Global Warming: When science fails to convince, can kitty sneezes carry the day?

Don Clarke’s CJ article “For those who worship climate change”, Thu Oct 16, 2014, and Herman Dost’s “Nothing we can do about climate change”, Mon Oct 20, 2014 make me resort to metaphor.

Had they taken the time to read the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report , or even the Summary, I don’t believe they would have made such comment.

Yes, the earth does go through cycles of warming and cooling. These typically develop over thousands, tens of thousands, or even millions of years and yes, there are aberrations like the 700-year-old medieval blip.

Read moreGlobal Warming: When science fails to convince, can kitty sneezes carry the day?

National Fiddling Day and…

No doubt the double entendre was unintended. However, when a bill calling for a National Fiddling Day is introduced late the same afternoon as a quietly tabled report showing extreme climate effects on Canada’s boreal forests, and coming the day after Prime Minister Stephen Harper shunned the UN global climate summit, we are unfortunately left with an image of Nero fiddling amidst the fires of Rome.

Read moreNational Fiddling Day and…

What’s the use? Why I marched, and what’s next in the fight against climate changers

Lately I’ve been asked a lot about why I decided to march with over 300,000 people in New York City as part of the People’s Climate March that coincided with the UN’s Climate Change Summit.

“Do you really think it’s going to change anything?”

“China’s not going. India’s not going. So what’s the point of a climate change summit if two of the world’s largest carbon emitters are sitting it out?”

Read moreWhat’s the use? Why I marched, and what’s next in the fight against climate changers

Walking With Our Sisters a moving experience

Thursday was my birthday. To celebrate, my wife took me to the Thunder Bay Art Gallery to see the exhibit, Walking With Our Sisters. And, while I knew that it was commemorative in honour of murdered and missing First Nations women, I had no idea that the exhibit would affect me so deeply.

Upon entering, visitors are met and introduced to the significance of what they will see, and then ‘smudged’ by an Elder who blesses you and sets you on your way.

Read moreWalking With Our Sisters a moving experience

How to save the CBC, climate: tune in, demand better

University of Toronto geography professor Danny Harvey recently filed a motion with the National Energy Board urging them to reconsider its refusal to consider the climate change impact of the proposed trans-mountain oil pipeline expansion.

Prof. Harvey’s logic is pretty straightforward. It goes like this:

• New and expanded oil pipelines will facilitate the expansion of tar sands production.
• Expanded tar sands production will significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions.
• Increased greenhouse gas emissions will worsen climate change.
• Worsened climate change will jeopardize the well-being of Canadians, including future generations.

Read moreHow to save the CBC, climate: tune in, demand better

Stranded grain blame misplaced

Curious bit of logic from Warren Kinsella (Pipeline Opponents Go Against Grain — column, July 26). He blames anti-pipeline environmentalists for the backlog of Canadian prairie wheat waiting for transport to market. He states that limited rail capacity due to an increase in oil transport by train, in the absence of pipelines, is the reason.

Citing the Lac Megantic tragedy as a reason to support new tarsands expansion, and the pipelines that would carry its oil to market, Kinsella states: “A pipeline like Keystone would move enough oil, in a single day, to avoid having to make use of 4,200 railway cars to move the same amount. Lac Megantic provides a compelling argument for finally doing so.”

He fails to mention that the Lac Megantic explosion had nothing to do with the tarsands.

Read moreStranded grain blame misplaced

The Environment: It’s time to come clean

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?”

Read moreThe Environment: It’s time to come clean

Let’s all stop digging up bones

Fossil fuels are the skeletal remains of plants and animals that lived millions of years ago. It took eons for geologic processes to concentrate their carbon into coal, gas and oil, but it’s taking only a few hundred years, a mere blink in time, to release it. Seems a risky thing to be doing, as this song suggests.

Feel free to sing this to the tune of Randy Travis’ Diggin’ Up Bones:

Read moreLet’s all stop digging up bones

It’s the economy and the environment, stupid

“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.

Read moreIt’s the economy and the environment, stupid