Death by a thousand cuts

Lawrence Woodall voices his opinions of the potential impact of the Enbridge pipeline.

The Enbridge Northern Gateway hearings plan was to give the illusion of a transparent process. Of course, the federal Conservatives don’t like the word illusion, but based on last week’s comments that the feds would, “do what is good for Canada,” just read between the lines. Not, “do what is good for B.C.”

In other words, the pipeline is a done deal; money speaks louder than dead wildlife. Everyone speaks of jobs and money, but what of the wilderness and wildlife? Who speaks for them and their welfare?

There’s an old Cree proverb that world governments should take to heart: “Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”

And let’s give the International Panel on Climate Change some blame. In 2007 they gave free rein to countries such as India and China to evolve their standard of living, thus the governing body of Canada can justify its position of pumping as much oil and natural gas as they’ll take in the name of environment stewardship.

For you folks with short memories, the IPCC basically stated that CO2 emissions needed to be lowered immediately, back to the early 1990 levels. Not surprisingly, depending on what stats you look at, the planet has increased its CO2 emissions by 10% since 2007.

B.C. cannot afford to go down the pipeline road. At present, we have the greatest bio-diversity in North America, the largest variety of species, nine climatic zones, and more than 600 ecological communities.

Compare that to Alberta, which has the least wildlife biodiversity in Canada due to widespread alteration of natural habitat, resulting in smaller populations and ranges. Alberta contains a disproportionate number of threatened and endangered species in relation to the rest of Canada. This is the same province that wants to push its wasteland values upon our rich and diverse province.

An example of this degradation is the grizzly. Government biologists over the years stated all their new infrastructure and pipeline layouts on each new project would have minimal impact on wildlife populations, but gradually the minimums add up. As the saying goes, death by a thousand cuts. The 2010 grizzly census found 691 bears in Alberta, the majority in National Parks, of which a good percentage range into BC. The eastern slope grizzly study noted that the population was in steep decline with a more than 80 per cent cub mortality. This was due to sows with cubs not crossing government biologist-approved travel corridors under infrastructure to prime feeding habitat, leading to starvation of cubs. Pipeline impacts on elk and caribou has also been negative.

If B.C. doesn’t stop Enbridge’s pipeline, it will only be another cut to bleed our bio-diversity, and one day our children’s children will wake up to a wasteland created by thousands of industrial cuts that have “minimal impacts,” as the experts say. All created in the name of money.

Only then will the Cree proverb have any meaning and value.

 

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