Part II – Bear Referendum
Chapter 14 – Never a Bad Ending
June 18, 1996, Tuesday, sunny
[12:44 @ Tanner house]
I took the Silver Bullet this morning at 08:00 to Chuck’s Automotive, as recommended by Scott. Annette led me there in her van, then let me drive it to Parksville for my 09:00 radio interview by Sherv Shragg, which ended at 09:45, with two call-ins. Annette listened to it at home and told me later that Sherv and I made “a highly professional host-guest pair”. The two call-ins were mild, questions rather than statements.
When I got back to Chuck’s, my car was done – just a change of spark plugs – $81. The mechanic said that I should change the whole set of spark plug cables as well, saying that some were not in good shape, and could arc in the rain, which was probably what happened, since it did rain during that drive. Being small towns, however, neither Qualicum nor Parksville had a cable set.
[23:18] You’ll never guess how many people showed up at Salt Spring Island – a reputed bastion of environmentalism and the home base of Bear Watch. Zero. Other than Jan Theunisz and Paul George’s daughter Athena, that is. I missed the 17:30 ferry, caught the 19:00 ferry and landed on Salt Spring at 19:35. Jan was there waving at me, and told me that the score was zilch. Jan Invited me to go for a drink. We ended up having dinner at the ferry terminal, and we talked till 20:20, when I headed for the 20:30 ferry back to Crofton.
Tonight is our last at the Tanners’. I savor the stars through the skylight with extra appreciation. Somewhere along the line, I asked Raminothna, “How many of these stars have planets in the same mess as this one?”
R: “If you could tell me how many planets there are with civilization, I’ll give you the same number as an answer to your question.”
A: “Are you saying that all planets with civilization will get trashed?”
R: “Each in its own time of course.”
A: “And then what? They all get blown up in nuclear wars, or get roasted by artificial global heating?”
R: “Not all, but some.”
A: “Do you know which ones?”
R: “We have our ways.”
A: “Care to share?”
R: “That is inter-stellar-level knowledge, not available to intra-planetary, inter-national, level societies. Sorry.”
A: “Wow! How many levels are there?”
R: “Between the international and the interstellar levels, there is the interplanetary level.”
A: “And what level are you on?”
R: “Also privileged knowledge not available to intra-planetary societies.”
A: “So, how about this planet?”
R: “This I can tell: Its time is now.”
R: “And what?”
A: “And… is it going to make it?”
R: “You’ll know if you do, and you won’t know if you don’t.”
A: “But what about you. Do you know? Don’t tell me. Privileged knowledge not available to us lowly intra-planetary societies, right?”
R: “That’s right.”
A: “Back a few decades, we had a saying: ‘The medium is the message.’ You are my medium, and your message is that we stand a chance, or else you wouldn’t be here. Am I right?”
R: “I could be here to document yet another case of international mutual-destruction, or planetary self-destruct.”
A: “Your tone seems optimistic.”
R: “You might consider me an optimistic realist.”
A: “Give me your most optimistic line.”
R: “Okay, and here it is: ‘There is never a bad ending’.”
A: “Oh, so, there is never a bad ending for any planet, including this one?”
R: “No. There is never a bad ending – for the Universe.”
A: “What do you mean?”
R: “Survival of the Benevolent.”
A: “As per Darwinism?”
R: “Something like that. Let the malevolent commit self-destruction, and the benevolent transcend on to supra-planetary civilization. Isn’t it good for all the Universe?”
Good night, Christopher.
June 19, 1996, Wed.
The Parksville/Qualicum Paper
by Valerie Baker
Anti-hunting referendum proposal generates debate
The abolition of legal bear hunting is being sought by the Western Canada Wilderness Committee.
Chinese Canadian WCWC environmentalist Anthony Marr was at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre on Monday to garner support . . .
Marr is on an 8-week province-wide road tour of the 75 electoral districts on an initiative petition drive . . . to protect what could become a threatened species, he says.
Some audience members shook their heads when slides illustrating the barbaric practice of poachers killing bears for their gall bladders and paws for export to Asia were shown.
Not all agreed with Marr’s crusade to ban legal hunting, particularly some local hunters in the audience.
Parksville/Qualicum Fish and Game Association president, Rod Wiebe, who has shot one bear in his 30 years as a hunter, asked whether a ban on legal hunting would stop poaching, and challenged Marr on a hunter’s ethical right to hunt. Marr said if the number of bears killed was reduced by the 4-6% hunted legally, it would be alleviate the pressure on the bears somewhat, and would make it a clearcut case that anyone caught shooting a bear is a poacher.
Bob Morris, Immediate Past President of BC Wildlife Federation, says they are actively lobbying the government for more conservation officers, and says Marr should spend more time lobbying to support the Federation rather than try to ban legal hunting. Marr responded by saying that a part of the referendum addresses raising penalties against poachers and traffickers, and the increased revenue can be used to hire more conservation officers.
Morris, a 20-year hunter who has yet to kill a bear, told The Paper he disagreed with Marr that the Black bear could become a threatened species, saying that there are approximately 50 bears per 100 sq. km. in northern BC, whereas conservationists are saying that 10 bears per 100 sq. km. is a viable population. He said an additional $5 is charged on a hunting license to enhance bear habitat.
Marr said it is true that the Black bear is not yet threatened, but it could go the same way as the Asiatic Black bear which has been hunted for galls and paws to the brink of extinction. “If anything even faster, since our bears are now facing not only poaching for galls and paws, but also trophy hunting for head and hide,” says Marr.
Another local hunter said Asian influence is the problem. “You are wasting your time trying to cut down on legal hunters instead of poachers. Why go after us? You should be asking us to help you (prevent illegal poaching).”
Marr replied that he already has an anti-poaching/anti-trafficking/anti-use program, and fired back, “You keep on hiding behind the word ‘legal’. Legal doesn’t mean right or moral. Slavery used to be legal too. To me, taking a bear for head and hide, which are body parts, is as wrong as taking a bear for gall and paws.”
Another questioned the loss of revenue from licensing if legal hunting is banned. Marr replied that non-consumptive ecotourism, such as bear-watching, can employ more people and bring in more revenue.
The numerous aspects of illegal poaching were discussed, including the need for new trade laws, export of Canadian bears to China or Korea under the phony “zoological specimen” description, high penalties against poaching and trafficking, and the use of penalty revenue to hire more conservation officers. On conservation officers, Marr said that BC is several times the size of Washington state, but has fewer conservation officers; where we need about 3,000, all we have are a meager 140.
Marr asked audience members to consider becoming volunteer referendum canvassers, saying that approximately 3,000 signatures are needed to represent 10% of registered voters in this riding.
Canvassers must be registered voters and a resident of the district. For information phone 1-800-661-WILD; to report a poacher phone 1-800-663-WILD.
The Fortunate and The Called Upon
at your service
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)