Farley Mowat dead at 92 years

One of Canada’s most popular authors and environmentalists, Farley Mowat has died at age 92, only a few days prior to his 93rd birthday. Farley was a fantastic storyteller, even though his books were non-fiction. He was passionate about the environment, as is evident in books such as Never Cry Wolf  and A Whale for the Killing. Check out this link to  a CBC television interview of his friend, Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, and for other pertinent articles and videos. Rest eternal grant Farley, O Lord; and let light perpetual shine upon him.

Trip to Yellowstone

Recently Julianna, her brother George, and I went down to Yellowstone National Park for a few days. It was a lovely trip, with perfect weather, temperatures around 15-20 celcius during the day, and lots of sunshine. Our first stop prior to entering Yellowstone, was Great Falls, where we visited the Lewis and Clark interpretive centre, and took pictures of the Great Falls, and the Missouri River.

Great Falls

Missouri River

From there, we travelled on into Yellowstone Park. Yellowstone was the first national park in the world, it was officially recognized as such in 1872, when U. Grant was President. The park is open year round, and approximately, 2 or 3 million people come to visit every year.

Our next stop was the Lewis and Clark Caverns/Caves. It takes about two hours to do the tour. Unfortunately, it is not a tour recommended for folks with limited mobility. Here are a couple of pictures from the caves.

Lewis & Clark Caverns

Lewis and Clark Caves2

Looking at this second picture, you might be able to see a mask or face-like image in the lit up area.

On our way, we drove by this old abandoned pioneer log cabin.

Pioneer Log Cabin

Our guide told us that there are as many people visiting in the winter as in the summer. We thought September would be a quieter time to visit, but alas, that was not the case. The park was named after its yellow-gold cliffs. It is of great interest to scientists and artists alike. Scientists study the geothermal activity of geysers, hot springs, mud pools and fumaroles, as well as the largest active volcano in the world, which erupted 640,000 years ago. Artists come to paint, draw and photograph the beautiful colours, shapes and sizes of the park’s unique landscape.

Here are a few photos of the park’s geothermal and artistic beauty.

Colourful Cliffs

More Colourful Cliffs

Colourful Pool

Rainbow

Castle Geyser

Waterfalls

Mammoth Hot Springs

Left is Julianna's shadow, my shadow is centre, and George's shadow is right

Animals are also an integral part of the park’s natural history. Sadly, many visitors do not abide by the park’s rule to keep a safe distance from wildlife and almost every year a few folks get hurt or killed. Our guide told of one visitor one was mauled by a bear while hiking alone on a trail without bearspray. Here’s what we saw.

Bison

Elk crossing street at Mammoth Hot Springs townsite

I hope you enjoyed our photos from Yellowstone National Park. It is a wonderful place to visit!

Crude The Real Price of Oil

Over the holidays I watched a Joe Berlinger film, Crude: The Real Price of Oil

It is a hard-hitting, no nonsense environmental documentary of what giant Goliath corporations like Texaco and now Chevron have done in the Ecuadorian Amazon rain forests. David, the indigenous peoples of the region are now suffering from loss of their way of life, and plague of health issues as a consequence of their polluted environment. The documentary does a fine job of presenting the David vs Goliath lawyers fighting it out in a legal battle that seems unending. What is most commendable about the film is that Berlinger leaves it up to the viewer to draw their own conclusions.  My conclusion is that it is almost impossible for a judge to remain neutral in such a case as this, making the final decision shall have tremendous implications for both sides of this battle; which causes one to pray for the judge to be granted the wisdom of a Solomon to deliver the right decision. However, even if the right decision is delivered in a court of law, there are no guarantees that the losing side will accept the ruling and comply with it. God have mercy on us all. For more info on the movie, check out the website here.

Andrew Nikiforuk on the tar sands

Writer and journalist Andrew Nikiforuk presents a very sobering analysis of the development of Alberta’s tar sands and the devastating fallout, with far-reaching political, economic, environmental and social implications for Abertans and Canadians. Most disturbing is the medical doctor who voiced concerns for the health and well being of the residents in Fort Chip. By voicing his concerns and genuinely caring about the health of these residents, he was placed under investigation. The video makes it clear to me for the need to develop, sooner than later, environmentally friendly, alternative energy sources and end our death-destroying, treadmill dependency on oil. Major lifestyle changes are required if humankind is to survive in the future on this planet. View the video here.

Reason for hope

This past Thursday evening, I was blessed and privileged to accompany my daughter and attend a lecture by world renowned chimpanzee research expert, environmentalist, and inspirational speaker, Dr. Jane Goodall at the Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton. This was a wonderful learning opportunity and occasion to spend quality time together. Here are a few of the insights that inspired me:

    The blood type of certain chimpanzees is similar to human beings so that we could actually receive blood transfusions from them.

    Environmental conservation and protection of endangered species can be holistic and serve the needs and interests of both humans and animals as well as the attendant natural habitats. Indeed this factor is necessary for the future sustainability of this planet.

    Dr. Jane Goodall grew up in a poor family in England at a time when women had few educational or career choices. However, thanks to the love, encouragement and support of her mother and the good will of a few other influential people, she was able to pursue her chimpanzee research in Africa and eventually earn her Ph.D. from Cambridge University. Thus, as a role model, Dr. Goodall is a powerful source of inspiration and leadership for countless youth around the globe today.

    Dr. Goodall’s mother allowed and encouraged Jane to explore the human trait of curiosity as a child and this was most instrumental in preparing Jane for her work as a research scientist.

    Dr. Goodall stated that there is so much focus on the negative and destructive events among humans in the mass media. Yet, she stressed that there is hope and we need to focus more on those positive, constructive events like, for example, the forgiveness of Nelson Mandela towards his enemy, the apartheid regime, who imprisoned him for over two decades. Each one of us can make a difference even in small ways. We are all in this together.

    Dr. Goodall’s emphasis on the interconnectedness of humankind and creation reminded me of the apostle Paul’s vision of the Church as the Body of Christ and his reference to the suffering—the moanings and groanings—of all creation as it longs for God’s redemption.