Kinder Morgan Pipeline + BC Parks = Bad News

This is an important issue highlighted by this Wilderness Committee email…well worth standing up to have our say about:

Kinder Morgan Pipeline + BC Parks = Bad News

Hi Eldy,

If you’re like me, you probably thought (or at least hoped) that wilderness areas were safe from development once they’d been protected as provincial parks. But recently, the BC government has been undermining park protection.

In November 2013, the BC Ministry of the Environment issued a park use permit to Trans Mountain Pipeline L.P. (a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan), which allows the company to conduct “research” related to building a pipeline through five protected areas: Finn Creek Provincial Park; North Thompson River Provincial Park; Lac Du Bois Grasslands Protected Area; Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area; and Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park.

In some cases the new pipeline will be alongside the existing Kinder Morgan oil pipeline, which currently runs through certain parks that were established after the original line was built. In other areas, the company is considering an entirely new pipeline route.

Researchers hired by Trans Mountain are already hard at work, conducting various activities to help evaluate the feasibility of building a pipeline through BC parks. This includes taking soil samples, and even electro-shocking fish – a research technique that involves stunning fish with electric currents in order to assess fish populations in a stream or river. All this research is being undertaken with the eventual goal of having these lands taken out of the parks.

Recently, however, the BC government was advised that the type of industrial park use permit granted to Trans Mountain was likely illegal under BC’s Park Act. Instead of withdrawing the permit, the government introduced new legislation, skipped the public consultation and rushed through Bill 4: the Park Amendment Act.

In the Legislature Environment Minister Mary Polak, actually admitted that the reason Bill 4 was pushed through so aggressively – and with so little debate – was to “ensure that we can continue on with what we have been doing”. She acknowledged that the granting of these permits “likely would not stand the test of a [court] review”, and that the Park Act amendments would help the government avoid a legal challenge.

Passing Bill 4 certainly helped out pipeline companies seeking access to protected lands – but the Kinder Morgan research permit was issued before these amendments were made.  Consequently, we believe that this permit is unlawful.  (Read more in this story from today’s Globe & Mail…)

Please join us in calling on BC’s Minister of Environment to revoke this unlawful permit and repeal Bill 4. We are also urging the government to stop considering requests from industry to have lands removed from parks and protected areas.

Click here to write a letter today!

Gwen Barlee | Policy Director
Wilderness Committee

Gwen Barlee


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Or sign up for our other e-alerts: BC’s Wild Rivers | Climate Change Action List

Categories: Project 365, Environmental Issues, Ethics, 2014 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

You know its spring when you neightbour snow-blows his garden!

Yes, indeed, spring has arrived in the Cariboo and we northern gardeners are chomping at the bit to get the growing season on the go!  I awoke the other morning to an odd sound…it had the dogs snorting and pacing to get out into the backyard.  There it was…my neighbour on the hill above us running his snow-blower  over his garden patch.  It was a very effective process…the snow was just a-flying.  I thought it was a clever idea but not necessary for our garden as the raised beds seem to effectively catch adequate sun and wind to clear themselves.

I have made a start on the gardening front though.  My loft has a tiny square by the window set up and already growing some spindly seedlings of tomatoes, acorn squash, peppers and cucumbers.  I made a foray into the greenhouse today to ruffle the beds into troughs and poured in scoops of our home-brewed liquid fish fertilizer.  What a ghastly smelly job that is!  We ice fish throughout the winter and save the guts, heads and tails in a large tub which we fill with water in the spring and let percolate in the summer heat.  The previous season I put it in the beds  in the fall and let it sit all winter to thaw and fertilize the gardens in the spring.  This year I thought I’d do the dirty chore in the spring instead.  I managed the greenhouse just fine as the soil is well thawed in there.  The soil in some of the outdoor garden beds was not thawed enough to complete the job.  Now the tub is sitting out there waiting for more beds to thaw.  Mother Nature controls it all!  I sure hope the bears don’t think it is too interesting.

I’d like to get my little seedlings out in the greenhouse soon.  We have a wood stove to keep it warm but there is still some frost in the soil below a foot in the beds in there.  I don’t want the little duffers to get cold feet.  On a happier note the rhubarb has already popped out of the ground…such a hardy plant.  Most of the snow is gone from the sunny side of the yard but the snow in the shade is still piled high.

We must hurry up and wait.


Categories: 2014, Biointensive Gardening, Environmental Issues, Project 365 | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Celebrate Earth Month

Earth Month article to share from the David Suzuki Foundation:

Will we ever learn to celebrate Earth Month?


April is Earth Month, and April 22 Earth Day. We should really celebrate our small blue planet and all it provides every day, but recent events give us particular cause to reflect on our home and how we’re treating it.

Through an amazingly ordered combination of factors, this spinning ball of earth, air, fire and water – with its hydrological, carbon, nitrogen and rock cycles, biological diversity and ideal distance from the sun – provides perfect conditions for human life to flourish. But with our vast and rapidly increasing numbers, breakneck technological advances, profligate use of resources and lack of concern for where we dump our wastes, we’re upsetting the balance.

We’re a relatively new species, but we’re altering the geological properties of Earth to the extent that many scientists refer to this epoch as the Anthropocene – from the Greek anthropos meaning “human” and kainos meaning “recent”.

When Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 disappeared on March 8, crews in planes and boats set out to search the Indian Ocean. Debris sightings raised hopes that the crash site was located, but they turned out to be endless streams of garbage that humans have been dumping into the oceans for ages – plastic bottles and bags, fishing gear, household wastes, cigarette butts, detritus from shipping containers, even bits of space shuttle rocket boosters.

We now have massive swirling garbage patches in our oceans, and thousands of birds and fish from remote seas turning up dead, their bellies full of plastic and flotsam.

We’re also upsetting the delicate carbon cycle of the planet and its atmosphere, mostly through wasteful burning of fossil fuels. This, in turn, is shifting other natural processes, including the ways water circulates around the globe and climate and weather are regulated.

For a disturbing illustration of the damage we’ve done and how much more we’ll do unless we change our ways, we need only look to the recent installment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report. Findings show we’re already experiencing the ever-increasing impacts of global warming: ice caps and Arctic sea ice melting and collapsing; more extreme weather-related events like droughts and floods; dying corals; stressed water supplies; rising, increasingly acidic oceans; and fish and other animals migrating with some going extinct. Unless we act quickly, our food and water supplies, critical infrastructure, security, health, economies and communities will face ever-escalating risks, leading to increased human displacement, migration and violent conflict.

Some argue we must choose between “growing” the economy and protecting the planet. In response, the report states, “Throughout the 21st century, climate-change impacts are projected to slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing and create new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hotspots of hunger.”

That’s if we do little or nothing – which is not a viable option. We must reduce our individual impacts, but more importantly, we must tell industry and governments at all levels that we’ll no longer support the fouling of our planet and the madness of putting short-term economic growth ahead of protecting everything that keeps us alive and healthy.

We elect governments to act in our best interests, not to promote polluting industries at the expense of human health and long-term prosperity. One of our species’ unique abilities is foresight, the capacity to look ahead to avoid dangers and exploit opportunity. It’s time for our leaders to be visionary and steer away from hazards while taking the enormous opportunities offered by renewable energy sources. As I said in last week’s column, climate change is serious, and “Confronting it will take a radical change in the way we produce and consume energy – another industrial revolution, this time for clean energy, conservation and efficiency.”

Meeting this challenge, through reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to changes we can no longer prevent, will offer myriad side benefits, from better health and lower health-care costs to greater economic opportunities through cleaner and longer-lasting technologies.

There’s no excuse to keep on destroying our home. If we are to observe Earth Day and Earth Month, let’s make it a time to celebrate, not to despair.

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Editor Ian Hanington.

Categories: 2014, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Project 365 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fun Fact from David Suzuki

These fun facts from the David Suzuki Foundation make a great share, click the links and enjoy:

What’s bigger than a bus but has prey smaller than a grain of rice?

Basking Shark
Illustration by Tin Can Forest

Five fun facts

Below are five fun facts about one of the world’s most interesting sea creatures: the basking shark.

  1. Basking sharks are the world’s second-largest fish (only the whale shark is bigger) and can grow to the length of a school bus, more than 12 metres from tip to tail.
  2. Basking sharks can weigh more than four tonnes — heavier than a couple of cars — yet they feed primarily on zooplankton, which are smaller than a grain of rice.
  3. Although sometimes mistaken for great white sharks, basking sharks are gentle giants with tiny teeth and are harmless to humans.
  4. The basking shark’s highly adapted mouth and gill structure can filter enough water to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool every 90 minutes.
  5. The mouth of a basking shark is so unique that the structure of the mouth cavity has recently inspired the design of a more efficient hydroelectric water turbine.

Where are these basking sharks?

Do you wonder why you’ve never seen a basking shark? Despite being found along both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Canada, basking sharks are rarely seen in the wild. On the Pacific coast only about one a year is officially sighted, a stark contrast to 60 years ago when schools of hundreds of basking sharks could regularly be seen.

Basking sharks faced aggressive extermination in the 1950s and ’60s, and because they are often found “basking” near the surface, they can become entangled in fishing gear and hit by shipping vessels. These threats have reduced basking shark populations to the point where some have disappeared and others need protection.

What’s being done?

In January, Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans released a policy to assist in the recovery of the basking shark. It instructs vessels on how to operate around basking sharks and how to report a sighting if you are fortunate enough to see one.

For more information about basking sharks, check out this information from the Shark Identification Network and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. And be sure to keep your eyes on the ocean for this gentle, basking giant. You can also pick up the book I wrote with Brian Gisborne, Basking Sharks: The Slaughter of B.C.’s Gentle Giants (Transmontanus, 2006).



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Sharing a Desmog Update

Today’s share is from…I sure hope everyone has a moment to follow their links and reads on:

Guest Posts & In-Depth Analysis

A Short History of Joe Oliver, Canada’s New Finance Minister

Joe Oliver, Canada’s new federal Minister of Finance, made quite a name for himself during his tenure as Minister of Natural Resources.


On Twitter?

Massive Shellfish Die-Off in B.C. Heralds a Future We Can and Must Avoid

The February 25th headline, “10 million scallops are dead; company lays off staff,” hit British Columbians like a punch in the stomach. The shellfish industry has been an economic powerhouse on central Vancouver Island for decades, providing hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue every year – over $30 million in average wholesale value.


Enbridge Employees Go Door-To-Door In Kitimat Before Vote On Northern Gateway

Kitimat residents are fighting back as Enbridge scales up its campaign to sway the town’s plebiscite vote on the company’s Northern Gateway oil pipeline, which would see oil loaded onto 225 tankers a year at a proposed Kitimat terminal. READ MORE

Bill 4 Passes: B.C. Parks Now Officially Open…To Pipelines and Drilling

A little-known Bill, the Park Amendment Act, that will drastically alter the management of B.C. parks is set to become law today, creating controversy among the province’s most prominent environmental and conservation organizations. The passage of Bill 4 will make way for industrial incursions into provincial parklands including energy extraction, construction of pipelines and industry-led research. READ MORE

Concerned Engineers Warn of Flaws in Enbridge Northern Gateway Tanker Plan

A group of engineers has released papers warning us not to trust the numbers provided by Enbridge when it comes to tanker traffic associated with the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. READ MORE

TransCanada’s Proposed Energy East Pipeline Is Clearly An Export Pipeline Says Report

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Sierra Life…one life…one chance

Today I share a newsletter from the Sierra Club BC:


Standing up for B.C.’s Water

We kicked off World Water Week with a stint in the courtroom, where Justice Fitzpatrick heard our case against the B.C. government for allowing oil and gas companies to dewater north-eastern B.C. You’ll be shocked at how much water one single authorization from the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission allows to be extracted for fracking. Facebook Twitter Reddit LinkedIn


Habits, Consequences and 15 Seconds of Fame

“Old Habits + New Technology = Dramatically Altered Consequences”. What does this equation mean to you? Plastic-free blogger Carol-Lynne Michaels has some ideas. Facebook Twitter Reddit LinkedIn


Heart of Quadra Parks Saved!

Kayakers rejoice! The B.C. government has closed the deal on a key piece of  land connecting two spectacular marine parks, and featuring a historic portage trail and aboriginal clam garden. Congratulations to Sierra Quadra and Quadra Islanders who laboured for 17 years to make it happen. Facebook Twitter Reddit LinkedIn


Featured Event

Join the People’s Procession & Rally on Saturday, April 12th to raise community awareness and voice opposition to Kinder Morgan’s proposed TransMountain pipeline. Facebook Twitter Reddit LinkedIn
Find other events in your area.


Unity for the Climate

Joseph Boutilier is taking one wheel to the road, embarking via unicycle on a 5,000 km trip to Ottawa to call on government to take action on climate change, respect for First Nation treaties and inherent land rights and an end to the muzzling of publicly-funded scientists. Facebook Twitter Reddit LinkedIn

A big thank you to Bill Hartley Insurance Services for their Sierra Club Insurance Program, whose home and tenant insurance programs help to support our work.

Photo credits (top to bottom): Andrew S. Wright; Zefa Stock creative commons image; Carol-Lynne Michaels; Ralph Keller; Sierra Club BC. 


About Us


Sierra Club BC’s mission is to protect B.C.’s wilderness and wildlife, especially in light of global warming. 

Be sure to click on the headings to read more on each topic!!

Categories: 2014, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Project 365 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Living Oceans Update

Today’s share is an update from Living Oceans:

Letter from the Executive Director

Already labelled by the media as the most secretive government Canada has ever seen, the current federal government achieved a new low water mark in disclosure this month when it was revealed that Health Canada has been approving the manufacture and export of genetically modified organisms without public notice.

Read on to find out about the world’s first genetically modified food animal to go into production and the 500 other GM products for which Health Canada failed to publish notices required by law, that would have enabled us to comment on the applications.

In this issue, we also commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez disaster, announcing a motivating evening with Dr. Riki Ott at the Vancouver Public Library, Monday, March 31.

Karen WristenThanks to all of you who have supported our work!

Best regards,
Karen Wristen


Genetically modified salmon decision cloaked in secrecy

Frankenfish cartoon by Steve Greenberg

In November 2013 the Government of Canada approved the manufacture of what is poised to be the world’s first genetically modified food animal—in complete secrecy. We’re taking the government to court to stop them and we need your help.
Read more>>

Push for chemical dispersants hard to explain

An aircraft releases dispersant over oil spilled from the Deepwater Horizon, off the shore of Louisiana, May 5, 2010. Photo: U.S. Coast Guard/Stephen Lehmann

At the Enbridge Northern Gateway hearings, Living Oceans took a strong stand against the use of chemical dispersants in response to oil spills because they are toxic to certain marine life. However, both the Kinder Morgan TransMountain Pipeline application and the federal government’s recent Tanker Safety Report advocate their use.
Read more>>

Riki Ott presents Pretty Slick

Dr. Riki Ott

Dr. Riki Ott presents on March 31 at the Vancouver Public Library, 350 West Georgia in the Alma VanDusen room (lower level).

Riki is an author and activist whose life work took an abrupt turn when the Exxon Valdez spilled its cargo of heavy crude in Prince William Sound, Alaska. A marine toxicologist by training, Riki was a commercial fisher at the time of the spill and lives its consequences to this day. Her presentation of Pretty Slick, a feature documentary on the aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon well blow-out in 2010, will focus on the use of chemical ‘dispersants’ to break up an oil spill–and the human and environmental toll that dispersants are taking.
Read more>>

Public Input on Marine Plans – Come out and improve these plans

Many, including myself have said “without a plan you are planning to fail” so the Conservation Sector has worked hard to plan with the Province, First Nations and sector representatives  to come up with four draft marine plans for the ‘Great Bear Sea’ including Haida Gwaii, North Coast, Central Coast and the Northern Vancouver Island area.                                                           Read more>>


Good reading on important issues!

Categories: 2014, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Project 365 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Picture your favourite provincial park with a pipeline through it!?!?

Here is an important letter that I got via email to share from CPAWS-BC:

Dear Eldy,

Picture your favourite provincial park. Now picture it with a pipeline through it. Now is your last chance to tell the Minister of Environment to stop proposed changes to the Park Act that would allow this!

The Park Amendment Act (Bill 4) proposed by the B.C. government will open the doors for industrial research in our parks and will make it possible for park boundaries to be altered to allow for industrial activity.

The Park Amendment Act is now at the final stage of approval — we need to act quickly before it becomes a law.  

Write to the Minister of Environment and tell her what you think of the proposed changes.

Over 700 British Columbians have stood up for our parks and written letters to the Minister. Will you join them? We’re are trying to reach 1,000 letters by the end of the weekend to let the Minister know that British Columbians do not support the proposed changes to the Park Act.







Peter Wood Director of Terrestrial Campaigns, CPAWS-BC

This is such an important issue to stand up for!

Categories: 2014, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Project 365 | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Climate Change

More information to share from the David Suzuki Foundation:

We can’t just geoengineer our way out of climate change


Because nature doesn’t always behave the same in a lab, test tube or computer program as it does in the real world, scientists and engineers have come up with ideas that didn’t turn out as expected.

DDT was considered a panacea for a range of insect pest issues, from controlling disease to helping farmers. But we didn’t understand bioaccumulation back then – toxins concentrating up the food chain, risking the health and survival of animals from birds to humans. Chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, seemed so terrific we put them in everything from aerosol cans to refrigerators. Then we learned they damage the ozone layer, which protects us from harmful solar radiation.

These unintended consequences come partly from our tendency to view things in isolation, without understanding how all nature is interconnected. We’re now facing the most serious unintended consequence ever: climate change from burning fossil fuels. Some proposed solutions may also result in unforeseen outcomes.

Oil, gas and coal are miraculous substances – energy absorbed from the sun by plants and animals hundreds of millions of years ago, retained after they died and concentrated as the decaying life became buried deeper into the earth. Burning them to harness and release this energy opened up possibilities unimaginable to our ancestors. We could create machines and technologies to reduce our toil, heat and light our homes, build modern cities for growing populations and provide accessible transport for greater mobility and freedom. And because the stuff seemed so plentiful and easy to obtain, we could build vehicles and roads for everyone – big cars that used lots of gas – so that enormous profits would fuel prosperous, consumer-driven societies.

We knew fairly early that pollution affected human health, but that didn’t seem insurmountable. We just needed to improve fuel efficiency and create better pollution-control standards. That reduced rather than eliminated the problem and only partly addressed an issue that appears to have caught us off-guard: the limited availability of these fuels. But the trade-offs seemed worthwhile.

Then, for the past few decades, a catastrophic consequence of our profligate use of fossil fuels has loomed. Burning them has released excessive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, creating a thick, heat-trapping blanket. Along with our destruction of natural carbon-storing environments, such as forests and wetlands, this has steadily increased global average temperatures, causing climate change.

We’re now faced with ever-increasing extreme weather-related events and phenomena such as ocean acidification, which affects myriad marine life, from shellfish to corals to plankton. The latter produce oxygen and are at the very foundation of the food chain.

Had we addressed the problem from the outset, we could have solutions in place. We could have found ways to burn less fossil fuel without massively disrupting our economies and ways of life. But we’ve become addicted to the lavish benefits that fossil fuels have offered, and the wealth and power they’ve provided to industrialists and governments. And so there’s been a concerted effort to stall or avoid corrective action, with industry paying front groups, “experts” and governments to deny or downplay the problem.

Now that climate change has become undeniable, with consequences getting worse daily, many experts are eyeing solutions. Some are touting massive technological fixes, such as dumping large amounts of iron filings into the seas to facilitate carbon absorption, pumping nutrient-rich cold waters from the ocean depths to the surface, building giant reflectors to bounce sunlight back into space and irrigating vast deserts.

But we’re still running up against those pesky unintended consequences. Scientists at the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, studied five geoengineering schemes and concluded they’re “either relatively ineffective with limited warming reductions, or they have potentially severe side effects and cannot be stopped without causing rapid climate change.” That’s partly because we don’t fully understand climate and weather systems and their interactions.

That doesn’t mean we should rule out geoengineering. Climate change is so serious that we’ll need to marshal everything we have to confront it, and some methods appear to be more benign than others. But geoengineering isn’t the solution. And it’s no excuse to go on wastefully burning fossil fuels. We must conserve energy and find ways to quickly shift to cleaner sources.

By David Suzuki with contributions from Ian Hanington, Senior Editor 


Categories: 2014, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Project 365 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

protect British Columbia’s coastal waters.

A word to share from the David Suzuki Foundation:

Here’s our chance to protect British Columbia’s coastal waters.

A vast majority of British Columbians want to see more than 30 per cent of our ocean area protected. Currently less than 3 per cent is.

This is a key time to make sure your MLA knows that British Columbians like you support strong protection and conservation in coastal waters so they can ensure that marine protected areas are part of the plan for our coast.

Please send an email to your MLA today to say British Columbians like you support strong protection and conservation for our coastal waters.

During the past several years, the province of B.C., First Nations and many stakeholders have been planning how to manage British Columbia’s coastal waters. That includes where and how to limit activities that can harm the marine ecosystems that provide us with so much.

There are some industry lobbyists who don’t want to see an increase in conservation areas, so it is important to voice your support for strong conservation for these precious coastal waters.

Without it, this historic opportunity could pass us by.

Find out more about the benefits of marine protected areas in BC.

And become an Ocean Keeper to help protect the ocean you love.


Categories: 2014, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Project 365 | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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