Friday, July 22, 2005

Wilderness Abuse - Off-road vehicles and riders destroy alpine trail

With increasing damage of delicate trails and wilderness areas by off-road vehicles, there is a growing move to require licensing and more control. Fortunately most of the main interest groups are working on this together, as there is great sensitivity, on the part of many snowmobilers and ATVers especially, at having their "freedom" curtailed. For an example of what the fuss is all about, take a look at Wilderness Abuse.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Organic food: corporate vs local

As mentioned in the previous post, it's tough to compete against subsidized food, especially when you live in smaller population centres and have to get your produce to market. Now, the small organic growers are up against a growing corporate organic sector. To get the picture, take a look at the current chart of "who owns what".

If you are looking for food grown with care, these days the organic label is no guarantee. In my opinion, and for many other reasons, local is the way to go: buy from people you know or at least people you can talk to. This is why I built a web page for South Cariboo Produce, locally grown or raised food. Here are some of the reasons why buying local, whenever possible, makes sense:
  1. Produce is fresher
  2. Fruit which doesn't have to travel can be picked riper
  3. Fuel/transport costs will inevitably increase as our fossil fuels become scarcer
  4. Supporting local food supplies now will enable them to be there in the more challenging days to come.
  5. Reduce pollution by reducing transport distances
  6. Keep your money local, thereby supporting and building your community.
If you live in the BC Interior and would like a similar page, I would be willing to put it together at no charge, using information you provide. Go to JN Web Design and e-mail me from there.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

To the USA: Pull in Your Horns a Bit

A letter in response to a Macleans article by John Gibson
Reprinted with permission
Mr. John Gibson, Fox News:

In reading your comments about Canada in your article in MacLeans Magazine I wondered how a newsperson with all of the resources you must have for in-depth research could have written such a shallow, cliché-ridden article.

I am a rural Canadian, living six hours drive from the nearest large city (Vancouver). I live in a community that depends on forestry, agriculture and tourism for its economic well being. That means that your comments on mad cow and softwood lumber bear some thought. As well your overall tone of sarcasm deserves a response.

First you must understand that every Canadian is always aware that we rarely appear on America's radar screen unless America sees a major advantage. Softwood lumber and agriculture are a case in point. When America wanted the North American Free Trade agreement it was fiercely negotiated on all sides but in the end was determined by the American negotiators. However, your lumber interests were not prepared to see softwood lumber part of an open free trade, hence the softwood lumber agreement. Once that agreement was up for renewal your industry and government deemed Canada an unfair competitor and heavy duties were placed on shipments to the USA. The only people who have really suffered is the American consumer. But, what really burns those of us who live in rural Canada is that, at every court challenge, America has lost and has simply refused to accept the rulings, even those where American members of the tribunal were in the majority.

When your government, after much careful investigation and with the full cooperation of Canada, decided to lift the ban on Canadian cattle you found a way through the courts to stop the lifting.

What we have learned from these particular actions is that there is no way of winning when you deal with America. The rule of law for you simply highlights the need to find or write a new law.

And dare I mention agricultural subsidies? Yesterday we bought apples in our local store that are a product of the USA. They were cheaper than Canadian apples simply because of your farm subsidies.

Your little excerpt from your book 'Hating America, the New World Sport' does not include any Canadians I know. None of us hates America. Most of us have friends and often relatives south of the 49th parallel. But we are a nation one-tenth your size in population (in fact the population of California is greater than Canada's). We are wary of you. Canada has only been invaded by a foreign power twice in our history, both times by the USA. We know that the minute you deem it in your national interest to need our water or oil that you can come and take it.

You see, as the 'New Roman Empire', we have to be wary and sometimes this may come across as being angry or jealous or any of the other adjectives you used. America has demonstrated many times in recent years that its interests supersede everything, including national sovereignty.

So pull in your horns a bit. We don't hate you; we aren't jealous; we're careful. To misquote one of our politicians, sleeping next to an elephant makes one careful.


Jack Witty
108 Mile Ranch, BC

Monday, July 04, 2005

Review of the state of mountain pine beetle in BC

I think this is a fairly balanced analysis of the pine beetle situation:

The Tyee: What a Black Beetle Can Teach Us

A dead sea of red. Lorraine Maclauchlan photo, B.C. Ministry of Forests

Mountain pine beetle–infested timber is helping B.C. boom. Will we learn the bug plague's lessons before the bust?

By Jared Ferrie, July 4, 2005

As mountain pine beetles continue to munch their way through B.C.'s forests, logging companies are ramping up operations in order to harvest the millions of hectares of dead trees left in their wake.

Read on