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?


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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kermode_bear  Kermode bears

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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).

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


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Bear_Rainforest - Great Bear Rainforest

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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?

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


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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!

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References:

A Lakota story about a bear:

http://rolandyeomans.blogspot.ca/ The Bear with Two Shadows, by Roland Yoemans, author, at his Writing in the Crosshairs blog.

Previous post on Spirit Bears:
http://dghudson.blogspot.ca/2012/09/spirit-bears-and-woolly-mammoths.html

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32 comments:

  1. i have to admit, i don't read newspapers anymore. i get tired of all the bad things people are doing being the only new lately...other than sports. this was a great post and very informative! have a great new year

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    1. Hubs still likes newspapers and we discuss some of the articles, which in turn occasionally turn into posts.

      I want to see newspapers survive. It just won't be the same without a newspaper to hide behind in all those cafes.

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  2. Aboriginal people have always been given short shrift when it comes to big business or dealings with the government. He who has the gold/power makes the rules.

    Nations are vote-sighted as well as near-sighted, opting for short term gains and shoving long term consequences unto the laps of future generations.

    Thanks for mentioning THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS. Hibbs growls a thanks as well. :-)

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    1. I'll be reviewing it as part of my holiday reading hopefully mid Jan 2013.

      I agree with your first paragraph.

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  3. I'm all for the bears. I don't even like oil tankers. Bears for the win.

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    1. Yeah, Bryan! Those tankers are scary, and once a spill happens, it can take a long long time for that environmental area to recover.

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  4. I've never even heard of Kermode or White Spirit Bears before. Doesn't sound like there are a lot of them left.

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    1. No, there aren't a lot of them, Alex. Perhaps they need a dedicated environment in which the 40% white spirit bear diversity rate can exist.

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  5. Well, my degree is in natural resource management, so I'm all about preservation. Our dependence on oil doesn't justify the extinction of other species.

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  6. The environment has to matter. Doesn't it?

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    1. I'd say yes, how many other alternatives are there? I do believe in the butterfly effect.

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  7. We were given dominion over the land and the animals, but that doesn't just mean we control them. We must protect them. Somewhere, there has to be a balance.

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    1. Why does it take so long for those in power positions to see that?

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  9. i have no answers--but i found this very thought provoking---have a blessed new year :)

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    1. That's good, Lynn. If more people thought about consequences, we might have fewer problems.

      Best wishes to you, too, Lynn, for the coming year!

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  10. I was saddened to read this as I thought Canada was a bit more advanced and caring about the environment that the United States. We have ruined so much and I think it is time we learned from our mistakes.

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    1. The Canadian government seems to listen at times, and not at others. Residential schools were addressed, but infrastructure suffers for education and employment.

      Environment issues affect all of us, but especially future generations.

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  11. I just read an article about spirit bears in a National Geographic magazine. I think we should be concerned about the environment and how our actions affect the balance of nature.

    And yes, I still read the newspaper!

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    1. I'm glad to hear that, Sherry. On both the environment and the newspaper.

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  12. Lovely post full of so many things I knew nothing about. Hope you're having a good year so far :)

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    1. Precisely why I like to spread the word about things I care about. Environmental issues affect all of us. (either now or in the future) Thanks for visiting, Damyanti.

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  13. Yes, this needs to be heard! I didn't know, but so want to see thoughtless effects, like these end! OUR environment is the home of our future, at least one hopes. Great post-thank you~

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    1. It's scary when the scientists agree with the environmentalists.

      Nice to hear that you care, too, Ella.

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  14. Excellent post DG..I think that we need to focus on alternatives to fossil fuels and we need to protect as much of our beautiful and essential rainforest as possible. Environmental protection needs to be a priority...for the Kermode,(and all wildlife) for ourselves and for future generations..the consequences of a ruined planet are dire. And I totally agree, it's scary when the scientists and environmentalists agree.

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  15. Glad you liked it, Eve. Hope the New Year will see some progress on this front.

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  16. Unfortunatley, business will probably win. I do think the resources are worth protecting. I live in a fairly uninhabited part of the US and I hate seeing it become more developed. There's nothing like feeling you're on the planet alone when out in nowhereville. It's a thrill I'm glad I've come to know.

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    1. Lucky you! Business def has more clout but less concern.

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  17. Informative post -- I need to Google what one of these spirit bears looks like!

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    1. A Spirit Bear looks like a black bear, but has a white coat. Check out the link to Kermode bears at the beginning of the post, Milo.

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  18. Very interesting information. Thank you for writing about this. I had not heard of spirit bears before.

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