Forests are a renewable resource. Right? The trouble is, it takes many years to grow a tree, and many trees to make a forest.
At the moment, nobody knows how many trees we have, never mind how well they are growing. Wouldn’t it be sensible for the provincial government to take an inventory before it opens new logging areas?
Another issue is the impact of climate change on our forests and other natural resources. Potable water is a renewable resource, and B.C. has been blessed with plenty of it, but now there are concerns. The latest science on climate change is even less optimistic than the much maligned IPCC’s 2007 Fourth Assessment report. The World Bank’s new report Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4C Warmer World Must be Avoided, warns “we’re on track for extreme heat-waves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and life-threatening sea level rise.” U.S. President Obama cites the need to act on climate change “for future generations.” Our Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent says no one has to convince him climate change is a “real and present danger” that needs to be addressed. Locally, the Cariboo Regional District and the city have a recent study of the effect of climate change on the San Jose watershed. Alarm bells are ringing in northwestern B.C. because the fracking process used by the natural gas industry to get the gas is taking so much water from dams, lakes, and streams.
We don’t have fracking yet in the Williams Lake area but we do have major developments either underway (Prosperity Ridge) or in the planning stages (Williams Lake Band, the CRD’s community development) and the city is always looking to “move forward.” Hopefully our local governments are thinking far enough ahead to make sure our water resources will be sufficient for future challenges.
Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.