Gwynne Dyer at University of Regina

I’ve been to two other Gwynne Dyer lectures at the U of R, and each time they are very interesting presentations of what has happened in the world. There is also a little predicting going on, so if you’re curious what could happen, settle in, and listen to it all.

 

Action vs. Action Plans #GivePollutionAChance

The Liberals would like to tell you that they’ve spent a year making Real Change (TM) in Canada, since being elected in October, 2015. Undeniably, Canada has some notable differences and improvements since Harper was booted. Still, there are promised changes, not hard to make, that are forever being dangled like carrots, potentially left to lead voters to the polls yet again in 2019 to return the Red Tide.

And there is plenty of low-hanging fruit growing rotten on the vine, as a result of Government and Liberal delays. We’ve no new electoral system yet. We still can’t buy pot in a store or grow it in our yard without incurring the wrath of the Nixon/Reagan Racist War on Drugs. And freshly made micro-plastics continue to pollute our waterways and lakes, despite Canadian scientists confirming about a year ago they are a toxin.

Got this email on Friday from Environment and Climate Change Canada:

[…] The proposed Regulations would phase in prohibitions for the manufacture, import, sale or offer for sale of toiletries that contain plastic microbeads including non-prescription drugs and natural health products.
On February 9, 2016, ECCC published a consultation document for a 30-day public comment on the proposed Regulations […]
Stakeholders will have until January 19, 2017 to submit written comments on the proposed Regulations. […]
For further information on the Government of Canada’s actions on microbeads, please visit www.chemicalsubstanceschimiques.gc.ca/plan/approach-approche/microb-eng.php.
Xin Gao
Acting Director, Products Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada
ec.produits-products.ec@canada.ca
This is a fine example of the Liberal government erring on the side of protecting corporate, short term economic gains, for the creation of inter-generational health and environmental pain. And they have the gall to call it “action”.
I’m more than a little pissed off about this.
I replied to them, and my MP Ralph Goodale:
Dear Xin Gao:

I’m dismayed to see that microbeads are still not yet banned from sale in Canada. They were ruled toxic by Government of Canada scientists almost a year ago, and still the Government dithers and proposes fully banning them only 2 years from now? There’s an expression about not being able to put the toothpaste back into the tube, and it applies very aptly to this dangerous problem. Stop squeezing the toxic tube, and get microbeads off our shelves now.

Please, do not delay, and protect our water from the micro-plastic toxin.

Sincerely,

John Klein

Regina, SK

The Conservatives’ Canadian Economic Action Scam, err, Plan, may have been mostly a scam, but even it managed to put some shovels into the ground and could arguably be called action. The Liberals’ Canada Climate Action department can’t even stop the steady flow of a known toxin from going into our water without consulting Canadians about it for over 2 years.

The prohibition of the manufacture and import of exfoliating or cleansing toiletries that contain plastic microbeads, excluding natural health products or non- prescription drugs, is targeted to come into effect on January 1, 2018, with the prohibition of the sale or offer for sale of these products by July 1, 2018. Prohibitions would come into effect for the manufacture and import of exfoliating or cleansing non-prescription drugs and natural health products, (see footnote 10) such as toothpaste that contains plastic microbeads, on July 1, 2018, with a prohibition on the sale or offer for sale of these products by July 1, 2019.

Liberals wouldn’t want manufacturers and retailers of toxic cosmetics to lose their evil/bad investment by having to pull unsold toxic merch’ off the shelves before Canada Day 2019. Is that so when we go to the polls in October, the memory of Liberals freshly banning a toxic product is on the minds of ecologically minded people who missed the history of them dragging their damned heels?

9 months ago I asked them to ban the microbeads now. Instead, the Liberals have opted to Give Pollution A Chance.

Continue reading

Too Much Climate Change Truth

Brad Wall’s “plan is laughable“. That’s because it isn’t a plan to address climate change, it’s a plan to sweep it under the rug for another decade. Too bad we’re short of time and marching toward oblivion.

Clearly, Wall now thinks we’ve fallen a long way as a province since the early days of his tenure in office — in terms of not only our fiscal situation, but also our generosity as a community.

This week, as part of his laughable excuse for a climate change plan, Wall started demanding that Canada’s federal government strip desperately needed resources away from some of the poorest people on the planet in order to preserve Saskatchewan’s standing as the world’s most reckless air polluter.

If Wall were to get his way, Canada would stand out as the most callous and irresponsible developed country on the planet.

Brad Wall is ignoring reality, for the benefit of greed.

When it comes to climate change, Saskatchewan’s plan is akin to an ostrich sticking its head in the sand.

Premier Brad Wall literally wants to bury our troubles. He wants to dig up fossil fuels and then bury them in another form. Carbon capture and storage might work, for a while. But it will not work near as effectively as just leaving the carbon in the ground in the first place.

A price on carbon will help us slow the rate at which we dig up our future and might enable us the time and opportunity to find a better way to build a sustainable and just society.

The great political theorist John Dryzek labels people like Wall as “Prometheans.” In Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind. He symbolizes progress. Prometheans such as Wall believe that the story of human history is the story of progress.

They argue that nature has no limits, because once a resource runs out, clever people will find a new resource. Or, in the context of CO2 emissions, if humans hit the upper limit of emissions, someone will figure out a way to solve the problem without actually having to recognize limits. This is because those such as Wall recognize no limits to growth.

This is a rather hubristic position for a premier who oversees a province in which the economy is shrinking and natural resources — from grasslands to migratory birds to fresh water — are disappearing.

Most scientists agree that human generated CO2 emissions are changing the Earth’s climate. Economists, policy-makers, and politicians across the globe agree that a price on carbon is an effective way to reduce human-caused CO2 emissions. This is not a case of either-or. We do not require either technology or the economy. We need both.

We need every tool in the tool box. Saskatchewan needs to continue investing in technology that might help to mitigate climate change. And we all need to invest in adaptation strategies. But we also need to start paying for the environmental externalities associated with CO2 emitting behaviours. A price on carbon is one tool.

This is not an “economy versus the environment” issue, as Wall suggests. The economy is the environment. If Saskatchewan cannot grow lentils anymore because of unpredictable rain patterns, its economy cannot be strong. If there is no water left for hydraulic fracturing because of drought, the economy cannot be strong.

We do not choose between the economy and the environment because they are intertwined.

Wall warned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the other provinces that Saskatchewan “will fight for our interest, in the court of public opinion and, if need be, in the courts of the land.” Wall might win the battle on principle, but Saskatchewan will lose the war on climate change and environmental degradation.

The costs will be greater than we can bear. Now is not the time to bicker over technology or the economy. It is too late. We need to invest in technology and we need to invest in the environment. A national price on carbon will cost real dollars, but it is a small fee for standing on the right side of history.

Andrea Olive is an assistant professor of political science and geography at the University of Toronto. She’s from Regina and has a summer home in Saskatchewan.

Liberal 1 Year Report Card

The Trudeau Liberals returned to power on October 19, 2015. In the last year they’ve done some things I’ve disagreed with, and some things I approve of. I’ll list them from memory, because if I can’t recall them, they probably didn’t leave too much of a negative or positive impression:

Good:

B -Allowed 25000+ new refugees into Canada, reversing a xenophobic, and Islamophobic decision by Chris Alexander and Stephen Harper. Missed their deadline, or this would have been an A.

B -Made shirtless PMs cool again.

B -Instructed provinces to finally put a price on carbon pollution, in hopes that the market place will spur improvements where ethics and good judgement haven’t.

B -Provided his wife with a platform, another nanny, and also brought gender parity to Cabinet. Parity pay will come later perhaps.

 

Bad:

Incomplete -Promised to decriminalize pot, but hasn’t done more than appoint a former Toronto cop to the file. This ex-cop is partly responsible for Canada’s largest illegal mass arrest during the G20 in Toronto years ago.
(Multiple people I spoke to listed this issue as central to his promises, and they’re also disappointed in the speed at which this change is taking place. It’s so bad, it’s to the point of people expecting a reversal.)

Incomplete -Promised to end First Past The Post (FPTP), but has dithered, and recently even backtracked on the promise. Doesn’t seem to realize/care that electoral reform looks very different once you’re in power.

F -Promised action on climate change, but hasn’t done more than appoint a Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Minister McKenna made an effort to engage Canadians online to obtain their ideas, but we’ve yet to see a single one implemented. She’s also stated in Paris that her goal is to stop climate change at 1.5 degrees, but then adopted a bad Conservative target instead. She also approved, with Minister Carr, the PNWLNG plant in B.C. which will ramp up Canadian emissions and provide dead-end jobs in the fossil fuel industry.

D -Sought comments on banning microbead plastic, instead of just banning the toxic crap from cosmetics and other polluting products. Yahoo! even quoted me in their story about it.

F -Promised to review Big-Brother Bill C-51, but hasn’t done anything about the rights-violating law.

 

We’re at status-quo Canada, and after 10 years of Harperism, that’s pretty close to a Fail.

Foreseeable Future of Oil

Cameron MacGillivray, the president and CEO of Enform, says he’s not hearing [a year and a half ago] many concerns about the job market of the future. Rather than getting questions about the oil and gas industry prospects, he says he is asked about what kinds of jobs are most in demand and how much opportunity young people have for career advancement in their respective fields. Due to the still-high demand for oil and other fossil fuels in the medium term, and the size of global reserves, he sees them playing a major role in the energy supply chain of tomorrow. “All the indicators are that hydrocarbons are an important source of energy for the foreseeable future,” he says.

Enform is the upstream oil and gas industry’s advocate and leading resource for the continuous improvement of safety performance (training, resources, COR)”

OK, let’s examine MacGillivray’s claim a bit. First, I think it’s crucial you understand to avoid melting our ice caps, and flooding our coastal cities, requires us to remain somewhere below 1.5 degrees C climate change. To avoid exceeding 1.5 degrees means we cannot pollute our atmosphere with Green House Gases (GHGs) past our permissible “carbon budget”. Our carbon budget to hit 2 degrees change is exceeded 5 times over, if we burn the “global reserves” MacGillivray cited. Clearly not “all the indicators” are that hydrocarbons are with us for the “forseeable future”, so long as we accept that we must not burn them all in order to save some of civilization’s greatest cities.

#NDEW2016

Continue reading

This Morning In Police Shootings…

#ERRE Electoral Reform Committee in Regina

ERRE

First Expert guests I watched presenting to the committee were unable to understand French question fired at them because they were not equipped with translation headphones. Nathan Cullen leaped up and got the headsets for them.

Me and MP Nathan Cullen in Regina after #ERRE committee meeting open mic I spoke at.

CLC points out they are a political org and that is why they are interested in this subject of electoral reform.

Now May is questioning Prof. Jim Harding. Interesting there are few environmentalists who’ve presented to this committee thus far, she notes. Is there a connection between FPTP and lackluster environmental protections.

Justice is at the centre of principles for this committee, he says. Beauty is also central to all societies, including environmental beauty. We have local representatives, but they presently have to bow to some special interests over the collective wishes of their constituents.

Ruby S. with a question to CLC now. Union polls, etc. Not keeping my interest.

Also I’m thinking about what I will say. I don’t want FPTP, and want the PM to keep his promise that last election was the last time.

I’m the youngest person in the gallery of observers, only a woman behind me is the same generation. About 35 here to watch or speak. Maybe some will come tonight to speak? I doubt it. I feel compelled to mention it and ask that whatever system change is made the committee also change voting age down to 15 or 16 to create interest in our politics among young people.

If they don’t grow up voting they are less likely to care. They grow up disenfranchised teenagers able to drive and participate in society in most ways except choosing our lawmakers.

I told story of time I voted at University versus at parent’s riding, thus triggering a tie vote in that other riding.

Dave Orban speaking on behalf of non human organisms. Humans could be voted off the planet. MMP favoured by his constituents.

First woman at open mic. is a PR supporter. Doesn’t like strategic voting. Global warming is most urgent issue of our time. Earth cannot last another Harper style government.

“We’ve become a backwater.” In how we don’t have PR, what stable countries tend to use.

Next woman said other presentations were great and committee is on an adventure meeting Canadians.

Next man wants a referendum and “didn’t vote for this government”. Wants them to take their time.

Voted for 20 years and never been represented by her choice. She is a parent of teenagers “I’m used to not being listened to.” “FPTP is undermining Rule of Law”.
People may feel they shouldn’t follow the law if they don’t have a say in how laws are made. People will stand in front of bulldozers to stop pipelines and not pay taxes and that’s a problem.
-Really good presentation by Patricia Farnese

Jane had a good presentation too.

Next guy wants a referendum. Doesn’t trust Liberals to get it right. Concerned extreme parties could elect MPs.

May thanks crowd after.
Me and Elizabeth May in Regina after #ERRE.