Grassy Narrows and the Tragedy of Joe Oliver

Forty years ago I had the privilege of working with and securing financial resources for First Nation representatives and civil society organizations seeking redress from Dryden (REED) Pulp and Paper for the suffering inflicted on the residents of Grassy Narrows and White Dog First Nations and the destruction of an important life-sustaining ecosystem. Over an eight year period beginning in 1962 and without the benefit of environmental regulation, the company dumped nearly ten tons of methyl mercury, a lethal neurotoxin, into the Wabigoon River system.

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Ring of Fire needs ecosystem planning

First Published in the Sudbury Star May, 2011

Julee Boan and Justin Duncan

The Ring of Fire represents a huge economic opportunity for Ontario. But more surprisingly, it also represents a big environmental opportunity.

As perhaps one of the world’s most valuable chromite deposits, the area represents a chance to open up a whole new field for the Canadian mining industry. With global demand for minerals soaring, there’s a tremendous opportunity in the Ring of Fire to create new jobs and economic opportunities after some hard years in Northern Ontario.

The environmental opportunity is less well-known. Ring of Fire is located in the heart of one of the largest remaining intact ecosystems left on the planet. That’s a pretty astounding statement and sounds like something you would more likely hear about the Amazon.

But careful mapping of the world’s intact forests has zeroed in on the boreal forests and lowlands of Ontario’s far North as one of our last chances to protect a natural system where all the pieces are still in place and working; from wolves and caribou to millions of nesting birds and lakes jumping with fish.

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