LETTER: Wild Jumbo’s landscape and nomenclature

A controversy is being passionately engaged in by various writers on both sides of the Atlantic over the influence of dictionaries.

Currently there is a controversy being passionately engaged in by various writers of the English language on both sides of the Atlantic over the influence of dictionaries’ contents specifically on youth or is it that youth are influencing the contents of new dictionaries? Simply put, in order for new dictionaries to not become too wordy, teams of editors decide what old words need to be eliminated so new words can be added essentially wild nature vs. technology.

The new Oxford Junior Dictionary has eliminated these words (partial list): acorn, ash, beech, bluebell, buttercup, dandelion, fern, heron, ivy, kingfisher, minnow, otter, pasture, raven, willow. Familiar designations of digital life have replaced them.

“People defend what they love, and to defend what we love we need a particularizing language, for we love what we particularly know.” Wendell Berry. “A vocabulary rich with subtle and variegated distinctions found in flora, fauna and even sensual properties of the natural world is essential for our perception. When that is lost, landscapes tend to be lost, too, flora and fauna are diminished and endangered. What was once beautiful is rendered ugly. No one is inspired to wonder by an environmental impact report.” Jack Turner.

I/we love, and am inspired to wonder, the entirety of the whole wild Jumbo environs from: the various gleaming, groaning glacial heights; down through alpine bouquets; descending further through the mixed forests habitats that embrace all manner of mammals large and small; bottoming out in the lush wetlands habitat at the north end of Jumbo Valley. Now moving south many tributaries enliven the way contributing to the crystal clear Jumbo Creek sweet water habitat. We/I know many of these flora and fauna by sight, sound, smell and name, who are the beings that make up this thriving viable ecosystem. And I/we thank them for showing us how life works for them in this beautifully balanced vital place they call home.

All this, of course, before the hands of men, whose jackets read “High Country Properties,” deposited the rude intrusions of the 2012 frantic attempts at “development.”

At this point the nomenclature of Jumbo’s wild nature still applies to all but that extremely localized area. Yet if Mr. Oberto Oberti, and his developer types get their way, the vocabulary for what we now know as common identity names for Jumbo’s wild entities will morph surprisingly fast.

Even words as common as snow algae and dandelion may be missing after glaciers are salted for skiers and herbicides are earnestly used, as I witnessed at Whistler some years ago.

Rowena Eloise, West Kootenay Coalition for Jumbo Wild, Argenta

 

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