Single-use plastic ban won’t solve waste problem

Economic reasoning and basic statistics show that such bans are largely symbolic gestures that come with real downsides

Single-use plastic ban won’t solve waste problemPrime Minister Justin Trudeau recently proposed a federal ban on certain single-use plastics, in an effort to protect marine life and the beauty of Canadian shores. But the proposal fails to get to the root of the problem. Trudeau justified the proposal by saying, “We have a responsibility to work with our partners to reduce…

Once in a blue moon: scaling B.C.’s Fisher Peak

Climbing Fisher requires no mountaineering equipment, no technical skills. But the steady steepness makes for a long, hard day

Once in a blue moon: scaling B.C.’s Fisher PeakOnce in a blue moon something improbable occurs. A goal beyond expectations and beyond the capacity of aging knees is accomplished. The view of Fisher Peak from our Kimberley, B.C., condo is mesmerizing. For years I’ve gazed across the Rocky Mountain Trench at that daunting, taunting pinnacle. Fisher dominates the skyline in this range of…

Spring semester begins at Skelhp

Some familiar buzzes, croaks and tweets and a new cat-like cry as the turning of the seasons teaches anew

Spring semester begins at SkelhpMy British Museum 2019 Diary proclaims the vernal equinox arrived on March 20 this year, with a cryptic little note: “Spring begins.” At Skelhp, we already knew. In fact, I think spring began on Sunday, March 10, when we descended artfully on the deer-fenced garden with pruning clippers to shape some apple and cherry trees.…

You never really know what’s following you until it snows

I’ve adjusted my solo walk schedule and try to be alert to the possibility that a cougar is lurking

You never really know what’s following you until it snowsWe joke in our family about my living a city-mouse/country-mouse existence. Part of the time, I live in a 600-square-foot Vancouver condo and part of the time I live with the land at Skelhp on the Sunshine coast. In Vancouver, I’m visually connected to pigeons, seagulls, and the 4 p.m. return flight of northwestern crows,…

Preparing for another Christmas at Skelhp

There are lights to hang, cleanup work to be done inside and out, kindling to split, a turkey to order and a final round of gifts to buy

Preparing for another Christmas at SkelhpIt’s very calm this morning and still a dark grey overcast at 7 a.m. The offshore islands are shrouded in mist. There’s no sign of human habitation right across the southern horizon. No rising plumes of chimney smoke are visible. No boats or tugs and booms are passing. And it’s cold in the house. Time…

Whitewater runs in the veins at Kumsheen Rafting Resort

The Fandrich family has built a powerhouse adventure tourism business along the swirling, azure Thompson River in B.C.

Whitewater runs in the veins at Kumsheen Rafting Resort Braden Fandrich was just four years old when his father, Kumsheen Rafting Resort founder Bernie Fandrich, put him in a whitewater raft for the very first time. It was prophetic, in a way. Braden would literally follow his father’s footsteps into the adventure tourism industry, as did his mother Lorna so many years before.…

Moving on: nature migrates as winter closes in

On the Pacific coast, the fascinating fall movements of whales, salmon and sea ducks have begun

Moving on: nature migrates as winter closes inOne evening recently at about 6 p.m., I heard a familiar sound from the sheltered bay just in front of our house at Skelhp. If you’ve never heard it, it can be bewildering, even frightening. It’s very loud blasts of air – sometimes two or three in succession, sometimes with about a minute’s silence before…

Caring for the body, mind and soul in the great outdoors

Time spent in the natural world nourishes our soul, makes us more receptive to goodness and beauty, helps us perceive truth, and opens us to the presence of God

Caring for the body, mind and soul in the great outdoorsIf you can’t wait to go camping or be in the great outdoors, there are good reasons for it beyond the desire to get out of Dodge. Research proves what we have long intuited: being outside is good for us. Physical and psychological health improves with time spent outdoors. Many of us spend a lot…

A Mexican village welcomes ecotourists

From the hospitality to the extraordinary food to the sublime experience among the butterflies, this is a place of exceptional grace

A Mexican village welcomes ecotouristsWhen you drive up the paved road into Macheros village in Donato Guerra, Estado de Mexico, you enter a high altitude (2,600 metres) ejido (essentially a Mexican communal farm) that has a unique relationship with about 400 million monarch butterflies. There's a lot to unpack in that one sentence. To start with, the mariposa monarca are…

Our ‘forest condo’ is filled with curious neighbours

Living in a forest house is to be constantly reminded by the terrestrial and avian neighbours of their presence

Our ‘forest condo’ is filled with curious neighboursLast September, I was looking out the kitchen window as a black bear casually walked up to the barbeque, snout outstretched, warily looking up to the house for signs of life. I opened the front door and went out on the porch, and we had a stare-off. Him. Me. Him. Me. “What do you think…