Leave nature alone

I might get myself into some trouble today because of my age; my memory is not as good as it used to be. Occasionally, it needs a ctrl-alt-del.

However, if I remember correctly… driving through Kelowna the other day, I was listening to CBC, to a show talking about the demise of the mountain caribou in the East Kootenay.

Earlier this year ,I did get to see my first caribou on my adventure to the Arctic and they truly were awesome to see in the wild although, I have never seen a mountain caribou.

The gentleman being interviewed was probably a very famous and well educated Ph.D type who talked about things happening billions and billions of years ago and how we have messed it all up since we moved here and caused global warming. 

Anyway, it irked me from the beginning! If you have read my column before, you probably already know that.

I was frustrated because whatever the outcome, the fingers are always pointed at us. People. We are causing the problem. In this instance because we are causing global warming.

Let me paraphrase the comments:

“Mountain caribou were fine until we caused global warming and now there are far too many forest fires, which lead to massive amounts of shrub growth, which in turn leads to many moose moving into caribou territory and then followed by wolves who eat caribou — hence it is our fault the caribou are declining in numbers.”

The answer in his mind was selective culling of the moose. I suppose caribou are more tasty to a wolf than moose.

Let me say a resounding BS to the guy with the Ph.D.

It was a classic case, in my mind at least, of someone trying to make themselves sound important. As the old adage goes, if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle the with bull [email protected]

I believe that nature finds a balance, which can include extinction in an extreme case.

But we never are able to leave it alone. We have to interfere. We study (but only for the past 100 or so years) the environment which, if in fact it is billions and billions of years old, is only a pimple on the landscape in terms of our understanding, and then we have the audacity to say we know what we are talking about!.

We further extrapolate that we messed it up with global warming. Sorry, but I don’t get the argument!

What I do know is that hundreds of years ago there were far more forest fires than we see today.

Global warming is not the issue at stake in this argument; our constant meddling with the ecosystem could have something to do with it (although climate change is an issue we need to be addressing regardless).

The fact we have suppressed forest fires for so long and created a completely unnatural environment for the animals to live in is.

As we have seen this year, our forests are completely loaded with almost explosive fuel in a dry year so now we really are struggling to keep fires down.

Surely, our reluctance to let fires burn or simulate burning with mechanical removal leads to a forest environment that animals find difficult to traverse because of built up fuels.

However, I have never seen that in a report.

Historically, whenever we attempt to mess around with our perception of what a natural environment should be, we seem to mess up. So for the scientists who espouse theories from billions of years of history… we have not been here for that long, so give us a break. 

The result of the show, if I remember correctly, was to allow a mild amount of increased hunting to kill the moose and allow the caribou to survive. Here we go again…

I guess, if anything, we keep scientists on the payroll doing study after study and fiddling around with the population numbers. 

When are we going to leave nature alone to be natural and realize that hunting, fire and disease are part of a natural landscape?

Start-up constipation

I have started so many projects and businesses that I should be used to the process by now.

  • Do the homework
  • Understand your business
  • Understand your market
  • Create the product or service
  • And go.

At least that is how it has always worked.  

This past few months has been a little different though.

In alignment with our speaking businesses, my colleague and I have been creating an online training academy designed for people looking at maximizing their productivity or “pivoting” and finding a way to get more out of life. 

The project is called Introducing Success.

I have not created an online membership site in the past, so this was challenging. The point that had me most concerned was checking the system out.

When something is physical, for example a kitchen layout in a restaurant, you can prepare some food, give it to a server and rate the system.

Online is a little more challenging. 

As it happens, it all looked like it was going to work, but I had no way of testing functionality, so I sat on it, and sat on it and sat on it.

This is counter to the advice we give clients, which, not unlike an ultra marathon is “keep moving." Then, again, when I owned printing companies, I never had business cards.

So, I turned to the Internet to seek guidance. It was like looking in the mirror, all I received were messages of support and “Just get going."

Well, buckle up, here we go!

We have been consulting to clients for a long time, but thought it was time to try delivering content to a larger audience. It looks good and we start with our first webinar tomorrow.

I will let you know if I need tech support next week.


Business pays fire price

Putting out fires - Business owners pay the price

After a hectic week of travel in Arizona, I flew back to deploy to Williams Lake with the army. 

The B.C. Dragoons are providing manpower to assist with the province's emergency situation. It is a task that soldiers undertake willingly, but there is another relationship that goes unnoticed by many.

At times like this, the army is called on to lend a hand. The complication comes from the fact that the regiment is a component of the army reserves. We train in preparation for opportunities like this or to augment the military on overseas deployments. 

Becoming a member of the reserves and the British Columbia Dragoons requires a commitment in time. Typically, Wednesday evenings during the training calendar and one weekend a month.

Summer often involves taskings at various military bases across the country.

It is a very exciting opportunity for those who see themselves being part of a solution in times like this. 

The hidden partner, the one that truly deserves recognition, is the employer. After all the military training, a soldier will often be a very valuable member of a businesses team.

When the province declares an emergency and the federal government receives a request for support, the military kicks in to high gear.

That is the point where our soldiers contact their employer and request leave to go and tackle domestic emergencies or overseas deployments. 

To a certain extent, it is a little easier for an employer to support the leave if the emergency is local because they are more affected, but, as in this case, if the emergency is further afield, it is a substantial decision.

To lose a valuable team member for several weeks and work around the natural void and challenges that are created, is no easy task for an entrepreneur. 

The military does a good job of recognizing those employers. When we deploy to emergencies, we naturally wear a military uniform and receive thanks for the work because we are recognizable.

However, the employers to a certain extent are unrecognized. 

If you know of an employer who has granted leave to one or more staff members to support the efforts to tackle our wildfires, make sure you say thank you to them.

Their sacrifice is no less important.


Change is a great break

Last week, my very fabric was rejuvenated by a three-day trip to Salt Spring Island with some good friends who had moved to Victoria several years ago.

We had a lofty goal — to paddle touring kayaks from Ganges to Prevost Island. Hugely ambitious I know, but with our trusty guide Lisa, we set sail (or paddle) and about nine kilometres later, we had arrived on our Treasure Island before falling asleep for a nap.

Napping is an important pastime on vacations and this trip was no exception. Our guide showed extreme patience as various members of the group — typically inspired by my snoring — simply lay down and napped in fields, on beaches, even rocks.

The local log became affectionately known as “the couch” as the attached photo attests.

It was relaxing, educational and at some points exciting as we paddled in some blowing winds and encountered wavelets! The wildlife was on show and the meals were superb.

When I returned, I was reminded by a friend of the impact of a story I had shared with her a few years ago. I had told about a trip my wife and I took to Whistler where we locked ourselves in a hotel room only to leave once we had redesigned our life.

We had changed our priorities and decided to put ourselves in the middle of the decision-making equation. If it were not for that, we probably would not have been on Salt Spring Island at all.

It turned life on end for us. It gave us a perspective that we had never focused on before.

We designed a life we actually wanted to live.

The change we fear most is the change that is the most healthy for us. Too often, we settle for decisions that only benefit one aspect of our life, often to the detriment of other important areas and relationships. 

I embrace change. I live it, love it and promote it. My best advice for anyone who wants to change is invest in the process early. If you believe you want to learn to play the piano, buy the piano.

You can only sit and look at it so long before you actually do something about playing it. If you don't make that commitment, you will forever wonder if you could have been a piano player.

So our break was amazing, Salt Spring Island Adventure did a remarkable job of hosting us and I for one live by the Latin phrase made more common by the Robin Williams movie — Carpe Diem.

More It's All About . . . articles

About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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