100 First Nations have banned tar sands pipelines and tankers on their lands, and they have vowed – from the deepest part of their beings – to do whatever it takes to succeed. Since our far-right government has dismantled essentially every environmental law in the country, First Nations rights are the only line of defence we have left. Pull Together event at Peace Arch

There are 8 court challenges to stop Northern Gateway in the courts, and 5 of them are filed by First Nations. Most are from small remote communities – some of them don’t even have power – and they need help to pay for their legal battles (which they are doing on behalf of all of us).

The Pull-Together campaign was created by grassroots leaders in BC’s North, and is housed at two small but trusted BC environmental organizations who I’ve worked with extensively. I was so inspired by this campaign I am donating $15K of my professional time and cash to help co-create and lead it. And from a standing start and only a few months in, we’re well on our way to success with a matching donor and over $100,000 raised!

In a future post – once we hit our $250,000 target – I’ll write more about the structure of the campaign, from the people-empowered campaign design, to the digital storytelling, to the online “friendraising” tools we’re employing for network growth. For now, if you’ve ever been to BC’s stunning coast and want to protect it – and our climate – from one of the dumbest industrial projects in history, please consider donating to my personal fundraising page.

Because it’s not just about saying no to something we don’t want. It’s about saying yes to something even more powerful.