A mine in the middle

“We fly out of the Liard River in a float plane operated by a man named Doug. The plane glides up over the boreal forest and bogs of the seemingly endless Liard Plains, until the landscape swoops skyward like a calligraphic flourish at the end of a long, unbroken sentence. The flourish is the MacKenzie mountain range, forming part of the boundary between the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. The mountain ridges are wide, wider than freeways, and I gape at the contours of the rocky slopes. Rivers below us meander like loosely coiled ropes, their origins drooling rivulets rolling down the slopes of now snowless mountains. And then we see it. The Nahanni.”

Sharon J. Riley – The Narwhal – December 2019

We’re Doomed. Now What?

“[C]limate change is not an ‘environmental issue’ in the sense that term has come to mean. It is not a discrete ecological phenomenon that can be contained by symbolic declarations, nonbinding agreements, top-down regulations, and hair-shirted personal sacrifice—which, taken together, deliver maximum pain for far too little gain. Climate change is rather, at its core, about life’s most basic necessity: energy.”

Chris Turner – The Walrus – November 2019

Elizabeth May Fights by Her Own Rules

“While she remains intent on the papers in front of her, her frequent glances at the Speaker make it clear she is listening. Being the Green Party leader doesn’t mean much without official party status. That would entitle her to a slate of privileges, including a research budget and automatic membership on committees. As it stands, she has equivalent status to an independent, limited by tightly prescribed protocols that govern, among other things, who speaks, in what order, and for how long. She can claim only one question per week during question period, the final slot. She comes last in the speech rotation when legislation is debated, sharing the spot with the four Bloc MPs.”

Susan Harada – The Walrus – May 2012

What Would It Look Like to Take the First Nations Water Crisis Seriously?

“The water has an earthy taste, Oskineegish says. It is tinted yellow in summer; in winter, the ice makes the water a bit clearer. No one routinely tests the lake water to ensure it is safe, but Oskineegish says it has never made him sick. He trusts the water because there’s no mining or industry upstream, but he boils it and runs it through a Brita-like filter before using it, ‘to be double sure.'”

Hilary Beaumont – The Walrus – October 2019

After oil and gas: Meet Alberta workers making the switch to solar

“At his first job, he made $60,000 a year. In the years that followed, he made a lot of money. He partied. He didn’t vote. He didn’t care much about politics. Something started to change for Taylor as the years went on in the oil patch. He remembers the 2010 BP oil spill as a pivotal moment in his thinking. ‘It was plastered all over the news for days, and I watched this giant catastrophe just unfold in front of our eyes for days on end,’ he said. It was, he remembers, ‘a heartbreaking moment.’ Fast-forward several years, and Taylor is one of thousands of solar workers in Alberta — and one of many who has transitioned out of the fossil fuel sector into renewable energy.”

Sharon J. Riley – The Narwhal – October 2019

We Are Garbage

In a climate crisis, artists have a duty to speak up – but what should they say?

“From Bluffs Park on Galiano Island, you can watch the ferries chug through Active Pass, making their way between Galiano and Mayne Island. It’s the kind of view that takes away whatever breath you have left after the climb, that makes you fall head-over-heels in love with the land. How lucky we are to be here, to live in this part of the world, the author Michael Christie and I said to each other on a fine June afternoon. But, in time, the conversation turned a little darker.”

Marsha Lederman – The Globe and Mail – August 2019