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!

Search This Blog

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Denial Redux

On Friday, I posted about human denial.

Climate change denial leads to extremes too. In North Carolina, it is illegal to predict sea level rises based upon climate change models. " These rates shall only be determined using historical data, and these data shall be limited to the time period following the year 1900. Rates of seas-level rise may be extrapolated linearly.  http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/2012/05/30/nc-makes-sea-level-rise-illegal/
The  oddest thing about North Carolina's imitation of King Canute (or more accurately his courtiers)
is the fact that North Carolina may be at greater risk of sea level rise than - oh say British Columbia.

Sea levels are rising much faster along the  US East Coast than they are around the globe, putting one of the world's most costly coasts in danger of flooding, government researchers report. US Geological Survey scientists call the 600-mile (965-kilometer) swath a "hot spot" for climbing sea levels caused by global warming. Along the region, the Atlantic Ocean is rising at an annual rate three times to four times faster than the global average since 1990, according to the study published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change.
So - just so I understand this - North Carolina legislators were told by US Geological Survey scientists that their coast was at greater risk of flooding due to climate change and they responded by making it illegal to mention that risk.

According to local media, the bill was the handiwork of industry lobbyists and coastal municipalities who feared that investors and property developers would be scared off by predictions of high sea-level rises.   http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=north-carolina-sea-level-rises-desipte-senators
Jesus - Fucking - Christ! 

North Carolina does seem amenable to international pressure - legislators did  not go through with their plan in its original form.

Following international opprobrium, the state's House of Representatives rejected the bill on 19 June. However, a compromise between the house and the senate forbids state agencies from basing any laws or plans on exponential extrapolations for the next three to four years, while the state conducts a new sea-level study.
Keep on holding that broom boys!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thunderstorms and the Ozone Layer

Hot news flash! The Eastern coast of North America has had a lot of thunderstorms lately.  Just in case you haven't watched the news lately.
A series of thunderstorms that raged across parts of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula temporarily dampened record-setting high temperatures that have gripped the state for more than a week.  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/torrid-weather-sears-canada-eastern-us-with-record-temperatures/article4393827/

Violent thunderstorms barreled through the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic regions of the eastern United States late on Thursday, killing two people and cutting power to more than 130,000 homes and businesses in New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Bad as the damage has been from these thunderstorms, apparently they may be thinning the ozone layer in the atmosphere.  

Harvard scientists hit us with some bad news: It looks as if climate change could actually cause the depletion of the ozone layer to resume on a wide scale, with grim implications for the United States.  .... 
The revelation comes from the researchers’ observation that warm-temperature summer storms can force moisture high up into the stratosphere, a layer of the atmosphere that sits about 6 miles above our heads. Typically, storm updrafts are halted at a boundary just below the stratosphere, but in a series of observation flights above the U.S., the team saw that storms with sufficient power injected water vapor into the stratosphere via convection currents.  
Normally, the stratosphere is bone dry. In the Arctic and Antarctic, though, the presence of holes in the ozone layer is tied to moisture. Because water vapor raises the air temperature in the immediate vicinity, it allows compounds such as chlorine—leftover from CFCs, which will remain in our atmosphere for decades—to undergo a chemical shift into a free radical form, which then depletes ozone. In the warmer air above the U.S., the researchers measured that the local presence of water vapor increased the rate of ozone erosion as high as one hundredfold. ... 
The problem is that, as previous studies have shown, climate change is likely to mean more warm-temperature storms, especially over populated mid-latitude regions such as ours.http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2012/07/climate-change-could-erode-ozone-layer-over-u-s/
Depletion of the ozone layer has a multitude of effects.

The degradation of the ozone layer leads to higher levels of   ultraviolet radiation         reaching Earth's surface. This in turn can lead to a greater incidence of skin cancer, cataracts, and impaired immune systems, and is expected also to reduce crop yields, diminish the productivity of the oceans, and possibly to contribute to the decline of amphibious populations that is occurring around the world.  http://www.epa.gov/ozone/science/indicat/index.html
Please note climate change itself causes reduced crop yields:   from that radical pinko magazine The Economist an article describing the effects of excess heat on corn production.

"peak, rather than average, temperatures are what matter most to maize.
Days above 30°C are particularly damaging. In otherwise normal conditions, every day the temperature is over this threshold diminishes yields by at least 1%. Moreover, days where the temperature exceeds 32°C do twice the harm of those at 31°C. And during a drought, things are worse still. Then, yields take a hit of 1.7% per day over 30°C."


One of Donald Rumsfeld's unknown unknowns biting us in the ass. Hard.  Wouldn't it be prudent to lay off burning fossil fuels? 

(Damn!  I don't know why the Blogspot quote button works on an erratic basis! Anyone else know? )

PS:  Is it perhaps a good thing that the damage from a depleted ozone layer is done in the continental United States as well as in other places?   Not that I'm wishing evil upon anyone - but damage right in one's own backyard may make it harder to cling to denial.  That damage  may galvanize public opinion and create mobs of people demanding action on climate change......

Friday, July 27, 2012

Denial Isn't Just A River In Egypt

I just finished reading The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway (2008, Vintage Canada.)    Wow!  What a terrific  novel!   I recommend it highly - but be warned - I cried throughout.

Why do I think it is awesome?  Reading , one feels - I felt - as if I were living through the siege of Sarajevo by the Serbs - I felt the grim gray weariness of trying to stay alive through constant shelling and sniping when no location was  safe -  I felt as if I struggled to stay human -  decent- loving - kind human, that is,  while others were trying to expunge any trace of me from the city.
Somehow the novel made it easier to understand the savage disintegration of the former Yugoslavia.  Or, more accurately,  reading it gave me incentive to do the necessary research to understand.  
After Bosnia and Herzegovina had declared independence from Yugoslavia, the Serbs—whose strategic goal was to create a new Bosnian Serb State .... that would include parts of Bosnian territory—encircled Sarajevo with a siege force of 18,000 stationed in the surrounding hills. From there they assaulted the city with weapons that included artillery, mortars, tanks, anti-aircraft guns, heavy machine-guns, multiple rocket launchers, rocket-launched aircraft bombs and sniper rifles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Sarajevo
Interestingly, in spite of the indictments and convictions by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, some people deny that genocide or ethnic cleansing or plain old massacres were carried out.  An apologist for the Serbs  lives in my city  He states that "Galloway can cook his fiction the way he wants, but this is his ethical stand, and I am allowed my moral outrage because of the evidence that I have..."   http://www.swans.com/library/art15/wtrkla03.html 
In the article linked to above, the author quotes from a book written by Edward S Herman and David Peterson and presumably includes it in his  "evidence."    Unfortunately,  the book is seriously flawed. The conclusions and evidence  in The Politics of Genocide, so approvingly quoted,  have been thoroughly refuted by George Monbiot among others.   For example, "The extent of Herman’s and Peterson’s cynicism in their misuse of source material is simply breathtaking." http://www.monbiot.com/2012/05/21/genocide-denial-expert-assessments/
Apparently the apologist believes  what he wants or needs to believe. 

He isn't the only one.   
As the sociologist Stanley Cohen puts it in a classic study, ‘One common thread runs through the many different stories of denial: people, organizations, governments or whole societies are presented with information that is too disturbing, threatening or anomalous to be fully absorbed or openly acknowledged. The information is therefore somehow repressed, disavowed, pushed aside or reinterpreted. Or else the information “registers” well enough, but its implications – cognitive, emotional or moral – are evaded, neutralized or rationalized away.http://www.monbiot.com/2012/05/21/genocide-denial-expert-assessments/
Hmmmnnn - this sounds familiar. Fundamentalist Christians refuse to believe the world is older than 6,000 years.  They deny the theory of evolution and decry it as "only a theory"  regardless of the evidence.   (For some reason, they tend not to denigrate  gravitational theory as "only a theory" . )

And, of course, climate change deniers cling to their denial in the teeth of the evidence and thousands of articles published in peer reviewed journals.

So how do we climate activists reach people in denial?  Reiterating facts doesn't help: the information is too disturbing and threatening .  We can only hope  - attempt to touch  deniers hearts and their emotions - move them to action through the love they have for their children - and not give in to  despair.

PS  The National Library in Sarajevo was shelled  and almost destroyed at the beginning of the seige.  "The deliberate destruction of libraries, civic records, and cultural institutions was commonplace duiring the peruod of conflict in Yugoslavia, and was not confined to Sarajevo"  (The Deliberate Destruciton of Libraries in Wartime: Sarajevo and eBeyond, Hansel Cook)   Destruction of libraries aids in the subsequent denial and erasure of the history of peoples.

Climate change denial leads to extremes too.  In North Carolina, it is illegal to predict sea level rises based upon climate change models.  " These rates shall only be determined using historical data, and these data shall be limited to the time period following the year 1900. Rates of seas-level rise may be extrapolated linearly. …” http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/2012/05/30/nc-makes-sea-level-rise-illegal/

Saturday, July 21, 2012

New Tools for Undertanding A Turbulent world

This video is a lecture by Thomas Homer Dixon presented at the University of Waterloo as part of that university's  big ideas series.   His recent research has focused on threats to global security in the 21st century and how societies adapt to complex economic, ecological, and technological change.  The video is long but well worth watching - particularly if you are a climate change activist or worried about climate change.   Thomas Homer Dixon points out that we are urgently in need of new tools to cope with an increasingly unpredictable events including climate change.  He feels that  some of those tools are going to emerge from this field of "complexity theory." 

And here's a link to the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation mentioned by Dr. Homer Dixon during his talk.  From their home page:

The Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation is a research hub that promotes the rigorous transdisciplinary study of innovation within—and the resilient and beneficial transformation of—the complex adaptive systems essential to human well-being.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Love and Climate Change

The effects of climate change are all around us:   permanent Arctic sea ice is melting ; killer droughts decimate Africa; spring comes earlier everywhere ;  BC pine forests have been ravaged by pine beetles and thousands of jobs will be lost in our forest industry;   the rivers of the Mekong Delta get saltier and saltier..... and yet we do so little I think we do - nothing.  Particularly in Canada we procrastinate.    
Climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels.  We could phase out fossil fuels if we had the will.....
A paper published in Energy Policy in 2011 concluded  that " barriers to 100 % conversion to wind, water and solar worldwide  are primarily social and political, not technological or even economic.  "  
I repeat   "   Barriers are social and political ....."

We could have, in the twenty years since the Rio summit, replaced fossils fuels with alternate sources of energy.     (In fact,  - there's an alternative energy grid in Germany composed of solar, wind, hdyro, and biofuel - and it provides its customers with energy day and night.  ) 

And yet we do very little - so little that sometimes I despair and think we do nothing. We cannot translate our love of  future generations - our own children - our own grandchildren - into collective action right now.

 We lack empathy for those who suffer the effects of climate change in Bangladesh - or Vietnam - or Sudan - or the Arctic.   I  have a friend who said   " what do I care what happens to Africans or Pakis because of climate change? " 

I was astonished, befuddled,   consternated, dumfounded, flabbergasted, and speechless that he didn't understand that we are all connected.  That everything is interconnected -  that every action we take affects the world  and everyone in the world.

This is true at a physical level.    To use a really cheering example,  radioactive fallout doesn't stop at national borders   - witness Chernobyl.   Sheep farmers in Cumbria (in England) couldn't sell their lambs  due to the radiocesium contamination in the years after Chernobyl.     A few farms continue to be affected to this day.   

But interconnectedness isn't merely   physical.   It is true on an economic level  - just think of the worries that Greece will dump everyone back into recession with a default on their bonds - and  also true on  a  spiritual level .

The Dalai Lama states  that, by  neglecting others  " we ignore the reality of our situation"  
and ignore the " the interdependent nature of reality." 

Curiously,  denying climate change  is more distressing  and disempowering than acknowledging it.    It takes a lot of energy to repress truth...  ... or a lot of drink and drugs.

But - perhaps oddly - stating that climate change is real and that we live with an unprecedented disaster looming over us - is empowering. 

And healing.  Telling the truth  - with loving kindness - shifts the Zeitgeist .

So.  The truth.

 We -   we humans -  exist in a time of ecological holocaust -  created by ourselves.  I don't think any words exist for the level of pain I feel -  or the level of pain others feel. -when think of htis truth. 

 I weep due to this pain .  Often.     It  is nearly unbearable. 
 But- oddly -  this pain  is good - in a way - it reminds me that I am a part of Gaia -   it reminds me that I love this beautiful blue green world   and that I exist to give voice to her. 

A tree  once told me - yes, I said a tree told me - that, If we learn to love ourselves, other people, and Gaia, we will save ourselves.   Gaia is a part of us - we are a part of her -we need her.  
When we are healed of self hatred, we will be healed of world hatred. 

What to do ?  Love - more, more fully, more openly, more encompassingly...
This seems to be an appropriate time to meditate on increasing love in the world. 
Please make yourself and let the tension drain from your body.   Read the following out loud - gently. 

May I be happy.
May I be well.
May I be free of suffering.
May I love myself - all of myself - with my whole heart.
May I accept myself.
May all  living beings be well, may all living beings be happy.
May all living beings be free of suffering.
May I love all living beings  - with my whole heart.
May we all  love all living beings with our whole hearts.
May we accept all living beings as ourselves - not separate from us.

May this earth - this beautiful blue pearl -  Gaia-  be well.  May she be happy.
May she be free of suffering.
May I love this earth - this Gaia   - with my whole heart.
May we all love  Gaia with our whole hearts.
May we accept Gaia as  ourselves - not separate from us.

May all sentient beings be well .
May all sentient beings dwell in spacious equanimity -
May all beings dwell in love -  inseparable from Gaia.

Take a moment to return to yourself. 

When our values change - we will change our systems.
Martin Luther King said that

 I say  when we love ourselves, we will be able to love the world, and to create a velvet climate revolution.

More than A Shipping Hazaard

This isn't the first large chunk of the glacier to break off:  the glacier calved a bigger chunk in 2010. 

Muenchow said climate change was a factor in the current state of the Petermann Glacier. He said this glacier is as far back toward the land as it has been since the start of the Industrial Revolution more than 150 years ago.
Absolutely amazing - not the glacier calving - the fact that climate change is mentioned anywhere but in The Times of India.

Tick , tock, tick, tock ....time is short.  The retreat of [most] glaciers means we're facing more than a shipping hazard.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Law of Unintended Consequences

Apparently we're going to save ourselves by geo engineering the planet. In case you don't know, geo- engineering aims to fix the havoc wrought by greenhouse gas emissions by preventing sunlight from reaching the planet.  
Two Harvard engineers are to spray sun-reflecting chemical particles into the atmosphere to artificially cool the planet, using a balloon flying 80,000 feet over Fort Sumner, New Mexico.   http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jul/17/us-geoengineers-spray-sun-balloon
Vandana Shiva and Gwynne Dyer debated the propriety of geo-engineering back in 2010.    Democracy Now posted these videos on Youtube:

Part 1

Part 2

Debated may be a misnomer, don't you think?   As Vandana Shiva points out, geo - engineering is a  fix by the thinking that created climate change.   And, whatever the consequences of preventing sunlight from reaching the earth,  that won't do much to prevent the oceans from acidfying.
The Pacific Ocean is growing more acidic at a much faster rate than anticipated, scientists say, putting everything from corals to mussels in jeopardy.   Researchers say carbon dioxide from the atmosphere forms carbonic acid in the ocean, changing the seawater enough that it can dissolve the shells of coral and shellfish.
Can you say Easter Island?    We keep doing the same old things while the bad news rolls in - but it's OK to cut down the last tree because ....otherwise we'd have to change.

Please write the Right Honorable Stephen Harper and instruct him to pass meaningful legislation on  greenhouse gas emissions.  (Yes, government need to do this - just how did your individual actions stop acid rain? Or fix the hole in the ozone layer?  They didn't - international agreements/ laws did.)

Individual actions do count  - especially in a community setting.  So start a Transition Town in your community to smooth our  inevitable carbon descent.   And plant some trees while you're at it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Flooding in Japan

The extreme weather I mentioned in an earlier post looks like this in Kyushu, Japan.   26 people have died, and thousands are cutoff.

The weather eased somewhat on Sunday bringing temporary relief, but the Japan Meteorological Agency warned of more heavy rain, landslides and floods on the main southern island of Kyushu.
 What will it take to galvanize the Canadian government into taking action on climate change? What about Canadian citizens?  I know climate change deniers,  for Pete's sakes!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Trust Us

Enbridge wants approval from the National Energy Board to build its Northern Gateway project through BC, and, as a consequence, permission for its plan to sail  oil tankers  loaded with dilbit through our coastal waters.
This is the firm that was fined 3.7 million dollars for spilling dilbit in Kalamazoo, Michigan.   The US National Transportation Safety Boad said Enbridge employees acted like the Keystone Kops for seventeen ( !!!!) hours after the pipeline ruptured.       They kept pushing dilbit through - and into the Kalamzoo River .

Worse yet, Enbridge ignored corrosion issues for the five years previous to the spill.
In its report, the NTSB said that not only was Enbridge’s response to the spill slow, but the Calgary-based company knew at least five years before the massive leak that the pipeline was corroded and cracked. External corrosion and cracking caused the 471-kilometre pipeline to rupture, the NTSB said. Roughly 15,000 defects were identified in a 2005 report, a presenter at the hearing said. About 900 of those were dug up, he said, with Ms. Hersman noting the one that spilled was not among those tapped for digging.

The company expects to spend $765-million cleaning up – five times more than the next costliest onshore cleanup effort – with its insurance footing most of the bill. 


Trust us to build the Northern Gateway project - if something goes wrong we'll clean it up - just like in Michigan.  We - - me and you - the Canadian public - may be on the hook for their "Keystone Kops" kapers in BC, however.  
Canadian and especially B.C. taxpayers aren’t adequately protected in the event Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline suffers the same kind of catastrophic failure that resulted in a US$765-million — and counting — spill in Michigan two years ago, says a former senior Canadian insurance executive....   Ms. Allan argued in her submission Enbridge is basing its risk assessment in B.C. and Alberta on the company being able to detect and deal with leaks within minutes.  But she pointed out it took 17 hours before the company reacted to the Michigan spill of more than 20,000 barrels of bitumen crude....The purpose of the structure Enbridge has chosen — a limited partnership — is to limit the exposure investors have for liabilities of the company, not to ‘make good’ on [a] catastrophic spill event,” she told the JRP. 


Why would anyone trust Enbridge to build this pipeline?  Why would we trust anyone to build this pipeline?

Someone needs to save Canada’s two largest pipeline operators from themselves...When your newest, presumably state-of-the-art assets are deficient, that’s hardly a public-confidence builder....http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1226064--enbridge-transcanada-pipeline-safety-is-a-pipedream-david-olive 

More importantly, why would anyone trust the politicans that trust Enbridge? Bear that in mind when you vote in the upcoming provincial election - and the next federal election.

And then there's the  climate change implications of our addiction to oil ....see the post immediately below... but even without considering climate change, this pipeline is a TERRIBLE idea.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Extreme Weather: Do You Think...????

Climate change models - you know - the models  discussed  in articles published in peer reviewed journals by those folks with Phds - predict climate change will produce more extreme weather events more often.   Gee - 2012 sure has produced  wild  weather in my neck of the woods.

Just over 74 millimetres of rain fell on the city last month, more than twice what the city would normally get during its rainy season (35.2 millimetres is the average)


Apparently this has been true everywhere.  A ten minute search of the Internet produced the following.

At least six people died and 18 were missing after unprecedented rains hit the Japanese island of Kyushu.....Kyushu sees abundant rain throughout the year and July is the wettest month, but the island only expects to receive around 340mm of rain in the entire month. On Wednesday night, some parts of the island received that in just 4 hours.


A week of 100 degree temperatures with scant rainfall has put all of Iowa in at least “abnormally dry,” conditions, and some part of eastern Iowa into the “severe drought category.


Picture of Siberia  from: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=78515

According to the environmental group Greenpeace,   more land in Russia has burned this year than in 2010,   a year that intense wildfires affected western Russia and produced rare pyrocumulus 'fire clouds'


Russia's president moved quickly to address anger over the deaths of at least 171 people in severe flooding in the Black Sea region ....Torrential rains dropped up to a third of a metre of water in less than 24 hours, which the state meteorological service said was five times the monthly average. (!!!!! )


Do you think climate change is starting to bite?   Watch the video below - I'm not the only one who thinks so.  Climate change denial must be getting harder and harder - now that even EXXON's CEO  has given it up.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Smack Stephen Harper


I found the link to above site at the Georgia Straight. 

I'm a  little uncomfortable with it - or a lot uncomfortable with the fact that visting it and hitting the Right Honorable Stephen Harper is satisfying.  Ummm - violence begets violence..... Martin Luther King and Gandhi didn't advocate it as a method of changing the world.

And - jeepers!   And bless my buttons! :: swearing completely out of control:: Have we really come to this?  Is our only way of expressing  dissatisfaction playing video games?   And how effective is this?  Come to think of it, how effective has any method of opposition been? 

Americans say Canadians live in an elected dictatorship.  I rather think Americans are  right......

After all ,we're  not rioting in the streeets.  Or  joining the Occupy movement.  Or marching by the millions to demand enviromentally sustainable policies  - real action on climate change  -  real democracy.    We did it to protest the invasion of Iraq in 2003 - why aren't we upset now? 

Could it be we  Canadians don't care ?   Or are most of us so snuggled in ermine privilege that we literally don't see the problems?

Now I'm very uncomfortable.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

350 eARTh Art 2010


If ordinary people can take action, why can't politicians?

 The fires, floods, droughts, heatwaves , and storms of summer 2012 are what global warming looks like.  The photo below is of the view from my house:  the smoke isn't from a local fire.  It has drifted from the Colorado wildfires - 1300 kilometers away.  Our actions affect everyone and everything - what we do and say matters.

If ordinary people can take action, why can't politicians?

Write your MP and your MLA and let them know you'd like to see action on climate change.

Ms Wente versus Local Food

Margaret Wente emphatically states in today's Globe and Mail that eating local is plain wrong and silly.
And that’s what’s wrong with locavorism. It’s the most wasteful, inefficient way to feed the human race you can possibly imagine. It’s also bad for the environment
She also says:
Modern food systems have done wonders for our standard of living and have liberated humankind from the chains of rural serfdom. They have increased, not decreased, food security.
So are the folks promoting local food really such  complete idiots?  According to Margaret Wente, they are.  Perhaps she has erred - been too hasty - read one book and not done other research - or just plain wrong.
I plump for just plain wrong - Margaret Wente that, is. The modern food systems which she extols,  according to the UN, did not lead to food security for everyone.  Nor are they safer for the environment.

"The increase in prices underlying the 2007-2008 food crisis and the new food price spikes in 2011 have exposed the presence of serious threats to the sustainability of the global food system and its capacity to provide adequate and affordable access to food. Meeting the challenge of expanding food production to feed the world population over the coming decades requires a major transformation in agriculture. The so-called green revolution of the 1960s and 1970s helped boost agricultural productivity worldwide, but did not conduce to a sustainable management of natural resources, nor to food security for many of the world’s poor.  "http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/policy/wess/wess_current/2011wess_chapter3.pdf

Worse, our huge farms are not as productive as small holdings.  (Yes, I was astonished when I read this too!)
Vandana Shiva, an agriculture and food activist, points to reams of studies .....showing that the most poductive form of agriculture is not our modern, tractor - seviced, big field monocultures, but multilple crop manual labor intensive smallholdings. ( page 170, Good News for A Change: How Everyday People Are Healing the Planet, David Suzuki and Holly Dressel.)

Industrial agriculture  - the kind of food growing that Ms. Wente lauds - is heavily subsidized.     And torments animals.  (Just watch Food Inc. if you doubt me on the animal cruelty. )
 This sytem also degrades our soils - and contributes to climate change.
Professor Michael Bomford, a research scientist at Kentucky State University and a fellow of the Post Carbon Institute, is concerned about how our dependence on oil to feed ourselves is leading to soil depletion and degradation, as well as increasing [food]prices....
Carbon stored in soil allows the soil to hold nutrients and water, and losing soil contributes to climate change. Bomford is worried about other contributing factors to climate change borne from the use of chemical fertilizers.
And that serfdom Ms. Wente frets about?  Seemingly, people are anxious to take it up.  From her own column:

Today the countryside around our place is thronged with a brand-new generation of farmers – eager young idealists who have fled back to the land. Every weekend they show up at the little farmers’ market with their colourful bouquets of organic carrots and their tender non-commodified artisanal greens. 

Organic local food is a good thing! It tastes better than food shippled thousands of miles, is better for the environment, and puts money into the local economy.  Ms. Wente is wrong.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Oil and British Columbia

Not from the world of black humour:
"Enbridge Inc. faces a record $3.7-million US penalty for a 2010 Michigan oil spill that leaked more than 20,000 barrels of crude into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River. The U.S. pipeline regulator, in issuing the civil fine Monday, said its investigation uncovered two dozen violations related to the July 25 rupture on Enbridge's Line 6B near Marshall.  The fine is the largest ever proposed by the U.S. Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration."

Does this "record" fine matter to Enbridge?  In terms of money  -  well.....maybe.  And maybe not. In August 2011, a Calgary newspaper reported that:
"Enbridge, which is also one of Canada’s largest natural gas distributors, said Friday it earned $259 million or 35 cents a share, up from $138 million or 19 cents a share a year earlier. Revenues soared to just under $5 billion from $3.5 billion in the same period last year."

Therefore, that "record" fine works out to 1.43 % on a quarter's profits.    What may be making excutives at Enbrridge cringe is the bad publicity resulting from the fine just as they are hoping to get approval for the Northern Gateway pipline  through British Columbia.  For example: 

"The evidence includes testimony from a senior Enbridge employee who suggests the energy company is ....  years away from achieving "world-class" safety standards." http://www.vancouversun.com/Enbridge+control+room+confusion+spurred+2010+spill+probe+alleges/6886497/story.html

Do we really want this pipleline through BC?  Do we really huge oil tankers on BC's coast?  If you don't,  please let your MP and your MLA know that you oppose oil tankers navigating BC's coastlines.

And please consider donating to the Dogwood Initiative at: