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Environment

Hard hitting journalism by Black Press

Posted April 24, 2015 by Norm Farrell
Mount Polley Mine meeting important to attend, by Ken Wilson, Williams Lake Tribune (Black Press), Apr 17, 2015
Over the years companies, governments, and those in-between have created some major public relations gaffs (sic) by not addressing bad situations in time, hoping the publicity would die soon.

…Imperial Metals Mount Polley Mining Corporation (sic) has, in my opinion and many others, acted very responsible in keeping the public informed.

…Of course many meetings attempting to get the mine underway have been held and will carry on until the mine is back is in some capacity of production.

I suggest the public relations by Imperial Metals and Mount Polley since the tailings pond break has been very good.

It is a tough job and I congratulate Steve Robertson for all he has done to communicate with the workers, surrounding communities, and he should get some kind of PR medal for all he has done.

Thanks Steve.

…That was a long lead up to tell you about the Mount Polley Mining Corporation Community Open House at the Gibraltar Room in Williams Lake on Wednesday, April 22 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The Williams Lake Chamber is helping promote this event that everyone who is interested in the Mount Polley situation and wants updates should attend.

This is part of the ongoing communications of the company with the community and is a component of the public comment period related to permit applications for the proposed restart of the mine…

Black Press might be a leader in 21st century newspaper journalism. Apparently, it involves unedited copy from untrained hacks who pander to potential advertisers with deep pockets. The objective, of course, is lower costs and higher profits and the formula works for Black Press. Torstar, owner of 19.4% of the private company, booked $4 million as its share of Black profits in fiscal year 2014. In the preceding year, Torstar’s share was $5.5 million so, while other media companies struggled, Black Press earnings over two years were about $49 million.

This item raises a separate but important issue. The meeting promoted here by the Williams Lake Chamber of Commerce, of which writer Ken Wilson is a director, is part of a process managed by a Regional Mine Development Review Committee. RMDRCs, formed and managed by the Ministry of Energy and Mines, are creatures of government initiatives to shortcut review processes and expedite mining operations.

The BC Government committed in 2012 to maintain a 60-day turnaround time for Notice of Work permit applications, which include work details and measures for protection and reclamation of land, watercourses and cultural resources affected by proposed activities. At Mount Polley, we saw the effect of inadequate oversight of self-regulated industrial activity.

Instead of learning from the disaster, Liberals pretend it was a minor event, caused by no one and now adequately healed. The picture here is taken from a government web page titled “Mt. Polley Mine incident” where readers are invited to view a portfolio of government pictures on Flickr. These include photos of politicians, a fawn, an owl and other pastoral scenes.

Truncated review processes that assume government should trust and work hand-in-hand with mining proponents, even ones proven to be callous toward civil responsibilities, are certain to result in more ecological mishaps. The Fair Mining Collaborative offers this overview of environmental assessment failings:

BC’s current EA law lacks a clearly defined purpose provision and decision-making criteria. This was not always the case: BC’s former EA Act contained an explicit purpose provision that included:
  • promotion of sustainability by protecting the environment and fostering a sound economy and social well-being;

  • provision of an open, accountable and neutrally administered process; and
  • participation of the public, First Nations and various other agencies.

The importance of the purpose provision was highlighted in a judicial review of a provincial government decision approving the reopening of the Tulsequah Chief Mine in 1998. In that decision, the BC Supreme Court held that the EA review did not adequately consider the sustainability of the Tlingit First Nation’s land-based way of life, and therefore ran contrary to the promotion of sustainability required by the purpose of the EA law.245 Issue Without an explicit purpose clause or principles to guide the exercise of discretion, BC’s EA Act provides inadequate guidance to government decision-makers reviewing EAs.

A photo that won’t be found on BC mining ministry website.

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Environment

Do you care?

Posted April 24, 2015 by Norm Farrell
This item was first published here July, 2009:

Radio talk shows are often wastelands of puffery, babble and prejudice. Well conducted programs, with knowledgeable listeners, occasionally break through with moments of simple passion.

One of those occurred recently on Bill Good’s CKNW show. A Vancouver Island caller named Mike thought too much had been made of the Burrard Street Bridge bicycle lane changes. He said:

In Vancouver there, you’re are all high and mighty about getting off your cars and getting on bikes and walking around. You live in the biggest clear cut in Canada, in Vancouver. You don’t care about the fish, you don’t care about the damming of the rivers, you don’t care about the heart and the soul of British Columbia. You get what you deserve. So, if you want condos from coast to coast, you’re going to get it. Congratulations.

You should care. You should care about the fact we can’t take our kids fishing and catch salmon the way we used to right off the dock. You can’t get spring salmon 40 or 50 pounds anymore. That people are dragging the bottom and ruining the deep sea coral and sponges. We have nothing to pass on to our children. You should care. That’s what British Columbia used to be about. It’s what makes it special. It’s what makes it different and unique and vibrant. And you don’t care. All you care about is a fight over a stupid bridge in the middle of downtown Vancouver.


Mike struck a chord. I grew up on the coast near Powell River. At 10, I skippered an almost 8 foot punt with a powerful 2 HP Elgin outboard. We fished almost every day in summer and seldom came back empty, pulling in salmon, cod, dogfish and things with names we could only could guess. We shared the ocean with seals, seabirds and sometimes a pod of orca. We sunned and swam for hours most days from May until October. Every year, we could sit by the clear river that emptied into the ocean by our house and watch spawning salmon so thick they formed a barely moving raft, covering the river from side to side. Today that same river depends on a fish hatchery for its life.

Mike, I care. These little men are cousins, part of the fifth generation of our family to walk on this ocean beach. Will generations to come have the pleasure?

We hope.

Here, get me a bucket of water!

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Environment

Epode’s Canada Obesity Forum

Posted April 17, 2015 by Arya M. Sharma, MD

As part of the 4th Canadian Obesity Summit, EPODE Canada presents its first Canadian Regional Forum. This one-day workshop is designed for program managers, local community coordinators or program advisors of childhood obesity prevention programs, and to share knowledge and practical advice between EPODE and Canadian programs. Senior members of the EPODE global team including program managers from… Read More »

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Environment

Epigenetic Obesity In The Fruit Fly

Posted April 16, 2015 by Arya M. Sharma, MD

Regular readers are well aware of the considerable evidence now supporting the notion that inter-generational transmission of obesity risk through epigenetic modification may well be a key factor in the recent global rise in obesity rates (over the past 100 years or so). Now a brief review article by Susan Ozanne from the University of Cambridge, UK, published in the New England Journal of Medicin… Read More »

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Environment

Harper, the anti-democrat

Posted April 2, 2015 by Norm Farrell
An item first published here January 2012 remains worthy of our attention:

Terry Glavin: Scrutinizing Canada’s pipeline to Beijing, Terry Glavin, National Post – one of the most powerful pieces in recent memory:
“Canada is at the brink of a radical shift in energy and foreign policy. But there has been no debate of any consequence about it — not in the House of Commons, not in the Senate, not in the proceedings of a Royal Commission. Certainly not in the news media…

“Are we going to sell the ownership of our natural resources to pay for consumer goods we can ill afford and thereby speed up the indebtedness of Canada as export revenue from those resources would be lost?” Turns out that’s exactly what we’re doing…

“… And now Canadians are being expected to provide Beijing with a steady supply of bitumen in a closed loop from Beijing’s own oil sands properties in Alberta, through Beijing’s own pipeline, to oil tankers, to its own refineries back in China, so that the black comedy of “world trade” can keep unfolding the way Beijing wants. Not only that, we’re all supposed to be grateful for it.

“…Well, wake up: Last year, nearly half of all the trees felled on the B.C. coast were shipped out raw. Over the past five years, raw log exports to China have gone through the roof, exploding 12-fold from 94,000 cubic metres to about 1.2 million cubic metres.

“This is why more than 70 B.C. wood mills have been shuttered. Meanwhile, you’re being asked to boycott bananas because Chiquita has said unflattering things about the oil sands.

“…Enbridge first announced it had obtained $100-million to fund its planning, lobbying, studies and surveys for a twinned pipeline through the Rocky Mountains and across British Columbia to saltwater at Kitimat. …but we’re not allowed to know whose money it is. Do the Conservatives even know whose money is behind the Enbridge plan? If not, why not? If so, why aren’t they telling us?

“Stop and think about it for a second. After all these years, and after all the recent uproars about sinister American environmentalists, it took filings with the National Energy Board that were turned up only this month to reveal that Beijing’s very own Sinopec is accompanied by Suncor, Cenovus, Nexen and MEG among the Enbridge project’s big-money backers. That still leaves at least $40-million in boost-and-plan cash that’s coming from an unknown source.

“[Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver made] certain intemperate remarks about radical foreign “billionaire socialists,” by which he did not mean the unelected billionaires who run the Chinese People’s Congress in Beijing, but rather American matinee idols who enjoy heli-skiing vacations in the Kootenay Mountains.

“The servility of Canada’s political leaders (municipal, provincial and federal) to the obvious manipulations of Chinese strategists who flaunt world trade and financial market principles and jail democracy-promoting authors for 10-year terms is a national disgrace.” I’ll say. It wasn’t some dweebish umbrage-taker from the Kitsilano Civil Liberties Union who wrote those words. It was Tony Campbell, the former head of the Intelligence Assessment Secretariat for the Privy Council Office.

“Remember the Richard Fadden controversy? Seems like only yesterday that everybody was screaming at the head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, demanding that he shut up. Fadden almost lost his job. Why? Among other revelations, Fadden reported that cabinet ministers in two provinces were under the control of a certain foreign government that Fadden thought it too indelicate to name, but he did go on to say that Chinese diplomatic missions are funding and organizing political activism in Canada.

“And I haven’t even got my boots on yet.”

Read the entire article by Terry Glavin at the National Post.

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Environment

Elizabeth May says global warming is saving us from a new ice age (and that’s a bad thing?!)

Posted March 17, 2015 by JR

In yesterday’s debate (at about the 28 min mark), Green Party leader Elizabeth May argued that human induced global warming is preventing our entry into a new ice age.  In other words were it not for AGW, Canada would soon be looking at being buri…

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Environment

#GxE Autism Paradigm Still #MSSNG From Autism Disorders Research, Understanding

Posted February 18, 2015 by H L Doherty

Several years ago it appeared that a new paradigm for understanding autism disorders was emerging, one which would allow greater understanding of the cause, or causes, of autism.  Historically, as was noted by Teresa Binstock, researchers, and those who fund autism research, took the view that autism has  “gotta be genetic”.  By 2010 there was hope that finally the autism researchers’ obsessive belief that autism is entirely genetic was giving way to the GxE (Gene Environment Interaction) model.  With the CATS study it appeared that  GxE was actually being reflected in autism studies. Since the CATS study though it appears that autism researchers and those that fund such research, including Autism Speaks, have fallen back into their old, unproven belief that autism is entirely genetic.
Autism Speaks reported on  its MSSNG web site page the results of the recent autism genome research project:  
Surprising finding makes cover of Nature Medicine; study data becomes part of historic first upload to Autism Speaks MSSNG portal for open-access research

 
January 26, 2015
The largest-ever autism genome study reveals that the disorder’s genetic underpinnings are even more complex than previously thought: Most siblings who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have different autism-linked genes.”
The MSSNG project and page reflect Autism Speak’s deep embrace of the unsubstantiated belief that autism is entirely genetic.  There is no mention of the possibility that autism arises from gene environment interaction. Although there are now more and more genetic components speculated to give rise to autism disorders there is no mention of the word or concept of environmental factors or gene environment interaction as possible components of autism causation. Instead the gene researchers having failed to identify a specific cause of autism turn to an explanation that many parents, including me,  have suspected for some time … that autism is in fact a complex group of varied disorders or symptoms;  that autism is extremely heterogenous in nature and that autism should more properly be referred to as autism(s) or autism disorders.  What the gene researchers and their funding backers at autism speaks do not seem to acknowledge is that with the varied autisms, autism disorders or symptoms being recognized and with no specific causal bases for these mulitude of genetic factors it might also be time to re-xamine or at least consider the possibility that autism might result from GxE, gene environment interaction. 
Maybe someday the “it’s gotta be genetic” obsession will receive more critical analysis from autism “experts”. For now though GxE is still MSSNG in the mind sets and articles of faith of autism’s most prominent researchers and funding authorities for autism research.
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Environment

Irony?

Posted July 23, 2014 by Mulder

Oh, the irony. the pine tree planted in 2004 near Griffith Observatory in memory of George Harrison will be replanted shortly because the original tree died as the result of an insect infestation. Yes, the George Harrison Tree was killed by beetles

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Environment

Salmon spawn in East Vancouver?

Posted November 12, 2013 by Darren

The other day–I can’t recall where–I read a story about salmon spawning in East Vancouver. It turns out that they spawn in Still Creek, near the…

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