the species at risk –

Recently I read an article in the Times Colonist, the local newspaper in Victoria,  the capital city of British Columbia.  The story is about how our environment minister has finally made a proposal to create a “Species-at-risk task force”  to evaluate what more needs to be done to protect the animals that live in this province.

Swans in Lost Lagoon

Swans in Lost Lagoon

This “advisory committee”  will make recommendations bearing in mind “how to protect species and ecosystems at risk on private land while respecting taxpayers’ interests.”  It is unspecified how this would be done. The Sierra club, The wilderness committee and many other environmental organisations have been calling for an endangered species act for decades.

With an NDP  environment critic Rob Fleming,  introducing an endangered species private member’s bill last week, it couldn’t be more timely.  The ecological disaster that is currently mounting in the Gulf of Mexico, is proof enough that prevention and protection needs to be top priority.  People are starting to realise this oil spill means economic devastation for many of the southern states for decades to come. Could this to be our fate as well?

The marine animals, birds and fisheries,  the livelihoods of thousands of people will take a lifetime or more to recover. There have been more questions then answers raised since this nightmare began.  The oil continues to flow from the deep-water oil well, and  may be gushing 40 000 barrels of crude oil a day.

Images of oil drenched pelicans dominate TV news, more then 50 days into the continuing oil spill.  Speculation today  was  more then five times the amount of oil has been spilled by the BP (British Petroleum) oil rig then in the previous worst oil spill in American history; the  Exxon Valdez.  The oil tanker  ran aground in 1989  spilling an estimated 10.8 million US gallons (40.9 million litres, or 250,000 barrels) of crude oil.

Rethinking the need to drill off shore, or even on land needs to be addressed. Will people make the connection that this is happening because of our lust for oil? We have far surpassed our own ability to stop when we know we should.  The planet has sustained so much in a relatively short modern history.  We pollute and scavenge to no end, and when things backfire we still don’t stop.

The proposed species protection act in British Columbia is step in the right direction, a long overdue and absolute necessary step on a long road to a sustainable future.

How we use our resources or manage the ones we call “ours” and the lives we disregard in our quest for more will not go unheard.  Walking on the beach of a different ocean thousands of miles from the shores of the Gulf, what makes me think it could not happen here? If, or when it does,  will we have anyone to blame but ourselves?

 Mexico May 2010

Mexico May 2010

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