LETTER: Orcas’ survival depends on our policies

LETTER: Orcas’ survival depends on our policies

Your reflection on the grieving orca mother carrying her stillborn offspring has a truthful conclusion: “… the image she etched in our collective psyche must remain if our collective life on this planet is to continue.”

Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize winning author who wrote The Sixth Extinction agrees with your conclusion. In this well researched book, Kolbert takes the reader on a geological journey that makes it evident that no species is exempt from extinction, including our own. Kolbert references many scientists who have long put out the warning that it is not only the survival of other species that depends on the stewardship we give to our home, the planet we call Earth.

At present, in British Columbia, we have a government that is challenging our federal government in the courts to prevent the construction of a pipeline that will bring more bitumen to the Coast for tanker transport to Asian markets. Saanich News owner David Black has been arguing for the ecological and economic advantages of building refineries for Alberta bitumen in the Prince Rupert area so that raw bitumen diluted with carcinogenic chemicals does not get sent to ocean waters. But why not refine the bitumen where it is mined in Alberta? Why not help Canada be self-sufficient with its own oil and gas industries?

The $4.5 billion-plus the federal government is investing in the purchase of the Kinder Morgan pipeline would be much better spent on starting up sustainable energy industries. The Alberta government is prepared to invest a further 2 billion dollars towards this pipeline project; why not invest these tax dollars in Alberta refineries — and start-ups for sustainable energy industries? Having lived in Alberta I know there is plenty of sunshine and wind.

Prime Minister Trudeau and the Liberal cabinet have been in Nanaimo this past week and experienced some of the worst air quality that British Columbia has ever experienced. Health warnings were put out in every media and most of us experienced enough discomfort in the outdoors that we stayed inside during the worst of it. Every government knows that climate change is real and that we need policies to confront its effects in our oceans, on land, and in the air. The time is now to make the transition away from fossil fuel dependency – for the survival of every species, including the orcas —and our own.

Starla Anderson