Sierra Club Blog Posts
As someone who is committed to environmental sustainability, I hear all too often that my ideas stand in the way of “progress.” In fact, some people set up the environmental question as a choice between two options fundamentally at odds with one another. On the one hand lies preservation of the environment, an option chosen at our peril because it implies economic collapse and a reversion of some kind. On the other hand lies the magical world of progress – a smarter, richer, more efficient world where all of our needs can be better met, forever and ever.
Needless to say, I think this assessment is a little out to lunch.
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Every single step forward for mankind that I know of has been made by people, both famous and not, who have attempted to change the world around them. Socrates and Plato attempted to grasp the concepts of morality, purpose and existence so that society would look inward for the first time and contemplate where it stands. Columbus was trying to find a passage westward to Asia, and although he was unsuccessful, he colonized a new land, which is a triumph he is still celebrated for today. The Wright brothers ushered in a new era of travel when they attempted to fly at the start of the century. And arguably the greatest Canadian hero, Terry Fox, strove to run across Canada. In this he failed, but he is not remembered as such; his marathon of hope brought in millions of dollars for cancer research, and continues to do so to this day.... Read more »
Saturday, May 15
So my scheduled departure day has come and gone and I am still stuck in vernon, waiting to see if my knee is going to be strong enough to make it all the way across canada. Unfortunately, I promised myself that I would not leave until I was back to my pre-injury abilities, and I just am not there yet. So as of now, I will be waiting an extra week and leaving from here (Vernon). Of course that might change as well, but as of now it is the plan. In the meantime, I wish to talk a little about some research I have been doing on the subject of our Nation wide thirst for oil.... Read more »
You would think that while the oil flows into the Gulf of Mexico, Canadian politicians and the phony bureaucracies they setup to rubber stamp approvals for offshore drilling would at least pause and think about the implications of new drilling projects--for public appearances at least.
You would of course be wrong. Chevron started drilling this week in waters a 1000 meters deeper than the Deepwater Horizon disaster. In fact, it is to be the deepest well ever drilled in Canada. No re-examination of procedures or technology. No public hearings.
No nothin' but bold assurances by Danny Williams and Stephen Harper.
I can't tell you how many times I have been told to be reasonable by politicians, industry people and bureaucrats over the years.
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To all concerned and curious Sierra Club members. Although I have had my page up at sierraclub.ca for almost a week now, I have neglected to post anything on my blog, This is for two reasons. The first is actually pretty silly; I was nervous about what I would say. Since this is such a big event for me, I wanted it to be sufficiently... fulfilling, when I made my first Post. Which leads me to the second reason, Due to a knee injury I sustained while on my 24Hr earth day ride, my departure date, and subsequently the entire trip has been thrown into turmoil. This has been really hard for me, mentally and physically as I struggle with the fact that I can not ride until it gets better, lest I should re-injure it. Because of these two things, I have put off what I have most been looking forward too; interacting with the people of Canada. Well no more, I break my silence here and now to fill everyone in on what I am trying to accomplish on my cross Canada ride.... Read more »
As the oil slick winds its way to the Louisiana coast, we have been busy responding to media calls.
"Can it happen here? What would be the impact? Which species would be impacted? What about chemical dispersants? Can they keep oil from reaching the shore?"
I try to answer the questions, but they are the wrong questions, so I tell them. Yes, it could happen here, yes it would be a disaster, but why are we taking such unnecessary risks? This isn't about relief wells and blowout valves; it's about gambling with the future of the planet.
For one horrible year I was Greenpeace International's oil campaigner. My job description required me to “destroy the international oil industry”. Needless to say, I failed miserably.
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7:30 am -- Clock radio alarm comes on and I hear Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien is celebrating Earth Day by planting a tree in a city compost. This is the same guy who has not responded to hundreds of emails urging a stop to the Terry Fox Road extension through a once protected wetland. Last week, a 200 year old Black Maple was cut down to make way for another stupid suburban road. 'Hypocrite' is all I could think.
9:30 am -- Cell phone rings. It's Larry Pegg, a community activist opposing pesticide use on his neighbourhood lakes. I thought he was calling to thank me for writing a letter to the Ontario Minister of Environment opposing the pouring of pesticides into the private lake in Greely only 20 kilometers from Parliament Hill.... Read more »
Here in Ottawa, the Climate Change Accountability Act could die on Wednesday unless the liberals step up and take a stand. It's only a procedural motion and, if it passes, the real vote will come up in a few weeks. If it fails, all attempts to bring some sanity to Canada's position on climate change will be gone-- for who knows how long?
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Montreal has 13L flush toilets from the 1990s everywhere I've been so far (even at the McGill Faculty Club, which is a building that oozes wealth)! It's incredibly disheartening.
I've been staying at a friend's house since Thursday, for two very interesting conferences, one called Canadian Water: Towards a New Strategy on policy (which had all the foremost water experts in Canada in one room, pretty cool!) and one called Uncharted Waters, organized by students about ways to take action on water issues.
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