I never appreciated the term “natural resources,” precisely because it reduces everything, from individual animals to entire ecosystems, down to dollars and cents. Through the subtle power of language it implies forests contain only wood, and rivers only water, ignoring their ecological complexities or intrinsic values, defining them instead by their human utility. It suggests, to one degree or another, that our regional environment is inanimate, an object worthy of no more legal or moral consideration than a warehouse from which we take regular inventory.
Marine Protected Areas, or MPAs, are relatively new to Atlantic Canada, arriving in May of 2004 with the establishment of The Gully off Nova Scotia’s eastern shore. Here is a 2,364 square kilometre stretch of ocean under special management for its contributions to coastal ecology, our first such safe-house but far from our last.