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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Grassy Narrows and the Tragedy of Joe Oliver

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.

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Ring of Fire needs ecosystem planning

First Published in the Sudbury Star May, 2011

Julee Boan and Justin Duncan

The Ring of Fire represents a huge economic opportunity for Ontario. But more surprisingly, it also represents a big environmental opportunity.

As perhaps one of the world’s most valuable chromite deposits, the area represents a chance to open up a whole new field for the Canadian mining industry. With global demand for minerals soaring, there’s a tremendous opportunity in the Ring of Fire to create new jobs and economic opportunities after some hard years in Northern Ontario.

The environmental opportunity is less well-known. Ring of Fire is located in the heart of one of the largest remaining intact ecosystems left on the planet. That’s a pretty astounding statement and sounds like something you would more likely hear about the Amazon.

But careful mapping of the world’s intact forests has zeroed in on the boreal forests and lowlands of Ontario’s far North as one of our last chances to protect a natural system where all the pieces are still in place and working; from wolves and caribou to millions of nesting birds and lakes jumping with fish.

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