Our major urban centres, primarily Kelowna are hungry for more land to serve the interests of housing and industrial development. The primary obstacle to limitless urban sprawl in the valley has been the Agricultural Land Reserve but perhaps not for long.
Just recently the public was made aware of a bear that would appear to be a cross between a Grizzly and a Polar bear. This “Grolar Bear” had been killed on April 16th by a big game hunter on a guided hunt on Banks Island in the Northwest Territories. Early reports told us that although grizzly bears have been known to travel to the Arctic islands, they generally stay on the mainland.
The mountain caribou, a sub-strain of the woodland caribou which only a few generations ago stretched from the southern Monashee and across the Okanagan Highlands are about to become extinct from this area, and other endangered species such as the wolverine and grizzly bear may be placed at risk in the process.
The Mountain Caribou are the same subspecies as woodland caribou once found throughout boreal Canada, the mountain caribou's different use of habitat makes it an ecotype unique to the mountains of the interior wet belt of south-eastern British Columbia.
In the Okanagan, our local governments should look to workable models that can be used where regional districts can come together without effecting regional autonomies but still directly address Okanagan-wide issues.
Good models for such regional cooperation exist in Canada, one such proven model is the Conservation Authority system in Ontario.
Representatives of NORD and the City of Vernon suffered the traditional fate of messengers at an information meeting about the Agricultural Land Reserve last Tuesday as several frustrated farmers in an audience of about 40 dominated a question and answer period at the end of the meeting by venting their frustration with the land reserve.
Farmers: ‘If you save the farmer you save the land’
Sparks fly at NORD-City of Vernon ALR info session
“What happened to making sure farming is viable?” came the first shot from the audience, indicating controversy is another thing about the ALR that remains unchanged in roughly 35 years. The farmer asking the question reminded Passmore the act had at one time included provision for aid for struggling producers.
Passmore acknowledged the commission has shifted focus to a more regulatory role. “So they just forgot about it,” the farmer suggested. Another producer in the audience waded in with an angry denouncement of newly implemented meat processing regulations. “They’ve shut down beef and poultry producers in this community".
Hidden dynamics of the local food security challenge
Tempers flare - multinationals make billions in the global food crisis
By Don Elzer
This past month three fields of genetically modified (GM) maize were destroyed in southwest France, where activists targeted corporate research facilities owned by Swiss agrochemicals company Syngenta and Pioneer, a unit of DuPont Co, near the city of Condom and another target, near Mauroux, was owned by U.S. biotech giant Monsanto.
President George W. Bush touring the Dupont Labs - supporting a different idea of food security - many in the world cringe at the growing agribusiness domination
Attacks on GM tests have become common practice in France, Europe’s largest grain producer, where the use of biotech crops is widely opposed because of fears they could harm humans and wildlife by triggering an uncontrolled spread of modified genes.
It’s impossible to determine the exact impacts but there could be as many as 4000 ships docked at bay, without a cargo and with no place to go. It obviously means lower revenues for retailers, the transport industry and for manufactures in China, but this past year those 4000 ships that brought us TV’s and fake Christmas trees consumed the equivalent of 70.7 billion gallons of gasoline which not only places stress on world oil reserves but remains a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Remember this is a meager portion of the total fuel consumption from all merchant ships - but this amount is actually equal to the total fuel consumed by every automobile and motorcycle in the United States annually.
So by cutting back on our consumer spending similar to what we did in the past 6 months only this time for an entire year, we might as well have collectively park our cars for a year. Keep in mind, when we add truck and rail transport into the consumption mix that’s another 70 billion gallons in fuel we consume every year.
Our planet is poised for an era of soft protectionism
By Don Elzer
January 28, 2009
When our economy was hot, approximately 156,000 merchant ships worked steady to move goods around the planet, a booming industry under the banner of globalization. But since we slowed our buying power because of the economic downturn, we fueled the collapse of the shipping industry which is now in crises.
Will we overcome flawed forecasting and a lack of political action?
The Colorado River Aqueduct
The water that supplies between 12 and 36 million people in the US is dwindling.
Where will they get their water in the future?
By Don Elzer – June 9, 2009
Residents in the southern interior of BC should take note as they consider this regions water supply. Our water future may be unfolding in the American southwest today as drought conditions move northward.
"All water-use planning is based on the idea that the next 100 years will be like the last 100," said research marine physicist Tim Barnett.
"We considered the question: Can the Colorado River deliver water at the levels currently scheduled if the climate changes as we expect it to. The answer is no."
The drying trend that exists in the inland region between Coast Mountains and the Rockies continues to spread and is creeping close to home. In the Okanagan, the South East Kelowna Irrigation District announced, that effective immediately, the allotment for metered agricultural users will be reduced 20 per cent in order to get through summer without running out of water.
Feds eradicate ecosystems as invasive fish move into salmon habitat
By Don Elzer
Today, there may be a creepy discomfort of horror meandering through the Shuswap and in particular Gardom Lake near Enderby, as government contractors begin to spread the pesticide Rotenone through the entire lake ecosystem in order to kill just about everything, including their target, the yellow perch, an invasive spiny-ray fish that is over-populating that lake – and others.
Kill a yellow perch – save a salmon; this is a reality that may be surfacing in the southcentral BC Interior and it may be one that is linked to the mystery of disappearing sockeye salmon and a possibility that the event is linked to aquatic invasive species. Provincial and federal fisheries biologists have been aware for a decade that perch were present in the region, but typically, they were in "pothole" lakes that were not connected to bigger systems.