Sierra Club Blog Posts

This page shows a collection of all of Sierra Club Canada's blog posts, shown in chronological order. To view the full post, click on its title.

Our Numbers are Growing

International Stop the Tar Sands Day 2011 is going to be the biggest event in support of shutting down the Alberta tar sands ever!

BERLIN, GERMANY - Last time I wrote I was bouncing off the walls with excitement because of 10 actions planned for 10 major US cities as part of International Stop the Tar Sands Day on June 18th, 2011. Those numbers seem so small compared to what we have right now.

New events seem to pop up every few days so it is getting hard to keep track. This was our events count the last time I checked:... Read more »

Take a Pic, Stop the Tar Sands!

There is more than one way to stop the tar sands.....

BERLIN, GERMANY - The idea came about in a conversation with Micha, who along with Ries are our organisers of International Stop the Tar Sands Day (June 18th) in Amsterdam. I had traveled to Middelburg, Netherlands shortly after returning to Europe from Mexico to meet Micha for the first time. The federal election had just been called in Canada and I was very doubtful that any our events would get off the ground in Canada this year because most concerned Canadians had thrown themselves into working on the election. Fair enough. A healthy democracy = a healthy environment and vice versa.... Read more »

What was the day called again?

BERLIN, GERMANY – I am sorry that it has been a while since I have written anything for my blog. My adventures in Latin America ended about a month ago and I have been meaning to write, but getting settled back into life in Europe took a lot longer than I thought. I can assure you International Stop the Tar Sands Day (June 18th, 2011) is alive and well! In fact I have some pretty big news to deliver:

On June 15th, LUSH Cosmetics (the people who make those wonderful soaps) will hold their own ´stop the tar sands´ actions across Europe to draw attention to the disaster that is the tar sands and to promote International Stop the Tar Sands Day! What is LUSH planning for June 15th? Well, I could tell you, but that would ruin the surprise! I can tell you that it will be taking place in front of LUSH stores in 20 different European capitals. Stay tuned!... Read more »

Harper’s support for asbestos immoral

When asbestos is cut, ground-up or disturbed, tiny fibres become airborne where they stay for a long time. People working with, or around, asbestos end up with these tiny fibres embedded deep in their lungs.

What happens next is not pretty - the tiny asbestos fibres lead to:
  • pleural diseases and plaques (thickening/hardening of the lining that covers the lungs & chest);
  • mesothelioma and other kinds of lung cancer; and
  • cancers of the larynx and digestive system, including cancer of the esophagus, stomach and colon.

At first, people are short of breath when they do any kind of physical activity. This condition gets progressive worse until people are short of breath even when they are resting. Eventually they cannot breathe.

That’s why Stephen Harper’s support for the asbestos industry is irresponsible vote pandering.... Read more »

To be or not to be

Well, the election that nobody wants is upon us.

We're not partisan, so we don't back a particular party. But we are not disinterested - Sierra Club Canada has a purpose and it has been thoroughly thwarted for the last five years.

So what should our role be in an election? 

Some advise a long-term approach of getting along with all parties, believing the logic of our arguments and truth of our facts will eventually win them all over. This approach prevents you from saying anything too critical during an election as to not alienate the winner. 

Some suggest targeted intervention, drawing attention to party positions and promises. Done in a fair and open way, and treating all parties the same, report cards and other comparisons at least give voters a sense of how the environment might fair after an election.... Read more »

Thinking about Japan ...

I've been hesitating.

It's not like me but what's happening in Japan has given me pause.

Before it's over we may see radiation spread around the entire Pacific. People won't be incinerated - but thousands could develop cancers and fade away in agony.

Meanwhile Michael Binder, head of Canada's nuclear safety commission, will be all over the media assuring us there is “nothing to worry about”, that “CANDUs are different … They’re a different technology” and that there is no earthquake risk: “They’re not near fault lines.”

So were Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.

There is always a way to spin the story but, spin aside, we are taking tremendous, unjustified risks in Canada.  We owe it to our children and theirs to stop the insanity.
... Read more »

We're fighting for our grandchildren

Calgary Herald, March 2, 2011
Letter to the Editor
Re: “Oil's well: Let's starts countering smears against oilsands”, Editorial (March 1)

I'd agree the oil industry has failed to tell its “whole story”. I'd like to think it just didn't understand how to do it, but it’s likely for a darker reason.

Canada made a solemn commitment to future generations when we ratified the Kyoto Protocol - a legally binding treaty - and promised to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

We can keep our promise, and develop the tar sands too, but that would require using some of the tar sands wealth to accelerate GHG reductions in other parts of the economy.
... Read more »

The Newsletter for International Stop the Tar Sands Day is Here!

RIO DULCE, GUATEMALA – To make things that much easier to follow the progress of International Stop the Tar Sands Day this year  we now have a newsletter! I would like to take the credit for it, but it was a friend of mine from the US who put it together. Thank you CJ!

 To subscribe to the newsletter simply send an email (does not matter if it has text or not) to this email address:

stop-the-tar-sands-day+subscribe@googlegroups.com

... Read more »

Dear Minister Kent … about those emails you received

Minister Kent,

I want to apologize for filling your email box. It was my somewhat crude means of demonstrating to you that Sierra Club’s position on climate change is widely supported.  

It is not a complicated position. We believe it’s a moral responsibility to take real action on climate change for the benefit of future Canadians and people around the world.

We also believe our actions need not be the economic Armageddon some members of your government have suggested. This difference of opinion might be the result of a mutual misunderstanding stemming from your government's refusal to sit down and talk about the global climate crisis. We have been trading insults but not much more.
... Read more »

Now that would be a great legacy!

Dear Premier Stelmach,

A decade ago I sat through several presentations on the Alberta Clean Air Strategic Alliance (CASA) approach, adopted and employed by your government, to deal with flaring and natural gas venting.

CASA was established in March 1994 as a ‘new’ way to manage air quality in Alberta. Composed of representatives of industry, government and non-government organizations, the body was tasked with finding a solution and the government would act on their recommendations. And it worked - all expressed great admiration for the approach, process and outcome.

I'm wondering why your government abandoned it.

The government’s recent announcement of a new ‘monitoring panel’ is worrying. Starkly different from the open and inclusive CASA approach, the panel is dominated by industry and excludes key stakeholders, including local residents.... Read more »

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