The Willow Tree: Part Two

The Willow Tree:Part Two on Vimeo.

Without a doubt there is no shortage of images, video, and stories on social media espousing the extraordinary and the mundane. For me, life is about the simple things that combine and/or synchronize together into the complexity of life.

As a conservationist, I have always been fascinated by our natural environment and silviculture in particular. Our forest resources, whether natural or in a horticultural sense (i.e. the willow tree in my back yard), are renewable. If we treat our environment with respect and care, each new generation of our respective families, not to mention greater society, will benefit greatly.

The large willow tree in my backyard was cut down because the trunk had split, probably due to old age, and the willow tree was threatening to come down on the roof of our house, or perhaps the fence between us and our neighbours. It is conceivable that the majestic tree could have lived for another decade, but the risk of the perpetually strong prairie wind blowing it over was no longer acceptable.

According to one of the team members of the company that we hired, the wood chips will be recycled as ground cover for new trees and shrubs in private and perhaps public areas in the city. The useable firewood will likely be donated to someone in need.

Motorized and hydraulic stump grinder in action.

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Canada Day: The Aftermath

Canada Day aftermath. Garbage that was tossed into Wascana Lake washes up near the Albert Street Bridge. The green water is from algae bloom.

I was considerably disappointed with the numerous people that discarded their garbage all over Wascana Park during the Canada Day celebrations. Even two days later there was garbage seen floating on the lake and strewn all over the lawn and forested areas, often just a few feet from a garbage bin.

I cannot speak for everyone, but many of us were taught from an early age to avoid littering and to pack out what we brought in – at the very least to use the garbage cans that are conveniently situated all over the park.

We may have one of the largest and most beautiful inner city parks in North America (created and maintained with our tax dollars), but that does not entitle Regina and area citizens to dispose of their garbage wherever they want, expecting others to clean up the mess they left behind.

This apparent disregard for the environment can lead to public health and safety issues further on down the line. Please consider the long-term consequences of your actions and stop littering.

I was surprised when I discovered that individuals can be fined up to $2000 dollars and corporations up to $5000 dollars for violating park statutes. For further information, please refer to Parks and Open Space Bylaw Number 2004-27. Thank you.


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End of an Era: Fuel for Nuclear Energy

Cameco’s Rabbit Lake Uranium Mine. Photo courtesy Saskatoon Star Phoenix.

The Rabbit Lake uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan was shut down in 2016, leaving approximately 500 employees out of work. Rabbit Lake is the second largest uranium milling facility in the western world, and is the longest operating uranium production facility in Saskatchewan.  As Cameco is the primary employer in the north of our province, this is devastating for the many aboriginals that were employed there.

The uranium prices fell worldwide due to an oversupply. The uranium market has been depressed since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster resulted in the shutdown of more than 50 Japanese reactors.

This story caught my attention simply because I have known a few people who have worked at the mine, even from my latter days in high school. The high wages and benefits of working at a northern mine were very attractive to young people just out of high school. For some, a university education made no economic sense, in light of the mining opportunities in the late 1970’s in our province.

I am not going to get into the circular debate of the pros and cons of nuclear energy, but it is sufficient to say that many nations around the world depend on it as either a primary or secondary source of energy. At the same time, there is an enormous cost to society and our environment when things go sideways like the Three Mile Island,  Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters.

The world-wide economy is just as dependant on nuclear energy as it is on other fossil fuels. This will not change in the foreseeable future until some form of alternative energy is found that is cheap and sustainable in the long term.

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Environmental Failure

Climate change or a natural occurring phenomenon?

Although this article was written in 2008, much of what this author has to say is still true today. As a young environmentally conscious student studying Forestry in the 1980’s, I understood then and now what this author is referring to when he speaks about the decay of grass-root environmentalism and the lawyer heavy, lobbying, big buck politics of the major environmental groups of today.

Although I still consider myself an environmentalist in the true meaning of the word, I have moved away from supporting the political wing of environmentalism. Why?  Because I see that the contemporary green culture has all but divorced itself from its early beginnings in conservationism and responsible use of natural resources.

Today we witness essentially two very different types of environmentalism, the aforementioned politically motivated environmentalism, and the latter – radicalized environmentalism where human beings are NOT genuinely recognized as being a part of our ecosystems and/or our natural environments. Out of this, at least in part, has come certain elements of the pro animal rights/anti-human movement, pro vegan/anti-meat movement, and so forth. Stating the obvious will inevitably bring backlash, but it needs to be said. Common sense applies here – look it up in the dictionary if you must 🙂

Like it or not, the youth of today (and adults equally) have been inundated over and over again by green politics, in our current educational system, especially the post-secondary system, and the media, to the point that even talking about the non-revisionist history of conservationism, or the early environmental movement falls on deaf ears.

It is my opinion that if our present culture could once again grasp the importance of grass-root conservationism and environmentalism, and understand these intertwined movements through the lens of history, we might just have a fighting chance of managing and preserving our natural world for the benefit of our children’s children.


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