[Dear folks, I anticipate some of you will have resistance to what I write below but I have to go there – not to bemoan problems, but in the desperate want for positive change.]
When will we get it? When?!
A science-based decision is made to extend critical habitat for the 74 endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales and what happens? Seventeen British Columbian coastal Chambers of Commerce “unite” in wanting to slow down potential further implementation measures claiming there has not been enough science done. The media release is here.
I understand the climate of uncertainty I really do when you have a Federal Government that wants a pipeline to go through and is being “assessed” on how it will impact the marine environment.
However, we cannot continue in the same way “defending” ourselves against potential fisheries closures and measures to reduce disturbance to the whales, claiming to love the whales and using them as a resource.
This is so difficult to articulate but you cannot keep on keeping on and expect things to change for the better, especially in a world that is undergoing climate change.
If we change we’ll lose jobs, jobs, jobs. Will we? What if we had a transition plan? What if we got ahead of the curve? What if we shed fear and entitlement and embraced precaution and human ingenuity, but not as an exit strategy?
Pride and positive ownership can be taken in choosing for more modest takes of salmon i.e. leaving Chinook for the Orca, and in wildlife viewing that reduces stresses to the whales.
While we’re at it, let’s realize we are literally driving climate change and increased large vessel traffic on our coast through our excessive consumerism and demand for fossil fuels and our resistance to change, absence of understanding science, and being manipulated with fear.
Further, the idea that salmon enhancement is a panacea defies science, especially in light of climate change and the fact that we are releasing juvenile salmon into a gauntlet of open net-pen salmon farms (which indisputably amplify and transmit disease and parasites). Note too that salmon enhancement facilities are very often beholden to the open net salmon farming industry as funders. Oh what a web we weave . .
Precaution is not “let’s make sure we have done even more studies and then we’ll know for sure.” Precaution is the duty to prevent harm, even in the light of uncertainty and this involves urgency, not dragging our heals, gambling with the future.
When will we learn to draw a bigger temporal circle around our consideration of economy?
When will we truly recognize that the Orca are serving as indicators of environmental health and barometers of our value systems? The ultimate truth is that how we treat the whales will ultimately be how we treat ourselves, especially future generations.
We are all consumers and voters here. We are all empowered to influence change.
Photo: Member of the endangered Southern Residents in Blackfish Sound, ©Jackie Hildering.
From the news release: “VANCOUVER ISLAND CHAMBERS UNITE TO PROTECT MARINE-BASED TOURISM FOLLOWING FEDERAL SRKW CRITICAL HABITAT ZONE EXTENSION
In an effort to protect their communities, the Chambers of Alberni Valley, Bamfield, Campbell River, Chemainus & District, Comox Valley, Duncan-Cowichan, Ladysmith, Greater Nanaimo, Parksville & District, Port Hardy, Port McNeill & District, Port Renfrew, Qualicum Beach, Sooke, Tofino-Long Beach, Ucluelet and WestShore have united to form a coalition called Thriving Orcas, Thriving Coastal Communities . . .
As British Columbians who are now concerned about the survival of our own businesses and communities, we urge the federal government to slow down the implementation of any additional management measures, take the time to get the science right and engage coastal stakeholders,” said Ablack. “Potential restrictive management measures, such as a fin fish closure, that are based on faulty data and limited science could end up destroying our communities and do nothing to help the orcas. On the other hand, a carefully considered multi-faceted approach that includes deeper investments in restoration, enhancement, science and monitoring could ensure that orcas and coastal communities thrive* together as we have for generations.”
[*Note: The Orca are NOT thriving.]