Environmentalism

 

I participated in the all Chamber of Commerce All Candidates Forum this past week . I found it interesting and in a strange way kind of enjoyable. Being an environmental scientist, I couldn’t help but rebut some of the mis-information that the environmental community likes to promote. I’d like to discuss this so you don’t get the wrong idea.  My wife Cindy calls me a non-radical environmentalist.

Let me give a little background on who I am and what I have done. Some of this is on other pages but to make it easier for you I will retell it here.  I generally don’t like to promote myself like this.

In the late ’70s I earned my BSc(Agr) from UBC. Much of my career I worked for an environmental company and I continued to work for it until 2003 when I went out on my own. During this period of time I/we were instrumental in developing many solutions for environmental protection and restoration .

Erosion and Sediment Control

In the mid-eighties after years of treating erosion and sediment control at the request of developers on an ad hoc basis, we developed the first Erosion and Sediment Control Plan in BC. It was actually for the Cedarsprings Development here in Abbotsford and was designed to protect the fisheries values of Clayburn Creek. Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans liked it so much, they used it almost verbatim in their “Land Development Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Habitat”.

Because sediment is so detrimental to the environment, we developed a process to control sediment production on land development sites. The process is so effective it will actually remove sediment from rainfall runoff water. One of our trial sites was the Bateman Properties development here in Abbotsford. I remember looking at “mudpuddles” on the site and seeing no mud; just clear rainwater. (I’m still trying to figure out what to call these.) This type of treatment is now used on many development sites.

Forest Rehabilitation

During the early eighties, forest companies saw a problem with the impact some of their harvesting techniques were having on the environment and they hired us to develop and implement techniques to mitigate the impacts and rehabilitate these areas.  This began years before the Environmental Movement saw this as a cause. During their anti-logging campaigns I often remarked that they either didn’t know I existed or that they refused to acknowledge me because it would be bad for their environmentalism.

In the mid-eighties, we were concerned with the increasing incidences of landslides and debris torrents in the forest industries and how to prioritize them so we developed a method of assessment on a watershed basis. This method formed the foundation of the BC Ministry of Forests Watershed Restoration Program (WRP) in the nineties.

During the WRP, one of the watersheds I conducted assessment of was the Norrish Creek watershed from which Abbotsford draws some of its water so I am very familiar with it and its stability issues. As a side note, much of the turbidity issues is a result of unstable creek banks upstream of the intake.

During the nineties, I developed landslide rehabilitation techniques for the Ministry of Forests as well as a short course that I taught throughout the province.

Award for Outstanding Contribution to Forest Rehabilitation

I was the charter recipient of the Award For Outstanding Contribution to Forest Rehabilitation in 1996 by the Coastal Forest Site Rehabilitation Committee. During the presentation, the presenter commented that over the years he and I had had a number of scientific disagreements and he had to admit that I was right once my arguments were considered.

Waste Management

During the late eighties, waste management was becoming an issue and I became involved in finding and developing solutions. During this time I researched MRFs which are now the talk of our waste management plan. I discovered there were technologies that could extract so many of the valuable recyclable materials from our waste stream and ways to compost the 70% or so of our waste that is organic. I worked to get our municipalities and regional districts to adopt these technologies but was stymied by their inflexible mindset. I now find it interesting that they are “discovering” and employing  these technologies that they were so resistant to. But there is still the inflexible mindset.

Beneficial use of Biosolids

I worked with the GVRD in developing beneficial uses for their biosolids (the sludge extracted from our sewer water). Part of the work included the reclamation and greening of the tailings piles just east (north) of Princeton. What had been sand piles for years (since the late 1950s) are now  green treed and grassed slopes . The work I did formed the foundation  for their Nutrifor program which is used for mine reclamation in the interior of BC.

I participated in the BC Ministry of Environment  Technical Review Committee that resulted in the BC Organic Matter Recycling Program. This regulation sets the standards that composting must achieve to kill off the potential pathogen problems.

Land Reclamation

Over the years, I have participated in the reclamation of various types of land disturbances. Following are pictures from a closed mine tailings project where I have been guiding the reclamation.

 Why Did I Say All This?

All this Environmental Stuff is my career and passion. I have vigorously pursued solutions to environmental problems throughout my life. I have gone to work on problems before Greenpeace, Western Canada Wilderness Committee, Forest Ethics or any of the other groups promoting environmentalism.

The difference between their environmentalism and me is that it’s their business to create issues and mine is to solve problems. Their objective is to get on national news so that their contributions increase and mine is to apply scientific principles to solve problems. They are driven by environmentalism dogma and I don’t follow a dogma but am continuously looking for new ideas and scrutinizing my currently held beliefs for errors.

It is from this perspective that my comments came from. Not from an ill informed denier or industrial redneck but from an active practicing environmentalist.