Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bill McKibben on Democracy Now! - Global Warming Right Now Is The Most Difficult Problem We Face

350 is the most important number in the world. The NASA scientists told us three years ago that any value for carbon in the atmosphere greater than 350 parts per million was not compatible with the planet on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted. That is strong language. It’s stronger still when you know that everywhere, outside your studios, up on top of Mount Everest, in the Antarctic, right now we’re at about 390 parts per million CO2 and gaining fast. That’s why this is not some future problem. It is the most pressing present crisis that we have. ~ Environmentalist Bill McKibben on Democracy Now!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Companies Responsible For Causing Environmental Destruction Subvert Democracy

Wherever you see widespread environmental injury, you’re also going to see the subversion of democracy. And West Virginia is really the template for that dynamic. You’ll see the destruction of the public process at the local level, where people no longer have a say in the allocation of the public trust, the resources of the commons. You’ll see the destruction of transparency in government. You’ll see the capture of the agencies that are supposed to protect Americans from pollution. They become—in West Virginia, the West Virginia DEP has become the sock puppet for the industry that it’s supposed to regulate. You’ll see the widespread corruption of public officials, which you’ve also seen. Virtually every relevant public official in the state of West Virginia is now an indentured servant for the coal industry. And you’ll also see the destruction of the press and the role of the fourth estate. And again, in West Virginia you see the press largely blind, holding a blind eye to this wholesale destruction of the landscapes. ~ Robert Kennedy, Jr. on coal mining in West Virginia
This is exactly what is happening in Alberta with the environmental devastation caused by the tar sands.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Golf Courses in Edmonton's River Valley Destroy Nature

In the thin strip of "wilderness" along the North Saskatchewan river from Devon to Fort Saskatchewan, approximately 60 kms as the river winds, there are a total of twelve golf courses, or an average of one golf course every 5 kms. Wild nature is already tenuous in this so called ribbon of green and is eroded even further by these destructive playgrounds for the wealthy.

Not only do golf courses destroy natural habitat by the tremendous amount of space they require but the pesticides and fertilizers used further pollute and poison the natural environment.

Going for a walk south, on the west side of the river across from Fort Edmonton, your nature path amongst aspen poplar, rose bushes, red osier dogwood, squirrels, hares, deer, hawks and garter snakes will be disrupted by a golf course. Impeding further advancement of you and stripping away the wild habitat.

If you walk south of Terwillegar Park on the east side of the river, then past the Anthony Henday bridge, suddenly you come upon a sign stating, "private property, no trespassing". Once again the rich person's playground has taken away what rightfully belongs to all...wild nature. (When I saw that sign I thought of the line form Jefferson Airplane's We Can Be Together, "All your private property is target for your enemy, and your enemy is we.")

It may seem upon first appearances that Edmonton's river valley is a vast swath of trees and wildlife; and going for a walk along some of the trails can indeed give the illusion of  unspoiled nature, but it is just illusion. For what isn't steep eroding cliffs (some with million dollar plus homes perched precariously atop them patiently awaiting their turn, like so many others before them, to succumb to the geological forces that shaped the valley) is really just a narrow, fragile band of green that is pushed to the brink by surrounding development and an ever expanding population demanding more and more space for itself.

In the battle between profit and exploitation versus wilderness protection, the dollar wins every time. And whatever a human desires, irrespective of the detrimental impact it may have on other creatures, his interests trump all others.

In southern British Columbia, there is a proposal on the table to make the South Okanagan-Similkameen region a national park to protect the fragile dry plateau desert ecology, but there is opposition to it coming from ranchers, wineries and other exploitative interests such as those who want to develop golf courses.

One rancher remarked he opposed the creation of a national park because it would mean that "his" cattle could not graze there. He went on to say, there needs to be a balance between the interests of the naturalists and the people in the area who make money off of the land.

I agree. A balance is what is needed. A balance implies fairness and a just, equal weight. Well right now there is a gross imbalance when it comes to money making ventures and the natural world. Pollution, global warming, entire species of plants and animals becoming extinct or pushed to the brink of extinction, all because mankind has tipped the scale in favor of himself at the expense of the other creatures he shares the planet with.

We are at a crucial point in our history, we may have even surpassed the tipping point, where natural, wild areas are being gobbled up and eaten away by private, monied interests so fast that right now all that remains are small pockets and slivers of what were once vast areas of an ecological and vibrant diversity of flora and fauna. And even these areas are not safe when surrounded on all sides by a human population that continues to push wild nature further and further into submission by causing more and more pollution, all in the name of making money.

What right do we have to kill other beings to serve our ends? It seems there are two kinds of beings in the world, us (humans) and them (all other living creatures) and any one of them that gets in the way of whatever it is we want or if we choose to enslave and kill them for profit, then we have taken it upon ourselves as our deluded right, where religion and the bible play a not insignificant role in our thinking (Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.), to treat them as though their interests do not matter.

If we do not have a consciousness raising and begin to treat other beings' interests as equal to our own, then whatever terrible fate awaits us is more than deserved. We can however change our attitude toward the natural world and the other beings we share the planet with and learn to live in harmony, respecting each individuals right just to be able to exist and be themselves, just as we would want for ourselves.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ignorant Rednecks Get Stuck by North Saskatchewan River

in the southwest corner of edmonton toward the end of 199 st around woodbend and big island, there is an area near the north saskatchewan river with wetlands, poplar forests and wildlife. it is here that a company, kanata, wants to create a gravel pit to extract sand to build roads or whatever it is one does with extracted sand.

the company is a metis cultural enterprise that says this project will create jobs. fucking sell-outs. once again it is monied interests that win out over pristine nature. i thought native people were supposed to care about the environment, not rape the earth for the sake of a dollar.

at any rate, i wanted to check out the area in question for myself so i went down to take a look at it. it's hard to get to because private property blocks the way to the river and there are many signs that say no trespassing. i guess as long as you have the money, you can take away what rightfully belongs to all, namely the enjoyment of wild nature.

i saw more than a few signs that said "stop the gravel pit", but it seems to me that the rich property owners around there care more about "not in my backyard" than they do about not destroying nature. if they cared about nature they wouldn't have these huge properties and houses that are responsible for already displacing much of the wildlife.

when i finally did find a spot to walk to the river, the area was crisscrossed with rutty 4X4 tracks; and here and there lay empty beer cans and cardboard cases. it was a real pity. this was indeed a beautiful place but this didn't seem like wild nature to me.

wherever there is something beautiful in the natural world, businesses are out to exploit it, or fucking rednecks are out to destroy it. the ignorant redneck way of  "enjoying nature" is drinking beer outside and killing animals.

and then i came upon these two beer-swilling cunts who got a little more than they bargained for from mother nature...

Monday, May 02, 2011

The Majority of Canadians Said "NO!" to Stephen Harper

Hey, Stephen Harper! You can take your "majority government" and your environment destroying redneck policies and shove them straight up your ass!

And another thing...just wait until the next election!

The Problem With Canadian Democracy

60% of Canadians don't want the Conservatives in power, yet Stephen Harper has a majority government. What's wrong with this picture?

And even with the 167 of 308 seats in the House of Commons, 54.2% is not exactly an overwhelming mandate to implement or kill any policies or bills they feel like.

No matter how much Stephen Harper and his band of right-wing Blue Meanies harp on about what Canadians want, or how the people have spoken, there are nearly 34 million Canadians; 24 million of whom are eligible to vote, and of the 15 million who cast their ballots, only 6 million voted Conservative.

Yes, Stephen Harper, the people have spoken and they overwhelmingly rejected you and your party's policies. Yet here we are with a Conservative majority.

In 2008, the Conservatives had 37.6% of the popular vote and 143 seats. In this election they had 39.6% of the popular vote and 167 seats. A 2% increase in votes and a 24 seat gain? That just 'aint right!

This is not even a tyranny of the majority. It's a tyranny of the misguided, greedy and ignorant minority and now the 28 million Canadians who were either ineligible to vote; didn't vote; or voted for someone else, have to suffer the consequences of our seriously flawed electoral system and a Harper pro-corporate, anti-environment regime for at least the next 4 years.

This is not what democracy should look like.