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Canada is the country of the Oceans

We arrived in Montreal on July 15. After leaving from Halifax, Nova Scotia, we traveled through Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta in 3 weeks. Goal: to arrive in Canmore, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, by August 8 to interview Harvey Locke founder of Yellowstone to Yukon and creator, together with Joan Rockstrom, of the Nature Positive theory according to which it is necessary to revise the entire model of development by putting nature at the center and, therefore, devoting more and more space to it. We learned a great deal from him, and as soon as it is possible to share his interview publicly, we will tell you what he dreams of doing and why we should all focus more on the biodiversity crisis.

During our visit to the city, we took a walk with Tim Johnson, Alberta program manager for Y2Y who told us how wildlife infrastructure also helps mitigate human-animal conflict.

> Here is the article on human-wildlife conflict, published in Lifegate.

In our wanderings around this vast country, we discovered that Canada is the land of oceans. There is the Atlantic, which laps its high, craggy eastern shores. The Pacific, which hugs the forests of British Columbia where spirit bears eat breakfast while watching killer whales play in the Inside Passage. Here, a subspecies of Arctic wolf, the Pacific Wolf, feeds mainly on salmon and, at dawn, careful not to be seen, goes down to the beach and watches the waves.

There is, then, the freshwater one we call the Great Lakes and, finally, there is a green ocean that covers its every corner: these are the millions of emerald green trees in which it is easy to drown at every glance.

But Canada is also the country of "welcome": a feeling that goes beyond the warm and welcoming greeting its inhabitants extend to you whenever they get the chance. They approach, smiling, and ask why we are visiting as you breathe in the cool morning air and the sun slowly begins to burn your cheeks. Then, fascinated, they look for a way to contribute to the project that, you tell them, brought us all the way there. Some donate a book recounting the tragedy of the North American Great Lakes, some invite us to visit the cafeteria he runs with his wife and four daughters at the very tip of Sleeping Giant National Park. Here, amid wooden chairs and oil lamps, the scent of muffins and blueberry pie floods the lounge, and giving up hot coffee and cake is almost impossible. Not least because everything runs on solar power and the combination, for us, is magnetic.

There are those who have lived in an RV for 8 years and as you empty the porta-potty - one of the least appealing activities known to attract the interest of others - they approach you, fixing their few remaining gray hairs under a frayed purple cap, and bestow advice on traveling in British Columbia. "You are a mine of information Larry, thank you." "Well, I think it's vital to help those who travel. I just want you, like everyone else, to have the best experience possible."

And then Waine and Terri, with their smiles, bicycles and a list of stories that could easily fill a book. They live in one of the most bizarre borderlands: Stewart, a small town in British Columbia that is the only overland gateway to Hyder, "Alaska's friendliest ghost town," which, if possible, is even more paradoxical. Here, in fact, live permanently 40 residents who are for all intents and purposes Americans but have Canadian fuselage and their children go to school across the border. How come? There are simply no schools, no police, and no other infrastructure beyond a library, a couple hi small hotels two restaurants, an incinerator (very recently) and a bookstore. All places that, for the most part, live only in the summer when 40,000 tourists flock to see bears fishing in the Salmon River.

So many faces, and so many affectionate exclamations of welcome, sometimes followed by "why don't you move here? This country needs people like you!"

That may be one reason why so many choose it as a place to seek a new life. Such is the case with Richard and Judith, a couple originally from Switzerland who, many years ago now, decided to move to Calgary and put down roots. They tell us about it as we sit around the campfire, in the pitch of the campground where they invited us to spend the night, with extreme confidence, not knowing who we are but with the sole purpose of getting to know each other. That evening, with them, we chatted about nature, the Planet, his work in the fossil fuel industry and the sky exploding with stars. I wonder why, when you live on the road, it is easier to get to know people. It's as if just being there, sharing that time and place, creates a bond that is hard not to nurture. I ponder this as I bite into the last piece of pancakes Richard has for us at the table the next morning, accompanied by a bowl of red fruits and hot coffee.


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