Archive for October, 2007

Don’t call them environmentalists!

October 27, 2007

It amuses me when I see environmental groups identifying themselves in the media as ‘conservationists’ rather than what they really are. I was reminded of this again in an article reporting on the BC government’s recent Mountain caribou recovery initiative.

The announcement is good news for conservationists, but it is just a first step, said Candace Batycki, a director with Forest Ethics.

I suspect that this attempt to redefine themselves dates back to a 1997 document prepared by BC Wild for (their words) members of the BC Environmental Movement.

BC Wild conducted a number of focus groups in various locations around BC “to learn how average BC residents feel about their province, what they see as the key issues BC will face in the future, and how in particular they relate to environmental and conservation issues”.

The insight into the public’s perception of ‘environmentalists’ is interesting. At one point the report says that:

“Negative perceptions of environmentalists exist everywhere in BC, but they grow in intensity and scope the farther you get from Vancouver and as you move from women to men. While BC residents credit environmentalists with raising awareness and playing a watchdog role, our image with the public is primarily negative. At best we are perceived as well-meaning watchdogs. At worst people see us as part of the problem – ideologues that promote and thrive on conflict – rather than part of the solution – responsible actors seeking balance.”

The report goes on to note:

Conservationists are perceived much more positively than environmentalists. People generally think of conservationists as more educated, more steeped in facts and science, more specific in their goals, more low key, less radical, more positive, older, wiser and more like them.

Then in a section called, “How To Talk About Environmental and Conservation Issues with BC Residents”, it compares “Good words to use” to “Bad words to use”.

Good word to use: Conservationist.
Bad word to use: Environmentalist.

Since that time I have noted that many environmental groups, when talking to the media have repositioned themselves as conservationists.

What is the difference between a conservationist and an environmentalist, you ask? Here is a series of definitions that I like.

Conservationism began in the early 1900s, based on the concepts that humankind is a part of nature, that far more plants and animals are reproduced each year than can survive, and that these excess plants and animals are resources to be harvested. People, however, must do everything possible and economically feasible to reduce human impact on nature.

Environmentalist ideology, synthesized between the mid-1960s and early 1980s, is based on the doctrine that modern industrial mankind, as distinct from the indigenous cultures, is not part of nature, does not have the right to exploit or manipulate wild plants and animals, and must reduce his exploitation of nature to a level of minimum survival requirements.

Preservationism took root about 1985 by combining two powerful philosophies of environmentalism and socialism with a new interpretation: “Mankind does not belong in nature and if something bad befalls you, like an attack by a wild animal, it’s your fault.

You can call a dog an eagle, but it still won’t fly.

That report was done a decade ago. It would be interesting to see if perceptions have changed since that time.


Common sense prevails in Colorado cougar shooting

October 16, 2007

Common sense prevailed in the case of the Colorado man who shot a cougar that was attacking his dog. There will be no charges laid.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife will not file charges against a man who shot and killed a mountain lion that he said was attacking his puppy early Oct. 5, spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said Thursday.

Officials found that Jeremy Kocar, 31, “acted to prevent injury to human life,” Churchill said.

The Wildlife branch appears to have avoided some further negative publicity by ignoring the attack on the dog and focusing on the danger to family.

Common sense didn’t extend to all interested parties.

Advocates with the Boulder-based Sinapu Carnivore Protection Program said Kocar should face criminal charges in the incident for “baiting” the lion by leaving the dog tied up outside overnight.

When you read crap like this you more fully understand the philosophy of “shoot, shovel and shut up”.

“You sneeze, you’re dead man.” Could you do this in Canada?

October 13, 2007

An interesting news clip out of Texas. I’m afraid that if you held a shotgun on burglars in Canada you might end up with your guns confiscated and facing charges. The burglars would probably get trauma counselling.

Thanks to Instapundit for this pointer. As if Glenn needs traffic from me.

Does Colorado Wildlife really believe that your dog is cat food?

October 12, 2007

The Colorado Division of Wildlife is considering charging a man for shooting a cougar that was in the process of killing his 8 month old pup.

Colorado Department of Wildlife spokesperson Jennifer Churchill explained it thusly:

“We do have laws that allow people to protect their safety and their livestock,” Churchill said. “But this is the tricky gray area of it being a dog.”According to Colorado law, it’s legal “to trap, kill or otherwise dispose of bears, mountain lions or dogs in situations when it is necessary to prevent them from inflicting death or injury to livestock or human life.”

So by this thought process, if the lion is killing your cow you are justified but if it’s killing your dog you have to stand there and watch. Not likely.

I can’t believe that they would even think about charging this guy but if they stick to the letter of the law and actually press charges I would hope that the judge would throw the case so hard out the door that it would have road burn.

Common sense appears to be in short supply in the world these days.

Bringing grizzlies back to the prairies

October 11, 2007

After seeing this article and this one and then this one about recent grizzly maulings in Montana, I was reminded of the recent story on the call by the Sierra Club of Canada and the International Fund for Animal Welfare to re-introduce grizzlies back to the prairies.

The Sierra Club of Canada and the International Fund for Animal Welfare want grizzlies reintroduced to the Prairies.

Paul Paquet, who teaches at the universities of Saskatchewan and Calgary, said grizzlies have not been common on the Prairies since the early 1900s.

“Most of their habitat in the prairie areas was converted to agriculture. There’s very, very little left of original prairie land,” he said.

Grizzly bears may have a difficult time surviving if wildlife groups implement a plan to reintroduce them to the Prairies, according to a Saskatchewan biologist.

The Sierra Club of Canada and the International Fund for Animal Welfare want grizzlies reintroduced to the Prairies.

Paul Paquet, who teaches at the universities of Saskatchewan and Calgary, said grizzlies have not been common on the Prairies since the early 1900s.

“Most of their habitat in the prairie areas was converted to agriculture. There’s very, very little left of original prairie land,” he said.

Of course, a lot of the boreal forest remains, and if that can be included into the idea of a reintroduction, that would certainly help.”

People who live in rural areas — especially farmers and ranchers —  might also resist reintroduction of the animals, Paquet said.

Do you think? Probably hikers and berry pickers and anyone else who might be out there camping or daring to venture out of their cars and off the beaten path might have some opinions on the subject as well.

The two environmental groups are upset because the federal government has reviewed the re-introduction proposal and has concluded that “recovery of this species is considered not technically or biologically feasible at this time”.

I suspect, and not having had the opportunity to read the government report, that they also looked at the problems and the liability inherent in bringing back a large and potentially dangerous predator species to a settled area where they were extirpated over 100 years ago. 

However those kind of considerations are not in the playbook for the Sierra Club or IFAW. Their paper, A Review of the Government of Canada’s Proposed Recovery Strategy for the Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos), Prairie Population, at one point says:

We agree that conservation efforts should be focussed in the immediate term on maintaining the possibility for the successful occasional use of the prairies by individual bears from the northwestern population. However we disagree that the strategy should preclude efforts to reestablish a permanent resident population by meeting the necessary conditions in the long term. Grizzly bears are an apex species in a complex ecosystem and it is arguable from a conservation biology perspective that recovering the prairies demands recovering the grizzly bear prairie population.

I must admit that I have enjoyed seeing free roaming grizzlies while packing in wilderness mountain areas in B.C., although it is much more enjoyable when they are at a respectable distance. But when their range begins to expand into settled areas there is only one outcome and that is a dead bear. To make an issue out of re-introducing these magnificent but unpredicable animals back into the Canadian prairies goes past stupidity and borders on insanity.

Western Standard Magazine closing down

October 5, 2007

The right of centre magazine, Western Standard, is shutting down its print edition.

To my deep regret, the Western Standard has decided to stop publishing our print edition.

It’s a purely financial decision. Even though our advertising revenues were stronger than ever, with marquee brands like GM, Mazda, BMW and Air Canada filling our pages, and even though we had the most loyal subscribers in the business, with an unheard-of 80% renewal rate, we just weren’t close enough to profit.


This ain’t New York, it’s Biggar

October 1, 2007

I was recently back in Saskatchewan and had the opportunity spend a couple of hours in the town of Biggar. It used to have a sign outside of town that stated, “New York is big, but this is Biggar”. I don’t know if I missed it or if the sign is now gone, but the slogan is still there on the local Credit Union.


I was amused to see a couple of taxis that further developed that theme.