Monday, February 25, 2008

While we weren't looking, control of our rivers has been taken away from us

500 BC streams risked for private profit.
By Rafe Mair
Published: February 25, 2008

Thanks to the Campbell government, British Columbia will be a much different place when they're finished. It will not be a pretty picture and unless there is a public protest of sufficient impact to get the government's attention, the new B.C. will be in place with no turning back.
Read on

and another (March 17) quote from Rafe Mair that pretty much sums up the situation:

Now we have a new environmental disaster in B.C. unfolding through a plan called the Run of Rivers project, which will, pardon the scientific term, bugger up hundreds of streams and rivers in this province. Independent power companies will make hundreds of millions of dollars for using our rivers and, by transmission lines and roads into each power site, destroy the remaining wilderness in our beloved province. All this not to deal with our own power needs but to help export power -- and our environment along with it -- to the United States!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Birds From a Cariboo Deck No.7: Pileated Woodpecker

This is the big one around here - and reputedly the inspiration for Woody Woodpecker: not just in its looks: the calls we hear when they make their way, sometimes as many as four at a time, through the woods towards our chief attraction - suet - are pretty close to that irritating call of the cartoon version.

I say this is "the big one" but that status is among the woodpeckers. One of my most impressive backyard sites was a Sharp-Shinned Hawk chasing a Pileated Woodpecker through the fir trees: like a scene from Star Wars.

For an interesting perspective on the part this woodpecker plays in the forest ecology, read Woodpeckers, Fir Snags and Hummingbirds by Dave Neads. I chose the Pileated Woodpecker as No.7 to coincide with his publishing of this post.

For more on Cariboo birds, see my Birds from a Cariboo Deck

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Birch syrup is healthier and fetches a very good price

It's that time of year again: the sap is rising - the sugaring season is upon us.

Not here, you say? You were thinking maple, I presume . . . Think again . . . Try birch.

Three of the country's 11 birch syrup producers are in BC. And, according to my source, an article in today's Province, a 250ml bottle sells for $22 - when you can get it. Demand far exceeds supply. Here's a reason to be careful what we do with the living trees amidst the dead pines "everyone" seems so keen to take out. And, of course this little value-added enterprise leaves the trees alive and good for another season.

As if that's not enough, unlike maple syrup which is largely sucrose, birch syrup is comprised largely of the healthier fructose and glucose.

If I've got you thinking, there's lots more in the article in The Province, including instructions on how to make the syrup.

If you give it a try, some back here and tell us all about it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tyee article sheds some light on BC Native land claims

Aboriginal land claims in BC appear so complex that, given so many other matters that take my time, I seek to find simple principles amidst the details. There is little written in the mainstream media that has brought me much closer to understanding. This opinion article by Dave Porter, Chief Judith Sayers and Grand Chief Edward John in The Tyee (which is not quite mainstream), seems to cast some light on the processes and principles involved:
New Day for BC Native Claims
'Xeni decision' casts doubt on provincial authority over First Nations land dealings.

The inspirational words in the judgment of Justice Vickers of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Tsilhqot'in Nation v. British Columbia ("Xeni decision") ought to convince both Prime Minister Harper and Premier Campbell of the existence of Aboriginal peoples, and to recognize and respect the Aboriginal rights and title of each.
Read on