Letters to the Editor: 37.2

Priceless biodiversity + SARA’s finger still wags + more on Suncor.

Not From Stephen Harper

Keep up the good work in exposing !!#!% Harper & Co.

– Curtis Smith Taipei, Taiwan

Not From Stephen Harper

Keep up the good work in exposing !!#!% Harper & Co.

– Curtis Smith Taipei, Taiwan


In “Getting the Price Right,” (Biodiversity, 36:6, 2010) nature and ecosystems are described using biodiversity, services, dependence, functioning, production, management. Yet all that really matters is the line: “… biodiversity protection for the survival of all life.” If the natural world is necessary to exist for the continuation of all life (obviously), including humans, it is obvious that the only way to describe the natural world is priceless. If putting a price on ecosystem services is necessary for conservation, then we are doomed as a species. The environment needs to be valued as a life provider and that value should come from the physical and spiritual sides of all people. Then, and only then, will there be healing.

– Chris Mortimer Wawa, Ontario

Finger Still Wags

I’m the senior environmental planner for West Moberly First Nations located in BC. In “SARA’s Wagging Finger” (Biodiversity, 36:6, 2010), Kimberley Broome notes the recent court case that this Nation won regarding a threatened caribou herd. She mentions that the court compelled the BC government to develop a protection plan. While this is true, the resulting plan did not meet specifications. Community elders and the government’s own scientists said the plan was inadequate. As a result, the Nation is taking the BC government back to court.

– Bruce Robert Muir Moberly Lake, BC

Minority Wins

Kimberley Broome’s discussion of the courts forcing SARA upon the government of Canada was both hope-filled and depressing. It is clear that our current representatives are ideologically opposed to the intent of the legislation. The article reminded me of a phrase that was sprinkled on all sorts of government documents when the Conservatives won their first minority. The government Broome speaks of is “Canada’s NEW Government.” It was an amusing styling, as if power was won in some sort of coup d’etat. Of course the reality was that the NEW government received only a minority and thus they cannot change or repeal SARA without the support of other parties. This explains the furtive efforts to undermine the legislation. Thankfully, no coup has taken place, and real progress on protection of biodiversity can be made at the ballot box by simply ensuring Canada’s NEW government becomes Canada’s OLD government.

– Alexander Singbeil Winnipeg, Manitoba

Don’t Do Advertorials

I really appreciate that Alternatives published my letter about the Suncor advertorial [37:1, 2011], and I equally appreciate the time taken by the editorial board to respond to my complaint. Clearly advertorials are nothing new; they are age-old marketing tricks. My point is that they should be seen (by Alternatives’ editorial board) for what they are – deceptive marketing tools profiting from the magazine’s respected reputation. They are deceptive because they attempt to portray an advertisement in the form of a written article. Sure, the font may be slightly changed and the logo displayed, but this does not negate the fact that the advertiser (and it doesn’t really matter which firm is advertising) is trying to benefit from portraying their ad as a written piece in the magazine.

The accuracy of the material presented in the advertorial is not the point. Rather, the point is this: Suncor used the advertorial to sell something (their image, their brand, their shares, and their synthetic oil all come to mind as potential candidates), and the response to my earlier letter suggests to me that Alternatives has actually stepped in to help them sell it!

I am certain I am not the only reader of magazines who is frustrated by advertorials and finds their purpose somewhat insidious. My belief is that Alternatives’ advertising policy should forbid any form of advertorial.

– Ryan Katz-Rosene Board member, Environmental Studies Association of Canada