Let’s not forget we’re choosing our politicians while the world burns down around us

“To be clear: It is the responsibility of high-office holders to put policies in place that will facilitate positive systemic change; it’s also their responsibility to hold large polluting companies to account. If Canada were anywhere close to meeting its own climate targets, Wilkinson’s support of Shell’s advertising ploy might have been forgivable. But we’re not. And until we are, the only message we should be hearing from politicians like Wilkinson or companies like Shell is what they are doing to decarbonize. That being said, let’s not forget who’s been choosing our politicians while the world burns down around us.”

Arno Kopecky – The Narwhal – August 2021


‘The border is this imaginary line’: why Americans are fighting mining in B.C.’s ‘Doughnut Hole’

“On a clear, cold day in late October, Paul Berntsen stands on the wooden foundation of a yurt he built himself, watching as his dreams of a non-motorized tourist destination in the Skagit River headwaters go up in flames. In the valley below, slash piles from recent clearcut logging on East Point Mountain are being burned by forestry company contractors, sending great plumes of smoke into the sky. Through the haze, a vast clear-cut is visible on the flanks of the mountain, which is carved into blocks by a network of new logging roads.”

Christopher Pollon – The Narwhal – January 2020

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

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

The battle for Haida Gwaii’s cedars

“On islands known for their monumental works of art, the monumental trees that make that art possible are getting harder and harder to find. Centuries old red and yellow cedar trees, the essential raw materials that make Haida poles, canoes, bentwood boxes, masks, intricately woven hats and so much more possible, are being logged at a steady clip. And once again on Haida Gwaii, there are renewed calls to slow that old-growth logging before it’s too late.”

Ben Parfitt – The Narwhal – August 2019

Canada’s forgotten rainforest

Sarah Cox – The Narwhal – July 2019

How can Canada’s North get off diesel?

“They power every off-grid community in Nunavut, Nunavik, the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Labrador without exception — and most northern communities are off-grid. Diesel generators even keep the lights on in some of the larger centres, such as Iqaluit. Some communities have supplemented diesel with alternatives such as solar or wind, and others have plans to do so, but the pattern remains: up here, diesel is king.”

Jimmy Thomson – The Narwhal – February 2019

The story of Alberta’s $100-billion well liability problem

Sharon J. Riley – The Narwhal – November 2018

Keepers of the spotted owl

Sarah Cox – The Narwhal – November 2018

B.C.’s vanishing hazardous waste database

“Worldwide, waste management companies have become vulnerable to takeover by organized crime or unscrupulous operators who undercut their competitors for contracts and then ‘dispose’ of their waste by illegal means, disappearing toxic sludge much like a mobster gets rid of an associate he has just whacked. British Columbia is not immune to such activity. I know. I know, because on two separate occasions I used that now defunct database to show how two different companies had flagrantly violated provincial rules governing hazardous wastes.”

Ben Parfitt – The Narwhal – July 2018