Torrance Coste was born and raised on Vancouver Island in constant contact with nature. He is passionate about moving beyond unsustainable extraction-based industries, and interested in systems that value the natural world and our place in it. Torrance works as a campaigner and spokesperson for the Wilderness Committee and in his spare time he's usually making awful puns or exploring the Island's hiking trails and secret swimming spots. Follow him on Twitter @TorranceCoste.
Forest policy in B.C. is set by the provincial government, and there's an election in May. Neither the government nor the Official Opposition has called for a ban on old-growth logging. This puts them offside with citizens, businesses and municipal governments. The excuse they make is that they can't oppose any logging practice because we need to protect forestry jobs.
Listening to the destruction of some of the last old-growth rainforest on Vancouver Island is tough, but it's not as frustrating as watching our electing officials turn their backs on this problem, as well as on citizens, local governments and business groups who want it addressed.
The proponents of Raven Coal failed because of their short-sightedness. A risky, 16-year coal mine project is unsustainable in every sense of the word and Central Vancouver Island rightfully rejected this model of long-term pain for short-term gain. So what does this mean, and where do we go from here?
If a tar sands tanker hits a rock on the Kinder Morgan shipping route past Vancouver Island, the resulting spill could decimate wild salmon, clams, and other food sources that First Nations have relied on for centuries.
Gold mining is one of the most destructive things we do, and the reasons to worry about it are endless. Acid mine drainage -- a process through which non-usable materials found in gold deposits are exposed, acidified, and leached into the surrounding environment -- threatens water quality and is a common occurrence at gold mines worldwide. Other toxins like mercury are released through mining, further impacting local water systems. In a rainforest like Clayoquot Sound, water is the central element, and by jeopardizing it we jeopardize everything from salmon rehabilitation to cultural practices to recreational opportunities.
Last month, the Comox Valley Regional District, a municipal government on central Vancouver Island, received notice that two companies were seeking coal mining permits in the region. These permits don't necessarily mean the mines will be built, but they're part of a disturbing trend to resurrect coal mining on the Island -- a shift some locals are calling the new "Coal Rush."