Feature Story                                                                                                                 Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Getting Down-to-Earth

Opportunities to participate in environmental stewardship April 22

Story and photos by Brunella Battista, dB digital TV, Chilliwack


Crimson clouds over Chilliwack, babbling brooks and deciduous forests remind of the importance of planet stewardship.


pril is Earth month, with April 22nd being Earth day. Besides the many events around town, this month gives us the chance to reassess the belief that most of us have; that we are on this earth.


I would like to challenge that idea.


Since the first photographs of Earth from space came out in 1968, we have seen the birth of the eco movement and the trendy of terms like “green” and “eco-friendly” skyrocket.


But let’s face it: we are not eco-friendly. And we will never be until we let go of the notion that the earth is not us, we are the earth.


Whatever we do to our planet we do to ourselves and whatever we do to ourselves we do to the planet.


We are intrinsically part of the earth and we are living in "The Matrix" if we think otherwise. Consider the earth as a whole with its atmosphere, for example.


Does this air not go through our lungs, and is a part of our bodies at any given time? Consider your clothes and the fibers that form them. No matter how “chemical” or unnatural, those fibers too have at some point sprung from the same earth that feeds us.


When I think it doesn’t matter that the faucet keeps spewing water while I brush my teeth, I should think of this (source Ontario’s Water Sector Strategy and letyourgreenshow.ca ):


"Less than 1% of the Earth’s water is available to us as fresh water in streams, rivers, lakes, and groundwater. If all the water in the world was represented by a one-gallon jar, the fresh water available to us would be less than a tablespoon."


When we over-consume over-packaged items, it is those same resources that are wasted, the same air that we need to breathe that is polluted.


It seems too clear, even blatantly so, how much we are, in good and in bad, an integral part of this earth.


Two events during this earth month have drawn my attention. The first is the river cleanup: the Fraser river cleanup on April 5th and the Vedder river cleanup on April 12.


I commend the City of Chilliwack for taking up such initiatives while partnering with the Chilliwack/Vedder River Cleanup Society (CVRCS) and the Fraser Valley Regional District and I will make sure that I am there.


But I would also like to share the words of Mr. Terry Slack, one of the directors of the Canadian Marine Environment Protection Society, and a retired fisherman:


“Log boom storage all along the North Arm of the Fraser River, has left a problem of log bark covering the bottom, in the tidal areas! Old abandoned saw mills have left tons of steel strapping in the low tidal zones of the North Arm of the Fraser River. High levels of iron leach into the water killing migrating salmon fry!


Also, Over 70% of the Lower Fraser River Estuary riverbank sand (Ribbon Marshes) has been armored, for flood control, with broken sidewalks and granite making it a death trap for migrating salmon fry, with no place to forage for food! Just how could any volunteer River Clean Up in the lower Fraser River Estuary really work well for Salmon, Eulachon or Sturgeon?


Yes, Picking up small amounts of river bank garbage can help the small picture, but it’s the big river picture that is still crying out for a lot of serious help!”


Canadianencyclopedia.com states; “The headwaters of the river's many tributaries are the spawning grounds of pacific salmon, which are caught later off the mouth of the Fraser.”


While the CHRC website states; “With settlement, industries and urban areas grew along the river to the point where today the economic activity within the Fraser River Basin accounts for 80% of the provincial and 10% of the national gross domestic product.”


We must find ways to balance these issues so that neither suffer.


A sample of Sylvie Roussell-Janssens' artwork. See below for a larger image.


The second event that drew my attention is by local artist Sylvie Roussell-Janssens and her Hot Spot exhibition running from April 11 to June 30, at the Evergreen Hall in Coquitlam. Sylvie explores the reciprocal effect of climate change and human lives. She creates unique light sculptures through the use of burnt fabric, mixed media and acetate maps to express her views on man-made global warming. Art has always been a force of  change, and it helps us gain a different perspective without beating us over the head.


If Earth month gives you at least a chance to think about the environment that supports us, please keep in mind the words of William James: “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does"



About db Digital TV

Brunella Battista is an Italian landed immigrant in Canada that has enthusiastically made the very best of what this beautiful country has to offer. She opened dB digital TV in 2000 with David H. Lyle, through the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Youth Entrepreneurial Program.

Since then, dB digital TV's videos have screened at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the World Peace Forum for the United Nations and to the Chinese Olympic Team. Brunella has worked on shows broadcast on Channel M, CBC and Bravo!  and is a long time ACTRA member. She was "Dumpty" in the Gemini Award winning Canadian  "Polka Dot Shorts" series produced by TVOntario and released in 33 countries, as well as "Rosa Brusco" in the feature film "Almost America" which  screened at Cannes, on Italian National TV and on the Movie Channel. She is also a coach, teacher and mentor and has been an instructor (of Film, Acting and Stop Motion) at Douglas College, The French International School of Vancouver and now at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.

One of her videos, aptly named “We are waiting for You!” where she was Director of Photography, Camera Operator, Editor, Producer and Co-creator, gained 1500 hits on the YouTube channel of the Tourism Vancouver in just one week. The video, commissioned by BC Les Clefs d’Or, prescreened at the Shangri La Hotel, premiered to attending Ministers, Ambassadors and the most important people in the tourism industry during the annual Les Clefs d’Or Gala at the Vancouver Art Gallery. You can watch the video here before it goes on at YVR, Air Canada, Rocky Mountaineer and other screens near you.

She recently returned from Europe where she filmed “Sustainable Itineraries” -videos and web series- in Brighton, Rome and Naples.

Brunella is also a fervent conservationist and is Secretary and a director for the Canadian Marine Environment Protection Society www.cmeps.webs.com

You can watch her videos produced for CMEPS on www.youtube.com/dbdigitaltv (“Whalefest” and “Oceanic Nurseries”).

You can follow her on twitter @dbdigitaltv; like her and her company on Facebook (brunellabat and dBdigitalTV) and watch her bilingual raw food show “Gusto Crudo”, her sustainable gardening show “GR-Own” or her award winning short comedy “The food and I” on www.youtube.com/dbdigitaltv

For more information, visit www.dbdigitaltv.com


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