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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Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Response


After reading the above article I wrote to Merge.  I have posted my response below.

Dear Merge:

Your article entitled How To Inspire the Close-to-Retirement  Employee has inspired me to write after quite a bit of reflection on my part.  

In my 30s, I worked as an accountant in public practice.  My chargeable hours totalled 2200 hours per annum.  Just in case you aren't clutching your pearls in astonishment as you fumble for your smelling salts,  I'll spell it out:  2200 hours is an incredible attainment.  To achieve that, I worked 40 hours per week like any person with a full time job.  In addition, during our "slow" time, I worked every evening Monday to Thursday and all day Saturday. In tax time, I worked all the time.   I mean that.   I remember security coming in at 1:00 am and asking me to go home.  I did, but I was back in the office by 7:00 am.  What about holidays, you ask?  I am of Scandinavian extraction and my family celebrates Christmas on Christmas  Eve.  Big dinner with all the clan - present opening - laughter - the works.   I remember a Christmas Eve when I looked out of the office while we were all frantically finishing up a few last minute things before the Christmas break, and saw that every other office tower downtown was dark.  Every Last. Building.  At that point, I said I was going home to my family.  Bossy dearest was livid.  Scrooge like, he screamed that I had the next day off.  His anger that evening was nothing compared to the day that I told him I had to have a week off to have a lump taken out of my neck. I was lucky it wasn't cancer:  if it had been, I wouldn't have had a job if I had been unable to work while receiving cancer treatment.  

You will argue that mine was an isolated case - that my boss was a manipulative workaholic.  He certainly was but I suggest that you read Modern Times, Ancient Hours:  Working Hours in the 21st Century by Pietro Basso: you will realize that  all employees face pressure at work.  In a way, I'm lucky as I have a professional accounting designation and accountants are in short supply.  Today's edition of the Globe and Mail states that  " a host of factors are eroding job quality" and discusses how employers lack commitment to employees in the long term  (page B 5, Report on Business Weekend.)

Ours is  a greedy,  dysfunctional culture  and workplaces reflect that.   Work is often a demoralizing and shattering experience.   Perhaps age does bring wisdom: I'm not buying your suggestion that I produce more and  that I mentor younger people to "leave a legacy."   I just do my job and go home.  If my current employer doesn't like my "coasting"  they can fire me and pay for the privilege.

And you , madam, are promoting manipulative techniques  to squeeze a little more productivity out of workers instead of reflecting on the root causes of the oppressiveness of the workplace.

What does this have to with the environment and climate change?    What is the difference between ruthlessly exploiting the environment and exploiting workers?    No much - it's the same mindset.   There's a lack of empathy for other humans - other living things - or the earth in each.  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Climate Change and Your Health

The Centers for Disease Control in  the States writes  that climate change is a health threat.  They say
Climate is one of many variables known to affect the rates of these infectious diseases. Climate change may result in changing distribution of VBZD prevalent in the U.S. This could cause formerly-prevalent diseases such as malaria and dengue fever to re-emerge, or facilitate the introduction and spread of new disease agents, such as West Nile virus. http://www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/effects/vectorborne.htm

So does the World Health Organization.   They state
the overall health effects of a changing climate are likely to be overwhelmingly negative.  http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs266/en/
An article in the Journal of  American Medical Association reinforces this point.
Harm from climate change includes respiratory disorders, infectious diseases, food insecurity, and mental health disorders, said the JAMA study, Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities for Global Healthhttp://www.desmogblog.com/2014/09/27/doctors-remind-politicians-health-consequences-failure-address-climate-change
One of the consequences of Canadians' denial of climate change has been that we haven't taken action on vector borne illnesses.  Canada only started tracking Lyme disease, a tick borne and treatable illness,  in 2009.  2009, for Pete's sakes! 

Today, Canada's PHA recognizes endemic populations of ticks that could carry the disease in six Canadian provinces: Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia.   http://www.straight.com/news/738356/lyme-disease-surges-north-canada-moves-out-denial
The interior of BC doesn't have any ticks, does it?  Naaaah - we don't have to worry about climate change here - if you're my acquaintance with the Phd and the big case of denial.

If you're not in denial, please contact  your MP and instruct them  to nag  the government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.   Next time you see your doctor (if you have a doctor) suggest that they collectively remind the government of their responsibilities.  Increased health costs due to climate change are the last thing our health care system needs.

Friday, September 26, 2014

China Canada FIPPA

Elizabeth May's press conference after the China FIPPA was quietly passed on a Friday.  Please listen to the whole thing - Elizabeth May is amazing.  She says this treaty trumps court decisions.

Why would Mr. Harper pass this thing?  Perhaps he's attempting to do an end run around the rights of First Nations.  The Tyee suggested that was the case in an article yesterday.
Perhaps most importantly, the deal fails to protect aboriginal rights under the Constitution. The implications of this omission are profound. While our federal government has a duty to consult First Nations, Chinese state-owned companies can sue Canada through a secret international arbitration panel for any such accommodation that impacts their economic interests. http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2014/09/25/Harper-Skins-Constitution/
And even if we abrogate this tomorrow, we're in thrall to it for the next sixteen years. 

Climate Change Denial

The climate has changed.   It's affecting us.  right here, right now.  The photo below is of Kamloops on July 23, 2014.   No, this dealership isn't anywhere near the river.

Today's Globe and Mail describes an event that affects 20 million people in Brazil.  No water.....
South America’s largest city is nine months into an unprecedented drought, with no end in sight. The water shortage is already squeezing businesses in Sao Paulo and threatens to further undermine the stalled economy in Brazil, until recently one of the world’s fastest-growing. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/unprecedented-drought-puts-sao-paulo-water-supply-at-risk/article20798270/#dashboard/follows/
Why do people still deny climate change?  Or deny that we need to take action now?

A right wing editor states that:

"The people I work with at the National Post — because there are some colleagues I have who are what you may call 'climate change deniers' — generally the one universal aspect is that they tend to be right-wing in their thinking, they see market-based solutions as the solution to enriching our society in every respect and it bothers them, the idea that here's this problem that cannot be solved with unfettered industrial activity." https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=7545992365056379718#editor/target=post;postID=1041667914935287024


An educated person I know - she teaches at a university  -  said "It won't happen in my lifetime.   And I'm enjoying the warm September."  When I retorted that I hoped she would enjoy a polar vortex winter, she said, " But that happened in TO. It won't happen here." 

Climate change deniers are afraid of changing their comfortable lifestyles and world views.  I have news for them:  change is inevitable.  Climate change is already here.  If we don't treat it as a major crisis, things are gonna get a whole lot worse. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back To Life

The Fez River winds through the medina of Fez, Morocco—a mazelike medieval city that’s a World Heritage site. Once considered the “soul” of this celebrated city, the river succumbed to sewage and pollution, and in the 1950s was covered over bit by bit until nothing remained. TED Fellow Aziza Chaouni recounts her 20 year effort to restore this river to its former glory, and to transform her city in the process.


This is a fairly  short, very cool TED talk.  Would it be possible to rejuvenate Petersen Creek in Kamloops?  How about in your city?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Is Anyone Else Seeing a Pattern Here?

Recent news:

Yup - there's a pattern - extreme flooding.  In fact,extreme weather events are becoming more common.   

The work shows so-called “blocking patterns”, where hot or wet weather remains stuck over a region for weeks causing heatwaves or floods, have more than doubled in summers over the last decade.  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/aug/11/extreme-weather-common-blocking-patterns
 So - maybe we should take climate change seriously. Actually do something, I mean.   Whaddya think?  Wanna keep rolling the dice - gambling that serious effects wont' happen while you're alive?   Looks like that's a bad bet.....
Write your MP.    Lobby the provincial government.