Looking to the North for Heroes

Imagine a region the size of Oregon with only one road. This is how famed adventurer, naturalist, and anthropologist Wade Davis described the remoteness of the far northwestern corner of BC during a speech in front of 600 people Saturday night in Prince George. Davis was in the city as the headliner for the annual Bob Ewert memorial lecture and dinner, the University’s biggest annual fundraiser for the Northern Medical Programs Trust. He holds an honorary degree from UNBC but he is more famous as an “explorer in residence” for National Geographic.

Davis spoke for an hour, mesmerizing the crowd with stories of his life in a spectacular place that serves as the headwaters for three of BC’s great rivers: the Stikine, Skeena, and Nass. He told stories of First Nations elders who had changed his life, battles waged with industry and environmentalists, and relationships with governments that were both productive and frustrating. Mainly, he just showed beautiful photographs of the Sacred Headwaters region and shared his passion for a place that has shaped his relationship with the land and the peoples who have occupied it for thousands of years.

In addition to being a place of incredible ecological value, it is also a land of amazing hermes birkin bag people, he suggested. “In the US, they look west cheap hermes belt for heroes; in Canada, we look north.”

Is this actually true? As a northerner, I’d like to think so, but who or what are the heroes we’re seeking? And are we really looking for “heroes” or are we actually looking for “leaders”?

Coincidentally, in the two days leading up to Davis’s talk, Prince George hosted the Council of Forest Industries (COFI) conference, which brings together forest industry officials to discuss the future. They talked about forest inventories, skilled labour shortages, and the emerging bioeconomy. Mark Feldinger of Canfor suggested that we have seen “peak lumber” and that growth of the industry will require innovation and focused R&D. Much of this would be applied “at the margins” – in fact, about three-quarters of the biomass in the forest is either not currently accessible or not of “saw log” (ie used for lumber production) quality. Community-based bioenergy is one response. Rory Gilsenan, chief of resource economics and bioenergy for the federal government, suggested in his presentation that “the space is dynamic” when considering the future bioeconomy. There are two areas where bioenergy makes sense, he says: the forest sector (where use has doubled since 1990) and remote/off-grid communities.

UNBC’s David Claus explains infrastructure upgrades to UNBC that will enable it to model a community energy system.

UNBC used the COFI conference to provide an update on its energy plans, and representatives of industry, small business, First Nations, municipalities, and even the Canada Games were in attendance. There was broad support for UNBC’s initiative but this was primarily an opportunity for feedback and discussion. Industry talked about barriers related to the competitive market for sawmill residue and the low price of natural gas. Others talked about a new “sustainable energy trust” at UNBC that would help fund the capacity for renewable energy systems in remote communities. Ultimately, attendees felt that communities themselves, working in collaboration with UNBC, were in the best hermes bracelet position to identify the value hermes belt size chart men
of such a trust by identifying the needs that it could address.

Addressing those needs requires leadership. Perhaps some day our response will also be considered heroic.

Rob

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About Rob van Adrichem

Rob van Adrichem is a UNBC grad and the University’s Vice-President for External Relations. He was born and raised in Prince George and has been an employee of UNBC since 1992. He was appointed by former Premier Gordon Campbell to a provincial council on climate action and has been a champion of UNBC’s efforts to be a model for sustainability. He is married with two young children.