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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Evangeline Lilly: I am Canadian. What are You?

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This is a guest post by Evangeline Lilly, Canadian actress, DeSmog Canada, February 12, 2013
For those of you who don’t know me, I am a Canadian actress who has been living abroad in Hawaii for the past ten years. I have been involved in such well-known projects as the television series “Lost”, the indie hit “The Hurt Locker”, the blockbuster film “Real Steel” and the upcoming second and third “Hobbit” films.
To hear Evangeline Lilly tell her story, listen here:

I grew up in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta surrounded on all sides by the never-ending golden fields of wheat that so signify the Canadian prairies. From there my family moved to British Columbia where flat, open plains were replaced with majestic, mountain vistas and beautiful green valleys. Trees, rain, snow, farms, wildlife, snow peaked mountains and insects defined my upbringing.  

From my Grandfather’s homemade cabin in the Gulf Islands to our summers spent camping on the Okanagan Lake, as a Canadian I was always surrounded by natural beauty.
I remember when I was summoned away from Canada. There was a job waiting, it offered a lot of money, and it meant I would move to Hawaii…Hawaii: paradise. If you know anything about my history, you’ll know that that job was my role as “Kate” on the television series Lost and you’ll know that I took it and left Canada…never to move back.  
So now, I have been living in “paradise” for ten years. Do I miss home? Always. Every day that I’m gone. Because, you see, being Canadian is in my bones, it’s an identity that I can’t and don’t want to escape. Tropical beaches with turquoise waters are beautiful, but my heart wells and my soul sings when I see pine tree covered mountains and stretches of interminable deciduous forests.

I am Canadian. I can’t help myself. Beavers, and moose, and bears, and squirrels all make me feel proud. Snow, and ice, and lakes, and rivers are all a part of me. The Rockies, Niagara, the Great North, and Hudson’s Bay are symbols of who I am. Rosy cheeks, frostbite, neighbours, and hard work are all a part of my Canadian identity.
When I think of home, I think of the wilderness. Canada is one of the last natural expanses left on planet earth, but right now, that vestige is being seriously threatened.  
The tar sands in Alberta, the construction of new pipelines, the industrial abuse of clean water, the elimination of environmental laws and mistreatment of First Nations peoples are some of the greatest threats to our identity as Canadians. We are known as harmonious people: living in harmony with ourselves, with the rest of the world, and with nature.  
But our response to these issues has not been in keeping with that reputation. In a time when the world needs to band together in order to learn how to live in harmony with nature, I would have expected Canada to be leading the charge, but we’re not.  
Preserving nature in Canada is not just about Global Warming - it’s about preserving our heritage, our history, and our harmony: our identity.

Will you stand against the damages being done to our wilderness? Will you stand up for nature because as a Canadian, nature has shaped you?  
I am Evangeline Lilly and I am Canadian. What are you?

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