I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

Melting Arctic ice.......beautiful and frightening!

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Monday, May 31, 2010

Oil Is A Curse

According to Nigerian academics, writers and environment groups, oil companies have acted with such impunity and recklessness that much of the region has been devastated by leaks.  In fact, more oil is spilled from the delta's network of terminals, pipes, pumping stations and oil platforms every year than has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico, the site of a major ecological catastrophe caused by oil that has poured from a leak triggered by the explosion that wrecked BP's Deepwater Horizon rig last month....According to Nigerian federal government figures, there were more than 7,000 spills between 1970 and 2000, and there are 2,000 official major spillages sites, many going back decades, with thousands of smaller ones still waiting to be cleared up. More than 1,000 spill cases have been filed against Shell alone.
A rupture in Ecuador's second largest oil pipeline has polluted the Santa Rosa river in the lush Amazon jungle and shut off the flow of crude to a Pacific port in the city of Esmeraldas....Repeated oil spills by foreign companies and the country's state oil company, Petroecuador, are a threat to rare species of jaguars and river dolphins in the Amazon jungle, where most of the Andean country's oil operations are located.
Oil is a curse: its possession subverts democracy, impoverishes the local population, and destroys the environment.   But we - we Canadians , that is,  intend going to get every drop out of the tar sands and sell it to Asia regardless of any risks.

“The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project will open important new markets for Canadian crude oil,” Enbridge president and chief executive Patrick Daniel said in a statement last week. “It will create jobs and a substantial long-term boost to our nation’s economy as well as the communities through which it will pass.”
And we're in the process of weakening environmental protections that might prevent oil spills.

Many British Columbians watching the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are wondering what safeguards are in place to ensure such a disaster does not happen here. What they don't know is that the federal government recently made sweeping changes to the primary advisory panel put in place to ensure that a major oil spill does not occur on the B.C. coast.
Are we insane?

Please write to the Prime Minister and to your local MP and register your protest against this insanity. Think about walking to work. Or biking. Or taking the bus. Get involved with  your local environmental group. Or create your local environmental group.  Educate yourself and your family and your friends. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Don't Wait for the United States

Prime Minister Harper has said Canada will wait to see what policies the U.S. adopts to regulate major emitters of greenhouse gases, because the two countries’ economies are so closely integrated. But Felipe Calderon, who leads the United States’ other border nation and trade-bloc partner, expressed exasperation at waiting for rich countries to step forward.

Mr. Calderon said Mexico couldn’t wait for rich countries to do something about climate change, as droughts hit his country and Mexico City’s water supply shrank, and had to take its own action.

Mexico has set out its own plans to regulate greenhouse gases, and is now seen as a leader among developing nations in tackling climate change. Like Canada, its economy is highly linked to that of the U.S., but it has not insisted that its regulations must wait a U.S. first move
If Mexico can afford to take action on climate change, Canada surely can.   After all, climate change will not pccur in some hypothetical future - it is happening now.  Look out your window at the pine bark beetle killed trees .....and ponder the fact that Mexico City's water supply has shrunk - both due to climate change.

Why Are We Doing This?

"This is what I don't understand,” she admitted. “If BP doesn't know how to cut off the well, why are they drilling on the bottom of the ocean in the first place?”
“Don't be ridiculous,” another man at the table replied. “It's a mile deep. It's not just a question of shutting off a tap.”
Why are we drilling a mile deep if we have no idea how we are going to plug leaks or clean up spills?  Risky behaviour and no idea of consequences will be coped with is symtomatic of  addictions.  Have a look at the article diagram for a visual depiction of the size of the oil spill - it is gigantic.   And, read right to the end. There,  Ian Brown states "The temptation is to pass it all off as American. We ought to remember the oil sands in our own backyard. Their toxic tailing ponds already cover more than 50 square kilometres. They're a stone's throw from the Athabasca River, one of the continent's most delicate watersheds. Let's hope they don't spring a leak. "

Costs of Cheap Oil

Big Oil is holding its breath. BP's shares are in steep decline after the debacle in the Gulf of Mexico. Barack Obama, the American people and the global environmental community are outraged, and now the company stands to lose the rights to drill for oil in the Arctic and other ecologically sensitive places.  The gulf disaster may cost it a few billion dollars, but so what? When annual profits for a company often run to tens of billions, the cost of laying 5,000 miles of booms, or spraying millions of gallons of dispersants and settling 100,000 court cases is not much more than missing a few months' production. It's awkward, but it can easily be passed on....Big Oil's real horror was not the spillage, which was common enough, but because it happened so close to the US. Millions of barrels of oil are spilled, jettisoned or wasted every year without much attention being paid.
If this accident had occurred in a developing country, say off the west coast of Africa or Indonesia, BP could probably have avoided all publicity and escaped starting a clean-up for many months

Ethically, if we (that means you and I) don't press our governments to invest in alternative energy, we are complicit in oil spills like Deepwater Horizon. If we don't lobby for and use rapid transit we are complicit. If we do nothing to prevent Enbridge building a pipeline to the BC coast from the tar sands, we will be reponsible for spills from oil tankers carrying oil down the coast.  If we don't work to change the system, we will be complicit in climate change.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Richard Heinberg on Peak Oil

The End of (Cheap ) Oil

The oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico demonstrates that we are:

a. addicted to oil, and
b. are willing to do anything to get it.

But the consequences are dire, as Richard Heinberg points out.

This is what the end of the oil age looks like. The cheap, easy petroleum is gone; from now on, we will pay steadily more and more for what we put in our gas tanks—more not just in dollars, but in lives and health, in a failed foreign policy that spawns foreign wars and military occupations, and in the lost integrity of the biological systems that sustain life on this planet.The only solution is to do proactively, and sooner, what we will end up doing anyway as a result of resource depletion and economic, environmental, and military ruin: end our dependence on the stuff. Everybody knows we must do this. Even a recent American president (an oil man, it should be noted) admitted that “America is addicted to oil.” Will we let this addiction destroy us, or will we overcome it?
So why don't our governments invest in alternatives to oil? 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Oil Spills

As the costs of Gulf Coast cleanup efforts from the BP oil spill continue to rise, a new report examines the industry as a whole, in terms of safety and accident records. The international environmental education and resource group Global Exchange has found that operating errors and incidents around the globe are more common than the public likely realizes because most events don't make the news.

In 2009 Chevron spent more money lobbying thge federal government than at any time in its history, more than 60 % over 2008 - Chevron's previous record breaking year. With more than $ 21 million spent, Chevron earned a spot on the top ten list of highest spenders on all  2009 federal lobbying. ...while campaign giving became more partisan.....Chevron has led lobbying efforts for decades to get the U.S. moratorium on offshore drilling lifted.
I wonder who is lobbying the BC government in an efffort to permit offshore drilling on the  coast of BC?  Who in their right mind thinks that would be a good thing?   Oil company executives and shareholders, perhaps?   Please ensure that your RRSP doesn't hold any oil related mutual funds or shares.  And please write letters to the provincial and federal governemtns expressing your disapproval of osshore drilling.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Arctic Sea Ice

Arctic sea ice is on track to recede to a record low this year, suggesting that northern waters free of summer ice are coming faster than anyone thought. One of Canada's top sea-ice experts suggests things might even be worse than Dr. Serreze thinks. His data could be underestimating the collapse of summer ice cover, said David Barber of the University of Manitoba. Researchers can't learn anything from satellite data about the state or thickness of the ice. “What we think is thick multiyear ice late in the summer is in fact not,” he said. “It's heavily decayed first-year ice. When that stuff starts to reform in the fall, we think it's multiyear ice, but it's not.”  Arctic explorers and scientific expeditions are finding more open water and untrustworthy ice ever, Prof. Barber said.  He pointed out the Arctic continued to lose multiyear ice even in 2008 and 2009, when total ice coverage rebounded somewhat. True multiyear ice – the thick, hard stuff that stops ships – now comprises about 18 per cent of the Arctic ice pack. In 1981, when Prof. Barber first went north, that figure was 90 per cent.  
You know, I would love it if the Climate Change Deniers were correct and this weren't really happening.
But we have to cope with reality - not with the life our imaginary friends have.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Water Shortages in The Tar Sands

Oil sands companies could soon run out of water and, in years to come, find themselves with a shrinking market for their product, according to grim new research.  Under current expansion plans, companies could run out of adequate winter water supplies as early as 2014, estimates the report, which was prepared for Boston-based investor and environmental advocacy group Ceres....“All of this should give investors pause as they consider anteing up for what has become a $200-billion bet,” said Douglas Kogan, director of climate risk management for research group Riskmetrics Group, which wrote the report. “There may be safer places to put their money, and certainly more environmentally sustainable ones.”
I predicted this: not the shrinking markets  -  the water shortages.  Check your RRSP and make sure you're not investing in the tar sands.  And nag your pension plan administrators regarding the issue.  Not only will you be environmentally responsible, you'll make more money investing elsewhere.  Where ??? Run proposed investments through my link titled "Corporate Environmental and Social Reports."

Drill, Baby, Drill

Ocean scientists in the Gulf of Mexico have found giant plumes of oil coagulating at up to 1,300 metres below the surface, raising fears that the BP oil spill may be larger than thought – and that it might create huge "dead zones"....The presence of huge strings of oil deep underwater has puzzled scientists on board the research vessel Pelican, back in dock after almost two weeks at sea. The assumption had been that the oil would rise to the surface, but instead it has formed into multiple layers suspended in varying thicknesses deep in the water.

Does anyone still think that drilling for oil offshore in the Arctic is a good idea?  Does anyone still think that we shouldn't deal with our addiction to fossil fuels?

Friday, May 14, 2010

We Are Insane

Canadian oil companies say they will not be able to drill in Arctic deep waters unless the National Energy Board drops a provision that requires them to be able to quickly complete a relief well in the event of a blowout.
The board had agreed to review its rule for requiring companies to be able to deal with a blowout by drilling a relief well in the same season. After BP's Gulf of Mexico blowout, the regulator suspended planned hearings on the issue, and said this week that it will examine its entire regulatory approach, including the same-season relief well policy.
In its March submission, BP said the same-season relief well policy “ought to be rescinded, and replaced by a series of goal-oriented regulations” that would include preventive measures and mitigation efforts that would include longer schedule for drilling a relief well.
In fact, Imperial Oil Ltd. had asked the NEB for an exemption from that relief-well regulation as it prepares for a drilling program in Ajurak property, which lies 120 kilometres off shore in 650 metres of water.
A strict application of the rule “would essentially preclude the drilling of deepwater wells, such as the Ajurak exploration well, which require multiseason operations,” Imperial said in a submission to the board earlier this year.”

Hmmm - the NEB is worried about the propect of oil belching into the Arctic ocean.  Frivolously and needlessly?  After all, it has been easy to stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico and to prevent damage to delicate ecoystems, there. Am I  right? 


If efforts fail to cap the leaking Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico, oil could gush for years—poisoning coastal habitats for decades, experts say. "We don't have any idea how to stop this," Simmons said of the Gulf leak. Some of the proposed strategies—such as temporarily plugging the leaking pipe with a jet of golf balls and other material—are a "joke," he added.
And the next hurricane season is about to begin.  http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATWOAT+shtml/302338.shtml

I have always assumed that oil company executives are doing the best that they can in the corporate environment  - that they do not really wish to despoil ecosystems or warm the entire earth.  After all, they are under enormous pressure to produce short term profits for their shareholders. Therefore, they cannot take measures to protect the environment if the compettition is not doing the same - which means no company will do so unless forced by regulations.

If we don't pressure our  governments to prevent such environmental disasters, we're collectively insane. 
Write the Prime Minister and ask him to have place a moratorium on deep water drilling in the Arctic.  Ask him to fund alternative energies in the same letter.  

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Oil Spills and Environmental Damage

Oil spill responses have a very large component of symbolic reassurance to them.  For example, no doubt we will see oily ducks being washed in the coming days. However, the mortality rate of such ducks is extremely high. So while these salves may make us feel better, they do little to actually deal with the situation. ....there will be considerable ecological and economic damage, and there is basically nothing that can be done to effectively stop that from happening. ....prevention is the best policy. But that involves regulations to prevent corporations from taking calculated risks by shaving safety margins to decrease production costs.... We need to get over our technological hubris and stop taking risks with our global ecoystems.

Syncrude and Those Dead Ducks

A lawyer for Syncrude says charges faced by the oil sands giant over 1,600 dead ducks on its tailing pond are a cheap shot and a gross overreaction by prosecutors.....  If Syncrude is found guilty, then the ground will have shifted for every company in Alberta, Mr. White argued....Crown prosecutors, in their final arguments, have said the case is clear: Syncrude is mandated to take steps to keep birds off the tailings ponds and didn't do it.  Court has heard that Syncrude staff assigned to get air cannons and scarecrows deployed on the pond were two weeks behind schedule that spring and didn't get going until mid-April. Even when they did, the seven-member team couldn't do much. Their boats were out of service and they had one truck to deliver all the equipment. They managed to get eight cannons around the pond compared with 130 the year before.
If Syncrude is found guilty, then the ground will have shifted for every company in Alberta.  Precisely, Mr White, precisely.   The ducks aside, what happens to those toxic tailing ponds in the long term?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mr Harper, Please Pay Attention


The UN Secretary-General delivered tough messages to the Harper Conservatives in Ottawa on Wednesday, urging them to champion climate change and the world's poor at next month's G20 and G8 summits.  Ban Ki-moon wants climate change on the agenda in earnest when Canada hosts the G20 summit in Toronto. He also wants the country to live up to the greenhouse-gas reduction targets it negotiated under the Kyoto Protocol.   "Canada has a special role and special responsibility to play. That is what I am going to emphasize here," Ban said before a scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.....

The Conservatives have pledged a 17 per cent reduction by 2020, based on 2005 levels, which is in line with U.S. targets but not as tough as Kyoto.

Addicted to Oil

A litany of failures in the blow-out preventer led to the catastrophic spill from BP’s leaking Gulf of Mexico well, a powerful Congressional investigations panel revealed on Wednesday, suggesting that BP and Transocean officials overlooked warning signs and then disagreed on what to do about them. “Our investigation is at its early stages, but already we have uncovered at least four significant problems with the blow-out preventer used on the Deepwater Horizon drill rig,” said Bart Stupak, the Michigan congressman who chairs the oversight and investigations subcommittee of the House of Representatives’ energy committee.
BP, the company that owned the Louisiana oil rig that exploded last week, spent years battling federal regulators over how many layers of safeguards would be needed to prevent a deepwater well from this type of accident.  In a letter sent last year to the Department of the Interior, BP objected to what it called "extensive, prescriptive regulations" proposed in new rules to toughen safety standards. "We believe industry's current safety and environmental statistics demonstrate that the voluntary programs…continue to be very successful."
We don't let corporations and individuals manufacture and sell crustal meth or crack cocaine if we can prevent it.  We consider it immoral or unethical - no matter big the profits.  Period. If I could pass regulations, BP would have cause to complain about "extensive, prescriptive regulation!"

Why aren't we regulating drilling for oil / mining the tar sands/ and the uses of oil ?  We've only got so much of the stuff left - why waste it? We're gonna need lots of energy in the near future to save something form the wreckage.  We need  to use the energy  from oil  to build light rapid transit -  move our coastal cities inland or shore up defences such as levees and dikes - and create wind farms and solar energy farms.  Climate change is already happening  - we need to deal with it.   And we need to deal with corporations that pollute the environment and ignore worker safety.  Eleven men died on the Deepwater Horizon -   think about  ecosystem death and destruction in the Gulf of Mexico - and for what?  Higher emissions of greenhouse gases from our Hummers?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Banksy In Toronto

Several bold and graphic statements popped up in Toronto over the weekend, indicating that the British shock artist has made his Canadian debut. (A publicist confirmed that Banksy has indeed been at work here.)   But not everyone is happy about Banksy’s trot through town: one of the creations attributed to him – as many as seven have been spotted throughout downtown Toronto – has already been painted over.
I love Banksy's art.  I love his political commentary - his subversivesness - his audacity - his style.   Lots of people get  upset with graffiti.  It challenges both  the notion of property values and  deference to authority.   I love that.   

Yes, I own property.

The image is from http://www.banksy.co.uk/    The sign on the wall states "No Tresspassing."
Click on "Outside" once you get to Banksy's site  for more graffiti/ art.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Peak Oil

When the Gulf of Mexico oil rig blew, there was probably not a fisherman or fish plant operator in western Nova Scotia, where I live, who didn't have the same cold flash: an oil rig blows on Georges Bank; the enormous tides of the Bay of Fundy suck half the oil up and down twice a day, polluting everything from Cape Cod to Lockeport and right up to Moncton; while the other half is locked in the "gyre" of currents that goes round and round over one of the world's best fishing grounds.   Nova Scotia Fisheries and Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau, picking up on several years of low-key oil company pressure on the issue, mused a couple of weeks ago about fish and oil being able to co-exist as the deadline to review the Georges Bank moratorium on drilling loomed. That went around the coast here like political oil slick. Belliveau, MLA for Shelburne, had championed the no-drilling-on-Georges campaign. Now, he had "become a politician," and broken his word....You might expect a disaster of this scale would get us thinking.

You might expect that  - if we weren't dealing with an addiction.  Wonder what the bottom looks like?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Acid Oceans

The day after the gulf rig blew out, the National Research Council quietly issued a report on what exactly carbon dioxide, which is warming the atmosphere, is doing to seawater. As the oceans absorb some of the carbon our factories and engines pour into the atmosphere, the "chemistry of the ocean is changing at an unprecedented rate and magnitude," the report said. "The rate of change exceeds any known to have occurred for at least the past hundreds of thousands of years."
Say what?

Ocean acidification is the name given to the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth's oceans, caused by their uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Acidifying the ocean is particularly detrimental to organisms that secrete shell material made of CaCO3, such as coral reefs and a type of phytoplankton called coccolithophori.
We are running a giant experiment on our planet and ourselves and our ecosystems.  What will happen when we live on a much hotter planet with incredibly unpredictable weather where the oceans are too acidic for oysters and coral reefs to thrive?  We're gonna find out.  Correction: we already know.  I can see pine beetle killed trees from my window.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Pray for Rain

Environment Minister Barry Penner says below average snowpacks across British Columbia indicate significant potential for low stream flows and water-supply shortages to develop this summer. As a result, Penner says the B.C. government is developing a 2010 Drought Response Plan to guide government actions for low stream flows and drought conditions. Given the current low snowpack conditions, notice of potential drought is included in this bulletin, although should wet weather materialize in May and June, it could reduce the risk.
Forest fires, anyone?  Remember 2003?  Calling these weather conditions "drought" implies they are temporary.  Meet the new normal as climate change worsens.  I'm very glad the City of Kamloops voted in favour of water meters:  we're some of the piggiest comsumers of water in the world.  And, we cannot afford to waste water and have our usage exceed the natural replenishment of the acquifers and water systems.  Our well being depends upon the well being of the  environment - not the other way around.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Things Might Be Worse Part 2

Climate change has made nights warmer in India over the past decade, an ominous sign for the nation's vital rice crop.  This development could have a far-reaching impact on the yield of rice, causing a shortfall in an important staple crop in a crowded country already grappling with food security and inflationary issues....South Asia's agriculture will be hard hit by rising temperatures and irregular rainfall associated with climate change, according to experts. Since witnessing a near tripling of yields between the 1950s and 2000s due largely to the technological advances of the first green revolution, India's yields of rice have leveled off in recent years, according to data from the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization.
Oh - shit!

Things Might BE Worse Than I Thought

A little extra carbon dioxide in the air may, unfortunately, go further towards warming Earth than previously thought. A team of British and U.S. researchers have uncovered evidence [1] that Earth’s climate may be up to 50 percent more sensitive to long-term increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide than current climate models predict. The reason for the underestimation, they say, may be due to long-term changes in ice sheets and vegetation that are not well represented in today’s global climate models.
 Oh  - shit!  Great......

Do The Right Thing, Mr Harper


Canada shouldn't keep waiting for the rest of the world to act on climate change before making its own changes, the president of the European Union Commission said Wednesday in advance of a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Brussels..... He said that if every country adopts Canada's position that it won't start taking drastic action to combat climate change until most other countries in the world agree to do the same, "no one will move in the end."
Do the right thing Mr Harper - pay attention to climate scientists ans pass meaningful legislation limiting greenhouse gas emissions.  Invest in clean energy and green technology.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ice Core Records for the Last 800,000 Years

There have been some extremely deep ice cores taken in Antarctica at Dome C that go back 800,000 or 900,000 years.  I understand that the Dome C record shows very clearly that we've got more CO2 in our atmosphere now than at any time in 800,000 years.

Mosley-Thompson: Oh yeah. Very clearly. If you look back over the eight glacial/interglacial cycles, you essentially see that CO2 never rises above 300 parts per million and we're at about 389 now. Methane never rises above about 800 parts per billion, and I think we're at about 1,700 parts per billion. So we're clearly outside the range of natural variability. I personally think that graph simply showing the natural fluctuations in those two important greenhouse gases, over almost a million years of Earth history — and then you see the two dots [today] that are so much higher than anything that we see in that near-million history — tells us very clearly that we have a serious problem.
Read the entire article at the link above.  And then sit dowm and weep - not necessarily in Grand Central Station.  Once you've expressed your anger and sorrow, write the Honorable Stephen Harper and demand that he revise Canada's climate change  policies .   Check out Transition Towns and work on an energy descent plan for your local community.  Push your pension plan to de-invest in companies that commit ecocide - like BP.  Revamp your RRSP holdings - click on the Corporate, Environmental and Social Responsibility link on my blogroll to vet a company.  Educate other people.  Make social connections.  Eat local food.  Devote your time, money , and energy to any cause that makes the world better - like http://www.350.org/

Monday, May 3, 2010

Deepwater Horizon on Fire

Deepwater Horizon on fire  - photo release by the US Departtment of Energy and first published on TPM  (http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/gallery/2010/05/fire-in-the-gulf-new-pictures-of-the-deepwater-horizon.php?img=1)

No wonder  11 people were killed when this thing exploded.  And saving that $ 500,000 or so on that safety shutoff seems  so worth it now, doesn't it? 

Maybe we should do something about our addiction to oil.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

This Is Ecocide (Click on the Video for the Larger Version)

How Much Are Your Loved Ones Worth?

Dead, that is.  Would you trade three million dollars US for them?  Would your life be better?   Would you be happier with the money than with their presence at your dinner table?   Irritating as my family members can be, I wouldn't trade their lives for money.  (If you're reading this, I love you all very much  - OK?)

But that is what Massey Energy is offering the families of the miners killed underground at their mine.  They have 3 million bucks for each family of a miner killed underground.  Or in other words, they have plenty of money to settle lawsuits and none at all to ensure safety in their mines. Bastards .....

The explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia is the worst mining disaster in 40 years with more loss of life than any mining accident since the 1970s. Mine safety investigators are still searching for an exact cause, though the methane explosion, largely preventable by proper ventilation, is being looked at closely. They're also reviewing the safety record at the Upper Big Branch mine, which amassed more than 1,100 violations in the past three years, many of them serious, 50 of them in March of 2010, including violations for improper ventilation of methane and poor escape routes[3]. Federal regulators had ordered parts of the mine closed 60 times over the past year. Questions about Massey Energy's mining safety practices, along with questions about CEO Don Blankenship's excessive spending on court appointment campaigns, are coming from the public, the Dept of Labor, and President Obama. An aggressive proponent of mountaintop removal mining (stripmining or surface mining), Massey Energy's record on safety and following environmental protocols were also called into question when in October of 2000 a containment area for the liquid by-product failed at a Massey impoundment in eastern Kentucky, releasing a 300-million gallon spill of toxic sludge, making the Martin County spill the the worst environmental disaster in the United States east of the Mississippi.
Burning the mining coal is a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions as well.  So, Massey Energy flouts safety regulations, creates environemental disasters, helps heat the planet, and  is careless with  its workers' lives. 

What will it take to get rid of the clout possessed by fossil fuel extractors?  How many oil spills and mining disasters do we have to see before we demand that governments make these industries pay for their "external costs?" How hot does the planet have to get?   Why aren't we, the general public, rioting in the streets?  Or at least working to pass laws against ecocide?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Honeybee Collapse and Pesticide Use

The collapse in the global honeybee population is a major threat to crops. It is estimated that a third of everything we eat depends upon honeybee pollination, which means that bees contribute some £26bn to the global economy....US scientists have found 121 different pesticides in samples of bees, wax and pollen, lending credence to the notion that pesticides are a key problem. "We believe that some subtle interactions between nutrition, pesticide exposure and other stressors are converging to kill colonies," said Jeffery Pettis, of the ARS's bee research laboratory....The AIA survey doesn't give you the full picture because it is only measuring losses through the winter. In the summer the bees are exposed to lots of pesticides. Farmers mix them together and no one has any idea what the effects might be.
Yet more evidence that we are addicted to oil.  Petroleum is used as the source in the  manufacture of many modern pesticides.  Yet, by using them, we are destroying our food supply.  Ironic.....