Wednesday, June 24, 2015

All in the Family

1. My mother taught me to appreciate a job well done.
"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."

2. My mother taught me religion.
"You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

3. My father taught me about time travel.
"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

4. My father taught me logic.
" Because I said so, that's why."

5. My mother taught me more logic.
"If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."

6. My mother taught me foresight.
"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

7. My father taught me irony.
"Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."

8. My mother taught me about the science of osmosis.
"Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

9. My mother taught me about contortionism.
"Just you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

10. My mother taught me about stamina.
"You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."

11. My mother taught me about weather.
"This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

12. My mother taught me about hypocrisy.
"If I told you once, I've told you a million times, don't exaggerate!"

13. My father taught me the circle of life.
"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out..."

14. My mother taught me about behaviour modification.
"Stop acting like your father!"

15. My mother taught me about envy.
"There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."

16. My mother taught me about anticipation.
"Just wait until we get home."

17. My mother taught me about receiving.
"You are going to get it from your father when you get home!"

18. My mother taught me medical science.
"If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way."

19. My mother taught me ESP.
"Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"

20. My father taught me humour.
"When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

21. My mother taught me how to become an adult.
"If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

22. My mother taught me genetics.
"You're just like your father."

23. My mother taught me about my roots.
"Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?"

24. My mother taught me wisdom.
"When you get to be my age, you'll understand.

25. My father taught me about justice.   
"One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!"


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Rumsay Ecological Reserve

Here's the right way to balance land-use interests
As an illustration of broadening participation in environmental preservation and land reclamation, consider a letter to Alberta’s Deputy Minister of Renewable Resources on October 6th, 1982. The recipient of the letter was Fred McDougall; its author was Cheryl Bradley – then president of the Alberta Wilderness Association. Bradley’s letter conveyed a proposal to create a protected wildland at Rumsay, Alberta. The product of wide-ranging collaboration, the AWA had consulted with representatives of the Canadian Petroleum Association, the Energy Resources Conservation Board, and Alberta’s Department of Energy and Natural Resources.

The document described 70 sections of land near Rumsey as “the biggest continuous block of undisturbed Aspen Parkland remaining in Canada, perhaps in Canada.” This was “alarming,” she said, because “Aspen Parkland once stretched over 100,000 square miles in the Prairie Provinces.” The AWA recommended “Ecological Reserve designation” for the 13 sections in the northern part of the block “for scientific research purposes,” she said. “The remainder of the block (57 sections) is an attractive mosaic of grasslands, woodlands and wetlands, on a rolling glacial moraine, and constitutes a unique scenic wildland heritage.”

Concerned about potential land disturbance from seismic activity, oil and gas drilling, road building and pipeline construction, the AWA proposal was a masterpiece of diplomacy. It recognized that oil and gas companies had valid leases in the area, and therefore the right to develop those resources. So working with the industry it made careful and thoughtful recommendations. Drill sites should be “topographically positioned to minimize the amount of cut and fill required to level the site and to minimize detrimental aesthetic impact,” it said. “Some areas may preclude drilling because of particularly steep terrain.”

The AWA recommended avoiding wetland habitats and sites with “rare or sensitive flora and fauna.” The group also recommended directional drilling “if a significantly more environmentally suitable site can be used because of it,” and suggested modifying size and shape of drilling site to minimize surface impact. The organization’s recommendations were extensive, and extremely knowledgeable. For example, drilling in winter would eliminate “the need for large clearing to satisfy fire safety standards.” Elsewhere, it recommended that the cleared area “be allowed to revegetate with native vegetation rather than exotic species….Where erosion of a site poses a serious problem then species should be selected which allow subsequent natural invasion by natural species.”

The AWA saw road-building as potentially the most destructive of the major activities associated with petroleum development. “Impacts can be long-term in that motorized access is provided to areas which were previously inaccessible,” the AWA said.  Therefore, operators should use existing roads and trails “unless they were poorly planned environmentally.” Recognizing that new roads and trails would likely be needed, the group recommended blending into the landscape by “following natural contours, keeping cut and fill to a minimum…and making roads no wider than absolutely necessary.”

Peter McKenzie-Brown