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Posted Sun Oct 17 2010: from The Walrus:
The Last Great Water Fight
Sixteen hundred kilometres downstream from Fort Chip, the Mackenzie River empties a watershed nearly the size of Western Europe into the Arctic Ocean. Draining half of Alberta and most of the Northwest Territories, as well as parts of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon, the Mackenzie is one of the world's great water arteries.... At their deepest level, the [river development] negotiations feature two starkly different views of humanity's prerogatives. One has framed four centuries of North American development under Euro-colonial management. It puts man first, fashioning nature primarily as a resource for the fulfillment of human desires. The other sees our species as one -- but only one -- of nature's creations, as dependent on a healthy habitat as any moose or beaver.... A 2009 effort by the Ottawa-based Canadian Boreal Initiative to put a value on "non-market" services provided by the Mackenzie ecosystem tallied the total at $570.6 billion a year -- ten times the market price of all the gold, diamonds, and oil clawed from its soil annually.
[Read more stories about: corporate malfeasance, capitalist greed, water issues, oil issues]

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'Doc Michael says:
This is, sadly, a watershed decade.
This long article is among the best we've seen on the complexities of Canada's relationship with its own wild regions -- and the vast disparity between value of ecosystem services and extractive profit.

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