Kate Smallwood is the campaign coordinator for the BC Endangered Species Coalition in Vancouver, British Columbia. An Australian with a highly questionable sense of humor, and a desire to shock as many North Americans as possible, she can be reached at ksmallwood@wcel.org. Donations of Tanqueray gin are actively solicited.

Monday, 19 Jun 2000

SMITHERS, British Columbia

There’s nothing like a challenge and some abuse to get those Grist dudes groveling and pleading with you to provide them with five days of free copy. After their fourth case of Tanqueray gin was delivered, I succumbed.

Grist publisher Chip Giller in a light-hearted moment.

Anything that presents itself as “an irreverent magazine that’s trying to lighten up a movement that’s too serious” is open season in my book. And that Chip Giller bloke looks like a serious young insect. So, after reading about the Gristers in the Vancouver Sun, I sent them a provocative missive about our Extinction Sucks campaign and bingo — the gin deliveries began. At least they knew which gin …

Bored with the standard environmental fare of fuzzy critters, scenic vistas, and dire pronouncements on the future of the planet, I thought we should have some fun with our campaign for strong Canadian and B.C. endangered species legislation. And so should you.

Our invitation?

Extinction sucks. So make a beast of yourself.

You can stay at your computer. You can keep sipping your Starbucks latte. You can chew on that organic berry muffin and wish it were a Hostess Ding Dong. And for less than a minute of your time and a couple of clicks of your mouse, you can send a free online fax pushing for strong Canadian species legislation. Your fax will hit the office of Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. Where it counts. When it counts. Which is right now. Just click here! Go on. Be beastly. You’ll be glad you did.

Which brings us to the fun part of this week’s diary — the “Beastly Gender Fax-Off” and the “Great Canadian Tacky Gift Opportunity.”

Let’s start with the Beastly Gender Fax-Off. (This should tell us if anyone actually reads Grist.) Based on our website statistics, we would have to say that women are more beastly than men. Yep, chicks just get it — they’re way more active with their mouse. So what is with you guys? Are you happy coming a very, very poor second? Here’s your opportunity to dominate this week and still be politically correct.

Fax away! And don’t forget to tell us your gender on the information form. We’ll keep you posted on who is the most beastly — women or men.

Now to the Great Canadian Tacky Gift Opportunity. We know that the best way to get “fax action” for species is to reach folks who are online. So whoever sends us the best list of sources for online promotion — online magazines, news services, listservs, etc — gets a truly Canadian tacky gift. Previous recipients of our infamous tacky gifts have them on proud display in their offices. And you’ll get instant fame when your name is mentioned as the winner in Grist Magazine. Email me at ksmallwood@wcel.org with your hit list.

A Canadian grizzly bear considers life insurance.
Photo: Ian McAllister.

So what’s the skinny on species protection in Canada? The country currently has no endangered species act. Canada has just released endangered species legislation, the Species at Risk Act — but it’s a stinker. For starters, it’s mainly limited to federal lands in Canada. That’s a whopping 5 percent of Canada if you exclude the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. For species lucky enough to find themselves at a post office, military base, Indian reserve, Coast Guard station, or national park, life rocks. For at-risk species in the other 95 percent of Canada, life insurance is a hot item.

Why should you Americans give a damn what those crazy Canucks do with their species? For starters, over 80 percent of Canadian species migrate or range into the U.S. Species like the grizzly bear, Orca whale, and Monarch butterfly. Species protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act face “open season” in Canada.

And then there’s that small matter of Canadians helping replace species that you folks have all but wiped out. Yep, Canadian wolves, lynxes, and grizzly bears have all been sent on a permanent breeding holiday down south. We’ve heard they like the exchange rate.

You could just sit there. And do nothing. Continue to read Grist on your employer’s tab. Or you could take a moment to be beastly. And reward yourself by eating that Ding Dong. It goes well with Starbucks.