Here’s a shout out for all the dads out there, and especially the three in my life – my husband, my father, and my father-in-law. You are all awesome, and I love you. May your pancakes be piled high!
Great video from a BBC documentary:
How much more damage to our land, water, and climate are we willing to tolerate before we just say no to this economic system of death?
This week in Alberta:
A toxic waste spill in northern Alberta has killed off roughly 42 hectares of boreal forest, in what could be the biggest environmental disaster in North America in recent history.
The spill was first discovered on June 1st, about 100 kms south of the border with the Northwest Territories, near the small town of Zama City. Texas-based Apache Corporation, the oil company responsible for the spill, just released their estimate of its size on Wednesday. According to their figures, 9.5 million litres of ‘produced water’ was released into the environment, covering the equivalent of over 50 football fields-worth of land.
And meanwhile, a little further north:
“Permafrost soils are warming even faster than Arctic air temperatures — as much as 2.7 to 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius) in just the past 30 years,” Miller (NASA) said. “As heat from Earth’s surface penetrates into permafrost, it threatens to mobilize these organic carbon reservoirs and release them into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane, upsetting the Arctic’s carbon balance and greatly exacerbating global warming.”
We are very quickly entering into uncharted territory for humans; the planet will recover, she has proven that over millenia. It’s humans whose existence is in peril. Fear is an appropriate response, but if that’s where we stop, then nothing will change and we will go over the climate chaos cliff. It’s time to step off the “cliff” of fear into action, into the unknown. To signal our willingness to each other and to the universe that this will not happen on our watch without us putting up a fight for our children’s – all of the children’s – future. Their eyes are on us, pleading with us to do something, anything. Here’s some inspiration – for we humans are capable of great beauty and self-sacrifice as well as incredible destruction and horror.
It’s TED Talk Thursday on 350orbust, and I’m reposting this talk from TEDx Austin 2011. I’m presenting about GMO/GE foods at a regional diabetes conference this week, and as part of my preparation I listened to Ms. O’Brien’s talk again. Her journey from Wall Street executive to food activist is worth listening to more than once:
June 11, 2013: World Exclusive: Evidence of Harm in GMO Pig Study
- There have been five arrests this week of people protesting the presence of SWN Resources Canada on traditional Mi’kmaq territory in New Brunswick. The protests are being led by First Nations leaders, and are a result of the fears that SWN’s seismic testing will result in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on the land. Read more at “Anti-fracking Arrests Continue on Highway 126″.
- A new report states there are “potentially catastrophic” changes underway in Canada’s northern McKenzie River Basin. Published on Monday, the report from an international panel of scientists warns that Canada’s Mackenzie River basin—among the world’s most important major ecosystems—is “poorly studied, inadequately monitored, and at serious risk due to climate change and resource exploitation” – and is particularly at risk because of the tar sands development:
In a report, nine Canadian, US and UK scientists convened by the US-based Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy, say effective governance of the massive Basin, comprising an area three times larger than France—holds enormous national and global importance due to the watershed’s biodiversity and its role in hemispheric bird migrations, stabilizing climate and the health of the Arctic Ocean.
The panel agreed the largest single threat to the Basin is a potential breach in the tailings ponds at one of the large oil sands sites mining surface bitumen. A breach in winter sending tailings liquid under the ice of the tributary Athabasca River, “would be virtually impossible to remediate or clean-up,” says the report, available in full online. Read more at http://phys.org/
And there was flooding in the Fort McMurray area this week, putting those tailing ponds even more than usually at risk of breaching.
- Brace yourself – a climate scientist from the University of Ottawa is predicting that the Arctic summer ice will disappear this summer. On his blog on Sierra Club Canada‘s website, Paul Beckwith discusses his predictions and reminds us that it’s way past time for an adult conversation about climate change.
This is abrupt climate change in real-time.
Humans have benefited greatly from a stable climate for the last 11,000 years (roughly 400 human generations). Not anymore. We now face an angry climate — one that we have poked in the eye with our fossil fuel stick — and have to deal with the consequences.
We must set aside our differences and prepare for what we can no longer avoid: massive disruption to our civilization.”
Because of all of the above, I have decided to attend the 4th Annual Tar Sands Healing Walk, July 5 & 6 in Fort McMurray Alberta, and join people from across Canada and beyond who are traveling there to support our First Nations in their fight for climate justice. Along with the other participants, I will call on the Alberta and Canadian governments to stop the reckless mismanagement of these resources. Go to HealingWalk.org for more information.
This incredibly brave young man’s story needs to be shared far and wide. 29 year old Edward Snowden, through The Guardian newspaper, went public as the NSA whistleblower yesterday. His revelations last week that the US National Security Agency’s Prism program has direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other internet giants is one of the biggest intelligence leaks in U.S. history. We are all under surveillance all the time, Snowden has revealed. We now know that if any one in power decides to hone in on you, they can go back in time and review all of your internet communications and use any – or all – of it against you. Here’s Snowden himself in conversation with The Guardian in Hong Kong this weekend talking frankly about his decision to put himself at risk for the public good:
Here’s The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald discussing the NSA revelations on Democracy Now:
And here in Canada: Data-collection Program Got Green Light From McKay in 2011:
Defence Minister Peter MacKay approved a secret electronic eavesdropping program that scours global telephone records and Internet data trails – including those of Canadians – for patterns of suspicious activity.
Mr. MacKay signed a ministerial directive formally renewing the government’s “metadata” surveillance program on Nov. 21, 2011, according to records obtained by The Globe and Mail. The program had been placed on a lengthy hiatus, according to the documents, after a federal watchdog agency raised concerns that it could lead to warrantless surveillance of Canadians.
*thanks to fellow climate hawk Doug G for the heads up on this story.*