23. March 2015 · Comments Off on The terrorists we know by Peter Lang · Categories: Activism, Corporate Irresponsibility, Democracy Undermined, Economic Policy, Energy Policy, Social Justice

First published in the Chronicle Journal
Saturday, March 21, 2015
I suppose that Stephen Harper must believe that if he plays the terrorist card he will win a majority of votes in the upcoming election — but I think he’s wrong. This time I believe voters will see through Bill C-51 and its overblown scare tactics. In truth, I’m more concerned about the terrorists we know. More »

19. January 2015 · Comments Off on Gambling our future away? · Categories: Climate Policy, Economic Policy, Jason MacLean

Our elected leaders are compulsive gamblers, turns out. Crazy, right?

Let’s begin with the fact that the federal government has been bluffing since 2006 that it would introduce sector-by-sector regulations for greenhouse gas emissions, including Alberta’s tar sands, the fastest growing source of carbon pollution in Canada. More »

27. October 2014 · Comments Off on This changes everything, but how is the question · Categories: Climate Policy, Economic Policy, Jason MacLean, Transformative Ideas

With condolences to climate change deniers and other card-carrying members of the Flat Earth Society (yes, it’s a thing), the troubling reality of climate change has arrived (again).

Exhibit A is the U.S. Pentagon’s recent report asserting with Pentagon-like assertiveness that climate change poses a real and present danger to national security.

What’s at stake? For starters, climate change increases the risks associated with terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages.

The Pentagon’s report proceeds to map out how the U.S. military will adapt to rising sea levels, violent storms and widespread and protracted droughts. More »

14. July 2014 · Comments Off on The Environment: It’s time to come clean · Categories: Climate Crisis, Climate Policy, Economic Policy, Jason MacLean, Pipelines-Tarsands

It’s time to come clean about the environment. Trigger warning: Popular myths are about to be debunked.

Myth #1: We can’t live without the tar sands.

Let’s start with Alberta’s tar sands, now rebranded as the “oilsands.” Globe and Mail columnist Konrad Yakabuski asks, in an oddly plaintive tone, “will we ever be proud of our oilsands?” More »

30. June 2014 · Comments Off on It’s the economy and the environment, stupid · Categories: Climate Crisis, Climate Policy, Economic Policy, Jason MacLean

“It’s the economy, stupid” was the signal theme of Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 U.S. presidential campaign. A more apt slogan today would be “it’s the economy and the environment, stupid.”

Here’s why. Climate change poses, not only enormous dangers to our natural environment, but also — as if that weren’t enough — equally enormous risks to our economic well-being. More »

14. April 2014 · Comments Off on Canada’s third national policy — us · Categories: Democracy Undermined, Economic Policy, Jason MacLean, Transformative Ideas

Canada’s Third National Policy is an essay every Canadian should read, and an idea that every Canadian should embrace.

In Canada’s Third National Policy, Rod Macdonald and Bob Wolfe argue that Canada has evolved through three national policies.

Canada’s first national policy (np1) was a response to the Great Depression of 1873 and consisted of tariffs to prop up Canadian manufacturers, immigration to the prairies and the construction of a transcontinental transportation infrastructure. Sir John A. Macdonald’s National Policy of 1879 was a superb — if cynical — campaign slogan, and it still fires the ambitions of his party today. More »

04. September 2013 · Comments Off on Alternatives to Capitalism, Part 2: Climbing Down From Growth · Categories: Climate Policy, Economic Policy, Energy Policy, Scott Harris

One alternative to free-market capitalism is degrowth, which Louis Marion in A Fitting Idea for Fateful Times describes as “a rallying cry for the preservation of our world.” Richard Heinberg in The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Reality thinks the limitless growth paradigm of industrial civilization is colliding with non-negotiable natural limits. He believes that resource depletion, environmental impacts and crushing levels of debt force us to question the validity of capitalism.

Degrowth advocates, as the term suggests, even see “sustainable development” as a contradiction in terms, “a way to maintain profits and avoid making substantive changes to our habits.” More »

03. September 2013 · Comments Off on Alternatives to Capitalism, Part 1: Perpetual growth on finite planet delusional · Categories: Economic Policy, Fouling the Earth, Scott Harris, Social Justice

A recent writer questioned the widely-held belief that free-market capitalism, based on infinite growth and supported by relatively cheap fossil-fuel energy, was sustainable (Our Ubiquitous Deadly Addiction — commentary, July 22). Freda Davies suggested we look at other economic models.

So what’s wrong with free-market capitalism?

The Cochabamba Summit: Documents of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (Bolivia, April 2010) is helpful: “Under capitalism, Mother Earth is converted into a source of raw materials, and human beings into consumers and a means of production, into people that are seen as valuable only for what they own, and not for what they are. It is an imperialist system of colonization of the planet.” More »

20. July 2013 · Comments Off on Our ubiquitous deadly addiction · Categories: Climate Crisis, Climate Policy, Economic Policy, Freda Davies

Lac Mégantic. Kalamazoo River. Gulf of Mexico. Red Deer River. Prince William Sound. What do these and countless other locations all have in common? No doubt about it: Big Disasters caused by Big Oil.

How about record floods in Calgary, Toronto, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg — and around the world: Europe, China and elsewhere? Hurricane Katrina. Superstorm Sandy. Record droughts as well, with crop failures and uncontrollable fires. More »

17. July 2013 · Comments Off on The end of growth · Categories: Climate Crisis, Economic Policy, Fouling the Earth, Peter Lang

In response to Barry Beaupre’s request to The Chronicle-Journal to make climate change a priority you indicated that you had published some 299 articles on the subject over the last year (A Knowledge of Climate — letter, July 10). I have noticed, and I applaud your efforts. However, I believe that we are still missing the point — which is that we have an underlying errant belief in the myth of economic growth. And that belief is linked powerfully to our inability to stop or even mitigate climate change.

In The Chronicle-Journal editorial of July 11, entitled The Trains Among Us, you focused on the dangers posed by the exponential use of trains to haul oil, and concluded with a call for “more effective regulatory vigilance.” Yet the underlying and unquestioning economic assumption remained that oil (it would seem all of it) “has to reach markets.” After those 299 articles it leaves me to wonder when the 100th monkey will look at the same big picture and finally come to a different conclusion. More »

05. October 2012 · Comments Off on Review of Paul Gilding’s The Great Disruption · Categories: Barry Beaupre, Climate Crisis, Climate Policy, Economic Policy

At the time I finished reading The Great Disruption by Paul Gilding, CBC news carried the story that we have lost 50% of the Great Barrier Reef due to degradation of the ocean environment off the coast of Australia. This news was on top of the ongoing stories of unprecedented crop losses in the U.S. midwest due to long term drought and the ever increasing loss of arctic sea ice the extent and speed of which has left climate scientists stunned and fearful for the implications this will have on the arctic environment and traditional global climate patterns.

These events serve to add to the growing fear held by many that we seem to be inevitably heading to the abyss of uncontrolled and unpredictable climate change which will threaten the very existence of human civilization as we know it. It is very hard to maintain a positive outlook when feeling so overwhelmed by the constant unfolding of bad and dire environmental news. More »

08. June 2012 · Comments Off on Grassy Narrows and the Tragedy of Joe Oliver · Categories: Democracy Undermined, Economic Policy, Fouling the Earth, Peter Globensky, Social Justice

Forty years ago I had the privilege of working with and securing financial resources for First Nation representatives and civil society organizations seeking redress from Dryden (REED) Pulp and Paper for the suffering inflicted on the residents of Grassy Narrows and White Dog First Nations and the destruction of an important life-sustaining ecosystem. Over an eight year period beginning in 1962 and without the benefit of environmental regulation, the company dumped nearly ten tons of methyl mercury, a lethal neurotoxin, into the Wabigoon River system. More »