Environment

#523 Powter’s alpine passages

Inner Ranges: An Anthology of Mountain Thoughts and Mountain People by Geoff Powter, with a foreword by Chris Bonnington Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2018 $22.00 / 9781771602877 Reviewed by Stephen Slemon First published April 4, 2019 * Canadian mountaineering writing would have struggled to find its public voice, were it not for Geoff Powter. For…
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#500 A tall tale from Port Renfrew

Big Lonely Doug: The Story of One of Canada’s Last Great Trees by Harley Rustad Toronto: House of Anansi Press (Walrus Books), 2018 $22.95 / 9781487003111 Reviewed by Mark Forsythe * An immense, solitary Douglas fir stands inside a vast clear-cut. Sun-bleached slash stretches in all directions; the tree’s shadow reaches for a nearby second…
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#493 Canadian maps that mattered

A History of Canada in Ten Maps: Epic Stories of Charting a Mysterious Land by Adam Shoalts Toronto: Penguin Canada, 2018 $22.00 / 9780143193982 Reviewed by Graeme Wynn * The universe is made of stories, not atoms. American physicist Sean Carroll once used this line by American poet Muriel Rukeyser as a springboard for his…
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#480 Witness to wolves and wilderness

Return of the Wolf: Conflict and Coexistence by Paula Wild Madeira Park: Douglas and McIntyre, 2018 $32.95 / 9781771622066 Reviewed by Loys Maingon First published Feb. 7, 2019 * As mankind changes the planet’s ecosystems, imperceptibly it also changes the distribution of animals and their genetics. Evolution never stops. So it is with members of…
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#471 The bard and the bees

Listening to the Bees by Mark L. Winston and Renée Sarojini Saklikar Gibsons: Nightwood Editions, 2018 $24.95 / 9780889713468 Reviewed by Michael Picard First published January 24, 2019 * This is a book about bees, so the title does not disappoint. But it is also a personal memoir of a life in science by an eminent…
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#468 Power, petroleum, and pipelines

Costly Fix: Power, Politics and Nature in the Tar Sands by Ian Urquhart Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2018 $39.95 / 9781487594619 Oil’s Deep State: How the Petroleum Industry Undermines Democracy and Stops Action on Global Warming by Kevin Taft Toronto: Lorimer, 2017 $29.95 / 9781459409972 The Big Stall: How Big Oil and Think Tanks…
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#459 Skylark: old friend in a new land

ESSAY: Old Friend in a New Land: English Songbirds in British Columbia by Richard Mackie * Because the road is rough and long Shall we despise the skylark’s song? — Charlotte Bronte[1] * Introduced from England in 1903 and 1913, Eurasian skylarks took hold in Vancouver Island’s older agricultural districts, to which they were well…
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#453 The river sings the blues

Quenching the Dragon: The Canada-China Water Crisis by Robert William Sandford Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2018 $16.00 / 9781771602938 Reviewed by Rosie Simms First published Dec. 23, 2018 * What can Canada learn from the water crisis emerging in China? Why should we care about far-flung water issues on the other side of the globe?…
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#448 South Moresby activist memoir

Raven Walks Around the World: Life of a Wandering Activist by Thom Henley Vancouver: Harbour Publishing, 2017 $32.95 / 9781550178074 Reviewed by Philip Van Huizen First published Dec. 15, 2018 * Autobiographies by environmentalists are nothing new, especially in B.C. Greenpeace alone is its own cottage industry, with practically all of its founders producing their…
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#443 Grains of yore to the fore

Awesome Ancient Grains and Seeds: A Garden-to-Kitchen Guide. Includes 50 Vegetarian Recipes by Dan Jason and Michele Genest Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2018 $24.95 / 9781771621779 Reviewed by Grahame Ware * It’s always hard to review a publication whose identity and structure has a turbid editorial focus. There are many literate types who would…
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#417 Living wild in Clayoquot Sound

Wild Fierce Life: Dangerous Moments on the Outer Coast by Joanna Streetly Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2018 $22.95 / 9781987915655 Reviewed by Lauren Harding First published Nov. 8, 2018 * This book moved me in unexpected ways. Having spent a good deal of 2013 and 2014 living and working on the west coast of Vancouver…
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#416 Nootka Sound Nirvana

Klee Wyck Journal: The Making of a Wilderness Retreat by Lou McKee Fairbanks, Alaska: Epicenter Press, 2017 9781935347750 Reviewed by Grahame Ware First published November 07th, 2018 * Pantheism has a long and storied history. Nature exalts in a way that is simultaneously nameless and named; unconditional and conditional; joyous and painful. But many people…
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#400 The useful people’s ranch

Ranch in the Slocan: A Biography of a Kootenay Farm, 1896-2017 by Cole Harris Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2018 $24.95 / 9781550178234 Reviewed by Daniel Clayton * The Bosun Ranch, in reality a farm just south of New Denver on Slocan Lake, has been in the Harris family since 1896. “The ranch has always been…
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