Friday, December 28, 2012

Spirit Bears, A Rainforest and 1st Nation Protests

A species is threatened, an environmentally sensitive area is in jeopardy, and the Canadian First Nations people are voicing concerns.  Is there a connection between these three items?

Seals in Coal Harbour, Vancouver, by DG Hudson

Spirit Bears

A recent research study of the impacts of tanker traffic on the habitat of the British Columbia's white Spirit bear indicates Gribbell Island, south of Kitimat, would be in direct line of the tanker route and any subsequent spills that could occur.  The route also passes by the Great Bear Rainforest.

A current population on Gribbell Island of 100 -150 Kermode Bears contains 40 percent white spirit bears.  That rate drops in other Kermode bear habitats.  These bears would be at risk through their contaminated food (fish, seabirds) as well as the toxicological impacts (soiled fur, organ failure) to their own bodies.

The white Spirit Bear became an official symbol of B.C. in 2006, designated by the Lieutenant-Governor.  Spirit bears are prominent in oral stories of the Canadian First Nations and American Indian populations. Native groups oppose the pipeline and the danger it poses to the survival of the Kermode white spirit bears. 

What takes precedence when business and environmental concerns don't agree?


Newspaper reference - The Vancouver Sun, Dec3/12, Breaking News. 'White spirit bear's habitat in danger, biologist says', by Larry Pynn.  Kermode bears


The Great Bear Rainforest

Also known as the Canadian Central and North Coast forest, or simply the Central and North coast, the Great Bear Rainforest is part of the Pacific temperate rain forest eco-region.  That translates into towering evergreens, heavy rainfall, and abundant salmon runs.  This the largest remaining intact coast temperate rainforest in the world, and it extends to the areas around Kitimat, B.C.

The proposed Northern Gateway project will travel through this region.  Accidents, spills, and leakages in the ocean could impact the forest, the coast and the islands along the route.  Winter storms, and other inclement weather could affect the ability of the tankers to safely navigate.  Consider this:  a salmon from the ocean travels up the rivers providing food for people and animals.  If that salmon dies in the ocean, and doesn't go up the river, many species who rely on this food will suffer (human, animal, and birds of prey).


Newspaper reference - Vancouver Sun, Dec 2012, Commentary section, Enbridge cannot deny islands, Great Bear Rainforest, by Art Sterritt, Coastal First Nations executive director. - Great Bear Rainforest


Detail on Totems in Stanley Park, Vancouver, by DG Hudson

1st Nations Protest - Native rallies and a grass-roots campaign

Across Canada, 18 -Idle No More- native rallies sent a message.  Aboriginal sovereignty is an issue, as well as environmental concerns about our oceans and our rivers. New laws outlined in the budget bill remove environmental regulations from thousands of lakes and streams in Canada.

Why remove these restrictions?  Who will benefit?  Is this in the interest of protecting our resources?


Newspaper reference - The Vancouver Sun, First Nations Protest, We have to march until we see change, and Idle No More, T. Kappo.


What do you think?  Are resources worth protecting (in any country)?  Or, is it too early to be asking such a tough question?  Do you read newspapers anymore? (online or tangible?)  Please share in the comments and thanks for dropping by!

Best wishes for 2013 and thanks for visiting and commenting in 2012!



A Lakota story about a bear: The Bear with Two Shadows, by Roland Yoemans, author, at his Writing in the Crosshairs blog.

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