Environment

1076 Reflections on an Arctic voyage

Watermelon Snow: Science, Art, and a Lone Polar Bear by Lynne Quarmby Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press, 2020 $24.95 / 9780228003595 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski * Books about climate change are prolific—and for all the alarming reasons that most of us accept. Watermelon Snow, by Lynne Quarmby, is essentially a book about climate change,…
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1074 Elizabeth May & Gwaii Haanas

Paradise Won: The Struggle to Create Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve by Elizabeth May Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2020 (second edition; first published by McClelland & Stewart, 1990) $25.00 / 9781771604581 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * Anyone who has visited Haida Gwaii will instantly relate to Elizabeth May’s remembrance of one of the most significant…
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1071 Remnants of Sumas Mountain

ESSAY: Remnants of Sumas Mountain by Natalie Lang For those who came before and those not yet arrived. * And forever before me gleams, The shining city of song, In the beautiful land of dreams. But when I would enter the gate Of that golden atmosphere, It is gone, and I wonder and wait For…
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1038 Welcome to the sacrifice zone

All Fracked Up! The costs of LNG to British Columbia by Alice de Wolff and Delores Broten (editors) Comox: Watershed Sentinel Books, 2020 $30.00 / 9780995328655 Reviewed by John Gellard * “What are you reading?” asked a highly educated neighbour. “A book about fracking,” “What’s fracking?” “How do you heat your house?” “With natural gas.”…
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1027 Tribute to the Fraser River

The Fraser: River of Life and Legend by Carol Blacklaws and Rick Blacklaws White Rock: Image West Productions, 2020 $39.95 / 9780994817518 Reviewed by Peter Grant * Of those who raft (and swim) the Mighty Fraser In this album, appealingly balanced between text and pictures, Rick Blacklaws’ photos capture the Fraser River’s fabulous landscapes, especially…
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1012 Behold the Broughton Archipelago

Converging Waters: The Beauty and Challenges of the Broughton Archipelago by Daniel Hillert (photos) and Gwen Curry (text) Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2020 $40.00 / 9781771601658 Reviewed by Alex Zimmerman * There’s something attractive about archipelagos. They are, by definition, surrounded by water and therefore have no hard boundaries. Nonetheless, islands grouped into an archipelago…
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#977 Tips for the Anthropocene

A Book of Ecological Virtues: Living Well in the Anthropocene by Heesoon Bai, David Chang, and Charles Scott (editors) Regina: University of Regina Press, 2020 $39.95 / 9780889777569 Reviewed by Rose Morrison * Seldom has this reviewer encountered an essay collection that is so topical and as important as A Book of Ecological Virtues: Living…
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#972 Sea wolf of Discovery Island

Takaya: Lone Wolf by Cheryl Alexander, with a foreword by Carl Safina Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2020 $30.00 / 9781771603737 Reviewed by Luanne Armstrong * When I was a child, I lived far more intensely with animals than I did with people. As the somewhat feral daughter of homesteading farmers, I found animals were far…
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#965 A call to arms for the planet

A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency by Seth Klein Toronto: ECW Press, 2020 $24.95 / 9781770415454 Reviewed by Howard Stewart *  Editor’s note: The West Coast Book Prize Society announced on April 8, 2021, that A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency, by Seth Klein, has been shortlisted for the Hubert…
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#964 Travelling the higher heights

A Story of Karma: Finding Love and Truth in the Lost Valley of the Himalaya by Michael Schauch Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2020 $25.00 / 9781771604673 A review essay by Trevor Carolan * Adventure travel goes through phases. In the Sixties you went off to Formentera in the Balearics or Corfu to find yourself. India…
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#958 In with civility, out with vitriol

I’m Right and You’re an Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean it Up by James Hoggan with Grania Litwin Gabriola: New Society Publishers, 2019 (second Edition, first published 2016) $19.00 / 9780865719149 Reviewed by Logan Macnair * That the public discourse surrounding certain social and political topics (particularly in online…
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#953 Gentle paths through the Rockies

Family Walks and Hikes in the Canadian Rockies, Volume 1: Bragg Creek, Kananaskis, Bow Valley, Banff National Park by Andrew Nugara Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2019 $20.00 / 9781771602242 * Family Walks and Hikes in the Canadian Rockies, Volume 2: Bragg Creek, Kananaskis, Moraine Lake, Yoho, Icefields Parkway, Jasper by Andrew Nugara Victoria: Rocky Mountain…
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#935 Haida cosmology transformed

Carpe Fin: A Haida Manga by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2019 $29.95 / 9781771622240 Reviewed by Molly Clarkson * I can’t help but chuckle as I read through the reader reviews on goodreads of Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas’ Carpe Fin: A Haida Manga, two of which read: Exuberant art and a non-linear…
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#933 Stanley Park trees

Legacy of Trees: Purposeful Wandering in Vancouver’s Stanley Park by Nina Shoroplova Victoria: Heritage House, 2020 $29.95 / 9781772033038 Reviewed by David Tracey * Consider the following thought experiment: the first alien space crew has just landed on Earth (mark your 2020 bingo card). They must quickly discover what our planet is all about. So…
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#932 Ableman’s urban agriculture

Farm the City: A Toolkit for Setting up a Successful Urban Farm by Michael Ableman Gabriola: New Society, 2020 $19.95 / 9780865719392 Reviewed by Rose Morrison * While Michael Ableman’s Farm the City: A Toolkit for Setting up a Successful Urban Farm is written as a primer for those wishing to start an in-town farm,…
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#913 Northern wilderness advocate

Crossing the Divide: Discovering a Wilderness Ethic in Canada’s Northern Rockies by Wayne Sawchuk Smithers: Creekstone Press, 2020 $21.95 / 9781928195061 Reviewed by Luanne Armstrong * Who wouldn’t want a chance to sit around a campfire with Wayne Sawchuk, and listen to him tell stories? Horses munch grass in the background, his faithful dog, Chancey,…
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#900 Teaching the Cariboo way

British Columbia in Flames: Stories from a Blazing Summer by Claudia Cornwall Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2020 $26.95 / 9781550178944 Reviewed by John Gellard * “When a fire is roaring through the crowns of trees and flames are shooting up for fifty metres, the intensity can hit 150,000 kilowatts per metre. In one hour a…
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#880 Celebrate the orca

Spirits of the Coast: Orcas in Science, Art and History by Martha Black, Lorne Hammond, and Gavin Hanke (editors), with Nikki Sanchez Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum Press, 2020 $29.95 / 9780772677686 Reviewed by Daniel Francis * During the summer of 2018 an orca named Tahlequah, a member of J pod of the southern resident…
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#857 Oceans as sustainable commons

Vanishing Fish: Shifting Baselines and the Future of Global Fisheries by Daniel Pauly, with a foreword by Jennifer Jacquet Vancouver: Greystone, 2019 $34.95 / 9781771643986 Reviewed by Loys Maingon * …fish are in dire peril, and, if they are, then so are we. — Daniel Pauly (p. 24) In a remarkable collection of essays drawn…
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#852 Plenty of dust but no pilaf

Lands of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Road by Kate Harris Toronto: Penguin Random House (Vintage Canada), 2018 $21.00 / 9780345816788 Reviewed by Howard Stewart * Kate Harris’s tale of bicycling the Silk Road of Central Asia, her Land of Lost Borders, came out a couple of years ago and it describes…
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