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.

Danger in the world of worldviews

Ideology is a dangerous thing.

In the never-ending debate over values and priorities there is a constant temptation to form opinions. While it can be said the wisest among us know we know nothing – so goes the famous Socratic line – many of us are tempted to at least venture the odd thought. And humans have a remarkable preference for consistency. Over time, we arrange our opinions accordingly, expunging the notions that don’t mesh with the shape of the larger picture.

To my mind that’s all well and good. Socrates may have been a stand-up guy, but without decisions and opinions you’re a formless lump. The trick is ensuring there is room for doubt – and so more questioning, more reflection, refinement of pre-existing arguments, forever and ever.
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'Twas the Night Before International "Stop the Tar Sands!" Day

Tomorrow, Europe will finally know what the words "tar sands" mean!

 

BERLIN, GERMANY - What a week. What a month. What a summer! At the beginning of June, it looked like we were only going to have two small demonstrations (London, England and Berlin, Germany). Instead tomorrow  Berlin and London will be joined by Copenhagen, Denmark and London, Ontario. In fact, International "Stop the Tar Sands!" Day already started today with actions in BC and Utah (near site of proposed tar sands project). In Amsterdam, Vienna and Paris groups are eager to launch their actions this September. Tomorrow is only the beginning.... Read more »

Part 3 of NRCan offshore oil practices

I start this part on the offshore oil extraction regulated by NRCan by saying this is the last part of the three parts of documents for NRCan that I will do for a little while. I will be concentrating in the weeks to come on documentation that will go towards creating questions for members of the Sierra Club for the “Sit in with the Public review of Arctic Safety and Offshore drilling” directed by the National Energy Board (NEB).
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Maybe Alberta should rethink

So Premier Stelmach's blood pressure is up over the "Rethink Alberta" ad campaign. My question is, What did he expect? My personal involvement with the government of Alberta goes back to the National Process on Climate Change in 1998-99.... Read more »

Ottawa to Halifax - WINNAR!

That's right my fans (Mom and Auntie Kim), I have arrived safe and awesome in Halifax, thus ending my bike trip....OR DOES IT?!?! No, it does not. I actually plan to now finish up that last pesky little chunk of Canada that I did not get to do at the start due to my knee injury / late departure. So once I get into Vancouver I will ride home to Vernon! For anyone in Vernon who reads my blog, come on down to Kal beach to greet me and have fun in the sun on Tuesday, July 20th sometime between 3:00 and 6:00 PM. Without further prattling however, I present the last stages of my ride: Ottawa to Halifax.

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Political logic

I recently listened to David Suzuki interviewing Jim Prentice on CBC. What struck me most wasn’t the government’s approach to climate change – which is widely and rightly condemned – but the government’s approach to logic.

Once upon a time, I was a philosophy student.  That line of study provided a fascinating opportunity to look at logical continuity. It’s not rocket science: you start from a set of premises, and work your way to a conclusion in a consistent manner. In theory, problems of politics find their root in incompatible premises – opposing worldviews that can lead two sides to dramatically different positions. Luckily, one would think, the climate change debate is largely scientific and so depends on empirical observation. As long as everyone accepts the premise that science provides objective insights into the ways of the world, we should reach similar conclusions.
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Strong-arming the citizens of Ottawa

So now you need to put up $50,000 before you can take the City of Ottawa to court.

The citizens' group that formed to save the Blanding's turtle and the South March Highlands could be forced to pay the money up front before their application for a judicial review and injunction can be heard. Pretty shocking considering the City has a policy of not seeking costs from citizens' groups.

What's Mayor O'Brien trying to hide that he would stoop to such strong arm tactics to prevent legal scrutiny of the Terry Fox Drive extension?

Plenty. The South March Highlands are one of the most unique and valuable ecological areas of the city. For O'Brien, the goal is to move ahead before too many people find out. It's all being sacrificed on the altar of the automobile in celebration of the stupidity of humankind.
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A letter to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board

I just learned the Canada Pension Plan has invested $250 million in a tar sands plant so I have written David Denison, President and CEO of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, to share my thoughts. You should too.

Dear Sir,

I read with dismay that my contribution to the Canada Pension Plan will be used to fuel catastrophic climate change. I presume this is a strategy to reduce future benefit payments by shortening the life span of Canadians. The stress alone from droughts, floods and extreme storms will have a devastating effect.

I can understand the potential benefits for my surviving children and grandchildren, but I would rather everyone live to a ripe old age.

I also wonder how you could be so oblivious to the urgency of the climate crisis that you do not realize burning fossil fuels - however profitable - causes climate change.
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Austria and the Tar Sands

I read an article today called The Dirty Trail of the Black Gold in an Austrian newspaper. It was about the Albertan tar sands and other extreme sources of oil. It made me think about the first time I talked about the tar sands with an Austrian. He had never heard of them before. 

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - I have come full circle. Today, after sleeping very little on a 10 hour night train I arrived in the very first city I travelled to to spread the word about the Tar Sands Demonstrations Europe Project - Vienna.... Read more »

Reflections on the G20

 

What a mess.

When I heard the G20 meeting was coming to Toronto, I knew it would be an expensive inconvenience to Canada’s largest city. But I nevertheless gave our leadership class some credit by thinking they would manage the inconvenience with a degree of competence.

It’s not the first time I’ve been wrong about our public elites. ... Read more »

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