Prolific writer Al Cool has won first and third place awards in short story contests, has published stories in Toronto’s Danforth Review and New York’s The Otter e-zines, has contributed to three Canadian anthologies, and is the indie author of five West Coast novels.
Once an English major at SFU, he has since lived in many unique B.C. communities as a logger, a mountaineer, a dreamer, a boxer, a programmer and Systems Analyst, a manager, a rebel, a teacher, and always an environmentalist. He has worked at polished board room tables and slept in ditches as a homeless adventurer.
He brings to life through compelling and uniquely Canadian tales, as only a local can, the raw and bold characters living where Canada’s mountains meet Earth’s greatest ocean.
The Silver Gloves -- growing up in Vancouver, boxing might be the only thing that saves the boy's life. (release 2018)
The LA Project -- Erica and Mason find love while tracking the corrupt trail of poisonous uranium waste. (release 2018)
We Took Space Blankets -- stories of rock climbing and mountaineering in the Coast ranges in British Columbia. (release 2019)
Watch for the first of my murder-mystery series set in British Columbia for 2018!
It is important to remember those of us who worked in that camp and so many more around the world like it. We worked in isolation for endless months of interminable hours strung together in the trying sub-Arctic environment, and we found ways in the community of others to make each day tolerable. The humour, sometimes dark, is often light-hearted.
I also wanted to find a way to entice people of all ages to become aware and familiar with the most notorious uranium mine (and industry) in Canada. We Canadians, now more than ever because of global resource depletion, need to reassess our role in diminishing the threat of global warming. Canada needs to be a leader. I ask, “If not us, then who?”
I suffer from a sense of urgency, and I admit to holding a torch on a soap box, but Canadians need to see extracting and refining uranium for what it means to us, the world, Nature, and our children and their children. Read the shocking facts presented by Andrew Nikiforuk when he writes about the impact Port Radium had on the Dene (Sahtúgot’ı̨nę) First Nations, in Deline NWT, how the widows and descendants talk about the cancer deaths of the men who worked at the mine, or transported the deadly ore, how their deaths affected that community. I can only imagine how the sorrow and loss the deaths of uranium miners and support workers in Canada have affected thousands of others in families across our nation. That is enough for me to demand a moratorium on uranium mining and processing and its utilization as a fuel or military device.
But still the lengthy list of incidents at nuclear power plants and nuclear facilities continues to grow almost daily. Consider a single incident in New Mexico, February 2014, when the $19B WIPP plant was shut down because of human error (click to read more about the disastrous and expensive failure of the WIPP containment installation) and how their fail safe procedures failed to keep the country safe from radioactive poisoning. After the plutonium cloud erupted from the vents and spread across the state, it took four years and cost the taxpayers another $2B before the containment facility was reopened in March 2018. (Click here to read about the USDOE attempts to stifle Hanford WA whistleblowers.)
It is increasingly difficult to corroborate facts about even current nuclear accidents on the internet these days, but it is naïve folly to believe Hanford, Fukushima, or WIPP are the last of their kind. Despite leader nations such as Germany rapidly decreasing and ending their dependence on nuclear power by 2022, there are 440 nuclear power plants operating in the world today (2018) and plans to construct 50 more.
These facts (including the Canadian government cover up -- read Nikiforuk or my novel "THE HOTTEST PLACE ON EARTH") contradict today's commercial interests making infamous claims that plutonium and spent uranium recovery is safe, affordable, and reusable. These false claims are refuted in my final chapters and, as support, I present the studied lessons of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
I will end by reporting the Canadian corporation Cameco is extracting uranium by employing in situ leaching methods (known worldwide as "fracking") in Inkai, Kazakhstan. Fracking uranium is a method I have read is illegal in Canada because of the release of radon into the atmosphere and radioactive elements downstream. Cameco is partnering with KazAtomProm, partly owned by Russian interests. Cameco in Kazakhstan is the spawn of the same Canadian government-owned corporation that devastated the Dene Nation. Since 1933, because our government is culpable, every Canadian is also culpable for each Dene death, each uranium workers' death, and all global illnesses and death caused by Canadian uranium extraction, use, and abuse.
Our historic acceptance of deceit, cover up, and denial is no longer acceptable -- the facts are available and undeniable and our way forward is clear, for our past was about an uninformed choice, but correcting our future is in our hands.