Standing Up for the Planet by Bob Purdy
This past weekend Sharon and I went to the Adams River Salmon Run near Scotch Creek in B.C. Canada. This is a Sockeye run, and this year’s Run is a bellweather Run for Salmon Stocks!
Salmon Runs have become a spectator sport in B. C. When we arrived we were corralled into a parking lot, along with several thousand other people that were there at the same time we were. I found out afterwards that organizers were expecting in the neighborhood of 60,000 people to visit the Adams River Salmon Run this year. 60,000 people!
After collecting $5 for parking, we were directed to our parking spot for the day. This was no small operation, rather more like a well-oiled machine! On the way in to our parking spot we couldn’t help but notice all the tents, food trailers, washrooms and people everywhere!
It took us a couple of hours driving time to get there from Kelowna, and both Sharon and I were hungry when we got there. We wandered the several food trailers and the very last one, run by local First Nations, was offering up Bannock and Salmon. Naturally I had to try it, and I have to say that was possibly the best Salmon Burger I have ever had!
With a belly full of Salmon, we headed thru the gates and down the path to the first fish viewing area along with several hundred of our closest friends. Holy People Batman! The pictures show a lot of people in a small space, however they don’t really capture the total amount of people that were there. It was like Vancouver at rush hour, not exactly what a person might expect from a “Nature Excursion”. There were Guides talking about Salmon, and Park Rangers at various places along the path working unsuccessfully to keep the masses away from sensitive Riparian banks. There were cameras, tourists, naturalists, parents, kids, young, old, dogs, all drawn to this place, at this time by the stars of the show, Sockeye Salmon!
The returning Salmon this year were from the 2010 run, a record year for Adams River with approximately 10 million fish returning from the 2006 Run. I talked to one family who travelled from very far for the 2010 Salmon Run, and were back again this year to see how the 2010 Salmon fared. Salmon return every four years to the place they were born to give birth and then die. Their journey is truly a marvel. In the case of Adams River, the returning fish make their way from the Pacific Ocean to the Adams River. Once they enter the river they stop eating and travel for as long as it takes to swim the 110 miles up to Shuswap Lake, where they will deposit the next generation of fish in egg form. The females return to the very place they were born, dig a hole in the gravel bottom, and lay their eggs, which are then fertilized by the males. Once fertilized, the males dig a hole just up river so that the fry can be covered. The female will stay with the fry for about 2 weeks to ensure they are not disturbed, then both the female and male will die approximately 2 weeks after that.
Salmon are a keynote species. Wildlife like Bear, Eagle and Wolf will feed on the smorgasbord that is presented to them with so many fish in one place at one time. Part of the carcasses will end up deeper in the forest after feeding, and will provide fertilizer to countless species of plants and trees. Without Salmon, the entire ecosystem out here in B.C. would be at risk.
Salmon populations appear to be declining, and there is reason for concern. Overfishing, fish farms, and loss of habitat, especially breeding grounds are cause for concern. When Sharon and I were at Adams River this year, the fish count stood at 3 and a half million, with a week or two left for additional fish to find their way home. Speculation about returning Salmon from 2010’s record Run are a big part of the reason so many people attended this year’s event. Salmon will lay approximately 4,000 eggs, and of these it is estimated that an average of 40 will survive to struggle for life, and only 2 will make it from their place of birth, to the Lake for a year while they grow and mature, to the Ocean where they live until their return after a four year life cycle. Under ideal conditions, salmon stocks are challenged in the survival department. When you factor in the human effect on Salmon, one can see it will not take too much to tip the scales in a direction that is not favorable for them.
I found myself leaving Adams River with a mixed bag of emotions. On the one hand I was thrilled that there were so many people interested in seeing the Salmon Run, it’s encouraging to see interest in the Natural World. On the other hand I was shocked by some of the activity I saw there. There was little concern demonstrated by many for what can only be called a sensitive ecosystem. Riparian terrain (river banks) are sensitive to trampling due to the nature of the root systems of the many plants and trees that reside there. We witnessed several people breaking new trail to the river, some even ignoring clearly posted signs and fencing requesting people to stay off the banks. We witnessed children throwing rocks in the river where the Salmon they came to watch were attempting to lay eggs, with parents watching on. We picked up garbage along the trail, a sure sign of people presence. We also witnessed positives, like children asking questions and getting answers that actually disengaged them for a time from their electronic devices. We witnessed a sense of awe in many people about the incredible journey those Salmon have taken. I can only imagine how many pictures were taken, and where they might end up.
Oddly enough the thing that struck me most about our trip to Adams River was not the Salmon, as incredible as they are.
The thing that impacted me the most was the people. The mixed emotions left me feeling both positive and negative. Seeing the lengths that people went to just to get to Adams River was not dissimilar to the journey the Salmon took, as I mentioned earlier there were people there that flew from over both ponds to get there. There was genuine curiosity, which I always count as a positive. I was also left with a sense of sadness and emptiness that so many people appeared to know so little about Nature, and their Natural surroundings. It got me to thinking, “How will Nature survive our presence if we cannot connect to it”? “How can we educate a population who have become so citified that the importance of Nature to our very survival has been lost”?
Maybe Adams River is a step in the right direction!…
Standing Up for the Planet by Bob Purdy
How about we play a little game of “What If”?
What If a person could only have one car in a lifetime? With only one car to last a lifetime, would it change the way you look after it? Would it change the way you use it? What would your car look like at the end of a lifetime with you?
What If there were no weapons in the World, would we still have war? Would it make a difference if we had to look a person in the eye before taking their life? Would the entire video gaming industry fold? Without the expense and energy of building weapons, what would we create instead?
What If our political leaders and decision makers were not allowed any sponsors? What If our political leaders and decision makers were elected for longer terms and required to make decisions taking into consideration the effect of those decisions on future generations? Would we see “Change” or would we find a way to gravitate back to the status quo?
What If corporations were scrapped? Without faceless, self-interested companies whose only concern is profit, would our consumption be any different? If corporations were scrapped, would that end planned obsolescence? Would “Service” become a word in the dictionary again?
What if the concept of liability disappeared? Would the entire legal profession disappear with it? Would responsibility step in and take up the void?
What If house building was limited to 500 sq. ft. per person? Would there be more forest in the World?
What If we had never figured how to smoke tobacco, or make alcohol and drugs, or soda? What other creative ways would we find to harm ourselves, numb ourselves? If we didn’t abuse ourselves, would we still abuse others?
What If Pigs really could fly? Would we still eat bacon?
What If we had to deposit all our garbage and waste in our own back yards? Would single use products, like plastic bottles, survive in that World? Would all of our homes be dumps, or would we find another way?
What If there were no doctors or pharmaceuticals in the World? How would we stay healthy? Would we still need hospitals for sick care?
What If tv’s, computers, and cell phones had not been invented? What would our communities look like? Would we know how to be real with one another without reality shows? How would we learn? Would coffee shops survive?
What If man’s best friend was a Cat? Or a Racoon? Or a Flamingo? Or a Whale? Or a Chicken? Or a Palm Tree? Or a Sea Cucumber? Would Dogs turn against man? Does anything, or anyone in the Natural World consider man as their best friend?
What If you only got one body to last a lifetime? What If we all got just one Planet to live on? Wait a minute, isn’t that what we have?
What If we could go back in time and change one thing, what would that be? Is it too late to change that one thing today?
What If where we go when we die is back to Planet Earth? Would we take better care of Mother Earth in this lifetime? What if we were sent back to the worst thing we did while we were here, and had to start our lives from that point forward? Would it make any difference to how we live this life?
Is it really possible to write an entire blog of nothing but questions? Would that blog have any kind of real meaning, or would it all be just a bunch of nonsense?
The Paddler’s Planet by Christian Wagley
No matter where you live, climate change is real and it’s here. As paddlers, we give special thought and care to our natural world and how it sustains us. So with the changing climate and our desire to live in harmony with our surroundings, there’s much we can do to adapt in the most benign ways.
The warming planet and the cascade of impacts that creates are changing so much, from the way our natural ecosystems function to how we live our daily lives. And these changes will be happening in my lifetime, so I’m already planning for how to adapt.
Where I live in Northwest Florida, the National Climate Assessment—written by scientists and others from a host of Federal agencies–predicts that by the middle of this century we will go from about 6 days a year with high temperatures 96 degrees or above, to about 60 of those days a year. That’s two solid months of absolutely opressive heat!
So next year I plan to add more insulation to the attic of my home, which is usually the best place to stop the flow of heat and make a home more efficient in its energy use. Here in Florida that energy use is mostly air conditioning. I’m also adding more shade cloth on the east side as a passive way of blocking the hot late-morning sun and thus keeping my home cooler.
There are also community-wide changes we’ll need in order to better handle the coming heat. One is planting more trees in our urban areas—especially along streets and sidewalks. This will help to shade the asphalt and keep it cooler, as well as shading pedestrians and nearby buildings. Cities that plant trees now and invest in maintaining them will be better prepared to confront the heat, with less disruption to the economy and resident’s daily lives.
Another predicted change for the East and Gulf coasts of the U.S. is that the warming atmosphere will generate more of the most powerful hurricanes—the category 4 and 5 storms that are the most damaging. With that in mind, I’ll be adding metal straps inside the walls to connect my walls to my roof, securing the roof against the high winds of future storms.
There’s a lot of work to be done to prepare our homes, families, and communities for climate change. The paddling community is in tune with our changing planet and will continue to be a positive force for confronting the perils of the changes and finding helpful solutions. That includes adapting our homes, businesses, and neighborhoods in a cooperative and positive way. And when the day’s work is done, we’ll continue to get out on the water and have fun–exploring our wonderful planet and ourselves.
Soulful Uplifting People with Leslie Kolovich
Enjoy the Podcast now:
Joining me today is my friend Stephen LaDow with the Martin Theatre in Panama City, Florida. This Art Deco theatre first opened it’s doors in 1936 as a movie house. Stephen tells us more of the fascinating history of this theatre including it’s WWII fundraising efforts to sell war bonds, and airplanes actually landing on Harrison Avenue in front of the theatre.
The art scene in the city has grown a great deal in the past decade or more with this theatre as it’s crown jewel. It is all encompassing for the arts as it not only hosts theatrical productions, but shows classic films on it’s big screen once a month, and has live music tribute shows, and it’s green room is available to rent for special events like weddings.
Opening this Friday, October 10th is a comedy called “Funny Little Thing Called Love” written by Jesse Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten. Stephen tell us it is very funny be prepared to bust a gut! Opening night there will be a champagne reception after the show along with a meet and greet with the actors. Sunday and Thursday the theatre is offering a special promotion of buy one ticket get one free. Tickets are on sale online or by calling the box office 850-763-8080 ext 202 visit their website at www.martintheatre.com
It’s always a pleasure talking with someone who is passionate for the arts! Thank You Stephen LaDow!