THE LIVING BEACH

THE LIVING BEACH

LIFE, DEATH AND POLITICS WHERE THE LAND MEETS THE SHORE

(Macmillan Canada, 1998; ISBN 0-7715-7639-0)(hard cover, available, $39.95)
(Second edition: Red Deer Press, 2014; ISBN 9-7880-8899-5509-7) (soft cover, available, $22.95)

"A beach stores sand in the dunes behind it," said Bob Taylor, a coastal geologist with the Geological Survey of Canada. "When it's attacked, it draws material from the dunes for itself and for building a protective shoal or bar offshore. When it's less stressed, it takes sand and gravel from offshore and stores it back on the beach and in the dunes."

"You talk as though the damn thing were alive," said Silver Donald Cameron.

"I think of it that way," said Taylor. And so began an odyssey -- an odyssey which would take Cameron into labs, studios, surf shops and libraries, and down both coasts of North America. Beaches, he would find, are indeed like living creatures: they grow, they die, they feed, they starve, they respond to stress, they adapt to change. They are among the most mysterious, alluring and implacable features in our environment.

How do beaches function? Where do the waves come from, and why are they always parallel to the shore, no matter which way the shore faces? Where does sand come from, and why are some beaches grey, some white, some beige? What plants and animals live there, and how do they deal with this harsh, plastic environment?

What do beaches mean to humans? Arrivals and departures, invasions and migrations, the first contact between the explorers and the indigenous peoples -- they all take place in that sandy zone where the sea meets the land. When a film actor walks alone on a beach, the viewer knows s/he is contemplating change or reacting to it. On the summer sands, bishops and judges and executives become children again, building structures which they know the sea will destroy.

SAILING AWAY FROM WINTER

SAILING AWAY FROM WINTER

(McClelland & Stewart, 2007; ISBN 0-7710-1841-X) (available)

On July 21, 2004, Silver Donald Cameron and his wife Marjorie Simmins set sail from DEscousse, in Cape Breton Island, towards the white sand beaches and palm trees of the nearest tropical islands. They were sailing a 31-year-old Norwegian-built ketch named Magnus. Accompanying them was their BFD, the Brave and Faithful Dog otherwise known as Leo the Wonder Whippet. Two hundred and thirty-six days later, with more than 3000 nautical miles behind them, this distinctly trepid crew rowed ashore in Little Harbour, in the Bahamas. 

The skipper was an old age pensioner. His youthful mate, though she had once been a deckhand in the BC salmon fishery, was new to the cruising life. The arthritic BFD was 13, an age at which most whippets have gone to the Great Kennel in the Sky. When they rowed ashore in Little Harbour, they were carrying musical instruments and heading to Petes Pub, a palm-thatched tiki bar on the beach. There the skipper and his mate would celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary by eating conch salad and lemon hogfish, drinking bargain rum, and playing Cape Breton jigs and reels with a muster of sun-browned international vagabonds.

A MILLION FUTURES

A MILLION FUTURES

(Douglas & McIntyre, 2010)

It was a dazzling model of efficiency and political prowess. It overcame the steep obstacles facing federal programs in Canada. And, in its short life, the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation funded and empowered more than a million young Canadians. Created in 1998, the Foundation awarded scholarships and bursaries to create post-secondary opportunities for deserving students. Its innovative partnering with the provinces provided a stellar example of how to make a federal program work. Consummate storyteller Silver Donald Cameron takes us inside a unique and transformative institution. Inspiring, funny and deeply moving, A Million Futures interweaves the Foundation's remarkable history with the stories of the lives it touched.

WARRIOR LAWYERS (E-Book)

WARRIOR LAWYERS: From Manila to Manhattan, Attorneys for the Earth (E-Book)

“A powerful read for anyone who cares about our planet.”

                        Robin R. Milam, Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature

 “"Moving, terrifying, inspirational - these stories stand as a beacon of hope in our troubled world.”"

WARRIOR LAWYERS

WARRIOR LAWYERS: From Manila to Manhattan, Attorneys for the Earth

“A powerful read for anyone who cares about our planet.”

                        Robin R. Milam, Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature

 “"Moving, terrifying, inspirational - these stories stand as a beacon of hope in our troubled world.”"