Dr Seuss'

Dr Seuss' "The Lorax" messaging- as relevant today as it was 50 years ago....

If you follow our social media account you probably noticed our week-long series of posts inspired by Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" and the recent changes to Alberta's coal policy.

Some background: 

In May 2020, our provincial government rescinded a decades-old policy that protected much of Alberta's Eastern Slopes from exploration and mining.

That decision meant previously protected areas - about the size of Switzerland - were at risk of being mined for coal. These areas include sensitive watersheds and sensitive habitat for species including several species-at-risk. These areas are also upstream to much of Southern Alberta's ranchlands and farmland, food production facilities, and significant population numbers. 

We should ALL be concerned about these proposed mines and exploration for future sites. Habitat, species-at-risk, water quality, water supply, and more are ALL at risk. 

On Monday, February 8, Energy Minister Sonya Savage announced the 1976 Coal Policy was going to be reinstated. While this is good news - and ultimately what we and many others had been asking for - it doesn't go nearly far enough to protecting Alberta's iconic Eastern Slopes. The reality is that Albertans are now far more-educated about coal in the Eastern Slopes and are demanding stronger protections. The other reality is that Monday's announcement doesn't change much of what's already started to happen in the Oldman and other headwater regions. While we welcome the opportunity for Albertans to engage with Government on a vision for land use we're still concerned about what's already underway.

Monday's announcement is not the end of the battle for the Eastern Slopes. It's a reprieve and a time to regroup.
Realizing this - we decided to share a few lessons from the Lorax with our social media followers hoping that by sharing these messages we could help spread the word about this issue. Frankly the more we learn about what could happen the more terrifying it is.

Here is a summary of our week of lessons related to "The Lorax"...

Lesson #1: We must “speak for the trees” ~ and the mountains, wildlife, fish, headwaters ~ “for the trees have no tongues.”

Right now we need to be the voice for our Eastern Slopes.
Last spring’s decision to rescind the decades-old coal policy was made without public consultation and puts our headwaters, drinking water, downstream agricultural businesses, tourism, tour operators, wildlife - including protected trout species - all at risk.
Lesson #2:  Cherish wilderness....
Dr. Seuss taught us this in 1971 when “The Lorax” was published.
Peter Lougheed’s government demonstrated this in 1976 when they implemented the Coal Policy.
The current UCP government forgot about this when they rescinded the coal Policy in 2020.
We value mountains, clean water, healthy ecosystems, tourism, agriculture, and sustainable jobs.
Let’s not look back at this chapter of Alberta’s history only to reminisce about “the days when the grass was still green.... and the clouds were still clean.”
Please continue contacting your provincial representatives about this issue and remind them of Dr. Seuss’ wisdom from 50 years ago. Unspoiled wilderness is a thing to treasure.
Lesson #3 - "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." 
It is up to each of us to protect the environment. Be the Lorax. Speak for the mountains, the headwaters, native (some protected) species.
If YOU value recreation and beauty in the Eastern Slopes YOU need to be a voice to protect it.
We are encouraged by the ground-swell of voices on this issue.
Feeling discouraged?
Check out Protect Alberta’s Headwaters and Rockies on Facebook. Their page has gone from zero to 28,000 in since mid-December.
Or the Change.org petition to “Stop Open Pit Mining from happening in the Canadian Rockies” currently sitting at 91,000 plus signatures.
Or the fact that municipalities are taking a stand. (High River, Canmore, Airdrie and more have spoken out on the issue.) Write your MLA. Contact your local government. Use your energy for good.
Lesson #4 - In nature, every action has a reaction.
Let’s consider the Alberta Wildrose - our pretty provincial flower.
Its first blush of pink blooms sets fly-fishers hearts’ racing because we know the golden stonefly hatch is almost upon us.
Its pollen is a valued food source for bees and other insects.
Its rose hips help nourish other species during Alberta’s (typically) harsh winters.
Take that hardy shrub away and other parts of the ecosystem are impacted.
Take away tonnes of earth through open pit mining and the impact will be felt by plant and animal species already threatened or at-risk. The list includes Westslope Cutthroat trout, bull trout, grizzly bears, limber pine, and more.
We believe the balance of nature will be impacted by open pit coal mines.
We value mountains, clean water, healthy ecosystems, tourism, agriculture, and sustainable jobs.
We value the iconic beauty of intact Eastern Slopes.
Please write your MLA, and your local elected officials to let them know what you value.

  

Lesson #5 - Development, if not sustainable, is a dead end road.
Peter Lougheed’s government demonstrated great foresight when they put the 1976 Coal Policy in place AND again in 1978 when they officially dedicated Kananaskis Country.
The current government’s decision to rescind the 1976 coal policy puts Alberta’s wild places and clean water at risk. 
   
   
As we approached the weekend - and a major cold snap for Alberta - we added a couple coloring pages to our messaging. 
"The forecast looks prime for some indoor activities this weekend. So.... we’ve created some “Lorax-inspired” coloring sheets.
We invite you to get the whole house involved in letting Premier Kenney, Ministers Nixon, Savage, Fir, and other elected officials know that Albertans value mountains over mines.
This weekend please take the time to let your voice be heard on this issue. Write your government representatives.
Haul out the markers and crayons and have some fun. Then pop your letters and artwork into the mail.
Lesson #6 There is hope for the future and it is us.
We value mountains, clean water, healthy ecosystems, tourism, agriculture, and sustainable jobs. Please continue to fight for Alberta's Eastern Slopes,

Our final lesson from the Lorax.... "People in power can't always be trusted to make eco-conscious decisions."
Please stay involved - the headwaters continues to need all of our voices. 
What you can do to make a difference: 
  1. Write your elected officials. Not sure what to say? Here's a link to an on-line fillable letter CPAWS
  2. Sign these petitions: 
  • Change.Org
  • Petition e-3159 started on 2/5/2021
  • SPREAD THE WORD - let your friends, neighbors, family know about this issue. This isn't about politics it's about advocating for healthy watershed. 

 A few recent articles - there's lots more. If you're on facebook give the group "Protect Alberta's Rockies and Headwaters" a follow: 

The Narwhal - "An Alberta county drafted big tourism plans. Then came the coal leases"

The Narwhal - "Alberta's 'back door' plan to free up billions of litres of water for coal mines raises alarms." 

Global TV 3-part series -

Wired.com - "How Steel might finally kick its coal habit"

 

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