Ecojustice Blog – Healthy communities, Special Update Posted on June 21, 2018 (updated: June 21, 2018)

Join Vanessa’s fight for environmental justice

Dr. Elaine MacDonaldScientist
Ecojustice Hero Vanessa Gray of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation stands in front of the Ontario Legislative Building
Photo: Avery Zingel

Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day. The perfect day to honour and support Vanessa Gray, a 25-year-old Anishinaabe kwe* from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation.

Vanessa is my Ecojustice Hero for having the courage to lead the fight for clean air and water for Aamjiwnaang.

Dozens of petrochemical plants, oil refineries and other industrial facilities operate in Ontario’s Chemical Valley. Some of these high-emissions polluters, including Imperial Oil, are within walking distance of Aamjiwnaang, where Vanessa grew up.

A respected young leader shaped by her cultural roots, Vanessa is on a mission to protect her community from industrial pollution and empower them with a better understanding of the toxic chemicals polluters spew into their air and water.

Your support has been instrumental as the Ecojustice team works with Vanessa to get information about how Imperial Oil’s activities affect her community. And now you have the opportunity to double your impact and to help us continue the fight for clear air and water in Aamjiwnaang.

A generous Ecojustice supporter has pledged up to $50,000 to match, dollar-for-dollar, every donation made before July 1. Double your impact when you donate today and support Vanessa’s quest for environmental justice.


It takes courage to stand up and publicly call out a big corporation like Imperial Oil. Vanessa is doing just that. In February 2017, during a massive flaring event at Imperial Oil’s refinery, she and her sibling took to the streets to document roaring flames that pushed clouds of noxious chemicals into the air.

Much of the evidence Vanessa gathered was useful in the successful application for investigation that we filed on her behalf.

In our work together, Vanessa’s focus on community is a constant theme: She puts herself on the line so the community as a whole can benefit.

Vanessa is having an impact. The Ontario government is now investigating the Imperial Oil flaring incident and has tightened its flaring regulations. But there is more urgent work to do, and we need your help.

Please stand with Vanessa by making a gift today. Your support will ensure we can continue to empower her with the legal tools she needs to fight for environmental justice in Aamjiwnaang.


*kwe means woman in Ojibway

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