Canada wondering about economic values of polar bears
I am wondering about mental illness of Canada
Please don’t get me wrong, I love Canada, but there are things I really don’t understand. No, my country is not better, but this is not what it’s about.
It’s exactly because I come from a different reality that I see all the contradictions in this country. From outside Canada looks a very green country – people recycle, try to use public transportation – but in the same time the Canadian government allows terrible thinks like seal hunting.
This morning, in my usual serf through newspaper websites, I found an article on the Toronto Star that really upsets me.
OTTAWA—The federal government wants to put a price tag on polar bears.
Environment Canada plans to spend up to $44,000 on a study to appraise the animal’s value as a national icon.
The department has put out a tender for companies to study the “socio-economic importance of polar bears for Canada.”
Ok, what is this about? It cannot be true.
“There is a need to better understand the current state of knowledge of economic values associated with polar bears,” the department says.
“An in-depth analysis is required to estimate the monetary and non-monetary values of polar bears — values that can serve to conduct a rigorous and comprehensive economic impact analysis of events affecting the polar bear population, their habitat, or use.”The bears are big business — a rare cash cow in small northern communities. Sport hunters pay up to $30,000 for the chance to bag a bear. Inuit hunters can get up to $400 a metre for bear hide.
This is getting very bad. Economic values???
A statement of work says the study must go beyond the “trophy hunting values” of the bears.
“In other words, in addition to values derived from trophy hunting the consultant shall attempt to estimate other consumptive values (meat, hide, and other parts), nonconsumptive values (tourism, art, crafts), scientific/educational value, and existence value or value as an iconic species,” it says.
I thought we wanted protect nature because it’s our world, because we are part of it, we need it, and it’s all our fault if things are going bad! Remember the polar bear in An inconvenient truth by Al Gore? That poor bear wasn’t exactly having a party.
Canada has about two-thirds of the world’s 25,000 bears. The latest figures suggest eight of the world’s 19 subpopulations of bears are decreasing, three are stable and one is increasing. Not enough is known about the other seven to assign a trend.
Inuit have long insisted polar bear numbers are healthy. They report more and more bears roaming about.
At the end of the day, it’s always and everything about money, and now they are even using climate change debate against the cause it’s are fighting for:
The debate over climate change has propelled the bears high into the symbolic stratosphere. Activists use the image of stranded bears on shrinking Arctic sea ice to illustrate the effects of global warming.
The animals are also the face of northern Manitoba tourism.
“Tourism is built around polar bears here,” said Mayor Mike Spence of Churchill, Man.“When I’m giving a speech talking about Churchill, I don’t wander too far from saying the polar bear capital of the world.”
The value of the polar bear as a national icon and not just a mantle piece is precisely what Environment Canada wants to pinpoint.
The fact that I’m not Canadian doesn’t make me feel better at all, because, like I learned from my meeting with David Suzuki, nature does not have borders: the oceans, the wind, the birds, the rain does not know this human invention.