Can one write a BC report that would not be equally applicable to what is happening Quebec? To consider this is almost an object lesson of why the profession needs a truly “Canadian Soci-ety of Environmental Biologists” around which to develop a national conversation on the com-mon professional and environmental challenges that we will face over the next 12 years, as urged by the latest IPCC report.
Bulletin of Canadian Environmental Biologists – Quarterly Report
Asking the Wrong Question: Redundant Government Policy or Resilience as a Pretext for “Business as Usual” with New Names
Eighteen years ago, the late William K. Stevens wrote an essay that picked up on Erlich and Erlich’s metaphor of the planet as an airplane that was losing rivets, namely, the rivets of biodiversity. The prevailing notion then, and too often now, is that somehow, we can afford to lose some rivets with no real harm, because ecosystems are “resilient.”
Why should we accept an under-performing environment, when governments tremble at under-performing economies that ultimately depend on the state of the environment? BC experienced a summer marked by the worst fire season on record. Smoke and ash blanketed the entire country, just as scientific reports continued to mount that climate change is changing ecosystems irreversibly. While there is much talk about the new extremes being “the new normal,” there is also an increasing realization that “normal” is a misleading term because there is nothing normal about a deregulated environment characterized by extreme events of expanding magnitude. When the environmental framework goes, so do the ideological and economic assumptions that have until now sustained our interpretation of “normality.”
While the most notorious environmental event in BC this spring may appear to be the federal acquisition of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which the media pitches as a confrontation between Alberta and BC, this political circus may just be a subtext to more important over-arching biological and environmental concerns. Indeed, the notorious media-focussed announcement of the prime mininister’s acquisition of a controversial pipeline in the name of “the national interest”, has overshadowed the much-more important, if more matter-of-fact, release by the Alpine Club of Canada and the University of Alberta of the 2018 State of the Mountains Report, which underlines the fact that science knows no borders and is always in “the public interest.”