Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Reader Finds Me Disgusting

My  letter to the Editor, "Have our Servants Become Our Masters? - Why Fossil Fuels are No Longer Our Friends," published in The Roblin Review earlier this month, seems to have hit a nerve. 

It led to a follow-up letter from a reader in the north, published the following week in the same paper. He accuses me of being out to kill Canadian jobs and finds my letter a "disgusting piece of drivel" in the way I insult Mr. Harper and the oil patch.

Please read my response to that letter, below! 

Dear Editor,

I'm glad that John Titanich has seen fit to respond in the Review to my earlier letter about fossil fuels and why they are no longer our friends. After all, public debate is the bedrock of a healthy democracy. 

Mind you,  John did get a tad personal. But that comes with the territory, I guess. As for his suggestion you can't be an environmentalist if you drive anything more modern than an ox-cart, well, I've heard that one before, too. Of course, I leave a carbon footprint. Every human does.  My goal is to keep mine small. And I believe I have.

Yes, I drive a car. Mine happens to get up to 50 miles per gallon. I travel close to the speed limit which is not only safer but more fuel efficient (fewer greenhouse gases).  It has been said that, if every owner of a mid-sized SUV traded it in on a hybrid, they would save a whopping 70 percent on their fuel bills! 

While the environmental benefits of that scenario would be lost on folks like John, surely the economic ones should not!

And, since trains cause less harm to the climate than jet planes do, I also collect air miles and put them toward more Via Rail trips and less air travel. 

I know that the provocative comments I come up with are often "off the charts." They are obviously an attempt to over-compensate for the immovable forces,  like the Prime Minister and Big Oil, who are lined up against those of us who would choose a cleaner, greener world. These forces are not the least bit interested in compromising or making way for a future powered by more sustainable sources.

I believe many environmentalists realize, we aren't going to turn the Titanic around. But maybe we can change her course so she doesn't hit the iceberg. Trouble is, we are not changing course. We are steaming ever closer to disaster, eyes closed and hands firmly on the tiller. Our leaders are telling us "steady as she goes"apparently not knowing or wanting to know, what lies ahead. So maybe the time for polite, reasonable argument has passed.

As for wanting to kill Canadian jobs, I have no such wish, John. Other countries such as Germany have shown, there are plenty of jobs which could be created in a greener society. And I'll never give our leaders a "pass" for their lack of such will. 

It's worth noting that, since I wrote the "disgusting drivel" John refers to, the worst killer storm in a generation has rocked England and other parts of Europe, another oil fire on a train has terrorized a small town in Alberta, millions of litres of tar continue to leak from a drilling company's site into a lake near the traditional territory of an Alberta First Nation, and Australia is still reeling from another terrible round of wildfires, including ones which threatened Sydney, itself.

So, if the Titanic can't be turned around, or even diverted by the kind of rhetoric John would seem to favour, I guess he'll just have to settle for even more of my disgusting drivel.  

Larry Powell  
Neepawa, MB

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Breach of Trust

Ill-informed and incoherent: the head of (Britain's) the National Trust talks nonsense on fracking.

By George Monbiot, published on the Guardian’s website, 24th October 2013

“It’s not for me to judge the relative merits of fracking versus wind turbines.” So said Dame Helen Ghosh, the National Trust’s new director-general.

To this there are two obvious responses. The first is: yes, as the head of Britain’s biggest conservation group, this is just the kind of judgement you should be making. You’ve been appointed to lead this organisation, and a crucial component of leadership is making judgements. Because it is a public organisation, these judgements should be explained to your membership and to others who take an interest in what the Trust does.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Important Update on our #Save the Bees Campaign

Sierra Club of Canada

Sierra Club Canada National Office
412-1 Nicholas St
OttawaON K1N 7B7

Less Than 2 Days Left to Help Manitoba's Caribou!

Dear Larry,
Only 48 hours left to join our Week for the Wild and 
We gave ourselves just 7 days to find 50 people who 
care to help the woodland caribou. With your help, 
we’ve raised over $200 in Manitoba and we’re 
not done yet!
Can you help us reach our goal of finding 30 more people 
who care about the woodland caribou? If you haven’t 
to help protect the woodland caribou's remaining Boreal forest habitat.

The woodland caribou needs our help. Let’s make the next 48 hours 
Thanks for your continued support. Don't forget to follow us on 
Facebook and Twitter for updates!
Yours in conservation,
Ron Thiessen
Executive Director, CPAWS Manitoba

Oklahoma 'Earthquake Swarm' May Be Linked to Fracking

Huffington Post

The US Geological Survey suggests "injection-induced seismicity" may be playing a role in a spike in earthquake activity in the state. The term refers to pumping wastewater produced by fracking and other oil and gas projects into storage deep in the ground. Details here.

Writer Steps Up His Fight to Protect Water Resources (Letter)

Dear Editor;

What will it take to convince the Manitoba government that it should never allow arsenic to be released into our surface waters?

I consider this action reprehensible, yet that is exactly what the province has permitted (the Town of) Virden to do, with arsenic that has been removed from the water source at the town's treatment plant.

The following is my response to Premier Selinger and Minister Mackintosh in regard to their letter. It informs me that they’ll continue to allow the arsenic that’s recovered from the Virden water treatment plant to be released elsewhere. My concern is that this will, over time, only add to surface water contamination and pollute the environment.

This will create unknown consequences for future generations.

Many other substances that are considered toxic in other jurisdictions are obviously not of concern here. It seems this government has no problem with putting lives at risk.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Russia Reduces Piracy Charges Against Greenpeace Activists to Hooliganism

Huffington Post 

Russia's main investigative agency said Wednesday that it has dropped piracy charges against jailed Greenpeace activists and…Details here.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Trapped in a Russian Jail


Help free 30 brave men and women of Greenpeace. They face long prison terms for simply protesting against oil drilling in the fragile Arctic eco-system. Please sign the petition! You can help!

Alberta Landowners Dispute Energy Regulator Over Polluted Well

Couple says 'glaring' data on industry-caused water contamination is ignored. Details here.

Monitoring Food Loss and Waste Essential to Hunger Fight - FAO

FAO calls for “innovative thinking” to measure and cut global food loss and waste along the food chain. Details here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Folly of Empire

The final days of empire give ample employment and power to the feckless, the insane and the idiotic. Details here.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Canadian Fracking Protests Turn Violent; Police Cars Set On Fire

Huffington Post

Police in the eastern Canadian province of New Brunswick arrested about 40 people on Thursday after efforts to dismantle a highway barricade turned violent and protesters against shale gas exploration set several police vehicles on fire. Full story here.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

World Action Now on Fukushima - Harvey Wasserman (Video)

The danger of huge radiation releases from Fukushima 4 has taken on a new dimension; the world community must step in!

Please sign the petition to Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations and Barack Obama, President, United States of America, which says:

"At Fukushima Unit 4, the impending removal of hugely radioactive spent fuel rods from a pool 100 feet in the air presents unparalleled scientific and engineering challenges. With the potential for 15,000 times more fallout than was released at Hiroshima, we ask the world community, through the United Nations, to take control of this uniquely perilous task."

Click here to add your name:


Ontario's Environment Minister Vetoes an Environmental Assessment for GM Alfalfa

Manitoba Organic Alliance
Ontario’s Minister of the Environment has denied a request for an environmental assessment of genetically modified (GM) alfalfa. The request for an assessment was made by two farmers in Ontario, on behalf of many. The Minister decided that "a new provincial regulation making activities on the sale and distribution of GM seed subject to the EAA [Environmental Assessment Act] would overlap with the existing federal regulation. Therefore, the public interest does not warrant an EBR [Environmental Bill of Rights] review by the ministry."

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mexico Bans Transgenic Corn

GEO Watch

Judge rules that GMOs are imminent threat. Monsanto, Pioneer, prohibited from marketing transgenic seed. Full story here.
PLT photo

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Alberta's Current Carbon Strategy No Match for Keystone's Emissions

inside climate news

The pipeline would increase carbon emissions by 20M tons a year. Despite claims, Alberta's offset schemes would negate just a fraction of those emissions. Details here

Stop a Human Rights Tragedy - Put a Heartless Billionaire in His Place at the Same Time

Warren Buffett is investing in a steel company that's planning to kick 22,000 Indian villagers from their homes.
The UN's top experts have condemned the project -- tell Buffett to stop this human rights disaster now!
Sign the Petition
Warren Buffett is investing in a massive steel company that's planning to force 22,0000 Indian villagers from their homes. Now, eight of the UN's top human rights officials have called for an immediate halt to the project -- and we need to make sure Buffett acts.
If this project goes ahead, thousands of acres of forest will be flattened, and tens of thousands of poor Indian villagers will lose their homes and livelihoods. The company behind this disaster is Posco Steel, a South Korean giant, in which Warren Buffett has invested more than $1 billion.
If Buffett uses his financial might, he can push Posco Steel to address the UN's human rights concerns or stop the project. He claims to uphold the "highest levels" of business ethics -- but still hasn't spoken out. 

Unregulated Ammonia, Increasingly From Industrial Farming, Threatens U.S. National Parks

Science Daily

Oct. 10, 2013 — Thirty-eight U.S. national parks are experiencing "accidental fertilization" at or above a critical threshold for ecological damage, according to a study published in…Details here.

A Lake in Washington State Holds a Century of Canadian Pollution

Wenatchee World

People along Lake Roosevelt, a 150-mile-long stretch of the Columbia River, worry that their waterways have become the repository for much of the 10 million tons of slag that a Canadian smelter just north of the border dumped into the river for decades. Full story here.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Blizzard Ravages South Dakota's Livestock Industry

Los Angeles Times
Tens of thousands of cattle are killed, found huddled and frozen after the surprise storm. The 6,000 ranching operations that were hit have no safety net, thanks to the federal government shutdown. Details here.

Stop Further Tragedy in Brazil. Say NO to the Disastrous Canadian Mine, the "Belo Sun."

Amazon Watch

Belo Sun No!
Stop further tragedy on the Xingu River

Belo Sun No!

This week Amazon Watch joined a global coalition of organizations to launch a campaign in defense of indigenous and traditional communities threatened by the Canadian mining company Belo Sun. The Toronto-based company plans to build Brazil's largest gold mine on the banks of the Amazon's Xingu River in the very area that is most impacted by the disastrous Belo Monte dam.

And the Award Goes to....Monsanto? Please Sign the Petition!

This year’s World Food Prize will be awarded to top executives at Monsanto and Syngenta for creating GE crops. GE crops are about feeding the profits of biotech giants, not the world’s hungry. 

Gas Flare in Atlantic Canada Draws Thousands of Birds to Their Deaths, and Ignites Questions

E & E Publishing

The conditions that night were a perfect storm -- foggy, low cloud cover, an early fall evening that was right for flight. Full story here.

Goldfinch. PIP photo

Friday, October 11, 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mining Industry Frets Over Legislation to Protect Chile's Glaciers and Water Supplies

Winnipeg Free Press
SANTIAGO, Chile - Just how to define a glacier is at the heart of a Chilean congressional battle that could determine the future of mining in the world's largest copper-producing country. Details here.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Diesel Exhaust Stops Honeybees from Finding the Flowers They Want to Forage

Science News 

Exposure to common air pollutants found in diesel exhaust pollution can affect the ability of honeybees to recognize floral odours, new University of Southampton research shows. Details here.

PLT photo

The Government of Canadaʼs Legacy of Contamination in Northern Saskatchewan Watersheds

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Beaverlodge Lake, a 57 square kilometer water body, and three other watersheds in northern Saskatchewan are seriously contaminated with uranium and selenium. Details here.

Related: Uranium City - a Legacy of Cancer.

Climate Breakdown

by George Monbiot - The Guardian
PLT photo
How governments bemoan the problem but keep stoking the fires. Details here.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Court Rules Alberta Improperly Excluded Pembina Institute From Oilsands Regulatory Process

Pembina Institute

EDMONTON — Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench has quashed a government decision not to allow the Pembina Institute and the Fort McMurray Environmental Association to participate in the regulatory review of a proposed oilsands project. Full story here.

Massive B.C. coal mines are about to get a new owner. Why some are worried about Glencore’s record

THE NARWHAL Coal mine at Tumbler Ridge, B.C.  Jeffrey Wynne ,      If the sale goes through, the company will inherit a contamination proble...