BC's incoming government must act swiftly
We knew it was a good omen when we spotted the legendary wolverine as we set out on the boat yesterday morning.
“Michael, I saw Snuffleupagus,” I triumphantly announced over the radio. I was teasing Michael Uehara, one of ForestEthics’ board members, who always happens to be away whenever the wolverine is nearby.
We set out to Lowe Inlet, one of the conservancies the Gitga’at First Nations established as part of the Great Bear Rainforest agreement. We were not there twenty minutes, when Mati, who had never seen a bear before, calmly announced that there was a bear in the meadow in front of our boat. Within an hour, we were watching the quintessential Great Bear show: sockeye salmon launching themselves around at the pool at the base of Vernal Falls, eagles perched on any given snag in the vicinity, and three black bears were gathered around the falls figuring out how the snag one of these tasty morsels of salmon. The bears were being taunted by the salmon, who were propelling their bodies up the falls within inches of the bears’ reach.
Without salmon, Kyle Clifton of the Gitga'at First Nation said, there would be no passing along of Gitga’at traditions. It’s through the salmon that the elders teach the youth through stories. This is what life with Enbridge would be like.
Eleven years ago, Janie Wray, the lead researcher at the Cetacea Lab moved to the southern point of Gill Island to study whales. She never anticipated that her research would be a key to fighting massive crude carrying tankers. She told me that just the other day, a whale and a cruise ship were on a collision course, while both were travelling through the outer coast islands. Tankers in these waters can be brutal. Not only would they, undoubtedly, mow over whales like they were toothpicks, the wake from tankers would disrupt beds of fish eggs along the banks of channels, which in turn disrupts the food supply of small fish for the whales, salmon and other fish. I was starting to get a bleak picture.
Michael said over dinner, “The threat of tankers on the Coast represents complete destruction of one of the most special places on the planet.” The enormity of the consequences of tankers on the coast resonated deep within me. How can I bring this realization to more people?