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2006-11-30 - 9:19 a.m.

snow...environmental politics

Yesterday brought us another snowstorm. I continue to be reassured by native Vancouverites that this NEVER happens (as I smile quietly to myself, because I love this weather.) Anyway, it just seems wise to remain at home rather than to brave public transit. It is running smoothly (by my standards), but it is packed. If I can work from home, then why not do it.

The roofers have finally arrived this morning, and so I hear mild pounding above my head. But Allelujah! They have arrived. They didn't show on Monday following the bigger storm, and Tuesday's -16C temperatures were rather difficult to bear in the absence of insulation. (the roofers ripped it out during their last trip to fix the leaking roof.)

K and I went through the house putting plastic film over all the windows, in an attempt to stop the drafts. But there was no competing with the ice cold air pouring in the front entryway. We finally called our landlords on Tuesday and asked if there was a quick fix, such as plastic film over the gaping hole in our front hall. They responded by bringing us a oil heater. Now we are warm...and so is the local outdoor community we are helping to heat..

Tomorrow night is our little choir concert. It is a fairly good choir even though there are no auditions, and the woman standing next to me sounds tone deaf. It is just an adjustment of expectations, I guess...


There are two political events on my radar today. The first is a US event, where twelve states have filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency for not following regulations of 'air pollutants' as put forth by the Clean Air Act. An amendment to the act in the 90s lists carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Furthermore the act requires that the any pollutant that endangers public welfare be regulated. In support of the States' suit, several climate scientists have written an 'amicus curae' which lists the evidence that links CO2 with environmental damage. Given the current makeup of our Supreme Court, I am not hopeful.

This debate about global warming has also infiltrated the pages of my primary geophysics association, where skeptics are now writing in letters claiming that global warming is the result of a 1500-year climate cycle. The society has been accused of unsteady science and environmental activism because it issued a statement in 2003, stating that the balance of scientific evidence supports that anthropogenic activity will contribute to global warming. It is very interesting to see science damned as activism when it does not match a political agenda. How convenient.

Apparently as Canada (Alberta) becomes richer, the country's government believes this inevitability less and less in the realities of scientific evidence...

There is a fine line to walk when politics get involved in science, and I fully admit that environmental activists and the public media frequently do a disservice to their own cause. By this I mean that the overstatement of problems destroy credibility more than assisting it. That being said, it is fully possible (and necessary) to go to reliable sources for information, funded from independent sources, and taken through a peer-review process for necessary critique and revision.

As difficult as it sounds, I feel more and more the need to support right-wing environmentalist groups such as Evangelists for the Environment. I firmly disagree with their take on most social issues. And yet, it becomes clear to me that the only way to promote action on environmental issues is to actively decouple them from any party politics. Traditionally, environmentalism is tied to liberalism in the USA. Only when environmental issues begin to cross party borders will we begin to see action taken. So here ye here ye, come ye Religious and Republican environmentalists all.


And now as I climb off my soap box........(those dots were me climbing off a soapbox)........there.

I seem to have moved north almost directly in phase with a wave of conservatism, as Canada both re-examines the issue of gay marriage, and the conservatives close 12 out of 16 regional offices of Status of Women Canada. The same inability to do math seems to have infected government officials in the northern part of the continent. Or perhaps it has affected me, as I fail to see how $5million in cuts can equate to $700,000 more for spending on pay equity for women..

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...they are just words, Suzi... - 2011-08-29
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