||June 2009 issue||
Hydroelectric development in Bute Inlet
The green gold rush
Modern-day prospectors are banking on a hydroelectric
development in British Columbia’s Bute Inlet, but debate over the project’s environmental impact is exposing a deep
schism over the province’s crucial next step
Excerpt of story by Terry Glavin with illustrations by Gérard DuBois
When Wall Street collapsed into a hair-raising mortgage crisis last year, the world’s investment banks started
toppling like dominoes, and now the global economy is in the midst of a wave of horrible shudders and contractions.
The planet’s temperature, meanwhile, is lurching upward. These are not the best of times.
Environmental progress has come to be seen as a luxury we can afford only when times are good: smelter owners
build better smokestacks, automakers manufacture more fuel-efficient cars, people have the bucks to buy them, and
so on. But this time is different.
While vast government bailouts are rushing in to staunch the bleeding where free-market forces have failed, enormous
volumes of private capital are funding the race toward a new “green power” global economy, aided by at least US$400 billion
in government investment around the world. There’s real environmental progress — and opportunity — out there.
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