The many benefits of community forests

photo courtesy of Black Press

The community forest program began in British Columbia in 1998, when the government amended the Forest Act to allow for long-term community forest tenures. Beginning with a few pilot tenures, the program expanded in 2004 to allow for long-term agreements and again in 2009, so that communities could obtain 25-year, renewable licenses. Currently there are 58 community forests and 5 more with invitations to apply.

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Assessing the local impact of increasing inequality

        There is a line-up at this Salvation Army food bank every morning

Recently our local CBC Radio West provided coverage of the new Oxfam report on income inequality that the 85 richest are nearly as wealthy as the poorest half of the world by interviewing two professors whose commentaries were anything but helpful.

                 Inequality in B.C. appears to be the worst in Canada

One, an obvious apologist for the wealthy, claimed inequality was a result of higher share prices for some companies like those that make cell phones and thus was not a big deal and the other professor claimed that while inequality was real, the poor are doing better. Listening to these so-called experts was so irritating it prompted me to do some research and write this column.

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High school woodlot forestry program a success

There are just two high schools in British Columbia that manage their own woodlot and one of them is in the Shuswap. Charles Bloom Secondary in Lumby has run a forestry trade program since the 1970s and it was vastly improved in 2002 with the acquisition of a 600-hectare woodlot in the Trinity Valley. Every year, 16 grade 11 and 12 students are chosen from five high schools in the Vernon School District to participate in this outdoor, hands-on forestry skills program that runs from September to January.

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2012 Federal budget is a travesty

My letter to the editors:

The 2012 federal budget is a travesty, as it will boost the profits for the one percent and the big resource industries, while it is a disaster for the rest of us. It is an attack on the environment despite the fact that in the long term a healthy economy depends on a healthy environment.

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