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British Columbians outlive neighbors in Pacific Northwest
Toronto Globe and Mail


June 12, 2007

A study of the Pacific Northwest region known as Cascadia, which stretches from southern Alaska to Northern California, has found that British Columbians are living longer than their neighbors.

"With an average lifespan of 81.1 years, British Columbians outlive residents of the Northwest states by two years, on average," the Sightline Institute states in releasing its annual Cascadia scorecard.

"British Columbia remains far and away the healthiest jurisdiction in Cascadia. ... If the province were an independent nation, it would have the second-longest lifespan in the world, trailing only Japan," says the nonprofit think tank, based in Seattle.

It cites British Columbia's health-care system, lower violent-death rates - including fewer homicides and fatal car crashes - and lower obesity rates.

The Sightline Institute releases an annual scorecard in which it examines trends in seven key areas: health, economy, population growth, energy, sprawl, wildlife management and pollution.

"British Columbia leads the Pacific Northwest on several trends of prosperity and environmental health, including health, energy efficiency and curbing sprawl," the institute says. "But the province's energy use is still stuck at a high level by global standards, and economic security has stalled for middle- and low-income British Columbians."

The report says that, counting both highway fuels and electricity in home and businesses, British Columbians consume the equivalent of 41 liters of gas a week per person. That is one-third less than residents in neighboring states, but is nearly double the rate of energy efficiency of Germany.

"The good news is that British Columbians have cut back on gasoline by about a tenth per person since 1998 -- as if every British Columbian took a month off from driving every year," the institute says.

Cascadia, named for the Cascade Mountains, is a geographic region encompassing British Columbia, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and parts of Alaska, Montana and California.

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