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.

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:

... 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 »

Love that Tars Sands project

My good buddy Brad asked me to expand on a comment I made in the Globe and Mail last week. I said governments have “never seen a tar sands project they didn’t love”. Or something like that. He thought it would make a great blog theme.

I’ll get to it.

I just saw that Imperial Oil (the Canadian branch of the world’s biggest oil company ExxonMobil) made a huge profit last year, and it took me off on a different tangent … or maybe not.

Every year the federal government loses more than a billion dollars because of preferential tax benefits to oil and gas companies. It’s a huge subsidy for one of the most profitable industries in the country.... Read more »

Heart breaking, but shocking?

Watching the news from Australia and Brazil last week left me heartbroken. People who have spent their lives creating homes and communities have watch helplessly as everything has been swept away.

In little more than a blink of an eye their worlds have changed forever.

Recent severe rain storms, first in Pakistan and now in Australia and Brazil, have caused unprecedented flooding.

Now I know we can't scientifically link these huge storms to global warming, but on the other hand we can't scientifically prove they weren't caused by it either.

We can look at the climate models, and see they predicted just these kinds of weather events.

In November I did an interview with a radio station in Iqaluit. The topic was the Iqaluit goverment’s announcement of its intention to create a marine protected area in the Arctic.... Read more »

Forget about the Saudis. Let's clean up our own backyard!

We have a new environment Minister and, as usual, a new spin to go with him. He wasn't in the job a whole day before he starting talking about "ethical oil" - an oxymoron to most of us, but a popular line in right-wing circles these days.

The next day the Prime Minister made it official when used the same phrase.

Like any good diversionary tactic it has all of us scrambling to come up with the right arguments to refute the notion that there is such a thing as ethical oil, and do the tar sands qualify?

Lookout! It's a debating trap designed to change the argument from what's wrong with the tar sands to what's good about them. A clever trick - but that's all it is.... Read more »

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