The sharp decline of Alberta’s woodland caribou population has long been a concern. According to Mark Hebblewhite, associate professor of ungulate habitat biology at the University of Montana, compared the province’s previous attempts to resolve this situation by culling wolves – but not prioritizing habitat restoration – to shovelling sand. The University of Alberta agreed, and pointed to the fact these animals are “in an area with high levels of human disturbance resulting from forestry and oil and gas activity.” That changed this morning, the province of Alberta is extending its’ protection over an additional 1.8 million hectares of forest.
The crux of Canada’s climate dilemma was recently played out at the Broadbent Institute’s annual Progress Summit. It was a refreshing debate in that, despite their very different perspectives, all three speakers appeared to speak what was really on their minds. Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips is understandably distressed about the her province’s growing unemployment and $10 billion in lost oil revenues. Vancouver City Councillor Andrea Reimer is opposed to the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion because it is “way too much risk, no benefit (for Vancouver), on a planet that is dying because we are burning fossil fuels.” Canada’s Environment Minister does not want to do anything that would cause “tons of people to lose jobs.” But do Phillips and McKenna realize that the Canadian government is already damaging BC by not taking action.