Hard Nose on the Soft Path

I write with congratulations on a thought-provoking and introspective 40th Anniversary issue of Alternatives. I am concerned, however, by a potential stumbling block faced by the environmental movement that may have greatly stymied our progress: We’re quite a weak lot, aren’t we? From “soft” energy paths to humility to questioning our assumptions, nobody’s ever won by using their imagination. Why don’t we just curl up and ask the bullies to do their worst? They have been so far.

Luckily, we do have a tough Canadian resource identity as backup. Let’s rebrand and green it up. Think resilient lumberjacks. Save the grizzlies, not the pandas. Scale up? We’re finished if we don’t man up! Folks, we’re tree huggers and we have an image problem. Fix it and sustainability will be ours.

If you have a better idea, and I hope you do, please get to it. For all of our sakes, we’ll have to step up if we want a livable 2051.
– Darcy Higgins, Toronto

Forest Certification

We read with interest the recent article in your journal called “Half-time Report” [38:1, 2012] about the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA). Our Secretariat appreciates the attention being paid to the landmark CBFA, as well as the premise in your article that industry, NGOs and government will have to learn from each other, to the point of trading roles. The environmental and industry signatories to the Agreement remain well committed to the CBFA in the long term.

However, I want to take the opportunity to correct one mischaracterization found in your article: The CBFA is not certified by the Canadian Standards Association or any other certification regime. The Agreement is developing a set of sustainable forest management practices for implementation through the three existing certification standards in Canada, and the one being used as a reference is the Forest Stewardship Council’s national Boreal standard.
– Andrew Bevan, executive director Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement Secretariat

Career Quandary

I value both the engagement offered by Alternatives and the opportunity to connect with a vibrant like-minded community at the ESAC annual meeting. Nevertheless, after 3.5 years of looking for employment in the environmental field, I am forced to the unfortunate conclusion that it is a field that will unlikely provide me with a means to earn a living.

I hold a Master’s in Environmental Studies and am in the final stages of completing a PhD. Yet, I have been told that it is unlikely that I will find employment in the environmental field, particularly outside of academia. This unfortunate situation is apparently the result of my holding an undergraduate degree in English, and my desire not to pursue a teaching career.
– Jennifer Gerrits, Halifax

Editor’s note: Alternatives is making employment and careers a joint focus of this year’s Education issue. Watch for it this fall.

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