Remembering Carrie Lester

Carrie Lester first got involved in activism about nine years ago, working with me to oppose the approval of new nuclear reactors at Darlington, Ont. She spoke at hearings as a concerned citizen and distributed literature door to door in the then Energy Minister’s riding. “This nuclear project at Darlington must not go through. Nuclear’s time is over. Green, renewable energy is the way forward.” Those reactors were never built and instead the Green Energy Act was established.

But Carrie rose into her power fighting the GE Hitachi uranium processing plant at Lansdowne and Dupont, organizing door to door, holding public meetings, protests and even a train blockade. It was during this campaign that she worked closely alongside First Nations in Toronto, with whom she continued a close allyship for the rest of her days. The uranium processing plant is still there. 

She also engaged in the campaign to close the aging Pickering Nuclear Station, attending protests and distributing literature, and last summer as a Water Protector she sang to and blessed Lake Ontario on the Pickering Beach. Her tactics had changed, and her integrity strengthened.

Carrie was a committed, vibrant, intelligent and spiritual activist that worked tirelessly for a safer, saner world, even to the point of putting her body on the line – literally – the train line. She cared deeply for people and the planet; you could sense it by her gentle presence. 

It’s ironic that the same cancer diagnosis that allowed her three years of full-time activism, enabling her to embrace her highest leadership and community-building skills, also took her life. 

In this video, Carrie Lester, Mohawk Land Defender and Water Protector, expresses solidarity from Toronto to Standing Rock/Tkarónto to Oceti Sakowin: #NoDAPL, and sings a Water Song in their honour, at the Standing With Standing Rock, #NoDAPL Solidarity March on November 5, 2016.

Elizabeth Littlejohn

Elizabeth Littlejohn

Elizabeth Littlejohn teaches sustainable design, social innovation and new media, and has written about transit policy, Toronto’s municipal politics, civil rights and the environment as a features...