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First Nations in Northern Canada have relied on caribou for millennia, for food, clothing and more. They've followed, observed and hunted the animals. They've seen changes in habits and populations as their territories face increasing development pressures. They've handed down knowledge through generations.
At an estimated $7.9 billion and growing, the proposed Site C Dam on the beautiful Peace River in northeastern B.C. has been criticized. If built, Site C would violate First Nations' rights under Treaty 8, rendering them irrelevant to the point of mockery. How long will Treaty 8 First Nations be able to sustain a vibrant, living culture when the dam devastates their land and communities?
Areas of Earth that have remained relatively free of industrial development have taken on a special significance. In Canada, they include awe-inspiring landscapes like the Sacred Headwaters in northwestern B.C. But the Sacred Headwaters is not protected under law. It remains at risk from a multitude of proposed mines, railways, transmission lines and other projects that will eviscerate the landscape if approved.
Although industrial projects like the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline or the recently defeated mega-quarry in Ontario typically grab the headlines and bring out public opposition, it's often the combined impacts of a range of human activities on the same land base that threaten to drive nature beyond critical tipping points.