Posts Tagged With: environmental issues

Words of wisdom from David Suzuki

This is a concise, relevant and extremely important article from the David Suzuki Foundation for all to read and share.  It is NOT POLITICAL, it is environmental…it is about our survival on earth!  I implore all to take the time to discover the David Suzuki Foundation and all of the valuable environmental information available there.

 

Leaders must put people before politics

 

When we elect people to office, we give them power to make and enact decisions on our behalf. They should have a vision that extends beyond the next election and the latest Dow Jones average — to our children and grandchildren.

We expect our leaders to have a clear picture of our world and the conditions necessary for human life and well-being. If they don’t, how can they make informed decisions? So let me outline some simple, scientifically validated truths about us and the world we live in — truths that should guide our political decisions.

We are, above all else, biological beings, with an absolute need for clean air from the moment of birth to the last death rattle. We take air deep into our lungs and filter whatever’s in it. Plants on land and in the ocean take in the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and release oxygen during photosynthesis, creating the atmosphere we depend on.

We are about 60 per cent water by weight, so we need clean water to be healthy. When water falls to Earth, it’s filtered through tree and other plant roots, soil fungi and bacteria, cleansing it so it’s safe to drink.

All the energy in our bodies that we use to move, grow and reproduce is sunlight captured by plants in photosynthesis and converted to chemical energy, which we ingest. We eat plants and animals for our nourishment, so whatever they’re exposed to ends up in our bodies. We need clean soil to give us clean food.

These are basic, biological facts and should be the prism through which any decision is made at individual, corporate or government levels. Protection of air, water, soil and the web of life should be the highest social, political and economic priority.

We’re also social animals. Scientists have shown that love during childhood is essential for healthy development. Children who are deprived of love at critical points can develop a variety of physical and psychological deficits. To avoid those, we have to work for strong families and supportive communities, full employment, justice, greater income and gender equity and freedom from terror, genocide and war.

Finally, we are spiritual creatures who require sacred places, a sense of belonging to the world and a recognition that we are not in charge of nature, but dependent on the biosphere for our health and well-being. We are not outside of nature; we are part of it.

To be fully healthy and human, our most elemental needs are biological, social and spiritual. Politicians ought to know this. Their role is to protect and enhance those necessities of life; otherwise there is no vision, direction or leadership.

That’s why it’s absurd for a politician or government representative to speak about any aspect of the economy without acknowledging the threat of human-induced climate change. Many oppose doing anything on ideological grounds, but the science is overwhelming and compelling, and the need for action is clear. What can you say about “leaders” who choose to ignore the best available evidence to the detriment of the people they are elected to represent?

Surely those who act only for short-term economic gain, imposing destructive consequences on generations to come, must be held responsible. We must also consider the consequences of rapid and excessive exploitation of fossil fuels on the world’s poorest people, who have done little to create climate change but are most affected by it.

Even though Canada ratified the legally binding Kyoto Protocol, which spelled out our obligations to reduce the risk of climate change, many of our “leaders” have wilfully ignored scientific evidence and urgent calls to meet the protocol’s targets, and Canada eventually abandoned the agreement. What should we call that?

And what can we say about “leaders” who can see something is wrong and have the means to respond but choose not to? This is what Canada is doing — in the face of overwhelming evidence and pleading of other industrialized nations.

Our elected representatives deserve respect for their commitment. But the elevated status and power of politicians also carries responsibilities. Many are abrogating those responsibilities for ideological reasons that have nothing to do with our well-being.

By David Suzuki.

Categories: 2014, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Project 365 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Ecojustice Report

Something to read and share from EcoJustice:

Dear Eldy,Canada’s drinking water standards continue to lag behind international standards and are at risk of falling even farther behind, according to the findings of a new investigative report, Waterproof: Standards, released by Ecojustice today. Here are our findings:
<<< Read the full report >>>How can you help?Forward this email | Share on facebook | Share on twitter

 

Thanks for reading,Randy Christensen, staff lawyer & Dr. Elaine MacDonald, senior staff scientist
Categories: 2014, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Project 365 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Desmog Canada Newsletter

Here is a news update from Desmog Canada to read and share with others.  Please take a few minutes to  check out each interesting and important article:

Guest Posts & In-Depth Analysis

New Poll: Canadians Overestimate Oilsands Contribution to Economy, Yet Still Want Clean Shift

The oilsands, according to Statistics Canada, account for only 2 per cent of the national GDP.

READ MORE

On Twitter?

Suzuki: Harper Didn’t Have the “Courage” to Present and Defend Northern Gateway Approval

David Suzuki isn’t surprised the federal government approved the contentious Northern Gateway pipeline Tuesday, but he is surprised Prime Minister Stephen Harper didn’t have the “courage” to announce the decision to Canadians.

READ MORE

PHOTOS: Famed Photographer Alex MacLean’s New Photos of Canada’s Oilsands are Shocking

Alex MacLean is one of America’s most famed and iconic aerial photographers. Recently MacLean traveled to the Alberta oilsands in western Canada. There, working with journalist Dan Grossman, MacLean used his unique eye to capture some new and astounding images of one of the world’s largest industrial projects. Their work, funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, will form part of a larger, forthcoming report for GlobalPost. READ MORE

Top Five Craziest Things Climate Change Recently Did in Canada

Climate change “has moved firmly into the present” as “evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen” and “impacts are increasing across the country,” concluded a recent in-depth U.S. government report. With no equivalent in Canada of the U.S. team of “300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee” to prepare a report on climate impacts in Canada, DeSmog Canada has made its own report.  READ MORE

Postmedia Gets Away With Running Unmarked Oil Advertorials

Paid advertisements for the oil industry have run unlabelled as editorial content on the websites of the Vancouver Sun and Regina Leader-Post — yet Canada’s ad regulator has decided not to rule against Postmedia, the company that owns the papers.

DeSmog Canada filed a complaint with Advertising Standards Canada on March 4, regarding a story published on the Vancouver Sun’s website on Dec. 4, 2013, with the headline “Born to the Challenge: Janet Holder’s B.C. roots make her the perfect lead on Northern Gateway.” READ MORE

‘Alarming’ New Study Finds Contaminants in Animals Downstream of Oilsands

A health study released today by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and the Mikisew Cree, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Manitoba, is the first of its kind to draw associations between environmental contaminants produced in the oilsands and declines in health in Fort Chipewyan, a native community about 300 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. READ MORE

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Global Warming

Here is an important article from the David Suzuki Foundation to share:

Addressing global warming is an economic necessity

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Those who don’t outright deny the existence of human-caused global warming often argue we can’t or shouldn’t do anything about it because it would be too costly. Take Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who recently said, “No matter what they say, no country is going to take actions that are going to deliberately destroy jobs and growth in their country.”

But in failing to act on global warming, many leaders are putting jobs and economic prosperity at risk, according to recent studies. It’s suicidal, both economically and literally, to focus on the fossil fuel industry’s limited, short-term economic benefits at the expense of long-term prosperity, human health and the natural systems, plants and animals that make our well-being and survival possible. Those who refuse to take climate change seriously are subjecting us to enormous economic risks and foregoing the numerous benefits that solutions would bring.

The World Bank — hardly a radical organization — is behind one study. While still viewing the problem and solutions through the lens of outmoded economic thinking, its report demolishes arguments made by the likes of Stephen Harper.

“Climate change poses a severe risk to global economic stability,” said World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim in a news release, adding, “We believe it’s possible to reduce emissions and deliver jobs and economic opportunity, while also cutting health care and energy costs.”

Risky Business, a report by prominent U.S. Republicans and Democrats, concludes, “The U.S. economy faces significant risks from unmitigated climate change,” especially in coastal regions and agricultural areas.

We’re making the same mistake with climate change we made leading to the economic meltdown of 2008, according to Henry Paulson, who served as treasury secretary under George W. Bush and sponsored the U.S. bipartisan report with former hedge fund executive Thomas Steyer and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. “But climate change is a more intractable problem,” he argued in the New York Times. “That means the decisions we’re making today — to continue along a path that’s almost entirely carbon-dependent — are locking us in for long-term consequences that we will not be able to change but only adapt to, at enormous cost.”

Both studies recommend carbon pricing as one method to address the climate crisis, with the World Bank arguing for “regulations, taxes, and incentives to stimulate a shift to clean transportation, improved industrial energy efficiency, and more energy efficient buildings and appliances.”

Contrast that with Harper and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s recent mutual back-patting in Ottawa. Appearing oblivious to the reality of global warming and economic principles, both rejected the idea of a “job-killing carbon tax.”

One Risky Business author, former Clinton treasury secretary Robert Rubin, also warned about the economic risks of relying on “stranded assets” — resources that must stay in the ground if we are to avoid dangerous levels of climate change, including much of the bitumen in Canada’s tar sands.

In a commentary in Nature, a multidisciplinary group of economists, scientists and other experts called for a moratorium on all oil sands expansion and transportation projects such as pipelines because of what they described in a news release as the “failure to adequately address carbon emissions or the cumulative effect of multiple projects.” They want “Canada and the United States to develop a joint North American road map for energy development that recognizes the true social and environmental costs of infrastructure projects as well as account for national and international commitments to reduce carbon emissions.”

Those who fear or reject change are running out of excuses as humanity runs out of time. Pitting the natural environment against the human-invented economy and placing higher value on the latter is foolish. These reports show it’s time to consign that false dichotomy to the same dustbin as other debunked and discredited rubbish spread by those who profit from sowing doubt and confusion about global warming.

“Climate inaction inflicts costs that escalate every day,” World Bank Group vice-president Rachel Kyte said, adding its study “makes the case for actions that save lives, create jobs, grow economies and, at the same time, slow the rate of climate change. We place ourselves and our children at peril if we ignore these opportunities.”

If our leaders can’t comprehend that, let’s find some who can.

By David Suzuki with contributions from Ian Hanington, Senior Editor 

Categories: 2014, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Project 365 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Wilderness Committee Paddle for the Peace

Here an action alert from the Wilderness Committee to share and take part in:

A social media storm to stop the Site C dam

Dear Eldy,

The summer is heating up, and so is the fight to stop the proposed Site C dam from flooding the beautiful Peace River Valley!

Right now I am getting packed to head up to the Fort St. John area to be the MC for the Paddle for the Peace event. I’ll be joining a canoe and kayak flotilla along with hundreds of farmers, ranchers, First Nations leaders, environmental reps and local community members, all paddling down the Peace River on Saturday July 12th. The annual event is to show our combined opposition to the proposed Site C dam.

These days it’s not only the farmers, ranchers, First Nations and environmentalists who are speaking out against the project. Now ratepayers and even major industries in BC are joining the growing chorus of opposition to the proposed Site C dam.

This is an urgent matter! We’re expecting the provincial and federal governments to make a decision on Site C this fall.

NOW is the time to turn up the volume – with a coordinated blast on social media (Facebook and Twitter), and in a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. We’ve put together a helpful list of points to consider when writing letters to the local paper about the Site C dam, plus a list of BC local newspaper contacts, which you can find here.

In the coming months, I will be sending you action alerts that will help build a wall of opposition that is even bigger than the proposed Site C dam!

Our first action will be a social media storm on Saturday, July 12th – the day of the Paddle for the Peace. If you are on Twitter, please tweet directly at Premier Clark (@christyclarkbc) on July 12th with your message of opposition to the proposed #SiteC dam.

In the days after the paddle, please share our photos from the Paddle for the Peace with your social media networks. You’ll be able to find my posts and photos from the event on our Facebook page, on my Twitter feed (@JoeFoyWild) or on the Wilderness Committee’s Twitter feed (@wildernews).

We’re counting on your support and sincerely thank you in advance for helping to save the Peace River Valley – and the people of BC – from the proposed Site C Dam!

For the Peace,

Joe Foy | National Campaign Director
Wilderness Committee

Joe Foy

————

Please encourage your friends to sign up for these Action E-alerts.

Categories: 2014, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Project 365 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Sierra Club Update

Sierra Club Canada speaks out:

Psst…secrets can hurt you

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not good at keeping secrets, and I particularly don’t like when governments work in secret. Governments feed us a lot of malarkey about why secrecy is essential, but 9 times out of 10 there’s no justifiable reason.

Here are some government plans developing in secret that everyone should know about.

SECRET #1

At an undisclosed location in Ottawa this week, 400 delegates from Pacific Rim countries are negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) – the latest ‘free trade’ deal our government says we just have to have.

Last January, some of the sections of the draft agreement showed up on Wiki Leaks including a chapter on dealing with the environment. The contents have fired up our US cousins because the language appears to violate a US law requiring all trade deals signed by the US to apply the same terms and conditions to environmental issues as it has for commercial issues.

The leaked environment chapter has intentionally weak, unenforceable language on the environment, yet strong rules for protecting commercial interests. Why? Because a number of countries including Canada opposed strong language to protect the environment.

But this is just one reason we should be concerned with ‘free trade’ agreements. Our chief concern should be loss of sovereignty. Multinational corporations promote these deals because there are always clauses inserted to protect them from democracy (or as they would say, “from arbitrary government action”). In practical terms, it means things like Canada being forced to pay damages to Ethyl Corp for banning a gasoline additive already outlawed in the United States, or $1 billion being demanded from Costa Rica because their citizens rejected a Canadian mining project.

The Trans Pacific Partnership has an added insult to democracy. It will force countries to guarantee the construction of energy export infrastructure. Essentially, Canadians are being told to accept that Northern Gateway, Kinder Morgan and EnergyEast pipelines are beyond the ability of either federal or provincial governments to stop. In fact, the federal government is selling out our rights for 30 pieces of silver. No wonder the negotiations are done in secret.

SECRET #2

There is another nasty little secret developing in Alberta that everyone should know about.

Climate change is the dominant issue of our time, so it’s understandable that most of the focus is on the Tar Sands’ outrageous carbon dioxide emissions. President Obama has said he won’t approve the Keystone XL if it means increasing carbon emissions, period.

As you’re aware, many critics have rightly pointed out that Canada has ZERO limits on Tar Sands emissions and have called for putting a price on carbon. Alberta has a tiny carbon fee that has done nothing to slow the runaway increase in emissions. So what would happen if Alberta significantly increased its fee, or instituted a meaningful carbon tax? Wouldn’t the US President have to approve the Keystone XL pipeline? In fact, isn’t this exactly what many critics on both sides of the issue have been pointing out for years?

I can’t tell you how I know without endangering my source, but I can tell you that another dirty side-deal has been struck in secret. Sierra Club has learned that the Alberta government is going to increase its carbon tax (probably) after the November US elections. There will be great fanfare and trips to Washington. People like me will be expected to heap praise…but hold off on the applause and hear the rest of the secret deal. In exchange for its cooperation, Big Oil will essentially be given a free pass. I’ve learned that our friends at CAPP (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers) negotiated a nifty side deal with the Alberta government that will essentailly offset any new carbon-costs by reducing clean-up requirements associated with tailing ponds.

This dangerous arrangement puts thousands of lives at risk in a cynical attempt to manipulate public opinion. The tailings ponds are an ecological time bomb. One scientist told me a single leak into the Athabasca River could kill everything downstream. Those dangerous tailing ponds hold millions of gallons of highly toxic contaminated water.

Quid Pro Petro

When CAPP was asked about the arrangement its spokesperson said “no comment”.

So two very reckless plans are being negotiated in secret, and you and I are supposed to trust that our best interests are being looked after. I hate secrets.

John Bennett, National Program Director
Sierra Club Canada Foundation
1501-1 Nicholas Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7B7
jb@sierraclub.ca
John on Twitter / Bennett Blog


Sierra Club Canada Foundation

1510-1 Nicholas St
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Canada
Categories: 2014, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Project 365 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

WWF Update

Here is an update newsletter from WWF Canada to share:

AN UNACCEPTABLE DECISION

Last month, 20,000 individuals signed a letter to the Prime Minister telling him that “No” is the only acceptable response to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway oil pipeline proposal.  On June 17, Canadians received the wrong answer.

HERE’ S WHY

HUGE VICTORY FOR OUR PLANET

Oil company Soco International PLC announced that it will end its operations in Africa’s oldest national park and stay out of all other UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Virunga is home to an incredible array of wildlife, families and local economies. WWF campaigned to protect Virunga together with government champions and activists within the Democratic Republic of the Congo. International support, including Canadian voices like yours, helped to remove this immediate threat. Thank you!

FULL STORY

WATER FOR PEOPLE, PEOPLE FOR WATER

Finally, summer is here, and from coast to coast to coast, on rivers and lakes, Canadians are out enjoying their local waters. That’s why we are celebrating water and people for the month of July, highlighting the many ways that Canadians enjoy their waters, as well as efforts large and small to improve the health and future of our waters.

GET INVOLVED

HOW HEALTHY ARE CANADA’S WATERS?

We all know and appreciate that healthy waters are important, especially in Canada where we’re lucky enough to enjoy such water riches. However, the health of our waters is largely unknown – that’s why at WWF, we’re assessing the health of all large bodies of Canadian water. Today, we’ve made great progress – we’re now a quarter of the way to reaching that goal!

LEARN MORE

HANGOUT WITH WHALES

Canada has some of the greatest diversity of whales on the planet. But are we doing enough to protect them? Watch this lively and fun conversation with WWF and the scientists we work with and learn about what we can do to help whales thrive in Canadian waters. This Google Hangout was broadcast live on June 25th.

WATCH THE BROADCAST

Categories: 2014, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Project 365 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

About Nature Canada Photo Contest

And now a word from Nature Canada to share:

Hi Eldy, Photo Contest2.png

The weather is great, gardens are blooming, and the hiking paths are dry. Hopefully you have some exciting outdoor adventures planned for the next few months. Whatever you envision doing, make sure you take along your sunscreen, hat, and camera to capture the moment!

Since we can’t explore the great outdoors with you, we would love to view your pictures! When you come inside for a break and a quick snack, why not share your best nature photos with us! To celebrate our upcoming 75th anniversary in September 2014, we are launching a nature photography contest designed to get more Canadians outdoors connecting with nature across the summer months. It’s a simple way for you, your family or your friends to explore nature whether nearby in your NatureHood, at your cottage or during your summer vacation. It is our hope that by spending time in nature you will explore and adore our natural heritage and all that our environment has to offer us.

We have some pretty prestigious nature-loving judges who will make the final decision when it comes time to choose the winners. Among them are

- Micheal Tayler, Canadian Olympian in canoe and kayak slalom
– Micheal Runtz, Ottawa-based photographer and nature enthusiast
– Les Stroud, better known as TV’s “Survivorman”

Yes, that’s right. Survivorman himself will give his opinion on the best photos entered into out contest.

In addition to these amazing judges, our constantly growing list of prizes is pretty outstanding as well. These include a Park Pass for unlimited access to our national parks and a 3 day parkhorse expedition trip for 2 generously donated by Copper Cayuse Outfitters. Check out all the details and more at www.naturecanada.ca/photocontest.

Get outside, get active, and take some pictures while you’re at it! For more information or answers to any questions, please contact us at nmiddleton@naturecanada.ca or phone us at 1-800-267-4088 ext. 229.

Yours for nature,

StephenHazell_0.jpg Stephen Signature
Stephen Hazell
Executive Director (interim)
Nature Canada 
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Categories: 2014, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Project 365 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

CPAWS latest update

Here’s the latest from CPAWS to share:

Dear Eldy,
Today is a historic day. In the Yukon Supreme Court, Thomas R. Berger, O.C., Q.C., representing the First Nations of Na Cho Nyak Dun, Tr’ondëkHwëch’in, CPAWS and the Yukon Conservation Society will rise to open a case against the Yukon government.
What’s at stake? The majestic Peel River Watershed‘s future – a spectacular Canadian northern wilderness ranging over 67,400 km2.
 

 

 

 

This legal action is a last resort. But when the Yukon Government turned the recommendations of its own appointed commission on its head, after seven years of research and consultation, and opened up over 71% of this spectacular wilderness area to industry and roads, we had to act. We will be asking the court to uphold the Peel Planning Commission’s Final Recommended Plan which protects 80% of the Peel.
If you’ve ever paddled the Wind, the Snake or the Bonnet Plume, you know how extraordinary the Peel wilderness is. If you haven’t, and if we win this case, you, your children and theirs to come may one day experience the majesty of the area in the same way that people have for millenia – intact and majestic!
Stay informed:
Peel Trial BlogStarting tonight, listen to daily audio podcasts about the events inside and outside the courtroom, including interviews with participants and coverage of associated public events and photos
Twitter: updates from inside the courtroom from @CPAWSYukon
CPAWS Yukon News ReleaseYukon First Nations and environmental groups go to court to protect the Peel River Watershed
The Globe and Mail Article: Thomas Berger’s latest fight: Keeping the Yukon wilderness wild
And there is one more very important thing you can do. If you haven’t already, please consider donating to support the legal case. We’re well over halfway to our fundraising goal of $100,000. Your gift today will help us to get closer.

 

 

Today, we will begin to make legal history. You can help make it happen.

 

Please donate now!

 

 

Thank you for helping us to protect Canada’s amazing northern wilderness,

 

Gill Cracknell
Executive Director
CPAWS, Yukon Chapter
Categories: 2014, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Project 365 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Broken Ground…check it out

This important message is a share from the David Suzuki Foundation…be sure to read this and share:

The untold story of environmental rights

“About three years ago, I started losing my hair. And we found out afterward that many women in our neighbourhood, and young girls as well, were losing their hair.”

- Nielle Hawkwood, Cochrane resident


Something is wrong in Cochrane, Alberta. People are getting sick, animals are dying and the landscape is becoming scarred. This is “Broken Ground”, the story of why we desperately need the right to live in a healthy environment recognized for all Canadians, and the price we’re all paying because it’s not. 


“Industry will do the bare minimum. Government will do the bare minimum. I think it’s up to us to demand more.”

- Chelan Haynes, Cochrane resident 


Over the past several months, the David Suzuki Foundation has pulled together original research and in-person interviews to bring you a story of incredible heartbreak but also incredible strength. Through our comprehensive examination of the evolution in environmental thinking, the state of our rights today and what other leading nations are doing, “Broken Ground” provides a clear case for why Canada needs to recognize its citizens’ right to a healthy environment.


“What I hear from them is always to talk about how important it is to create jobs, and somehow that becomes the licence for destroying everything else around us.”

- Ovide Mercredi, former AFN National Chief


“Broken Ground” is the story of people who are confronting massive oil development while struggling to cope with severe health impacts. The story of people who tried to bring these rights to Canada decades ago but were ahead of their time. And the story of what can happen when a growing movement of Canadians asks leaders to do something simple: live up to Canada’s values and ensure a healthier future for everyone.


“A campaign today to respect a clean and healthy environment — is that a good thing? Does it make us as a country stronger? Absolutely. Go for it.”

- Svend Robinson, former MP


“Broken Ground” marks the launch of a multi-year campaign to guarantee the right to a healthy environment for every Canadian by every level of government. Read the stories, share them with your friends and become part of a growing movement of Canadians who are standing up for the people and places they love.

Visit www.brokenground.ca now.

Categories: 2014, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Project 365 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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