Weather Whys, January 27, 2013

December was the third warmest in the Thunder Bay record. It reinforced that 2012 was easily the warmest year in the long term record. For statistical people, last year was about a 3-sigma event, highly unlikely to have happened by chance.

I saw a report that claimed that NASA identified 2012 as a “cool year” for the world. This seemed highly unlikely because NASA scientists at least two months ago had identified 2012 as the ninth warmest of any year since 1880, continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures.

Read moreWeather Whys, January 27, 2013

Weather Whys, January 13, 2013

Dangerous weather trends – dangerous policies
It is the middle of winter with exceptionally high temperatures and a massive reduction in energy use for space heating. Yes, there is minimal snow, but much less wear and tear on winter coats, skis and snow shovels. Recent days in the region featured afternoon conditions more typical of early April.

Read moreWeather Whys, January 13, 2013

Making a buck and turning a blind eye

So it’s OK for John Baird to “quietly” allow Canadian gun dealers to sell fully automatic assault weapons, banned in Canada, to Colombians (Canada Opens Colombia to Gun Sellers — story in Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal, Jan 3, 2013). It’s OK for Canada to contribute to mayhem in far-off places, as long as there’s a buck to be made at home. I’m guessing we’re already selling these Newtown specials to certain gun-happy Americans.

Read moreMaking a buck and turning a blind eye

We’re all Treaty People

Two eagles circled in a cold, sunny, winter-solstice sky, high above the Idle No More rally at Spirit Garden, Thunder Bay. This is true. At the same time a young Aboriginal speaker was telling us that, “We’re all treaty people”. I had never considered it. Yet, if you reason that the treaties were signed between aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples – indeed, we are all treaty people. Accordingly, should we not accept that together we’re all responsible to maintain the spirit and intent of the treaties?

Read moreWe’re all Treaty People

Work past politicians. Get involved in climate

I am a loyal reader of Gwynne Dyer’s column, World View, published regularly by The Chronicle-Journal. I was particularly struck by the disheartening conclusion to his article of Dec. 11, entitled Climate Talks: Coasting Towards Disaster.

I don’t dispute his history chronicling the sad tale of failed effort after failed effort to arrive at an honourable and committed global consensus on dealing with the urgent need to meet the challenge of Climate Change before it is too late.

But, I do take issue with Dyer’s conclusion that it appears all is lost

Read moreWork past politicians. Get involved in climate

Weather Whys, December 16, 2012

From world events to our backyard
The United Nations (UN) acknowledged in 1988 that climate change was a critical global issue at a major meeting in Toronto. The UN has scheduled a huge climate change conference every December since the early 1990s. Perhaps the most important was held in Kyoto, Japan in 1997 which resulted in the Kyoto Protocol, a world treaty signed by all countries present.

Read moreWeather Whys, December 16, 2012

A northern heritage fund

From having followed the Ring of Fire story over the last year, I believe that it is clear that the province is not negotiating effectively on its citizens’ behalf — and I would like to support The Chronicle-Journal’s editorial of Oct. 19 (Two Approaches to Northern Mines). However, with respect to your stance on mining negotiations with the province, I would suggest that The Chronicle-Journal go two steps further. First, I’d urge you to advocate for full environmental hearings; and secondly, for a Northern Heritage Fund.

Read moreA northern heritage fund

To Minister of Environment on Ring of Fire Project

CITIZENS UNITED FOR A SUSTAINABLE PLANET

October 15, 2012

The Honourable Peter Kent
Minister of Environment Canada
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
10 Wellington Street, 28th Floor
Gatineau, QC K1A 0H3

Dear Minister Kent,

We have recently formed a new group in Thunder Bay, Citizens United for a Sustainable Planet. Our vision is a commitment to “engaged communities, a healthy environment, social and ecological justice, and a participatory democracy.” Our mission is to “create public awareness and engage citizens everywhere to require our governments and economic institutions to act in the best interests of ecological resilience and social justice.”

We are writing to support Matawa First Nations call for a Joint Review Panel Environmental Assessment, rather than the currently designated Comprehensive Study, for the Cliffs Chromite Project.

Read moreTo Minister of Environment on Ring of Fire Project

Review of Paul Gilding’s The Great Disruption

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.

Read moreReview of Paul Gilding’s The Great Disruption

To the Prime Minister on Closure of Experimental Lakes

Citizens United for a Sustainable Planet – CUSP

Wednesday, October 4, 2012

Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Dear Mr. Harper,

Citizens United for a Sustainable Planet (CUSP) joins the 37 municipalities of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA), and the science community of Canada and the world at large, in asking you to rescind your May 2012 decision to close the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) research station near Vermillion Bay in Northwestern Ontario.

Read moreTo the Prime Minister on Closure of Experimental Lakes