September 3, 2014

The End.

This blog is now officially finished. Although followers and visitors have faded since the time when I worked actively on this blog, it will remain online for random visitors and as a record of my interests, and so I can visit occasionally to refresh my memory.
Thanks everyone!

December 28, 2013

Save the CBC from Harper’s Conservatives

From the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting:

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December 10, 2013

WorldWatch: Transforming Cultures to Reduce Consumption

 

 A Worldwatch Institute Press Release:        

The Worldwatch Institute examines how we can, and must, move beyond our current consumer culture to achieve a more sustainable society 

Washington, D.C.—If all humans consumed as much food and resources as people in the United States do, the Earth could sustain only about a quarter of the current population. Humanity as a whole is becoming more wasteful as people across the globe define themselves and their successes by what they own and what they consume. In the Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible?, contributing authors discuss ways that we can move away from the consumer culture that is undermining the planet we live and depend on.

 

Cultures are constantly evolving, and perhaps one of the biggest cultural transformations was the advent of consumerism not too many generations ago. Erik Assadourian, senior fellow at Worldwatch and co-director of State of the World 2013, highlights the changes that advertising and marketing brought to society.

 

“When first-generation factory workers received raises, they chose to work fewer hours, not buy more stuff,” Assadourian says. “Over time, people got used to new products, some of which did indeed improve life quality and many of which were marketed as such by clever entrepreneurs and a new advertising industry. Eventually, we could hardly imagine life without an abundance of products.”

 

Yet just as humans became consumers, so can we revamp our behaviors to prevent further damage to the planet. Among the ways that our cultures can be transformed to make consumption patterns more sustainable, Assadourian suggests, are policy changes, such as shifting taxes on unsustainable practices like carbon emissions, plastic bags, and junk food; as well as shifts in infrastructure, such as facilitating car-free lifestyles by building bike lanes and shared bike systems, as many U.S. and European cities have done. Members of organizations, such as churches, schools, and businesses, can promote sustainable living in their communities. And media and entertainment have the potential to change our society by subtly modeling sustainable living with films, stories, and social marketing.

 

Ultimately, we must understand that long-term changes in our communities are not going to be brought about by individual actions alone. Indeed, too much focus on changing individual behavior can inadvertently redirect energy from the cultural, business, and political changes that are necessary. Although corporations have supported some conservation efforts by individuals-sometimes in ways that strategically redirect blame from themselves-the amount of damage done by people and households is only a small fraction of the total waste produced by industries every year.

 

Annie Leonard, co-director of The Story of Stuff Project and contributing author of State of the World 2013, explains the problems that arise when individuals, rather than large-scale waste producers, take blame for the planet’s deterioration. “Describing today’s environmental problems and solutions as individual issues has a disempowering effect,” says Leonard. “Even if we really do decrease our driving, stop littering, and refuse plastic bags, the broader impacts are still negligible. Society-wide, we need to implement new technologies, cultural norms, infrastructure, policies, and laws.”

 

Leonard advocates for widespread public action to make sustainable living a way of life, rather than a trend. Millions of people are aware of the climate problems that we face, but the impetus to make the adjustment to sustainable living has yet to be made. The sooner we face the challenges involved with moving toward a sustainable society, the better chance we have to prevent further environmental decay.

 

“The good news is that we have everything we need to make big change in the years ahead,” explains Leonard. “We have model policies and laws. We have innovative green technologies to help with the transition. We have an informed and concerned public; millions and millions of people know there is a problem and want a better future. The only thing we are missing is widespread citizen action on the issues we already care about.”

 

By implementing new technologies, shifting cultural norms, building a sustainable infrastructure, and creating new policies, people will be able to make the society-wide changes that are imperative to humanity’s success. This means calling people to action within broader political campaigns that engage people to work together using the full range of tools available to them, including organizing, lobbying, legal actions, economic sanctions, and civil disobedience.

 

Worldwatch’sState of the World 2013, released in April 2013, addresses how “sustainability” should be measured, how we can attain it, and how we can prepare if we fall short. For more information, visit www.sustainabilitypossible.org.

 

You can read Annie Leonard’s chapter here and Erik Assadourian’s chapter here

 

September 7, 2013

The War on Science

Canada now has a government dedicated to weakening science, but this is a world wide problem. This documentary reveals how science denial is weakening our ability to deal with the problems we are creating:

April 16, 2013

Yao Ming Speaks Against the Ivory and Rhino-horn Trade in China

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(Photo Credit: Liu Ranran)
From a WildAid News Release:

April 16th, Beijing: Today, former NBA star and Chinese icon, Yao Ming, launched a major public awareness campaign targeting consumption of ivory and rhino horn in China in partnership with WildAid, Save the Elephants, African Wildlife Foundation, and the Yao Ming Foundation.

In August 2012, Yao spent 12 days on a fact-finding mission in Kenya and South Africa filming a documentary to be aired in partnership with NHNZ later this year. Yao met wild elephants before encountering the bodies of five poached elephants in Kenya and a poached rhino in South Africa. He also visited local school children, whose education is funded through wildlife tourism revenue, and conservationists and government officials working to protect elephants and rhinos. Footage and stills from his trip were released together with a series of public service announcements informing consumers, “When the buying stops, the killing can too.” WildAid thanks Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Virgin Atlantic for their support of Yao’s Africa trip.

Poaching for ivory kills more than 25,000 elephants annually and has reached levels only seen before the 1989 international trade ban. In 2012, 668 rhinos were killed in South Africa alone. These are precipitous increases from just a few years ago and, if not stemmed, could lead to the extinction of African rhinos and elephants in our lifetime.

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March 14, 2013

Press Release: Grizzly Bears on the Brink

Press Release from the David Suzuki Foundation:

Grizzly bears deserve immediate legal protection in Canada

Study finds many bear populations are on the brink of extinction

                                                            

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                                             March 14, 2013

VANCOUVER – Grizzly bears could disappear from many parts of Canada unless action is taken to list them under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) and initiate immediate recovery efforts, including protecting their dwindling habitat in some regions.

That’s the conclusion of a David Suzuki Foundation study that analyzed provincial and federal government data on the status of grizzly populations across Western Canada. The report, Securing a National Treasure, revealed that 16 subgroups are on the brink of extinction in regions where they once flourished. This includes nine groups in south-central British Columbia and Alberta’s entire grizzly population, which remains vulnerable despite a recent hunting ban.

“Grizzly bears are at risk of disappearing completely from many parts of Western Canada, including all of southern B.C. and the South Coast Mountains, as well as a few subpopulations in west-central Alberta, unless immediate action is taken to list and protect them under the federal Species at Risk Act,” said Faisal Moola, a scientist with the David Suzuki Foundation. “We must protect this iconic symbol of Canadian wilderness, which plays such a critical role in the maintenance of a healthy ecosystem,” he added.

The Foundation’s report comes on the heels of an assessment by Canada’s expert science panel on species at risk, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), which found that although healthy populations of grizzlies remain in much of Canada’s remote northern wilderness, southern populations in Alberta and B.C. are in trouble as a result of shrinking habitat and excessive human-caused mortality. For this reason, scientists have formally declared the animal a species of “special concern” that should be added to the official List of Wildlife Species at Risk (Schedule 1) under the Species at Risk Act.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent received COSEWIC’s formal recommendation last fall and must now decide whether to legally list grizzly bears under the Species at Risk Act, reject listing, or refer the matter back to COSEWIC for further study.

“For the second time in 10 years, the federal government’s advisory panel on wildlife has strongly recommended legally listing and protecting grizzly bears,” Moola said. “Five different environment ministers, Liberal and Conservative, have failed to act on the scientists’ advice. We hope Canada’s current environment minister will listen to the experts and take action to save this iconic species.”

Canada’s grizzly bears are among the most vulnerable large mammals on the continent for a number of reasons, including low reproductive rates; increasing pressures from resource extraction, such as oil and gas development; climate change and death from sport hunting, control kills and poaching.

“First Nations have shared the land with bears for thousands of years,” said Douglas Neasloss, a renowned bear guide and leader with the Kitasoo/XaixaisBand Council in B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest. “We not only revere the animal in our culture but also depend on it as part of the sustainable tourism industry we are trying to create so that people from around the world can come to see bears in the wild,” he added. “We must implement legislative measures to protect and recover grizzly bears before it’s too late.”

The Species at Risk Act is the key legislative tool for protecting declining species, such as blue whales, caribou and rare plants like butternut trees in Canada. If grizzly bears are successfully added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk (Schedule 1) under the Species at Risk Act as a species of “special concern”, the government will have to initiate formal measures to protect and recover the species, including creation of a management plan and other conservation measures.

 

January 10, 2013

The Second Amendment in Context

1822_MatthewsMilitia_byDCJohnston_BrownUniversity

Pequot war

Pequot war

Evacuation_of_New_York_by_the_British

American_militia_firing_at_the_British_infantry_from_behind_a_split_rail_fence_during_the_Battle_of_Guilford_Courthouse,_March_15,_1781

American militia firing at the British infantry from behind a split-rail fence during the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, March 15, 1781.

Alfred Jacob Miller  - Snake Indians Testing Bows

Alfred Jacob Miller – Snake Indians Testing Bows

There are several versions of the text of the Second Amendment, each with slight capitalization and punctuation differences, found in the official documents surrounding the adoption of the Bill of Rights.[5] One version was passed by the Congress,[6] while another is found in the copies distributed to the States[7] and then ratified by them.

As passed by the Congress:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

As ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.[8]

(Pasted from <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#Text>)

Don’t you think it’s time the US of A enter the 21st century?

All images courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

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