A place of time and space

Proposed Ingram River Wilderness Area seeks ascension There were five of them growing in close company, dominating a gentle slope of explosive greens and soft moss, tall and wide and straight as arrows, each tipped slightly apart as though to avoid direct competition for sunlight. One look at their tableau of co-existence would be enough,...

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Cautiously pessimistic

Why “Apocalypse” is the wrong word when describing insect declines A few years ago the world was electrified when someone, somewhere, declared an “insect apocalypse,” the ignominious end of all those tiny creatures on whom we daily depend, of whom we take virtually no notice, and who, all by themselves, make up the vast majority...

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Where grows the king of hemlocks

My search for our oldest tree Our canoe was laden with all the necessities of outdoor life, and sloshing with water carried in by our socks, soaked every time we were obliged to leap overboard and carry our craft over rocks and beaver dams and the simple shallows of August. The intense sun of afternoon...

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Where seabirds come ashore

Fundy Isle and the wildlife which claim It The fog was so thick we might have been in a Herman Melville novel, on the hunt for Moby Dick among noiseless waves and unforgiving circumstances. Except this was the Bay of Fundy and not the Pacific Ocean; our captain was an amiable Peter Wilcox and not...

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The blessed backcountry

Pollett’s Cove, a strange sort of freedom for adventurous souls I’m something of a campsite aficionado, or, if you like, a snob. Upon arrival my judgy eyes scan the facilities, the placement of playgrounds, the space between sites, the design of the cast iron campfire and the proportions of garbage mingling with the grass. Nothing...

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Three years and twenty minutes

My search for wild things in wild places By Zack Metcalfe It wasn’t her size that impressed me so much as her silence. Female moose can weigh just shy of 800 pounds, but to watch that mass of mammalian muscle tear through the waist high brush and stunted spruce of the Cape Breton Highlands without...

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The Local Climate – On Mining, Part 2

How, then, to reconcile the uncomfortable realities of modern mining with those of climate change, environmental integrity and the rights of Canadians to health and natural beauty? It’s a messy maze at best, but Jamie Kneen of MiningWatch Canada, a coalition of sorts concerned with the shortcomings of Canadian mining nationally and abroad, had plenty...

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The Local Climate – On Mining (Part 1)

About 370 million years ago, when Nova Scotia was in the act of mountain building, our planet’s tumultuous crust permitted the escape of two elements which, to this day, are found concentrated together in our province’s bedrock. These were arsenic and gold which, eons later, would be respectively shunned and sought by a curious primate,...

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The Local Climate – Chilling Heat

You should know that, while writing this, I’m very freezing. I had too much faith in public buildings and their ability to combat the coldest couple days of the year. My legs and shoulders are signaling their slow surrender and I’m in no way enjoying it. Please understand I’m a fan of neither cold nor...

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The Local Climate – Chemistry and Morality

Carbon dioxide (CO2) comes up a lot these days, in politics, in media, and increasingly in daily life, a trend I hope continues as the urgency of global warming overwhelms our inaction, but just how we perceive this CO2 and its climatic counterweight, oxygen, is very nuanced, and very important. CO2 is not merely a...

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