Showing posts from May, 2012

Enbridge Embarks on Advertising to Change Image

B. McPherson
Enbridge Inc. is working with a slick PR firm to win the hearts and minds of Canadians over. Their proposed Northern Gateway twin pipeline from Alberta to the BC coast has been garnering opposition ever since the scheme was announced.
First Nations people have stood firm in their opposition to the plan to ship crude oil to the coastal town of Kitimat for loading onto super-tankers. The proposed route would snake through unsullied wilderness where the very rare Kermode(white black bears) also known as spirit bears live. The clean cold waters of the coast support a thriving ecosystem and would be devastated if an oil spill occurred. The likelihood of such a spill happening would increase with the number and size of the super-tankers plying the waters.
Many environmentalists have also expressed their concern for the ecology of the province should the proposed route be followed. Their concerns have been pooh poohed by the Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver. The federal…

Deadly Fish Virus Spreads to Washington State

B. McPherson

BC Environmental Protection From Bad to Worse

B.McPherson Diseased salmon being unloaded in Tofino.  Coming hard on the heels of the federal Tories sacking of senior scientists who monitor the health of our oceans, the Provincial Liberals are contemplating passing a gag bill that would make it illegal for people to obtain information about “farm disease epidemics”. Industrial production of fish, meat and poultry is about as far as from what has traditionally been a farm as it can get.
Currently there is a viral epidemic in the fish raising industry. This mostly foreign owned industry uses open nets in the clean clear waters of our coast and has feed lots for fish. They are crowded, fed generously, dosed with antibiotics and drop their copious poop into the water. When an epidemic breaks out the billions of infective agents drift out to the wild salmon stocks, endangering them.
While I am a confirmed carnivore, I will not eat this fish. I had two reasons, the first that the quality of the fish is not as good as the wild and second…

Canada’s Tories Axe Marine Scientists

B. McPherson Will these magnificent creatures go extinct because of pollution? Who will watch for them? In a ham handed move the federal Conservative government has gutted the pollution reporting system for all three oceans that border Canada – the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic. They have given notice to 215 Pacific Region scientists and support staff, leaving five junior scientists to monitor pollution in all three oceans.
Eventually more than 1000 positions in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will be terminated. One of the casualties of this money saving will be scientists Peter Ross, an acknowledged expert on killer whales. He has sounded alarm bells about the high levels of pollution in the tissues of the local orcas especially PCB contamination.
Ross also monitors and reports on other forms of contaminants in the Pacific coastal waters, watching out for sewage, chemical leachates, pesticides and salmon stocks, and this is speculation only – perhaps the effect of oil spills o…

Deadly Virus Hits Salmon Farms

A deadly virus has hit one salmon farm on the west coast of Vancouver Island and has been found in a second one off the west coast of BC known as the Sunshine Coast. Over half a million fish have been killed in the Vancouver Island fish raising operation. The virus when it infects the farmed Atlantic salmon is always fatal. The infectious haemapoietic necrosis is occasionally found in wild Pacific salmon but is not a problem if they encounter the virus in low concentrations. The crowded, net farmed salmon on the other hand, build up viral particles in such numbers that the only solution is to take them out of the water and kill them. The storm of viral particles floats freely and is able to then infect the wild salmon.
There are 131 fish raising operations in the cold, clean Pacific coastal waters. Raising fish in open nets is a multi-million dollar business, mostly run by foreign owned corporations.There are fears that the epidemic will spread throughout the coast endan…

Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd Granted Bail in Germany

B. McPherson

Paul Watson, long time defender of wildlife and the face of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was arrested in Germany on a warrant issued by Costa Rica. The Costa Rican government issued the arrest warrant after asserting that Paul Watson and his crew illegally interfered with a shark finning operation in their territorial waters. The Sea Shepherd Society has a different slant on that story, alleging that they were requested to take action against the poachers by the Costa Rican government.
A quote from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society page follows:
“The fishermen were not injured and their boat was not damaged. The incident was fully documented for the film Sharkwater. Interpol originally denied this extradition order and deemed it as politically motivated. Therefore the question must be asked why Germany is now taking into account accusations made by illegal poachers.”- Captain Paul Watson
There is some credence to the Sea Shepherd version. The shark finning in…

Humanity Will Need Two Earths By 2030 WWF

B. McPherson
The World Wildlife Fund has released its Living PlanetReport 2012 and it is warning humanity that something must be done soon to slow the pillaging of the Earth or we will need the equivalent of two Earths in less than 20 years. The natural resources of Earth are being used up faster than the natural systems can replace them.
The trend in the decline of the Earth’s health is already evident in the loss of biodiversity, particularly in the tropical regions, but averages out at about 30% loss of species since 1970. While many might say no loss if a particular insect disappears, the loss of one species has impact on the viability of others. A basic tenet of ecology is “Everything is connected to everything else.” Poisoning of agricultural land and water coupled with poor husbandry has led to desertification and abandonment of farmland. Humans aid invasive species which upset the delicate balances of plants and animals in an area. Just this morning reports are coming in abou…

Snuneymuxw and VIU Hold Historic Conference

B. McPherson
Chief Douglas White Speaks at Spring Youth Conference

The Snuneymuxw First Nation in conjunction with Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo BC held an historic conference. Before the European colonization of Canada and Vancouver Island in particular, trade and peaceful agreements were made with explorers. This conference sought to deal with those treaties and agreements made before Canada was declared a country. Pre-Confederation Treaties of Vancouver Island was the focus of the two day event.
Leading up to the conference were lectures on the subject in February, March and April. The two day conference on Thursday and Friday was an intensive educational affair with distinguished national and international experts on treaties and law. Hereditary and elected chiefs attended and lent their wisdom to the gathering.
The BC government is currently seeking to enact treaties with the First Nations of the province because many land and other claims have never been settled. There…

Who Will Benefit from Enbridge Pipeline and Oil Sand Extraction

The following is part of the campaign to make people aware of the environmental and economic impact of the Enbridge Northern Gateway project. Feel free to pass it on to interested people.

Take ActionDonateDear Barbara,

It's time to ask the question: Who benefits from the Tar Sands?
Because it's notyou or I.

In a report released today, ForestEthics reveals that 71% of all Tar Sands production is owned by non-Canadian shareholders. Oil companies such as Suncor, Canadian Oil Sands and Husky only look Canadianon the outside. On the inside, Harper is peddling our oil to the highest foreign bidder. Environment be damned.

The Harper Government claims it’s promoting the Tar Sands and pipeline projects on our behalf, but our research shows that’s just not true. Oil profits are benefitting foreign investors and foreign oil companies, while Canadians are left with a toxic legacy and huge clean up bills. That’s not okay.
It's time to set the record straight. I’m airing Harp…

Dene Leader Says We Are the Wall Enbridge Shall Not Pass

B. McPherson

In an interview on national television this morning a leader of the Yinka Dene Alliance spoke with quiet conviction about their opposition to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline.The Alliance were in Toronto in order to attend Enbridge’s AGM to explain again why they will not let the pipeline through their traditional territory.
I was drinking my first cup of coffee for the day and didn’t catch the dignified woman’s name. She quietly explained that they represented over 130 First Nations groups in the province of BC and had gathered support from other indigenous people as they travelled from Vancouver to Toronto. Not just indigenous Canadians support their action, over 100 000 have taken the time to sign petitions against the scheme. Her words were striking when she said, “We are the wall. Enbridge shall not pass.”

“We are going to stop this pipeline, and we are proud to have the vast majority of people in BC standing behind us."Market Wire

While many Can…

NOAA Releases Images of Dead and Dying Animals in BP Oil Blowout

B. McPherson

NOAAhas released to the public images showing the dead and dying animals when the Deepwater Horizon, BP’s oil drilling platform devastated the Gulf of Mexico with its months long oil blowout. Until now only a few photos of oiled birds have been shown to the public. Emphasis was placed on the rescue and release of oiled animals and beach clean up so tourists would return.
Millions of gallons of dispersants were released into the Gulf waters to try a quick clean up. Volatile fractions of the surface oil slick evaporated into the atmosphere. There has been little information given about the health implications on the sea life or people exposed.
BP has agreed to pay US $7.8 billion for its part in the environmental disaster. People who feel they have a claim against the corporation can line up for a settlement handout or go it alone in trying to get redress.
People died directly when the drilling platform exploded in flames. People were sickened by the fumes from the spilled…

Dead Birds Dead Dolphins Wash Up on Peru’s Coast

B. Mcpherson
The cause of the dolphin deaths has been attributed to a measles like virus. No answers yet about the pelican deaths Thousands of deaths have occurred in the waters off Peru. Dolphins have been washing ashore in large numbers and thousands of sea birds, mostly pelicans have littered the shore. The jury is still out on the cause of death of the birds, but the culprit in the deaths of the dolphins has been named. Samples were sent out of country to confirm the suspicions that a virus caused the mammals deaths.

“Specialists from the Marine Mammal Center (MMC), in the United States, have confirmed the death of thousands of dolphins in northern Peru was caused by the ‘morbillivirus’.”Peru this Week
The numerous carcasses of the marine mammals have not been removed from the public and incinerated or otherwise safely disposed of, leading to criticism from an environmental NGO that the highly contagious virus might be able to “species jump” to humans.
The thousands of dead pelica…

Japan Shuts Last of Nuclear Reactors

B. McPherson In spite of assurances of safety, nuclear power stations in Japan remain vulnerable to damage from earthquakes and tsunamis.
The Tomari Nuclear Power Station shut down their reactors for routine maintenance. There is speculation that all the nuclear power stations may remain shut down. Japan is moving into the summer months when demand for electricity for air conditioning soars. Nuclear power provided about 30% of that nation’s power supply before the Fukushima Daiichi disaster last year.
Before the Fukushima disaster, the nuclear power industry was expected to expand its production to provide 50% of the power needs over the next 20 years. Imports of liquefied natural gas(LNG), coal and oil have been ramped up to feed the thermal plants. Even so, there are predictions of electrical shortages throughout the country.

"I have to say we are facing the risk of a very severe electricity shortage," said the economy, trade and industry minister, Yukio Edano, adding that…

Air Pollution in USA Hits Decade Low

B. McPherson            

Since the Clean Air Act in the US was instituted in 1990 efforts have been made to limit pollutants. Now there is some good news. The American Lung Association(ALA) has announced findings that ozone and particulate matter in the air are the lowest they have been since the group started monitoring in 2000. 
The ALA estimates that the measures started in 1990 have saved the lives of hundreds of thousands Americans and added nearly half a year to their life expectancy.
There is still work to be done.

“The ALA warns that some 127 million Americans – more than 40 percent of the population – still live in areas that it graded with an F for air quality. These people suffer pollution levels that are often too dangerous to breathe, the report says.” Christian Science Monitor

California contains some of the country’s most pollution affected cities. Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Fresno and Hanford have air that is problematic. A combination of sunny days, high vehicle usage …