Climate Justice

I know there are bigger environmental issues out there than plastic bags, but it still is an important issue.  Seeing videos like this I can’t help but wonder what TV ads would look like if advertising companies used their skills more responsibly.

 

In case you haven’t already heard, Rob Ford is considering an end to the plastic bag tax.  I guess ending the war on car wasn’t going fast enough, so he decided to end the war on poorly made plastics too.  According to a recent Sun Article, “the mayor’s office had received several calls and e-mails that day about the bag tax. The “overwhelming majority” of those calls were people urging him to scrap the bag tax”

Ironically, around the same time this made the news, the entire country of Italy decided to ban the use of plastic bags.  Now I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t think there’s anything special about Toronto’s bags that makes them so much better and more worth having than Italian plastic bags. I really don’t want to live in a city that decided to choose convenience over the health of the planet that future generations will have to live in.  Plastics do not break down, and wind up permanently in our oceans and environments spreading their toxins. There is a lot of information out there on these issues. Check out the short videos below.

I get where these complaints are coming from, I have a low income, and a cat.  I do have a use for plastic bags, and sure there are times when I could use that extra 5 cents, but I figure if we’re going to let Rob Ford head off on a second crusade against the environment we might want to make sure it’s going to do something good for this city.

Wednesday, October 27, 7pm – 9pm
Sidney Smith Hall, room 2118
100 St. George Street
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

Featured Speakers:

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger is a Dene from the Athbasca Chipewyan First Nation of Northern Alberta, Canada. Eriel is currently employed with the Rainforest Action Network as the Freedom From Oil Campaigner in Edmonton, Alberta targeting tar sands development and the banks that fund it. Eriel is a long time Indigenous rights activist fighting for environmental justice working along side various organizations such as the Indigenous Environmental Network, Ruckus and IP3.Eriel Tchekwie Deranger is a Dene from the Athbasca Chipewyan First Nation of Northern Alberta, Canada. Eriel is currently employed with the Rainforest Action Network as the Freedom From Oil Campaigner in Edmonton, Alberta targeting tar sands development and the banks that fund it. Eriel is a long time Indigenous rights activist fighting for environmental justice working along side various organizations such as the Indigenous Environmental Network, Ruckus and IP3.

Melina Laboucan-Massimo is Lubicon Cree from Northern Alberta. She has been working as an advocate for Indigenous rights for the past 10 years. She has worked with organizations like Redwire Native Media Society, Indigenous Media Arts Society and has also produced short documentaries, researched, and worked on topics ranging from the tar sands, inherent treaty rights, water issues to cultural appropriation. She has studied and worked in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and Turtle Island focusing on Indigenous rights and culture, resource extraction, ICTs and international diplomacy. Before joining Greenpeace as a tar sands climate & energy campaigner in Alberta, Melina was pursuing her Masters in Environmental Studies at York University.

Jasmine Thomas is a member of the frog clan from Saik’uz, which is a part of the Carrier Nation. She has inherited the ancient practice of traditional medicines from her late great-grandmother, Sophie Thomas. She is completing her Environmental Planning degree at the University of Northern British Columbia. She also participated in the Bolivia Climate Convergence that took place in Cochabamba to speak on issues related to the destructive tar sand developments and the Enbridge Pipeline Project that proposes to cross her traditional territories. Jasmine believes that the most power lies at the grassroots level and advocates on behalf of the Defenders of the Land and fully supports the efforts on behalf of the Indigenous Environmental Network.


The Indigenous Environmental Network is an alliance of grassroots Indigenous Peoples whose mission is to protect the sacredness of Mother Earth from contamination and exploitation by strengthening, maintaining, and respecting traditional teachings and natural laws.

The tar sands development has completely outstripped the ability of the corporations and provincial and federal governments to provide environmental management and protection. In the perspective of many concerned First Nations and citizens of northern Alberta, the government has given the responsibility of environmental monitoring and enforcement to the corporations.

This fall the government of Alberta and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is responding to a sophisticated assault on its tar sands industry internationally and domestically with the “truth” campaign. As part of this campaign the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is sponsoring invite only discussions across Canada featuring oil sands experts from industry and government agencies to dispel what it views as unfair attacks using biased information against the Tar sands development. The Indigenous Environmental Network is sponsoring First Nations Woman’s Tar Sands Speakers Tour in response to this propaganda. This tour is profiling the voices of First Nations Women from downstream, who’s people and way of life are being impacted by the worlds most destructive development known as Canada’s Tar Sands.

This event sponsored by the Indigenous Environmental Network in partnership with Environmental Justice Toronto, RAN, OPIRG and Defenders of the Land.

Info: www.ienearth.org/tarsands. html

KINGCOME INLET — Clearcut logging and a receding glacier were pinpointed Tuesday as probable contributors to a devastating flood which swept through the remote First Nations community of Kingcome Inlet last month.

Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan and First Nations leaders, who converged on the village to take a first hand look at the damage, said a helicopter trip up the Kingcome River Valley was startling.

“Right at the glacier is an obvious unravelling of the slopes,” said Duncan, who announced financial help adding up to $770,000 and said a key part of the recovery plan will be a full hydrological assessment of the valley.

“I was expecting to see a significant event. What I wasn’t expecting was to follow mud all the way to the headwaters and major, significant issues at the head of the glacier,” said Duncan, adding that there will be no quick fix.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo said the situation up the valley means the community will remain vulnerable.

“It has been severely impacted by decades of clearcut logging and, at the head of the glacier, I saw a torrent of mud and debris,” he said.

Increased monitoring will be necessary once residents return to the village and one of the priorities will be ensuring the helicopter pad is usable at all times, Duncan said.

Helicopters provided the only way out for about 120 residents when water quickly rose up to four metres in parts of the village.

Wayne Goodridge, a pilot for West Coast Helicopters, the first to fly in amid the flooding, said water was rising so fast it was uncertain whether the helipad behind the school would remain usable.

“It was up to almost the top of the helipad — almost 15 feet. If it had gone on any longer we would have been plucking them off the rooftops,” he said.

Apart from a handful of members of the Dzawada’enuxw First Nation who stayed when the water rose, most are now evacuated to Alert Bay, where residents are staying with friends and relatives.

In Kingcome Inlet, porches and steps have been knocked off homes, which are built on stilts to withstand regular, smaller floods. Mud fills crawl spaces and propane tanks lie at drunken angles.

Even though many electric meters were underwater, power has stayed on and Tuesday, as assessors and electrician pored over wiring and looked at other safety issues, Duncan said repair work could start on many of the homes. “The sooner we can get people back in the community the better we will be.

Band council chairman Joe Willie said that although people are anxious to get home, he is not yet sure it is safe.

Willie said he is pleased with support being offered by the federal government, but the immediate offer of $100,000 for assessments and social services help and $20,000 per house is not likely to go far. “We are an isolated place and it costs a lot of money just to get materials in,” he said. “Only one barge has agreed to come up the river. The rest wouldn’t risk coming up the river.”

Although the river level has dropped, debris has collected in different areas, creating hazards for boats. The small boats travelling the muddy river take passengers to an open area of Broughton Archipelago to get on a larger vessel.

The federal government is investigating building a road into the area and about $900,000 has been spent on engineering costs, Duncan said.

Others would like to see logging companies, which have taken so much out of the area, help pay for some of the flood costs. Dave Darwin, who looks after Kingcome Inlet’s power, said the valley bottom was first stripped of all its old growth trees and then logging companies clearcut beside the main river and the tributaries. The river can no longer meander as it used to, he said.

“Maybe we can get some environmental group to finance a lawsuit,” he said.

Chief Bob Chamberlin, Musgamagw-Tswataineuk Tribal Council chairman, said the provincial government has some responsibility because it oversees forestry. “The provincial government has enjoyed unlimited revenue from this place with no return to the First Nation that holds title. I think that would be an interesting conversation,” he said.

However, the immediate concern has to be those driven from their homes, Chamberlin said. “It has been 17 days now and every day we wait it’s going to get worse,” he said. “There are 30 children displaced from their homes and their community and we need to make proper plans.”

jlavoie@timescolonist.com
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Clearcuts+blamed+First+Nation+flooding+story+photos/3661250/story.html#ixzz12FpjDp4A

Hans Peter Roth and Kyoko Tanaka, dedicated members of our Save Japan Dolphins Team from, respectively, Switzerland and Japan, are in Taiji checking the activity in the infamous Cove. Hans Peter reports:

“I returned alone to the cove about 2 pm. Things had completely quieted down. The nationalists had gone. But still five police cars were parked there. I had come not a moment too soon. Fishermen were just about to open the last, outermost net that had sealed off the Cove, as I unpacked the camera. Six hunting boats took position outside the cove. At first the bottlenose dolphins did not realize that they were free. Then they did and started taking off slowly, then ever faster. The hunting boats started driving them out to sea in a sort of reverse drive hunt, but not as violently as they had driven them in the day before. In the end the dolphins were just literally flying towards the open ocean, thrashing up a lot of white water. This could be seen for miles before they disappeared towards the horizon.“

The “no-kill” policy continues to be in effect in Taiji. Several dolphins, unfortunately, have been collected to be sold to zoos and aquariums around the world. That’s a tragedy in itself. The rest are being released.

Our recent trip — worldwide press attention,– and continued presence in Taiji are intensifying pressure on Japanese government to stop the dolphin slaughter. The worldwide dolphin captivity industry is also coming under withering attack for their continuing role in the Taiji tragedy.
We must keep up the pressure.
Check the full blog for further details…
http://www.savejapandolphins.org/blog.html

Meanwhile, Dr. Lori Marino has a great interview against the captivity of dolphins posted on the Animal Planet website at:
http://animal.discovery.com/tv/blood-dolphins/dolphins/opposition-dolphins-captivity.html Don’t miss it!

And finally, the concluding episode of Animal Planet’s “Blood Dolphin$” features Ric, Lincoln and the EII team achieving a breakthrough for dolphins in the Solomon Islands. Episode info at: http://www.earthisland.org/blooddolphins

Canada is close to passing the Climate Change Accountability Act, but it’s under threat by Conservative Senators. Parliamentarians passed the Bill (C-311) in May. Now the Bill needs the support of 53 Senators. Of the 105 Senators, 52 are Conservative.

The situation is precarious. Years of hard work to get the Act to this point could prove meaningless if it does not get the support from all 53 opposition Senators: 49 Liberal Senators, two Progressive Conservatives and two Independents.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is calling on its members to lobby the Senate to oppose the Bill. Let’s galvanize a concerted citizen campaign in support of Bill C-311, which if passed into law will set science based emissions reductions, require the government to produce five year target plans, establish independent reviews, and punish polluters who break regulations. It will also position Canada as a global leader in the transition to a low carbon economy.

What to do? Please visit http://www.trunity.net/climateresponse/topics/view/53728/ for sample letters to Senators, as well as the heads of insurance companies and financial firms, who are Chamber of Commerce members, to lobby the Senate to support of the Bill. I also include contact details. I put a lot of work into this so you don’t have to. Please send these letters off and spread the word.

On September 28th Senator Neufeld will speak out against the Bill when the Senate resumes debate on it. Let’s bombard the Senate with emails. Soon I will craft sample targeted emails to Liberal Senators, PC Senators and the Independents, and upload them onto the Climate Response campaign page.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. Let’s ensure that the Climate Change Accountability Act becomes law.

poster for climate reality event - details below

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15
3pm – 5pm, Private, student meeting at Centre for Global Change Science

5:30pm – 6:30pm SCIENCE PRESENTATION by Dr. James Hansen at the McMillan Theatre ( see above)
6:30pm – 7:00pm Intermission
7:00pm to 8:45pm CLIMATE REALITY: A CONVERSATION WITH DR. JAMES HANSEN, NAOMI KLEIN & CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER — Moderator: Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
10:30am – 12:30 pm, Private, student-run meeting with interested students at U of T
Location Rigby Room, Trinity College at U of T
3pm – 5pm, Parliamentary meetings with MPPs, MPs, Queen’s Park
Main event website: www.scienceforpeace.ca
Organized by:
The Centre for Global Change Science
Science for Peace