Featured Stories

On a glorious day in Vancouver, an overflow crowd milled around in the lobby of the federal courthouse. Attendees passed around a bag of summer strawberries and shared stories of what had drawn them here, to witness the appeal of the Federal Court ruling on Hupacasath First Nation v. Canada.  

Conservative British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher famously declared on many occasions that “there is no alternative” to economic liberalism and free trade. This popular slogan, referred to by the acronym “TINA,” has persisted beyond Thatcher’s own time in office, which ended in 1990, and has become a widely accepted wisdom.

British Columbia is a land of extremes, blessed by the clash of successive unstable terrains that have shaped its geography and its flora and fauna.Even the human fauna is shaped by it to extremes of political polarization. British Columbia takes some pride in being home to some of the nation’s wackiest, most extreme and incomprehensible politics. That probably explains a lot about the actual lamentable state of the environment belying BC’s spectacular landscapes.

There’s no debate about its deterioration. BC’s ferry system is on its knees, reeling rudderlessly over a tipping point, sinking into a death spiral of declining ridership – now at a 22-year low – while draconian service cuts and ongoing fare increases generate less revenue.

A brand new Maserati was ahead of me. Responding to a shot of gasoline, the rumble of its mufflers pierced my car windows. A few blocks later, I’m beside this polished symbol of testosterone and money. Red light. This is the situation where I can’t resist the opportunity to have some electric car fun.

One hundred thousand is the magic number of jobs that the BC government predicts the Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) industry will create. The employment projections are based on five LNG plants operating by 2020. So far, none of the multinational companies considering building LNG plants in BC has made a final investment decision, but Premier Christy Clark has been busy putting strategies in place to prove BC will have the manpower when needed. But the numbers are not adding up.

Everywhere that the oil and natural gas industry is fracking – using high pressure blasts of fluid, sand, and chemicals pumped underground to extract the remnants of gas and oil from layers of shale, coal, or sand formations  – public concern and protests follow. In some regions, the citizens have had moderate success in restricting the technology. France and Luxembourg have banned the practise.

On March 31, 2014, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled that Japan’s deliberate hunting, plus incidental killing of whales in the Southern Ocean was in violation of Japan’s legal obligations under an international treaty banning commercial whaling. Japan’s subsequent cancelling of this year’s hunt elicited jubilant responses by anti-whaling NGO communities around the world.

Curiosity. It’s what makes cats more fun and interesting. That’s what this guidebook does for curious people – makes travelling around BC and the Yukon a lot more fun and interesting.


6 Cultural Aspect of Japanese Whaling
Why does Japan persist in whaling?

32 State of the BC Environment
Loys Maingon examines the future for BC parks

35 The New BC Roadside Naturalist
Reviewed by Maggie Paquet