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Smoke and Fire in Southren B.C

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
Smoke and Fire in Southren B.C

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A little over 100 years ago, between 1908 and 1912 to be persice, over 8,00 members of one specific community in saskatchewan made the long journey west to Brittish Columbia where they settled in the West Kootnays. Escaping the ever increasing intrusiveness of the state, this quasi anarchist group decided to make the areas around Castlegar, the slocan valley and Grand Forks their home.

Not only are the West Kootnays a refuge from the prying eyes of the federal government of Canada, who wanted to force this groups children into the state school, which they say ans an assimalationist tactic: the West Kootneys, they are an extermely good growing area of the province. This quasi anarchist group became expert farmers and orchardists and they built thriving communities in the West kootneys. One of these communities is Grand Forks.

Before this quasi anarchist group, known as the Doukabours, settled in Saskatwean, they had lived in Russia where they were persecuted by the czar for their pacifist beliefs. The czar of Russia eventually let the Doukabours emigrate to Canada, contingent on certain rules. One of the rules was that they had to pay their own way. Luckily they recieved financial aid from Russian anarchists Leo Tolstoy and Peter Kropotkin.

Over the years the Kootnays have become a refuge for everyone from American draft dogers, wanting to avoid fighting in unjust wars, to anti-capitalists who want to escape the rat race and enjoy the peace and beauty that this area of Birtish Columbia is precieved to offer

Although the west kootnays have served as a refuge from government, they cannot claim to be a refuge from forest fires and their deadly, suffocating smoke.

What a sad irony it is that Grand Forks, built mostly by anti-capitalist doukabours, is now suffering from forest fires thant many would link to increasing tempretues brought about by the realease of green house gasess emitted by our capitalist society that cares more about accumulating capital in the hands of the few than it does about working people or the environment.

For the last week or so, Grank forks and the greater kootnay area has been suffering from smoke filled air as a result of fires in Washington. On August 26th, at a standing room only meeting that brought out more than 500 local residents, there was much concern about changing winds bringing in more smoke that could trigger an evacuation for the whole of Grand Forks and the surounding areas. An evacuation alert has already been declared for parts of Grand Forks and Christina Lake out of fear that not just more smoke, but also fire embers will shower down

For a towns like Grand forks whose residents are used to lots of sun, not smoke, (excluding marijuana smoke) let's hope that residents here will give pause with respect to the current situation and not only think about thier immediate needs but also the needs of future generations. For years Grand Forks has been fighting an uphill battle to maintain their population as a result of loss of industry.

It is hight time that Grand Forks take advantage of it's potential to mine solar. If Grand Forks were to build a large solar plant they would attract more investment, experience a net population gain and most importantly gain a place on moral hight ground whereby they can send a message to Canada and the world vis-a-vis building a sustainable future both economically and ecologically.

Aaron Doncaster


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