Monday, December 30, 2013

Oil and Dirty Water - The Bear Dilemma

Our environment is at a crux. We've taxed our resources in some areas, we sell off resources in other areas, and seem to have little regard for the future of the species we show on endangered lists. Nature isn't inexhaustible, and to be sustainable our resources require custodial care.

Seals, one species of wildlife along the BC Coast, by DG Hudson

Permits and licenses are approved, panels are established, and yet concerns are discounted when there is a vested business interest. Compliance costs money, recovery takes time and will never totally return damaged areas to their original state.

The Great Bear Rainforest is the habitat for grizzly bears, black bears, and the Kermode bear, also called the Spirit bear by First Nations. For more on the Kermode, see an earlier post here. Clean water provides for these creatures. Oily water will do the opposite. Kermodes are the most at risk, with their lower numbers. Wake up, Canada, and take care of what's important.

Beautiful BC Coast - Keep Our Waters Clean, by DG Hudson

This coastal area, a diverse ecosystem, is located between Butte Inlet on the South Coast of BC and the Alaskan border. Grizzly Bears Black Bears wiki

Fewer than 400 Kermode bears survive in this area that is unique in the world. Gribbell Island is the main habitat, while Princess Royal Island is home to about 120 of the enigmatic Spirit Bears. They are not albinos, nor are they related to Polar bears, or the 'blonde' brown bears of Alaska. They are a sub-species of the black bear.

Potentially, this habitat is under threat from the proposed oil pipeline and associated oil tankers which will ply these northern waters, an area known for unruly winter storms.  Oil tankers come in a variety of shapes, some in excellent condition and some that aren't. Most aboriginal groups oppose the pipeline, but almost all First Nations peoples want a part in deciding what crosses their reserve land. They are custodians.


Numerous newspaper articles have been written about the sole habitat of the Spirit Bears, two of the islands situated in the channel which the tankers will use. This post was inspired by 'Federal review panel gives green light to Northern Gateway pipeline - First Nations considering legal challenges that could delay project'. A Vancouver Sun article by Gordon Hoekstra, Larry Pynn and Derrick Penner in the Westcoast News section, December 20, 2013.

Young Spirit Bear (Kermode) Wiki Image

Just a bit about oil tankers or petroleum tankers, a merchant ship which transports oil: there are two types - the crude tanker and the product (refined) tanker. They range in size  from inland or coastal tankers to the mammoth ultra large crude carriers. That's a lot of dirty oil, which as we know, mixes poorly with water. Perhaps we should  convert to plug-in cars. . .

The Northern Gateway proposed pipeline route to Kitimat BC would mean that tankers which will carry this oil overseas will be navigating in what is called, 'the fourth most dangerous waterway in the world'. This assessment is from an advocacy campaign which wants to protect what nature has given us.

Look at Enbridge's record, it speaks for itself. "All the kings horses and all the kings men couldn't put the water back together again. . ."


What do you think about protecting resources? Should governments have a stronger mandate on the environment?  Should First Nations have a strong say in how their territorial lands are used? When is it okay, if ever, for governments to push through programs the people DO NOT want?


Hope you have a great New Year! Best wishes for 2014 to all who stop by!

References: Enbridge in Douglas Channel and the missing islands.

My Other Spirit Bear posts:


Saturday, December 14, 2013

VANCOUVER - Snow of Winters Past

Christmas Day can be green or white in our city. It can snow in the suburbs, or only in pockets of the Vancouver region.

Stanley Park Snowy Seawall, Vancouver Snow photos*

Our BC Coastal mountains usually boast white peaks on sunny days, but during the dark winter days, we can't always see our mountains through the fog or rain in the city. Vancouver weather is generally much milder than the rest of Canada, including the rest of BC. We have warm ocean currents to thank for that, as well as the protection of Vancouver Island.

Snowy logs at English Bay, Vancouver Snow photos*

These images are in the Downtown area of Vancouver. What do we think of icy bridges, unplowed streets, and inexperienced drivers? Don't ask.

Robson Square, Downtown Vancouver Snow Photos* 

Lights Shining in the Harbour

Christmas lights and holiday carolling on marine vessels are a tradition in the Vancouver Harbour, the Fraser River and other marine spots. Tugboats, paddlewheelers, smaller boats and ships show their lights in the night. Paddlewheelers on the Fraser River previously offered a 'lunch with Santa cruise' for the younger children.

Lights on Holiday Boats, Vancouver, Vanc'r Snow Photos*

*The images in this post were taken during different years and originate at the links shown below. So far this December, we've had one dusting of snow.

Snow Update: As of December 20, we have had about five inches more of that wet snow deposited. It hangs heavy on the trees, weighing their branches downward. The snow's weight also disrupted a few power lines and traffic. Rain is supposed to follow.


Do you take snow photos? Does your city have a lighting display down your Main Street or on bridges? Is there snow where you live?

Please share your comments! I'm always listening. Thanks to those who stop by often or even occasionally to offer their insight and comments. The gift of your time throughout the year is appreciated. I hope you'll hang around in 2014.


Happy Holidays!
Wishing you a warm, safe and comforting holiday.

Santas and Model Train, by DG Hudson



*The sites showing these photos and others: Vancouver Snow Festival site Stanley Park in the Snow. Gastown, in Vancouver, BC.


Monday, December 9, 2013

2013 CheersFest for ARLEE!

A Roast for All Seasons, for Mister A-to-Z Man. . .

Arlee (R. Lee)
Blogger and A to Z Mastermind

In honor of the 2013 recipient of the Cheers Blog, Mr. R. Lee, please share your thoughts about Lee of Tossing it Out and please drop by the participants of the Cheersfest on December 9th and add a few roasted words for the guest.

Cheersfest BlogHosts: Mark Koopmans, Morgan Shamy, David Powers King, Stephen Tremp, and Capt'n Alex Cavanaugh.

Great prizes! Win memorabilia from Lee's past life as a performer OR win Jeremy's design prize. Check blogsite for other prizes and how to enter.


Caption Entry: "Girls go crazy for a sharp dressed man, R. Lee."
Thanks, 'ZZ Top'! (wc17)

Girls go crazy for a sharp dressed man, R. Lee

Arlee (R. Lee) Bird, Juggler

Lee put on his favorite brown jacket and spent the next ten minutes tossing his 'Bird' logo sign, his Juggler Challenge Poster and his custom-made juggling pins in his carrybag. Tonight, he would debut his new trick, never performed before by anyone else. He could make the pins hover in mid-air for a full 60 seconds, maybe longer. He was given the secret in a dream-but no one would believe that. Would they?

A knock came on his door, it was time. . .

"You're on, Mr. Arlee," said the stage assistant.

Entry words for FlashFiction: Bird, Juggler, Challenge, Brown Jacket, Tossing


Answers to Questions: 80 words each (entry answers total wc=50)
  • Why A to Z ? (Challenge) to test his writing skills, to meet other writers and to bring together like minded writers in a community which would help support and encourage each other
  • If someone dreams about being a juggler, what does it mean? Hmmm...Someone doesn't know which end is up? He wants to play?
  • Is a post by Mr. Bird worth 2 in the bush? That depends, what is the subject?
  • Who could be Lee in a movie? Peter Boyle or Richard Dreyfuss.

Do you know Arlee (aka Lee)? Do you what state Lee used to live in? Are you ready for the Holidays? Please share in the comments, I'm always listening!

Don't forget to visit the other posts on the Linky List at Mark's Blog.

Tossing It Out, Arlee's Blog
Mark Koopmans . . .Blog - Cheersfest Recipient 2013 - Arlee Bird