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

Friday, July 26, 2013

WTF, Abbotsford?

I knew the Fraser Valley was conservative:  after all, Gramma lives there and no-one has ever called her inclusive or accepting!  However, I didn't think Abbotsford residents were heartless.  They certainly  sound  heartless to me.  For one thing,   they haven't protested a bylaw that's been in place since 2005.  The bylaw prohibits harm reduction services for addicts.   Not everyone approves of the bylaw, of course. In fact, there's a law suit in the offing.  

Three injection drug users filed a lawsuit Tuesday over an Abbotsford, B.C., bylaw that has banned harm-reduction services such as clean needle exchanges for the past eight years, arguing the prohibition violates their charter rights and needlessly puts them at risk. The lawsuit comes as councillors in the Fraser Valley community study the future of the bylaw, which health officials say is preventing them from providing harm reduction services in an area with some of the province’s highest rates of overdoses and infections of HIV and hepatitis C. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/drug-users-in-abbotsford-bc-sue-over-bylaw-that-bans-clean-needle-exchange/article12050284/ 

Moreover, Abbotsford employees  dumped chicken manure where homeless gather in an attempt to  - what?  Make the homeless magically disappear?    The City managers discussed this at length.

"Internal emails indicate that numerous City of Abbotsford departments took part in formulating a plan to dump chicken manure on a homeless camp last month. What's more, one email suggests the Salvation Army was aware of the plan to use fertilizer at the Gladys Avenue camp across the street from the charity's Centre of Hope. Managers from Abbotsford's bylaw, forestry, roads and parks departments shaped the plan, according to emails made public through a CBC freedom of information request."   http://www.abbotsfordtimes.com/story.html?id=8703896#ixzz2aC2FkJTq

(By the way, the Salvation Army denies it condoned or knew about the Drive Them Away With Shit plan. )

Moreover, Abbotsfordians say they will not support a proposed BC housing supportive recovery project - no matter the benefits of same to the community.  No matter what evidence is presented!  I'm not kidding! 

 Early July:The Abbotsford Downtown Business Association (ADBA) begins to circulate a petition against the proposed ACS housing project. Emails to ADBA members include inaccurate information regarding the nature and scope of the project. July 12: The ADBA presents at ASDAC, stating that there is no possible chance that they will support the housing project no matter what evidence of its benefit to the city is presented. Objections to their stance by ASDAC members are ignored.http://www.abbotsfordtoday.ca/a-crisis-of-conscience/

Therefore,  Abbotsford is facing another law suit.

Pivot Legal Society has agreed to represent approximately 10 people in a civil suit against the city. They allege that tents and belongings were destroyed by city workers, part of the action taken by the city to stop the homeless and drug users from camping near a Salvation Army. http://globalnews.ca/news/737370/abbotsford-being-sued-for-dumping-chicken-manure-to-chase-away-homeless-people/


Just in case you need your memory refreshed on the benefits of harm reduciton strategies, here's some information from the Vancouver sun.

A large body of scientific evidence demonstrates that Insite and other harm reduction programs, such as needle exchanges, are effective in reducing the harms associated with illicit drug use. Sadly, ideological debate about harm reduction continues, despite widespread agreement among health authorities, including the World Health Organization, that such programs are essential to the fight against HIV/AIDS and other drug-related harms
. http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/op-ed/Evidence+trumps+ideology+over+public+health+benefits+Insite/8704065/story.html

 Or from Vancouver Coastal health:

"The fatal overdose rate in [Vancouver's Downtown Eastside] decreased by 35% after the opening of the SIF"… “Supervised injection facilities clearly have an important part to play in communities affected by injection drug use. “Brandon D L Marshall, M-J Milloy, Evan Wood, Julio S G Montaner, Thomas Kerr THE LANCET http://www.communityinsite.ca/science.html

  Does the City of Abbotsford and the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association realize the damage they're doing to their reputations?  Please help them make that realization:  Email them  - or phone them - and let them know. Ask them to live up to their "  city-wide initiative on diversity and inclusion that aims to build interfaith and intercultural connections and thereby reduces issues of social alienation, racism and discrimination."

Abbotsford Downtown Business Association

Telephone: (604) 850-6547
Fax: (604) 859-6507
Email: executive@downtownabbotsford.com

City of Abbotsford
Toll Free1-866-853-2281


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

That Royal Baby

That royal baby is going to inherit a royal mess!

Rapid thawing of the Arctic could trigger a catastrophic "economic timebomb" which would cost trillions of dollars and undermine the global financial system, say a group of economists and polar scientists.


New research suggests that the Arctic summer sea ice loss is linked to extreme weather. Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis points to the phenomenon of "Arctic amplification", where....Extreme weather events over the last few years apparently driven by the accelerating Arctic melt process - including unprecedented heatwaves and droughts in the US and Russia, along with snowstorms and cold weather in northern Europe – have undermined harvests, dramatically impacting global food production and contributing to civil unrest.


Climate scientists have linked the massive snowstorms and bitter spring weather now being experienced across Britain and large parts of Europe and North America to the dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice.


We should all worry........

Sunday, July 21, 2013


2013 has been absolutely amazing: not the flooding or the thunderstorms or the heat waves.   Although those have been frightening - see the pic below of Toronto residents wading in flash flooding July 8, 2013. ( Picture from the Toronto Star.)  The results have been gruesome., to put it mildly.  Gruesome and traumatic for the folks affected.

Toronto flooded - with sewage as well as water.  
So when more than 90 millimetres of rainfall (more than 3.5 inches) pummeled the city in just two hours Monday, this divider was breached and a mixture of sewage and storm water overflowed onto Toronto’s streets and cascaded towards the harbour. 
Ontario and Quebec had more severe thunderstorms today: one person was killed in Quebec. .  Calgary and High River and Canmore saw  really vicious flooding  in June -I'm sure you've seen the coverage.

What's amazing is that the media and governments have actually mentioned climate change in the same breath as the severe weather.

Many Canadian cities and towns are ill-prepared for the rising frequency of catastrophic weather events like the southern Alberta floods, and it’s a problem that taxpayers will ultimately end up paying for, climate change experts say. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/06/26/f-climate-change-flooding-weather-preparation.html
Oh, that's the CBC - they're pinkos . Oh yeah?   Ok - but the Calgary Herald`s not left wing.

Canada’s insurance lobby says Albertans are less likely to be worried about weather trends linked to climate change than others in the country, despite a recent six-fold increase in insured damages from severe storms, fires and flooding. But as property and casualty carriers respond by hiking premiums up to 25 per cent this year, the Insurance Bureau of Canada says the province and its municipalities need to get serious about mitigating losses in Alberta that have mounted to an average of $670 million annually in the past four years compared to an average of $100 million annually in the previous 15 years. http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/alberta/Alberta+urged+prepare+increasingly+severe+weather+insurance+losses+mount/8446756/story.html

Another piece from the Calgary Herald:

 To put this in another context, it's been four weeks since Calgarians woke up to the raging waters of the Bow and Elbow rivers. It is the worst natural disaster that has occurred in this country and Calgarians have yet to hear from all levels of government that they are looking at every possible mitigation strategy aimed at minimizing the impact of another flooding event.  http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/Yedlin+Where+plan+prevent+future+floods/8681062/story.html

Maybe, just maybe the zeitgeist is shifting. Let`s hope so!