Archive for June 2012

Harper’s Canada very happy with Rio+20

22 June 2012

rio+20Twenty years ago the World Scientists Warning to Humanity said;

If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know.

In the same year the original Rio Summit attempted to chart a course to combat global warming and a range of other environmental harms and to protect biodiversity and the basic rights of people to such necessities as water.

Science has continued to warn and governments have continued to talk.

This year the United Nations released it’s Geo-5 Global Environmental Outlook and The Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Achim Steiner warned

If current trends continue, if current patterns of production and consumption of natural resources prevail and cannot be reversed and ‘decoupled,’ then governments will preside over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation,

And the world watched while the Rio+20 Summit failed, resulting in a vision statement that does not impose any responsibility to combat the threats we face.

Harper’s environment minister Peter Kent says he is “very happy, very satisfied” with the outcome of Rio+20. He says that his critics “are out of touch with reality”.

Mr Kent’s “reality”, the “reality” of Harper’s Conservatives, consists of the economy. An economy fueled by Tar Sands bitumen and where the ‘natural’ order of things requires perpetual and accelerating industrial growth. Their reality is a construct of society.

My reality consists of natural systems. Seasons, weather, the water cycle, food chains. Systems such as that whereby salmon leave rivers, grow large and strong on the energy of the seas, and return to the rivers of their birth to spawn a new generation and to fertilize the land and feed the creatures that live on it with the energy they bring in their flesh from the sea. Within my reality exist societies and those societies have economies.

Harper’s Conservatives’ reality is causing the destruction of my reality. My reality’s seasons are changing. It’s weather is getting increasingly extreme. Droughts, floods and fires take a growing toll as noted by the insurance industry. The sun becomes dangerous because of depletion of the ozone layer (again). Disease patterns change. Populations of living things are affected in differing ways, as noted by our forestry industry. Food chains are threatened. The oceans warm and become dangerously acidic. The chemistry of the atmosphere is threatened as ocean conditions bring about decline of phytoplankton. Phytoplankton that produce about half of the world’s oxygen. The salmon decline.

I work, such as I am able, to stop the harm that the Conservatives reality is doing to my reality. I believe that if my reality is harmed too much (which may already be the case), their reality will no longer have a place to exist.

For this work they call me an enemy. If I were really an enemy, I would stand aside and watch them proceed.

BC Liberals gloves are off

16 June 2012

Flag of Canada as petro-nationChristy Clark and the BC Liberals have maintained that they have no position on the Northern Gateway Pipeline, stating that the review process should be allowed to do it’s work before a decision is made on the project.

On May 2 in the Legislature Clark showed the BC Liberals true colours (as if there was any doubt), saying “With respect to northern gateway, let me say this. Our government is pro-pipeline.”

In a June 13 interview with Anna Maria Tremonti on CBC’s The Current, Clark again made clear the stance of BC Liberals on Northern Gateway.

Clark stated in the interview that “the pipeline is going to be great for Canada, it’ll be great for Alberta, it will have some benefit for British Columbia, but not a, not a large one.” She went on to mention in what sounded like an after-thought that “British Columbians will be taking 100% of the risks.”

Note the language chosen. Not that Northern Gateway “could be” or “might be” great. No, Clark states that the pipeline “is going to be great”.

Let those who would rather that Petro-Canada be the name of a company and not the name of the country take heed.

Listen to the interview here or download the podcast.

DFO vs(?) Enbridge

16 June 2012


“Enbridge clashes over fisheries rules” the headline read on the front page of the Vancouver Sun final print edition on Friday, 15 June.

Apparently Enbridge solved that problem by having the Harper government remove offending legislation on 14 June with the omnibus Budget Implementation Act, Bill C-38.

C-38 repeals the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, amends the Species at Risk Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act, removes habitat protection from the Fisheries Act and paves the way for off-loading the costs of protection of fisheries to the provinces while giving the federal government control of what goes into provincial fisheries protection laws.

The Vancouver Sun quotes Fisheries biologists in 2010 stating “There is not much movement (by Enbridge) for avoidance of sensitive areas”, “Sometimes the proponent is pushing for the cheapest option” and “Enbridge’s decision-making process doesn’t ‘directly consider’ the crossing of highly sensitive habitat, like a spawning area, to automatically trigger consideration of alternative” Enbridge and DFO biologists disagreed on risk assessments of salmon-bearing waterways, with Enbridge labeling streams as low risk where Fisheries biologists considered them medium or even high risk.

The Northern Gateway Review panel last month asked DFO for a list of important salmon-bearing waterways where the company and department disagreed. DFO, spanked in the same month with 1072 layoff notices, responded that it could not provide the list as it had not completed a review of all crossings. DFO said that they would “continue to work with Northern Gateway to determine the appropriate risk rating”.

Shouldn’t DFO be telling Northern Gateway what the risk ratings are?

Defend Democracy June 13

11 June 2012

Elizabeth MayNationwide rallies at MP’s offices across Canada Wednesday in opposition to the omnibus bill C-38.

Elizabeth May’s press conference shows some of why Canadians have a duty to participate. is hoping to find 13 ‘hero’ Conservative MPs to do the right thing, stop C-38 and break this omnibus bill down so that the non-budget items can be dealt with properly.

On Twitter #13heroes

UN Global Environmental Outlook

10 June 2012

United Nations Global Environmental OutlookFrom the video: “Renewable and energy efficient technologies will be one of our fasted growing export areas.”

Why is that not a Canadian saying that?

Missed signs

10 June 2012

Walking on Granville Island yesterday, Cary said “Look!”

Looking up I was treated to the awe-inspiring sight of a bald eagle flying right over us.

When I looked down again, directly in front of us was a store named Eagle Spirit Gallery.

bald eagle

Could this be a sign? The guiding hand of fate? The fork in the road that would lead to my destiny?

Probably. I totally missed it though, distracted by the sights, sounds and smells of Granville island.

So, perhaps I missed my destiny, but we did find a really great place to buy an umbrella!

The Umbrella Shop, owned by third generation umbrella maker Glen Flader. His grandparents Ida and Isy Flader began making umbrellas in Vancouver in 1935. According to the store’s business card they are the only umbrella manufacturer left in Canada.

The lady who helped us was super helpful. Umbrellas ranged from dainty, delicate things to ones that seemed like they were made of tent canvas. Some were truly beautiful and prices were very reasonable even by my stingy standards. Their website does not do the store justice, so you really need to see their wares in person.

If you’re in the neighbourhood of Granville Island, check it out. Maybe you’ll even find your destiny!

On Becoming An Oenophile

7 June 2012

First off; no, becoming an oenophile will not necessarily get you thrown in jail. An oenophile is a connoisseur of wine. Trust fancy winos to come up with a fancy word for themselves.

Anyway, I’ve been learning a bit about wine lately. I don’t expect that I’ll pursue it to oenophile status, but for what it’s worth I thought I’d share what I’ve learned so far.

– When someone has their nose in a glass of wine and is talking about notes of blueberry and whatever, it is ok to ask “Do they put blueberries and whatever in it?” The connoisseur will be patient with your ignorance and simply answer “No.” with perhaps a hint of a condescending smile.

– It is not ok to follow that with the question “Then where do notes of blueberry and whatever come from?” That will get you a frown. I think the answer is that notes of this and hints of that are entirely in the imagination of the one whose nose is in the glass and real wine people don’t like their fantasies challenged.

Contrast this with scotch, where peatiness comes from actual peat fires used to dry the malted barley. This very real presence of peat phenols can lead to a very peaty scotch being described as tasting like ‘licking a campfire’.

– You know it was good wine if you’re pregnant after. With really good wine you may go directly into labour. Really! It happened to my brother. Hard to believe, I know.

They say “drink what you like”. I like scotch.