The B.C. Scallop Farmer’s Acid Test – The Tyee

More on the emerging ocean acidification issues of aquaculture. 

Rob Saunders points a flashlight into the depths of an immense plastic tank at his hatchery, illuminating millions of scallop larvae as tiny as dust particles. “Think of these as canaries in a coal mine,” says the marine biologist turned embattled shellfish farming CEO. It is here at Island Scallops’ facility in Qualicum Beach, located just inland from British Columbia’s shellfish farming epicentre of Baynes Sound, that ocean acidification wreaked havoc. Beginning in 2011, the company’s scallop brood stock (adult shellfish bred over 25 years to be disease-resistant and exceptionally meaty), began to die. Christopher Pollon reports. (The Tyee)

Wintering species are arriving – Coast Reporter

Another low cost bit of entertainment for the weekend. Head to the beach, wetlands, lakes or estuaries and check out the winter birds now arriving. Here’s a report from the BC Sunshine Coast, which gets a lot of the same birds as us. Worth a trip up if you are looking to get away. While Pender Harbour is a long way from the Peninsula, the ferries to the Island are usually easier to get on with short notice this time of year.

The Sunshine Coast has four well-defined birding seasons, and we are now well into the fall season as our common wintering species begin to arrive for their winter residency. The most obvious of these species are Barrow’s goldeneyes and buffleheads, which return in huge numbers from their freshwater breeding lakes all across interior and northern Canada. As the interior water bodies begin to freeze over, the ducks return to the balmy waters of the Salish Sea to winter. Joe Harrison reported the first Barrow’s goldeneyes of the winter on Oct. 18 at Oyster Bay, Pender Harbour, one day later than last year. Tony Greenfeld writes. (Coast Reporter)

‘Warm blob’ keeps possible record sockeye run away from U.S. waters – Bellingham Herald

The story of how this year’s great hot weather has affected the salmon runs. 

In a development that has left local fishermen scratching their heads, it appears an unusually warm section of ocean water is helping send nearly the entire sockeye salmon run into Canadian fishing waters this season. According to data from the Pacific Salmon Commission through Tuesday, Aug. 19, in recent weeks about 99 percent of the sockeye salmon has gone through the Johnstone Strait around the northern part of Vancouver Island into Canadian waters. That’s made a big difference in who is catching the fish: Nearly 2.9 million sockeye salmon have been caught in Canadian waters, while the U.S. fishermen had caught around 98,000 through Aug. 19. Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the Bellingham Herald. 

David Suzuki – Losing Hope

They say that it’s always darkest just before the dawn.  In Monday’s edition of Maclean’s (a Canadian magazine), long time environmental leader David Suzuki,  says that environmental NGO community has failed because of their inability  in convincing people that the problems the earth faces are in need of urgent change.  Caution: Rant ahead…

“We fundamentally failed to use those battles to get that awareness, to shift the paradigm. And that’s been the failure of environmentalism.” David Suzuki

Let’s be clear,I have been a fan of David’s for a long time, but to hear that  Suzuki is claiming that  the environmental movement has ‘failed’ (somewhat old news since the original blog post this headline comes from is over a year old), is like hearing Martin Luther King denounce the freedom movement in the 60s  for not achieving more.  (Which never happened). Or Gandhi saying nonviolence is a failed strategy. It feels like the old adage of “blaming the victim” because they haven’t managed to convince the sexist or racist system that they as victim, are not to blame.

David has been around for decades.  He has done more to educate people on environmental issues than I will do in a lifetime. And now he blames the NGO community, his own community to be clear, and of which he has prospered significantly over the last few decades? Does that mean his own NGO of which he asks people to donate to, is also to blame?  Would I continue to donate to his foundation after him claiming that environmental NGOs are the problem?

This article has made me look at his foundations financials.  In looking at his NGO’s financial statement for 2012, I see that they raised almost $9M Canadian and spent approx. $2.4 M on fundraising and administrative costs. That means that only 74% of his raised funds went to actually doing the work he proposes. There is no measurements of how many people they affected or what kind of impacts they had. They simply talk about broad brush efforts. What am I supposed to think about that, when the standard in the US, set by independent watchdogs like Charity Navigator are expecting much much higher percentages of funds to be used on the goals of the cause rather than the admin and fundraising? I know plenty of environmental groups that would love to be able to spend 2.4 million or more on the issues in their backyard. I belong to a few of them. We get no where near this kind of money.

To be clear, we all drive too much, fly to much,  and we are more than willing to ignore the pleas of the environmental community because it’s too damn hard to actually get out from behind our Facebook pages, where we post all these wonderful pledges to causes, and actually staff the offices that work for change. It’s not ‘fun’ though Lord knows, but most of the older generation in the States had plenty of fun in the protest movement of the 60s, screwing and doping through that, when their lives were actually in risk of being shipped to Viet Nam. And aren’t our lives at risk? Not for most.

So now it’s just, “what me worry?”  Unless you live on the Jersey Shore, Louisiana, or in the Philippines,  or any of the other hundreds of places that have actually borne the brunt of our, yes our, ways. It’s the burning of fossil fuel that is causing this, and you, Canada, and us in the USA  are the main culprits. Want to change the equation? Stop electing anti-environmental leaders.  Now. Stop electing Stephen Harper and his crony’s and the likes of Ford in Toronto, Canada. Why is the outcome of that somehow the fault of the NGO community?

A program like the launch of the space program is needed, but no one in government is able to lead. And the environmental movement is not one monolithic thing.  There is no “president” of the environment. It’s a decentralized mess, thankfully. It makes it harder to co-opt.

So who’s going to do something about changing the equation? No one. Canadian voters turn out in record *low* numbers.  Why is that? Maybe David should be challenging the voters, the readers, the people who need to vote our way out of this, rather than the tiny minority trying to do something on a daily basis. I know lots of Canadians.  Most  of them pay lip service to change, (as do many of my fellow Americans), few of them seem to actually be doing anything about it. It’s very “impolite” to bring it up in any serious way in conversation up there. Especially if you are American.  Canada has been taken over by  the oil industry, much like a 3rd world country. I talk to the 30 somethings I know up there and many of them are unaware that environmental laws have been not just weakened, but eliminated.  David can feel like he is losing ground, the movement is, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to walk away from it.  It’s time to double down. More people know about the problems of environmental issues than ever before. More people are knowledgeable that they would change, if they are given a chance to and some leadership in doing so. There was a belief that Obama was that leader, he isn’t. But that doesn’t mean that we can give up. He has accomplished some good. But he demands that the people lead and he will follow. So it means a need to work locally. More than ever.

Things are getting done by the grass roots people working in their communities, not nationally.Who’s doing something?  Well there are hundreds of local groups in the Puget Sound area, including Tribes, (known as First Nations in Canada), that are actually getting stuff done on the ground.  The NW Indian Fisheries Commission seems to be actually recovering streams and salmon runs. Are they succeeding? In some cases. These groups  are spending decades making minor but significant change. Want to donate to real change? Look at the list of NGO’s on the left side of this web page!

What will change things? A “Sputnik” like event to wake everyone up to the risk? What will it take? NYC or Manila or Sydney Aus to be wiped out in an environmental disaster brought on by the once in a hundred years storm that now happens every year? The sad reality is, yes, that’s likely to be what it takes.

Without national leaders, like Suzuki, pressing in high places, the movement never gets critical mass. The power players, like Fox News, in the US, and others, just savage the movement and no one answers their criticism.

If David needs some propping up, some way to feel like we are and can make headway, then we welcome him to get out and go see what is happening. It sounds as if he needs a break. I’ll be glad to host him any old time. Maybe it’s just time for him to stand back and appreciate all the hard work he’s done in his lifetime.  In the meantime, it’s time for the rest of us to get back to work.

Rant over…

The Maclean’s Article

David’s 2012 “dark blog” post on the failures of the environmental movement.

ScienceDaily report on Fukushima plume.

The real story, not the fake ones circulating with NOAA tsunamai maps mislabeled as this one.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada looking into claims of sick herring–Times Colonist

Less than 100 miles or so north of us, the crisis of sick herring (and the disease vector that appears to be farmed Atlantic Salmon) is about to explode.  Can our fisheries be far behind?

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is trying to confirm reports from an independent biologist that herring around northern Vancouver Island have a disease that is causing bleeding from their gills, bellies and eyeballs.

Alexandra Morton wrote to DFO asking for an investigation and viral testing of the fish after she pulled up a net of about 100 herring near Sointula and found they were all bleeding.

Read the whole story at the Times Colonist:

‘Crisis time’ for B.C. waters, environmental groups say – Times Colonist

Our friends to the north are taking the expanded tanker and population threats seriously. See if you are doing all you can do.

Two of B.C.’s major environmental organizations are launching a Save-the-Salish-Sea campaign because of looming threats to the delicate ecosystem. The groups are concerned about possible expanded coal and oil exports, which would increase the number of tankers and coal ships travelling from Vancouver, through the Gulf Islands and Juan de Fuca Strait, as well as existing problems, such as pollution and overuse. Georgia Strait Alliance and the Wilderness Committee are asking B.C. residents to demonstrate support for the water that surrounds them by pledging to become “caring kayakers, bright birders and savvy shoreline users.” Judith Lavoie reports.


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