THE first time I wrote about the importance of seeking out wild salmon over farmed - about a decade ago - I got an interesting reaction.
One reader emailed me and told me not to bother writing about things I didn't understand.
Another, in an attempt to get me into trouble, "forwarded" to my editor a faked (and rather rude) email that was supposedly written by me. His total lack of punctuation gave him away. I may not be the most eloquent writer around, but I'm not likely to write a message and skip punctuation altogether.
These days, it isn't quite as controversial to discuss environmental concerns within the context of a food column.
After all, our food supply is obviously and inextricably linked to the condition of our oceans, earth and air. For most food lovers, seeking out good ingredients and good flavours leads naturally to caring about our planet.
One ongoing worry for the province's leading environmentalists is Enbridge Inc.'s Northern Gateway oil pipeline. The US$5.5-billion project - which is designed to open a new export route to the Pacific for production from the Alberta oil sands - will run a 1,200-kilometre twin pipeline between Alberta's tar sands and British Columbia's isolated north Pacific coast.
The pipeline is planned to run through the Great Bear Rainforest, home to rare white Kermode bears, ancient forests, salmon-producing watersheds and incredible marine biodiversity.
The worry - especially given recent oil disasters in the Gulf of Mexico and the State of Michigan - is the proposal's potential to result in environmental catastrophe.
On May 11, the issue will get a delicious spotlight shone on it at the fundraising event Cooking for a Cause, taking place at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston.
Environmentalist David Suzuki, radio and television personality Vicki Gabereau, Canadian rock icon Matthew Good, and the Gitga'at First Nation will officially launch Guarding the Gifts - The Liilga K'yilama Fund, and they'll draw attention to the dangers and risks to the Gitga'at people and the rainforest by the pipeline project.
The reception will feature an intimate evening of entertainment including a solo acoustic performance by Matthew Good, engaging dialogue, and a culinary adventure of wine and cuisine featuring ingredients from the Great Bear Rainforest prepared by Michael Stadtländer and other Vancouver chefs, includng Robert Clark from C Restaurant; Nico Schuermans from Chambar; Andrea Carlson from Burdock & Co.; Quang Dang from West Restaurant and Bar; Angus An from Maenam; Jonathan Chovancek from Kale & Nori Culinary Arts; Jesse McCleery and Merri Schwartz from King Pacific Lodge; and Wendy Boys from Cocolico.
Guarding the Gifts is a charitable fund, founded in 2010 by members of the Gitga'at First Nation and King Pacific Lodge (a resort operating in Gitga'at territory) and proceeds from Cooking for a Cause will go toward raising awareness and supporting Gitga'at community empowerment and environmental conservation. Tickets are $300 per person; get them and find more information at cooking-for-a-cause.ca.
Also on the conservation awareness calendar is Night at the Aquarium on Thursday, June 21, the Vancouver Aquarium's signature gala fundraiser to raise money to benefit its many education, conservation and marine science endeavors.
As the organization that has likely done more for sustainable seafood in this province than any other, thanks to its Ocean Wise conservation program, the aquarium is also deserving of some charitable attention.
Night at the Aquarium provides Vancouver's philanthropic and corporate leaders with a unique way of experiencing it as the magical backdrop for a gala evening.
Guests are encouraged to explore the galleries and enjoy a full evening of food and wine stations and live entertainment scattered throughout the Aquarium.
Tickets are $250 per person. Visit www.vanaqua. org to get details, to find out which restaurants and wineries will be participating in this year's event, and to buy tickets.
The Vancouver Aquarium is a not-for-profit organization. One hundred percent of all proceeds from Night at the aquarium will go to the Aquarium's education, research and conservation activities.