Showing posts from March, 2012

World Earth Hour Greenwash at Its Finest

B. McPherson

This is an opinion piece, more of a rant really. Today is Earth Hour. The original concept was to try to have people stop and think about the Earth for just one hour. Think about human’s impact on the environment and how quickly we are using up and trashing the Earth’s resources. Just one crummy hour out of your life. How hard is that?
What has it become? A silly frenzy of turning off the electric lights for an hour. Maybe going out for dinner by candlelight. Maybe sitting in front of the fireplace and a battery powered radio playing inspiring music and indulging in some imported wine. Some people are even gathering to light bonfires during this time of reflection.
Then what? Turn the lights back on, have a nice hot shower. Finish off the wine and turn on the TV to see how others have thought about the damage we’re doing so we can feel good about “saving the planet”. This attempt to have think seriously about the future of our environment is to save ourselves. The planet,…

Fire Season Starts Early in Colorado

B. McPherson

Two people are confirmed dead and another is missing as firefighters from Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Utah battle a 4 500 acre fire near Denver. The fire believed to have started from a controlled burn has destroyed 28 dwellings and forced evacuation of 900 more.
According to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) fire season in Colorado is normally May to September. Controlled burns are conducted to deny a forest fire fuel.
“Annually, the BLM completes about 15,000 acres of fuels reduction projects in the state. Colorado focuses its fuels reduction efforts on areas near communities known as the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI).”  BLMWhile many might jump to the conclusion that this early start to the fire season is a result of climate change, it may not be. It may be the end of a La Nina weather pattern that caused the mild, dry winter. The National Interagency Fire Centre in Boise Idaho keeps year to year statistics on wildfires throughout the US. Currently they note that the…

Sea Level to Increase by One to Two Meters this Century

B. McPherson

Some of the latest information coming from NOAA and the US Environmental Protection Agency is warning of an increase in sea levels of at least one meter(39.37inches) and possibly two meters during this century. Much depends on the speed at which the Greenland ice melts.
Since the 1880s the average sea level has increased about 8 inches. For land that is low bank sea level erosion and occasional high tide surges can inundate land far inland. The Maldive Islands are already preparing for the day that they will have to evacuate some of their island nation. Tuvalu in the South Pacific already experiences “king tides” which roll across their island.
Some nations are preparing for the change in water levels. Planning is going on in many European countries for the construction of water gates to restrict the flow of sea water up rivers.
In North America few preparations seem to be happening, yet millions of people will be affected by the changes. The Christian ScienceMonitor stat…

Goodbye Exxon Valdes We Won’t Miss You

B. McPherson

The Exxon Valdes oil tanker has been sold to an Indian company and is likely headed for dismantling.
Today is the 23rd anniversary of the grounding of the Exxon Valdes on Bligh Reef in Alaska. It was one of the largest oil spills in North American history releasing nearly 11 million barrels of oil into Prince William Sound and sending an oil slick 470 miles to foul beaches and kill wildlife.
 A jury looking at the circumstances leading up to the grounding on the reef assessed damages at about $5 billion but Exxon in Supreme Court had that reduced to one tenth, about $500 million. Ref.ABC News  Alaska is still waiting for final compensation payments.
In some ways, we should thank Exxon and Captain Joseph Hazelwood for alerting us to the catastrophe that an oil spill wreaks on the environment and the people who live there. Twenty-three years later the once pristine beaches are still fouled.Thick oil lurks just below the surface on the beaches. The rich fishery has not reco…

Help Against Enbridge Bullies

B. McPherson Have a look at the video and see for yourself what an amazing place this is.

The proposed Enbridge oil pipeline through the Great Bear Rain Forest endangers rare habitat. The prospect of hundreds of supertankers threading their way through the tortuous Douglas Channel gives coastal people nightmares. An anonymous person has offered to donate Cdn$1 to ForestEthics for every signature on the petition to fight the big money behind the pipeline proposal. 
Please read and sign:

Greetings Lavonne,
Great news! I’ve been flooded with excited calls and emails from groups as far away as Squamish, Gabriola Island and Victoria coming to join our Monday rally to stop the Enbridge pipeline and tanker project. Now, I need your help to make sure support for this rally spreads across Canada. To do that we need your friends' signatures on our petition. (We've got yours, THANKS!)
Please help us reach our goal of 10,000 signatures opposing the Enbridge project. Just forward this …

Big Agro Betrays Public Trust – Again

B. McPherson

The following expose is not connected with Establishment #761. It is meant to illustrate what may happen in a factory setting.

Canada’s Food Inspection Agency(CFIA) has issued yet another food recall. This one involves the possible contamination of beef by E. coli . This is the bacterium that may cause ‘hamburger disease’, a sometimes fatal syndrome that destroys internal organs.
The public is warned that it is possible that beef products from plant #761 may be contaminated. The bacterium is found in the lower intestinal tract. You and I have it and it’s fine if it stays there. A great part of your ‘poop’ is E. coli that’s why we are careful to dispose of our excrement. And one of the reasons that we wash our hands carefully after using the toilet.
For this potentially fatal microbe to be in meat it means that feces is believed to be mixed into the meat.
Canadian law does not compel the slaughterhouse to recall its product. The offending meat is recalled on a voluntary ba…

Ethiopian Gov’t Embarked on Genocide

B. McPherson

Ethiopia has a rich resource in the Omo River and Lake Turkana. Fertile lands fed by annual floods provide a renewal of the agricultural land each rainy season. The Omo River falls from the highlands to Lake Turkana providing opportunities for hydro-electric production.
The only obstacle to rapid development of hydro-electricity and massive plantations is that the land is occupied and has been occupied for thousands of years. The people there who have lived peacefully and self sufficiently are being forcibly removed from their traditional areas and herded into small reservations. They will lose their cattle and lose their agricultural lands.
The government of Ethiopia has partly finished the Gibe III Dam which, when finished will be the largest in Africa. The impoundment of water will end the seasonal renewal of the land. On the other hand, electricity generated by the dam will be able to power electric lights in Adis Ababa with enough power left over to sell to other cou…

Flags of Convenience, Terrorism, Environmental Damage and Starvation

B. McPherson
Pirates roam the high seas. They have been blamed for causing environmental damage, for fostering terrorism and for looting the oceans.
Forget the image of Captain Hook or Pirates of the Caribbean. These modern day pirates have business suits and may never sail the high seas.
These pirates don’t fly the Jolly Roger. They fly flags of convenience.
The first flag of convenience is believed to have been flown in the 1920s. After WWII the overseas registry of ships increased as a former US Secretary of State formed a company in conjunction with the country of Liberia. That company eventually devolved to become the International Bank of Washington.
When things got too hot in Liberia with their civil wars other countries with weak pollution laws, few or no international agreements regarding fish quotas, civil rights were targeted. Georgia, Dominica, Belize have offered their flags for sale. The Republic of the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific now is one of the leading r…

Japanese Police Helpless When Confronted With Nationalist Thugs

B. McPherson
The following video is in Japanese and as far as I can tell, it taken by one of the group of thugs. Look on the Sea Shepherd page, link below, for video taken from inside the Cove Guardians' car.

The Cove Guardians in Taiji Japan were attacked by a mob of right wing nationalists on Monday who pushed and shoved through a police presence and jostled the Sea Shepherd Society Cove Guardians. The Guardians were threatened by the thugs who made rude gestures, shouted using a loud hailer, and spat on the car that the environmentalists locked themselves into.
The incident was filmed from inside the car of the activists. At the time they were in the parking lot of the Cove.
“The nationalists returned to the cove and the police forced the Cove Guardians into their cars and out of Taiji.  Then things became truly bizarre.  The nationalists started chasing the police cars that were leading and pushing the Cove Guardian vehicles.  At times there were as many as 10 vehicles in a hig…

Japanese Whale Hunt Over for Season

Operation Divine Wind has successfully curtailed whale slaughter in the Southern Ocean. While they could not stop all the whale kills, they drastically reduced the number of deaths. The Japanese have announced that they killed 266 minke and one fin whale. There stated quota was 1000.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation society had dogged the whaling fleet during its incursion into the Antarctic Ocean seeking to kill whales for ‘research’. There is no commercial whaling allowed in the sanctuary, but the Japanese maintain they are conducting research and even paint “Research” on the sides of their vessels.
The Australian government along with many others doesn’t buy that story and has banned the harpooners from their territorial waters.
The whale wars continued until the last with the two harpoon vessels turning on the Bob Barker and steaming toward it trying to blind the bridge. The Sea Shepherd vessel retaliated with laser lights and distress flares. Since the beginning of the whale hunt i…

Water Dispute Heats Up Nanaimo City vs First Nation

B. McPherson

People are gradually waking up to the fact that the most precious resource we have is water. Without it life as we know it would not exist. Along with that realization is the knowledge that water is a finite resource. Many of the world’s people do not have access to clean abundant water.
Here on the west coast of Canada many refer jokingly to the ‘wet coast’ because of the teeming rainfall in winter. Few realize that much of the east coast of Vancouver Island has a true Mediterranean climate with sparse rainfall in the summer months. As the world’s climate changes there is increasing uncertainty in the reliability of the rainfall or that the snow pack on the mountains will be sufficient to supply ample water to the people and the environment.
The City of Nanaimo is a small, sprawling town that looks to expand its population. Currently there is enough water to supply about 100 000 people and their households. Aging infrastructure and expanding population are driving the c…

Peru Takes Steps to Curb Wildcat Miners

B. McPherson

The Peruvian government has taken a bold step in protecting its environment. They have recently passed a law aimed at illegal or informal miners providing for jail sentences upon conviction. The bill goes further, providing penalties for those who sell equipment to the illegal miners or support the illegal activities.
Illegal mining has been blamed for environmental destruction, including the despoiling of reserves and land set aside for indigenous people.
This move has not been without opposition. Informal miners in Madre de Dios have taken to the streets protesting that the new legislation discriminates against them. Monday saw a gathering of about 5 000 in the streets of Puerto Maldonado demanding the repeal of the law. (Source: Peru thisWeek) But an estimated 30 000 miners operate in this area.
The skyrocketing price of gold has created a gold rush in the Peruvian Amazon east of the Andes Mountains. While 17 tonnes of gold are officially extracted from the region each…

Enbridge Pipeline Spill Kalamazoo River

A pipeline owned by Enbridge broke in July 2010. About a million gallons of crude oil spilled into a tributary to the Kalamazoo River. The oil still lurks in the water. Their pledge to help the environment and the people nearby rings pretty hollow these days.

Hearings are ongoing in Canada as to whether to allow Enbridge build an oil pipeline from Alberta to the BC coast. Ask yourself if you want this running through your neighbourhood.

Accidents can happen, but we expect the person or entity responsible to clean up the mess, not cover it up. John Bolenbaugh has put his life on the line trying to get justice for the environment and the people harmed by Enbridge's Kalamazoo oil spill.

Hartley Bay Residents Open Homes to Strangers -- Again

B. McPherson

Residents of the BC coastal community opened their homes to the public during the hearings about the oil pipeline proposed by Enbridge. It is beginning to look as if the might of the federal government is being brought to bear on the side of the project. The minister for natural resources spoke out before hearings, which are supposed to be neutral fact finding, strongly in favour of the pipeline. The prime minister, Stephen Harper, has stated that the Northern Gateway project is in the national interest. Last week Transport Canada released a report that in effect threw their weight behind the project, dubbing the supertanker routes proposed as “appropriate” and lacking any obstructions to navigation. The report acknowledged that there is always some risk in these undertakings but basically dismissed the coastal people’s concerns.
Including proposed liquefied natural gas terminals in the area, there could be 415 additional oil tankers, liquefied natural gas carriers and bul…

Hong Kong Airlines Agrees to Stop Transporting Dolphins

B. McPherson

Hong Kong Airlines has bowed to pressure from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, school children and an ever growing petition to stop transporting dolphins. The airlines recently flew five recently captured dolphins from Japan to Vietnam for HK$850 000 according to China Daily.
Public outrage has been mounting since a memo circulated to airline staff praising the increased revenue gained by transporting five dolphins from Osaka to Vietnam. Charges of cruelty have been aimed at the airline staff.
February 25 saw the HK offices of the airline company visited by the HK Sea Shepherd coordinator, Gary Stokes, school children and activists who presented a petition and a copy of The Cove, the documentary that exposed the bloody slaughter of dolphins and other marine mammals herded to a gruesome death. Their timing was perfect as the company was holding a recruiting drive at the same time.
In an about face on March 1st Hong Kong airlines issued a letter stating that they wo…