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.

A Call For Action in Alberta

It's understandable the Alberta government would want to fight back when it perceives its good name is being tarnished. The question is, how best to do it?

Looking at the numbers from the government's own survey, it's pretty clear Albertans aren't really convinced it is doing a good job regulating the "oil sands."

Perhaps because the government has yet to see to see an oil development it didn't like, or because it is often quicker than Big Oil to jump to the industry's defence, the public gets the impression the government is biased.

Bragging about climate change regulations that allow greenhouse gas emissions to rise doesn't help either.

Then there are all those toxic pollutants leaking from the tailings ponds into the Athabaska River that are "naturally occurring."
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Show Me the Money

After reading about the tar sands for some time, I think I’ve cut down the clutter to the mainstream argument for their existence. It sounds nice so everyone’s saying it, from the Alberta PR department to the doe-eyed CAPP billboard men to every politician worth his salt. Here it is:
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This is the End: Final Post!


This will be my final post on the Sierra Club website. It is a reflection of what I believe I learned on this trip, and what I hope I have accomplished.

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Homecoming Leg: Vancouver to Vernon!

Thursday, July 15th, Day Fifty-Four: I woke up this day feeling good abut what I had done, and what I still had left to do. The bike was boxed up, I did it the night before after a huge victory dinner, so all that was left was to pack up the rest of my stuff. First, though, I wanted a picture in the ocean to finish my trip. When I visited the Sierra Club Atlantic office to check my email however, everyone decided it was time for a good office lunch, so we all went down to eat. It was a good meal, and it was nice to really be introduced to everyone and just relax with like-minded individuals. By the time it was over however, I had to rush home to do my packing, since the guy who was going to take me to my plane was due to arrive by about 4:00 PM. Another nice guy, we had lots to talk about on the way to the airport.... Read more »

Blue Box for nukes?

Bruce Power has posted a response to our letter writing campaign questioning the transport of 16 old steam generators from the Bruce plant on Lake Huron to Sweden. These generators would be transported by road from Kincardine to Owen Sound and then shipped through Lake Huron, Lake Erie, the Welland Canal, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Back in 2005 there was an environmental assessment of the rebuilding of the plant closed since the mid-90s. At that time, Bruce Power said the 100 tonne steam generators would be stored at a radioactive material waste storage facility onsite. Now they are to be moved to Sweden. This is a major deviation from the original plan and we have asked the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) not to allow the change without redoing the environmental assessment.
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The Market

When future civilizations look at our era they’ll see the market as one of our most audacious creations. While it may be an old concept, the market’s current incarnation is a perfectly modern mess – equal parts hieroglyphic complexity, megaproject insanity and globalized hyperactivity.

So, how do you spot a market?

1. Look for mystical power conveyed by sheer invisibility

It’s not easy to get a handle on the market, so we measure it in traces. Where is it going? Where has it been? There is no hard answer, only reams of data coloured red and black. Indicators, stock prices, confidence indexes – the ghostly presence of supply and demand. 

2. Look for people holding an invisible hand
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On tar sands and car crashes

I saw an article from Mining Weekly quoting Michael Ignatieff. He said the tar sands have to clean up and be more sustainable. I don't want to suggest anything personal about the man, but isn't that an oxymoron?

How can producing the substance that fuels climate change be sustainable? I thought he was an educated and intelligent man, not just another jingo-spouting politician talking meaninglessly. I seem to be wrong about so many things.

The pollution produced by the tar sands mines and upgraders is horrible and should be cleaned, but doing it while continuing to add new mines makes about as much sense as washing down a vehicle just before it causes a six car pile up.
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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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