COLUMN — Daniela Gina writes Fridays for The Armchair Mayor News.
On our walks to and from school we get to talk about everything. Cats, dogs, learning, why stay six hours in school instead of a concentrated four, and what happens when you stand on your head for too long.
We get to see buds appearing on trees and shrubs, witness the slow descending dance of dry leaves in the fall, hear birds chirp, see cloud-shrouded hills in the morning and the majestic mountains, Paul and Peter, lazy and sun-glazed in midafternoon.
We get to see Kamloops. We get to know it better every day.
Then when school ends we go further. We walk along the river, we take the canoe out and marvel at how the water mirrors a perfect sunset. The boys ask about the old days, about how people came to be in Kamloops and we feel fortunate to be part of it.
Then there’s hiking. Buse Hill was our latest. Tough at times, the way up was sporadically punctuated with the boys’ protests of ‘my legs can’t go any further’ or ‘how much longer?’ while knowing that it’ll feel good once we get to the top and that their legs are strong enough to carry them there.
We pulled them up tugging at invisible ropes made of promises, encouragements and ‘it’ll be worth it, you’ll see…’ hoping the grey clouds that rained over us in Barnhartvale would not block the view. They didn’t. And it was worth it.
A beautiful valley, studded with a deep green Buse Lake that could not be greener as it stared into the sky. You need time to take it all in. Gratefully so.
Then again, you need to swallow that nagging fear about the world changing as we speak due to climate change, and the time to act getting shorter with each day of blasting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Often time when we go places, more and more now, the boys ask, “Will this be here when we’re grown-ups?”
The answer is mostly “Let’s hope so” when it should be “of course.” In fact they should not need to ask.
But things are not looking bright at the moment and the projected course is reason for concern.
A much debated Bill 4 (the Park Amendment Act) recently introduced by B.C. Environmental Minister Mary Polak is opening the gate to research that could lead to expansion of pipelines, power lines and construction of roads through B.C. parks.
Could the public’s and scientists’ outrage turn things around and set in stone that no one will ever do any industrial exploration in our pristine parks? Probably not, but they can make their voices heard and their message heeded when the time to discuss park boundaries changes comes along. That’s the first step towards any kind of decision regarding industrial activity, should that ever happen.
Let’s hope not though, because parks are precious. So are their natural inhabitants.
Grizzly bear (trophy) hunting season debuted a couple of days ago with a bang (no pun intended.) Provincial biologists concluded there are more than enough bears and, furthermore, the old ones meddle too much with the young ones’ affairs so off with their heads (the rest will be disposed of, since it is not palatable meat.)
Independent biologists and other opponents, hunters or not, argue there are fewer bears than the estimated 15,000 and the 1,800 permits allowing them to be killed is too risky with such low numbers. Not to mention that trophy hunting is not people trying to eat what they kill but rather take down big game animals using the latest technology which gives them an unfair advantage to begin with.
Hiding behind conservation reasons makes it all look bad when the bad taste left by questionable Bill 4 has yet to go away.
With sharks disappearing from oceans that are turning lukewarm-soupy, climate changes that cause scientists to release yet another report, and many a living creature described in kids’ encyclopedias as ‘now extinct’ or ‘almost extinct,’ hope starts dwindling.
But then again, that’s hope. It almost goes away and then it doesn’t.
If we hang onto it, it hangs onto us in return.
There’s still time. Singular actions can still become collective good. We are, as with everything else, in it together and in it for the short or the long run (you and I decide).
If we take kids places, they get to see and start caring, understanding that this is their land. In the end, through many treks across town and up hiking trails, they’ll come to realize a humbling truth: it’s not just us keeping the land alive and thriving, but the other way around.
As Dr. Seuss’s wrote in his iconic children’s book The Lorax, ‘…Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot/Nothing is gonna get better. It’s not.’