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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. Image: The proposed Telus building in downtown Victoria Humans celebrate birds—bird-watching is now more popular than golf and even gardening—but North American buildings may kill close to a billion each year. Go to story...
  2. Humans celebrate birds—bird-watching is now more popular than golf and even gardening—but North American buildings may kill close to a billion each year. PLANS BY TELUS TO TRANSFORM Victoria’s downtown with “an iconic architectural landmark” featuring a massive, 11-storey high wall of glass on lower Douglas Street are generating a robust conversation about environmentally sustainable development. On the face of it, the planners set out admirable objectives: the structure is to bolster biodiversity with “lush tree canopies,” “pollinator eco-systems,” and a slew of other concept
  3. Image: A gray whale breaching The old whaling industry may be largely gone, but modern industry has polluted their habitat and massively increased shipping by larger vessels that kills them outright. Go to story
  4. The old whaling industry may be largely gone, but modern industry has polluted their habitat and massively increased shipping by larger vessels that kills them outright. WE’D CLAMBERED, SLIPPED and butt-skidded down-slope through mossy old growth, getting drenched in the chest-high salal where the littoral flattened abruptly. Just as we broke from the forest edge, the curtains of rain lifted and the breeze hissed through the canopy. A shoreline of rocky shelves punctuated by time-polished pebble beaches spread before us. The winter overcast shrouded the Strait of Juan de Fuca
  5. Photo: A Black-tailed Columbian buck in a Rockland neighbourhood Stephen Hume tells his own story of backyard deer, and asks some hard questions about our attitudes toward wildlife. We want your stories—and photos—too. Go to story
  6. Stephen Hume tells his own story of backyard deer, and asks some hard questions about our attitudes toward wildlife. We want your stories—and photos—too. CARVED FROM A CORNER OF OUR GARAGE is a tiny office. It’s monastic in its austerity. Writing table, chair, nothing else. I retreat there when a deadline presses and when I want to evade the incessant 21st-century distractions of e-mail pinging, phone ringing, Twitter tweeting, Flipboard flipping or the CBC and the New York Times urging me to some news item to which I must pay immediate attention. The first attraction of this
  7. Posted January 20, 2020 Image: Sunken barge off Port McNeill leaks fuel. The greatest risk to our coasts is not oil tankers, but all the other marine vehicles that carry oil—from tugboats to BC Ferries and container ships from China. Go to story
  8. The greatest risk to our coasts is not oil tankers, but all the other marine vehicles that carry oil—from tugboats to BC Ferries and container ships from China. ENCOUNTER THE DIABOLICAL AFTERMATH of an oil spill and the evil consequences it inflicts upon wild creatures and the sacred spaces they inhabit and you can never forget. It’s three decades now since I retrieved oil-soaked seabirds from the coastline that reaches from Sooke Harbour to the mouth of the San Juan River at Port Renfrew—what’s now the Juan de Fuca trail with its iconic tourist brochure beaches Mystic, Chin
  9. Posted November 27, 2020. Image: The weir on Cowichan Lake A reprieve for the Cowichan River offers a rare good news story. Go to story
  10. A reprieve for the Cowichan River offers a rare good news story. PERHAPS IT’S A GOOD MOMENT to let our attention drift from the pandemic-propelled collapse of the Trumpian snake-oil-sales dystopia to the south and the daily litany of coronavirus woes across Canada to some good news that promises to yield benefits long after our current griefs have receded into gloomy tales for grandchildren. After decades of dithering, hand-wringing, seemingly interminable committee meetings, political buck-passing, corporate two-steps and protests from curmudgeonly self-interest groups, it lo
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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.
  25. 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

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