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Stephen Hume

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Focus Magazine Nov/Dec 2016

Sept/Oct 2016.2

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Everything posted by Stephen Hume

  1. Posted October 29, 2020 Image: Father Charles Brandt at the hermitage Father Charles Brandt, who died in late October, was a tireless advocate of the idea of nature as a sacramental commons in which all living things, including us, have dignity and place. Go to story
  2. Father Charles Brandt, who died in late October, was a tireless advocate of the idea of nature as a sacramental commons in which all living things, including us, have dignity and place. Father Charles Brandt at the hermitage near the Oyster River THE LAST TIME I went to see Father Charles Brandt, who died of pneumonia in Campbell River on the morning of Sunday, October 25, a stiff southeaster had come blustering up from Seattle and was pushing around a high tide. White-laced rollers hissed over the shallows off the Oyster River estuary, the same shoals on whi
  3. Posted October 27, 2020 Image: This is happening all over BC right now; forest companies are burning half of the forest they just chopped down. Exuberant denialism and magical thinking characterize our response to both emerging viruses and the climate and biodiversity crises—and their root cause. Go to story
  4. Exuberant denialism and magical thinking characterize our response to both emerging viruses and the climate and biodiversity crises—and their root cause. This is happening all over BC: A forest company burns half the public forest it just chopped down, adding to the climate and biodiversity crises, and quite possibly creating conditions from which the next pandemic will emerge. THE PREDICTED SECOND WAVE of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be arriving right on schedule although Vancouver Island has so far won a thankful reprieve. The rest of British Columbia, ho
  5. Posted September 30, 2020 Photo: Washout of the Mt Polley mine tailings pond. A proposal for Indigenous “guardians” to act as the eyes and ears on the land provides a dramatic win-win for resource management. Go to story
  6. A proposal for Indigenous “guardians” to act as the eyes and ears on the land provides a dramatic win-win for resource management. BRITISH COLUMBIA TAXPAYERS are probably on the hook for a $100-million bill to clean up an abandoned copper mine on the northwest coast that for 67 years has been leaching acid runoff into a rich trans-boundary salmon river critical to the Douglas Indian Association of Alaska and the Taku River Tlingit First Nation in BC. And that’s just the start. The public cost of remediating the environmental impact across the province of similar abandoned mine
  7. Posted August 12, 2020 Image: Tubers on the Cowichan River Local residents are outraged by the disruption of wildlife and peace, and fear the introduction of COVID-19 from the revellers. Go to story
  8. Local residents are outraged by the disruption of wildlife and peace, and fear the introduction of COVID-19 from the revellers. RETIRED HOUSEHOLDERS, some of whom have lived on the Cowichan River for half a century, say intoxicated recreational tubers who don’t practice social-distancing are turning their quiet, rural gardens into a rowdy carnival midway from hell. “They seem to think the river is a roller coaster ride on which they can get drunk because it doesn’t hurt to fall off,” says Joe Saysell, a retired logger and fishing guide. “It’s getting really out of hand. They a
  9. Posted August 4, 2020 Photograph: A peaceful demonstration outside the BC Parliament Buildings in 2019, with Queen Victoria nearby. Our province and city were founded by colonizers. Should they be renamed? Go to story
  10. While taking down monuments and renaming sports teams can seem Orwellian, why shouldn’t we rename “British Columbia” and “Victoria” given they were acts of renaming themselves. TWO YEARS AGO, following a full year’s discussion and cogitation, Victoria City council removed a statue of Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, from its prominent place outside City Hall. Sir John A. did represent Victoria as an absentee MP but his connection with the city is actually measured in the few days 134 years ago when he came out to drive the last spike in the now defunct Esq
  11. Posted July 6, 2020 John Innes’ painting of the inauguration of the Crown Colony of British Columbia, and the installation of James Douglas as its first governor As the process of decolonizing gathers momentum—and with BC Day approaching—it’s timely to look back on the origins of the Province of British Columbia. Go to story
  12. Posted July 6, 2020 As the process of decolonizing and renaming our province gathers momentum, we consider the events that led to the founding of the Province of British Columbia. ON AUGUST 2, 1858, the British parliament passed a bill that formally created a government for what’s now the province of British Columbia. In did so by cobbling together several smaller colonies, fur trade administrative regions called New Caledonia, and remnants of the Columbia District and the Oregon Territory that had become American by treaty in 1846. The British legislation referred to “ce
  13. Stephen Hume

    One of Us

    June 17, 2020 Forty-five years ago, Barrie Gilbert had a part of his face ripped off by a female Grizzly bear. Yet he has spent his life devoted to undoing the demonizing of this complex, highly intelligent creature. Warning: graphic, bone-crunching description ahead. Female grizzly feeding cubs at Glendale Cove on the B.C. mainland about 35 kilometres north of Sayward where there have recently been numerous grizzly sightings. Photo by Shea Wyatt, courtesy Barrie Gilbert. ALMOST 45 YEARS AGO, not long after sunrise dappled the remote ridge they were climbing
  14. January 2019 As this historian shows, the Royal BC Museum has proved a resilient, adaptive and unusually far-sighted institution. MORE THAN 60 YEARS AGO, while my mother shopped, I’d laze away unsupervised summer afternoons in the public galleries of the ornate east wing of British Columbia’s iconic legislature buildings. It was another world from our present provincial museum’s post-modernist structure, purpose-built in 1968 for dramatic dioramas, dynamic displays and public engagement—even now being modernized for the next 50 years of our digitally-enhanced century.
  15. Posted June 17, 2020 Photo: Large female grizzly with cubs at Glendale Cove on the BC mainland. Barrie Gilbert had a part of his face ripped off by a female Grizzly bear, yet he has spent his life devoted to undoing the demonizing of this complex, highly intelligent creature. Go to story

    © Shea Wyatt

  16. Gilbert had a part of his face ripped off by a female Grizzly bear. Yet he has spent his life devoted to undoing the demonizing of this complex, highly intelligent creature. Warning: graphic, bone-crunching description ahead. ALMOST 45 YEARS AGO, not long after sunrise dappled the remote ridge they were climbing in Montana’s Rocky Mountains near the borders of Idaho and Wyoming, a Canadian wildlife biologist and his graduate student emerged from the stunted tree line on a cold, windswept height three kilometres above sea level. This was Bighorn Pass. For sake of comparison, th
  17. June 17, 2020 Forty-five years ago, Barrie Gilbert had a part of his face ripped off by a female Grizzly bear. Yet he has spent his life devoted to undoing the demonizing of this complex, highly intelligent creature. Warning: graphic, bone-crunching description ahead. Female grizzly feeding cubs at Glendale Cove on the B.C. mainland about 35 kilometres north of Sayward where there have recently been numerous grizzly sightings. Photo by Shea Wyatt, courtesy Barrie Gilbert. ALMOST 45 YEARS AGO, not long after sunrise dappled the remote ridge they were climbing i
  18. March 2020 The clinic attracts Canada’s best aspiring public-interest environmental lawyers to work on cases for community groups. SHOULD YOU WANT TO TRACK DOWN one of British Columbia’s most important shapers of public policy regarding environmental protection, better have your GPS handy. There’s no glitzy storefront to brand the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria. No swanky offices with plush carpet, oak panelling, and some elegantly-tailored watchdog receptionist. In keeping with its humble origins as a student initiative launched almost 25 years ag
  19. Posted June 2, 2020 Stephen Hume observes that bears are in much more danger from humans than vice versa. Go to story
  20. AFTER HUMANS, who include in their arsenal everything from rifles that empty a 30-bullet magazine in 7 seconds to atomic bombs that obliterate entire cities faster than you can think, bears are North America’s most dangerous large predators. They can be huge—the biggest bear ever seen (in Alaska in 1960) weighed more than a tonne and exceeded 3.4 metres in height when it stood up, which made it bigger than a small car and about 1.5 metres taller than the tallest National Basketball Association player. Although an old Oblate missionary once showed me the skin of a
  21. Photo: Black bear, Ursus americanus We all seem to have a story to tell about bears. Go to Stephen Hume's stories

    © Public Domain

  22. BENEATH THE WIND-SCULPTED CORNICES crowning the massif beyond the tree line, long, purpling shadows had begun to pool. Rock faces slid from battleship grey towards steel blue. Even gleaming snow fields had begun to take on a softer, burnished hue, offset by flushes of pastel where they fell away from the slant of light. It dawned abruptly in my distracted 12-year-old brain that this signalled a problem. First, it was late enough in the day that it would soon be getting dark farther down the trail where it wound beneath the already gloomy old growth. Second, that the shouts and laught
  23. May 20, 2020 Photo: Situations we felt comfortable with two months ago now seem dangerous We live in medicine’s golden age and yet this tiny virus disrupts everything we took for granted. Go to story
  24. ON MY UPPER LEFT ARM, faint now after more than 70 years, is the white scar of a smallpox vaccination required before my entry into Canada. I am a visitor from the time before the last big North American smallpox outbreak. It began in New York City, now lashed by the coronavirus, not long after I was born, still in the first half of the last century. That event marked a signature response to the threat of pandemic. Authorities swiftly launched the largest mass vaccination in history—more than 6.3 million people in three weeks. The looming epidemic was snuffed out after just two death
  25. Posted May 2019 Photo: Aerial view of the former lumber loading terminal in the Cowichan estuary for which there is an application for rezoning to permit metals manufacturing and fabrication. How is a metals manufacturing plant in the midst of a fish-bearing estuary even possible? Go to story
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