by Eva van Loon
...are we doing?
BC Liberals just flew 5 planeloads of humans to Hudson’s Hope to deliver a news release.
Wouldn’t TV, Youtube, Facebook, or even old–fashioned newspapers or the steps of the Legislature have served? A single plane flight uses 3.5 years of an individual’s carbon emissions—who initialed this cost on poor old Earth’s carbon-balance sheet?
Must be some event, you’re thinking. Some earth-shaking, mind-bogglingly new approach to sustainability. A harbinger of a healthier long–term way to save our province from becoming industrial wasteland. Wow! Wish I were in Hudson. Hope for this!
Hearing the announcement on beleaguered CBC, I thought I’d been taking crazy pills. Gone partly deaf or missed April Fool’s. Or I’d slipped over into Alzheimer’s and was reliving the Seventies. Site C? They’re going ahead with that damned dam in the north? Again? Didn’t my generation win that battle 40 years ago?
Another battle ahead. Last year, 700 rivers proposed for exploitation. This year, Site C. The same tired justifications: “good” short-term jobs, steady resource base, future need—as if we can increase population without end. However, the PIPs (People in Power) are not so naive as in our longhaired days—every proposal is first greenwashed, so that it’s easier to make prudent questioners look like idiots. Read more »
by Corey Matsumoto
There’s a storm brewing on the environmental front, and the turbulent topic is climate change. The reality of climate change can not be questioned—the evidence is in the receding glaciers and the extreme weather patterns of late. Indeed, this current winter season seems more like spring here on the coast. This debate, however, is not about evidence of climate change but about its cause.
Most of the world seems to have somehow finally agreed on something: Climate change is a serious problem that must be addressed, and that humans are the cause. President Obama, the "savior" of the world from the dark Bush days, himself said: “The threat of man-made global warming is undisputed….”
We are welcoming the year 2010 with a fiery issue—just in time for Valentine’s Day. Our burning desire for love and acceptance is largely what drives us to do the things we do (and us humans do some pretty strange things). However, this issue is not about love, chocolates or frivolous cardboard cutout hearts—and the title on this cover page has nothing to do with sex.
Fire carries with it strong (often polar) emotional connotations. We humans have a delicate affinity for the element that can bring warmth and comfort to our homes just as easily as it can destroy them. Read more »
by Eva van Loon
Clap your hands, children—our provincial government is the first in Canada to install a carbon tax! We’re the greenest place in the country!
And who’s going to pay the carbon tax? Why, we responsible citizens, of course! Don’t we always?As a recent caller to CBC put it in his response to the BC budget, “I’m overwhelmed with choices now—the choice not to drive to my job, not to heat my house, not to attend my child’s hockey game, not to go on vacation….” Can someone tell me why we keep on electing people whose chief expertise seems to be kneejerk reaction? Okay: we’re faced with the gravest crisis in human history, a.k.a. climate change. Which started with the society we are part of. So what do entire jurisdictions of this society do about it first? Outlaw the incandescent lightbulb in favor of ugly fluorescent twisty-things whose light gives a lot of us headaches and sore eyes and whose innards contain dangerous mercury. Lovely—for the twisty-thing manufacturers. A free ride for them. Is that really a green initiative? Or just corporate slime? How can we know? Then there’s biodiesel (which I admit to falling for). Plant oil can replace dinosaur-era plant oil—what a discovery! There’s a use for all that used French-fry–oops, pardon me, freedom-fries—oil. Your car, too, can smell like a fast-food junkie while using diddly-squat gasoline. Driving as usual. Business as usual—except that somebody’s food supply is now being usurped to keep you and a zillion other drivers on the road, because all the used veggie oil on the planet won’t support the North American addiction to cars; so we’ll just have to take over somebody’s corn field to grow fresh oil to feed our habit. Is that a truly green initiative? Or just corporate slime?
by Kevin Egan
Just what do you do?
You’ve got a new job with fantastic pay and benefits, but you have to pack around large equipment, hundreds of kilograms of hardware and tools, and shelving or racks to organize it all. Need a work truck or a van?
You’ve always ridden a bike to commute, recreate, camp, even to tow the kids. Maybe you weren’t even thinking of the environmental benefits much because (1) it’s just about how good it feels to be moving and riding, and (2), it needs minimal expenditure of your hard-earned pay. Now you suddenly went from never thinking of owning such a thing as a gas card to spending many thousands a year on dino-fuel.
OK, you’ll still ride as much as you can. You’ll leave the big van at the office and bike to the office–but oops! All that hardware cost too much to be left alone. You’re a techie with a love of things mechanical–how you can make this better? Build an electric van or truck?
Hey–what about a hybrid, or a good old diesel? Diesel motors are more economical than gas motors, but diesels are not particularly common in North America, unlike the rest of the world.
So, a diesel vehicle running on recycled fuel is an affordable way to power your vehicle–perfect. You’ve decided and don’t mind getting your hands dirty–oh, I mean greasy!
Thanks to media, most people know about vegetable-oil fuels and that the diesel engine was originally intended to work with plant oils, not petroleum. Pouring cleaned waste vegetable oil (WVO), new vegetable oil and biodiesel helps your diesel ride run a lot smoother with better emissions than gas. You might want to take it a step further by building a bio-diesel reactor or converting your ride to run strictly on WVO. Read more »
by Terry Ludwar
This season can be a time for reflection. For me, thoughts of the incredible place where we live, Powell River, the Pearl of the Sunshine Coast, surrounded by nature, is high on my list. Thoughts of our place in the biosphere of the earth and what’s happening to it move me to write about it as I experience it.
A place whose natural features I have come to know intimately, especially our ecosystems and plant life, is the Wildwood Bluffs, adjacent and north of Catalyst paper mill. There is a bench, perched on one of the bluffs, where I have sat many times, facing Harwood Island and the Georgia Strait; to the left, Texada; across the water, Vancouver Island and its mountains; and to the distant right, Savary Island. Not only is the setting spectacular, these bluffs have become a source of fascination, a place to hike, be in nature, record the complex of living things, and reveal it to others.
If you have never hiked or spent time on the Bluffs, they can best be seen from our ferries: leaving or returning to Powell River from Texada or Vancouver Island. Facing the mill owned by Catalyst, to its left: rocky bluffs descend to the shoreline and continue toward Sliammon, but only as far as Schoenfeld Creek, well before Gibson’s Beach. Not only are the Bluffs part of Powell River’s landscape, they are an ecosystem, as I understand it, of some importance.
After five years of researching the plants of the area, including the last two years with photographer Rod Innes, I have now entered an inventory of these plants in the Powell River Museum, while Rod has submitted close to 300 photos to the UBC website e-flora BC, receiving positive responses from botanists there. With three public slide shows (with commentary) in the last year or so, I have tried to call attention to the rich biodiversity of the Wildwood Bluffs. I am convinced this part of our local biosphere is well worthy of conservation. Read more »
by Eva van Loon
July 5, 2007: the Agricultural Land Commission came to hear Powell River’s input on an application to remove 5 land parcels, 847 acres, from the Agricultural Land Reserve to build an international airport, a gated housing development, a 5-star hotel and convention centre, and a golf course.
Powell Riverites filled the Ballroom at Town Centre Hotel. Almost forty people responded to the presentation by representatives of the City, Catalyst, Sliammon band, the joint-venture developers (PRSC), and the wildly named Yrainucep Development Corporation.
(In case you missed it, “Yrainucep” is “Pecuniary” for those of us who read backwards, and pecuniary means anything to do with money.)
The Commission listened attentively for over 4 hours. The applicants presented Powell River’s need for residential and industrial development on land which, they claim, is no good for agriculture anyway. Then the public spoke, many expressing confusion and doubt over so vague a proposal, while acknowledging PR needs diversified economy.
Where are the disputed parcels of land? The prettiest bit is Parcel A, 143 acres roughly between the Recreation Complex and Willingdon Beach, where so many of us enjoy the lovely trails. Parcel C is 32 acres between Cranberry and Townsite, partly logged in the past but still affording recreation. The remaining three parcels lie joined in Wildwood, one entirely owned by Catalyst.
In arguing that these are not cultivable, the applicants never bothered to define “agriculture”. On the website, however, agriculture is defined to include the growing of trees—something all 5 parcels are very good at. Read more »
by Kevin Austin
If, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, then there was a heck of a racket coming out of the Rodmay Heritage Hotel the other night. It was opening night of “Standing Up for Eagle River”—a photo, art and musical celebration of this beautiful little waterway south of town—which is in imminent danger of clear cut logging.
The community turned out in droves.
The walls of the grand old hotel lobby were adorned with more than a hundred images of the river. Contributions ran the gamut from professional works to cherished old snaps from dusty scrapbooks. The kids from Kelly Creek Community School contributed a series of nature drawings, and Terry Brown debuted his film Eagle River: Liquid Jewel Of The Sunshine Coast to a crowded house. Folks were treated to a performance by violinist Madeleine Hocking who then joined in to help Sweet Cascadia raise the roof.
It was a glorious night with a wonderful homemade feel, with a little room for politics: the Friends of Eagle River, who organized the evening, updated folks on what has been happening down at the river, beginning with the most important thing. Fifteen months after learning of Island Timberland’s plans to log the river, the trees are still standing, but the forest is by no means safe. There are no guarantees that harvesting won’t start tomorrow. Trees are taped as you read this.
FoER also presented its Greenway Corridor proposal—a rough draft of what we would like to see happen along the Eagle River, which is a broad and protected swath of land along both sides of the water from the estuary to the dam. This would provide wildlife with unobstructed passage between the ocean and the wild areas above the dam, and leave the impression of wilderness to all who visit the place. To date the company has rejected this idea, but the trees are still standing. Now we as a community need to make this happen. Read more »
by Terry Brown
Coming soon to your neighbourhood! Scenic Clearcuts. Toxic Waste Monsters. Frankenfish Farms. Unbelievable Giveaways. Towering Development. Power Line Matrix. All in HiDef Surround Sound Reality!
Okay, much of this is already reality, not a soon to be released feature film. What is coming soon is a provincial government land planning process for the Sunshine Coast Forest District (SCFD). This District extends from Gambier Island in Howe Sound up to Mt. Waddington. This includes the Upper and Lower Sunshine Coast, Toba and Bute inlets and a huge swathe of backcountry up to the border of Tsy’los Park around Chilko Lake. This district is larger than some countries. Many countries can only dream of having crystal clear lakes and rivers, wild salmon and trophy size cutthroat trout, good populations of grizzlies, forests reaching from ocean to alpine, and octopus gardens.
Many of us grassroots activists, as well as the Powell River Regional District Board, have been actively lobbying the provincial government for a full Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP) which includes all land and water issues. Fully eighty-five percent of the province has already completed LRMPs.
However, the process which the BC Liberals are offering us leaves most of the issues out of the discussion. We’ve been told the following will NOT be included in this planning process:
1) New Parks: The SCFD was included in the 1996 Lower Mainland Protected Area Strategy. The result? Protected areas totalling only 3% of our district. All the parks were created around Vancouver and Whistler.
2) Marine Issues: This is too fraught with interjurisdictional battles between the federal ministry of Fisheries and Oceans and the province.
3) Forestry Methods: Clearcut logging of ALL the maturing forests is the game plan, since this area is the best growing land for Douglas Fir on the coast. In other words “One Big Tree Farm”. Read more »