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Environment

Friends sometimes ask me why I am so anti-conservative…

… And I always reply: no, you are wrong. I’m not at all anti-conservative.

I am anti-Harper and the Harper cabal.

These are two different things.

And now it looks like some prominent conservatives are beginning to agree with me

Premier Redford along with other conservatives who see and disagree with the wanton destruction of environmental regulations and research bodies are beginning to say what was previously unspeakable – that Harper is wrong. Dead wrong.

He is for me and he is becoming so for many conservatives.

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Back when Conservatives could be “progressive” too…

… there was a guy named Brian Mulroney. He was our Prime Minster. A lot of folks didn’t like the man very much. They saw him as arrogant, too pro-American and as the force behind the much-maligned GST (the ill feelings about that tax still linger today… and are completely unwarranted).

But tomorrow is the 21st anniversary of the signing of the US /Canada Air Quality Agreement, and he should be given credit for that and the other environmental initiatives that he spearheaded as PM. This Agreement, along with the Green Plan, set Canada into a position as a leader in environmental initiatives and research. A lot of lakes would have otherwise become acidified and died if it were not for this Agreement.

Of course, that was then and this is now… where Canada is really just a laughingstock on the environmental front.

Sigh. Thanks Mr. Mulroney. I really didn’t like you much for other reasons, but you were at the crest of the wave. You were by far, the greenest of our PMs to date.

And you and your colleagues were indeed progressive.

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Friday miscellany…

O M G! The SKY is falling edition…

Literally. The sky. Falling. Yup. The sun burps and we all freak out. Oh no! The GPS on my iPhone might lose some of its precision!!!!

Anyhow, the solar “storm” seems to have had little impact and we can all carry on with our lives.

Phew.

You know what was the funniest thing about this? The reaction in the social media. The Twitterverse was full of quotes from the bible claiming that these were the end of days, while others were taking a lighter look at things:

RT @Unnamedinsider: After the nuclear disaster in Japan failed to produce any superheroes, I’m hoping this #SolarStorm could be my chance!!

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Hee-hee.

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Unless you have been living under a digital rock for the past week, you have seen the Kony video put out by the Invisible Children campaign. Went viral, it did. And it sure tugged at the heartstrings. Movies like Blood Diamond showed the viciousness of the Lord’s Resistance Army and got some global attention.

But there are two things that bugged me a little about this campaign:

  1. The Lord’s Resistance is a group in retreat. It isn’t really that big a deal any more. After being relentlessly hunted by the armies of several nations, it is a shadow of it’s former self. So where was this video 15 years ago? Oh yeah, YouTube wasn’t around yet.
  2. The blatant appeal for money to buy a Kony “kit” immediately threw up a field of red flags for me. Seriously?
  3. Plus, it seems as though the organization behind the campaign may be concerned more about lining its own pockets than finding and capturing Kony.

I’m undecided on this one. Horrific things have happened in that part of the world thanks to Kony, true. But asking for money for a campaign that might already be moot is a bit suspicious.

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What is it with aggressive drivers this week? Two days in a row now I have almost been clipped by cars roaring through the crosswalk (with flashing lights!) in front of my building at Tunney’s Pasture! It’s a CROSSWALK PEOPLE!

For the record, the one who missed me by about 8 inches or so at about 12:45 today had a custom plate # 10 08 88, and was a red Ford coupe. If you know this guy, please tell them that a certain bald guy wants to pull his liver out through his nose!

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Call-bot. It’s coming for you!

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Figgers Harper would take Ford’s side on the subway versus LRT issue in T.O. He is consistent – I’ll give that to him.

“I prefer when I want to use public transit to go underground, unimpeded … and when I want to use my car I prefer not to be running in to LRTs and streetcars,” Mr. Harper said after a ground-breaking ceremony for a pedestrian tunnel connecting Toronto’s island airport to the mainland.

Naw, the Feds aren’t getting involved in local issues… naawwww… not THIS government!

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I would like to take the dude who came up with the idea of gifts at Easter (which personally don’t even recognise as a holiday), and introduce him to the woodshed!

Great! Another excuse to spend money on our kids to show them how much we love them.

This is about a crackpot idea as giving out loot bags to kid’s party guests party guests! WHO was the GENIUS who thought of  THAT???

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The Grapefruit League has begun!

Go Jays Go!!!!

 

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Who needs EA’s?

Industry can police itself, right?

More bold-faced lies from the Cons during the May election campaign…

Sigh… environmental laggards indeed…

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Why was everyone surprised by the storm in Ottawa last night?

@OttawaDaddy pointed this out on Twitter this morning. I too am amazed at how few people used the Environment Canada radar site to see the storms approaching after receiving Twitter warning & retweets!

Check it out. Easy to use, folks.

This is what it showed this morning. The basics are: orange and red – bad. Purple – head for the hills!

Even simpler, just look at the sky. This is what I saw as the storm rolled in.

Sorta gives a clue about what’s coming, eh?

@OttawaDaddy suggests that everyone should follow @ww_ottawa for weather warnings. Have separate Tweetdeck column. and re-tweet warnings… and I couldn’t agree more.

 

 

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Blog of the week

This week, I am profiling a blog that is all about living and consuming while being sustainably-minded.

The Mindful Merchant, always has some good insights on how to turn just thinking about our environment into actions that might mitigate our environmental impacts. Acting sustainably is a tough thing to argue against no matter where on the political spectrum you plop your behind.

Take this recent article on alternatives to rock salt, for example (for those readers in warmer climes, rock salt is used on driving and walking surfaces to melt ice in order to make surfaces less slippery and much safer.) Clearly, The Mindful One has done loads of research on this post, as is the norm for her.

Another post from last summer is one I have periodically directed folks toward when questions of product labeling arise. Even I, as someone who works in the environment field (loosely speaking), did not know that the label or term “non-toxic” was an industry devised-marketing word and means diddly squat. I really thought that Health Canada or Industry Canada or someone monitored this stuff!

Go on over and visit the Mindful Merchant sometime… you might just learn something!

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I am more than a little ashamed to be a Canuck…

While the rest of the planet is pleading countries like Canada to take a stand on GHG emissions, the Harperites are settling into their environmentally Neanderthal form.

Since I am somewhat lacking on the creative front at the present time, I quote a commenter on the cbc.ca site. What this dude is saying pretty much sums up how I and many Canadians, feel at the moment. Where is the paper bag?

For the first time in my life, I am embarrassed to be Canadian. I am embarrassed by my government and their flat-earth politics that cater to the oil industry.

And not just in terms of their backwardness regarding the pollution of our air and water. I am embarrassed at their policy of squandering our valuable oil reserves.

Other countries retain the ability to ensure that their reserves are extracted in a responsible manner that benefits the current and future citizens of their country. Our industry lapdogs sell it off to the highest investing foreign investor to extract as quickly as they wish. The foreign company gets the profits, we get one, maybe two, generations of wages.

I am embarrassed of what this country is becoming as our apathy permits the conservative lapdogs to sell out our reputation and non-renewable riches.

I tell my kids we live in the greatest country on earth. But, even at 7 years old, my son is already starting to question the flat-earth attitude. I guess the next thing to tell him is that, sometimes, the selfish greed of a few that don’t give a damn about future generations can rule the day.

Yeah. And how long can we put up with this?

I know Iggy et al haven’t been exactly inspiring, but can’t someone, ANYONE step up to the plate?

PLEASE?

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Thanks Jim

Once again, Canada is a world freakin’ leader when it comes to environmental policies.

ESPECIALLY  those policies that may help keep Halifax’s Citadel Hill from becoming Citadel Island.

NOT!

And this moron is our ENVIRONMENT Minister?

The Conservative government has promised to cut Canada’s emissions by 20 per cent below 2006 levels by the year 2020. Prentice said he’s optimistic that despite these delays, Canada will still meet that target.

Woo-hoo! We rock.

We used to, anyways. Now we just suck.

I’m ashamed.

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Damage from strike may be long-term: Thank-you Mr. Obvious!

There is a piece in the Citizen this morning that notes the long-term effects of this strike.

This is something that I have talked about before given my own personal situation. There will be a lingering bitterness that the City will have to overcome – if overcoming it is even possible.

Mayor Larry O’Brien has said that because of the strike, Ottawa’s public transit will likely take years to recover, and Councillor Alex Cullen, chairman of city council’s transit committee, agrees. He says the strike by 2,300 drivers, mechanics, dispatchers and others, will leave a “troublesome” legacy. Mr. Cullen laments the fact that OC Transpo was enjoying some of its best ridership numbers when the strike occurred.

“Given our last experience and the experiences of other jurisdictions, we can expect that ridership will drop once the buses start running,” he says. “It may take a year to win back riders, but there will be damage and it will take a while to get back on track.”

He says students and people with low incomes will return to their buses because they simply have no other choice. But the city’s challenge will be to get back people who have alternatives but chose to ride the bus.

“It will take some considerable effort by OC Transpo and city council to win back those riders. It may be that in the spring, the buses will not be packed and it may also be that within a year, we will find ourselves reaching record levels again,” Mr. Cullen says.

The emphasis above in mine.  And that is the important point. There are folks who simply have no choice but to dutifully (and likely grumpily) board the buses once they are running again.  And then there are those like me – a committed environmentalist – a strong believer in public transit – and someone who really did enjoy the downtime aspect of the trips to and from work. If someone like me is having serious second thoughts about returning to OC Transpo, then what are the fence-sitters going to do?

It will take much, much longer than a year to win back riders. Guaranteed.

Check out the new double-deckers in the background – wonder if they’ll ever be used?

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Western civilization to b ended by a Huriphoonado “event”!

Southern Ontario may indeed be hit with a big snow “event”, but at least it ain’t this:

huriphoonado-article_largearticle_largeTHAT is some storm!

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