Snow covered shame

Spring can be an informative time, as the veil of winter is pulled back to reveal the indiscretions of a season filling our ditches. Into these reservoirs of outright laziness we discard styrofoam, rubber tires and old boots, occasionally fridges and dishwashers, and atop it all – plastic. This durable substance was very much a...

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Halifax thrashes Calgary

The spirit of competition is a wonderful thing, a magic ingredient which turns speed skating with sticks into a game of hockey, pushing people to lengths they couldn’t otherwise justify and toward milestones we wouldn’t otherwise notice. Except I don’t play hockey, and the last time I sacrificed my shoulders in contact sports was high...

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Sable

The remotest island in all of Canada is a 42 kilometre long sliver of sand gracing our continental shelf, formed 10,000 years ago by the workings of glaciers. We call her Sable. To this day its shores support the largest breeding colony of grey seals on Earth alongside several endemic species like the Ipswich sparrow...

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Reclaiming coastal rock

“Remote islands are Canada’s most endangered ecosystem,” said Ian Jones, a professor of biology with Memorial University who specializes in seabirds and island conservation. An island qualifies as remote if its ecosystem formed more or less in the absence of the continents, lacking mostly or entirely in mammals and catering heavily to birds and marine...

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Movers and Shakers

Insects, more so than any other class of animal, are the movers and shakers of the Maritimes, responsible for more ecological processes even than the large, charismatic mammals who so often inspire our dutiful conservation. Insects, in their untold abundance and diversity, matter more to our landscape even than the mighty moose, or elusive lynx....

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Burning Forests

I never thought we’d be scraping the bottom of the barrel like this. While Nova Scotian forests once yielded European fleets and world class lumber, today they have been degraded so completely that, in our desperation to continue the roller-coaster ride of clearcut forestry, we’ve begun chopping down the scraps and torching them for electricity,...

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An Earth-Saving Diet

When it comes to saving the world your mind probably goes to electric cars and solar panels, which are great ideas but not yet within everyone’s reach. In a decade, perhaps, their plummeting prices will allow them to conquer the market, but not yet, certainly not in my household. Thankfully there’s another solution, to both...

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Refuge worthy of a king

At one time, the American chestnut made up a full quarter of all trees in the mixed deciduous forests of eastern North America, conquering canopies from southern New England north into Ontario. The King of the Forest, they called it, not only for its commanding stature but also its chestnut bounties and fine lumber.  ...

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To block a clearcut

Clearcutting, in my mind, represents everything that’s wrong with forestry past and present. Yes, there are nuances to this industry I will never fully grasp and the economic drivers involved are powerful, but through the lens of sustainability, clearcutting is absurd. I’ve had the privilege, and the misfortune, of walking through forests before and after...

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On behalf of flowers

In May of 2016, I pulled off a Hants County highway and parked by a barely perceptible trail, leading into a thin forest with powdery white gypsum erupting from the soil everywhere I cared to look. Had I not done my homework and enlisted the help of local naturalists I could never have found what...

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