Category Archives: Environment

New Me: Climate Change Denier

We shouldn’t worry about climate change. Climate scientists taught me that. Them, and the ugly freight train I suddenly see barrelling down on me.

I first glimpsed it in December. I felt a Zeitgeist shift, like the continent-wide peace of Christmas Eve, except hellish, with wacky weather headlining everywhere.

Then, energy company CEOs called for emissions caps, George Bush mentioned climate change respectfully, and Canada’s Conservative environment minister claimed to “get” science. Where I live, University of Victoria lecture halls were overflowing for climate change talks by IPCC report co-author and ocean-atmospheric scientist Andrew Weaver, engineering professor Ned Djilali, and political-environmental theorist Kara Shaw. Soon, I noticed other journalists commenting on the Zeitgeist shift, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report splashed down.

We could all sense it now: People care. Action is nigh. “Thank goodness they’re getting it,” declared the internationally-sought interviewee Weaver to the daily Victoria Times-Colonist.

That’s when I realized we were really in trouble. Continue reading

(still) Paving Paradise

The next casualty of the uncontrolled development destroying the Capital Region could be the rural Highlands. The public can see the importance of a broader vision—why can’t our politicians?

It might have been just another business-as-usual meeting of the Capital Regional District board about urban development. But normal polite procedures cannot contain it, and the tension starts blowing through like whistles of steam.

“He’s lying,” a biting voice from the public seats whispers in my ear.

“She supports it because she’s subdividing,” says another person, pointing.

After Highlands mayor Mark Cardinal explains to other elected representatives from around the region on the CRD board that his proposal for mammoth development was endorsed by his council, two people behind me grumble muted protests. I’m startled to discover their both Highlands councillors.

“It’s the death of the Highlands,” proclaims another person loudly.

Highlands’ current council “did not vote on nor endorse” Cardinal’s proposal, councillor Jane Mendum clarifies to me later, adding stunning controversy to a plan already tangled in BC Supreme Court over allegations of inadequate public consultation.

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Slave Ships at Ogden Point?

They float into Victoria’s night glowing like fifteen-story Christmas trees. With visions of big-spending passengers on shore leave, businesses and politicians eagerly welcome cruise ships. This February, our local daily ran a full-page spread, including the 184-ship schedule, lauding the “great news” of the record-breaking coming year.

But a recent report sounds an alarming foghorn into our collective delirium about the modern ship industry.

The root problem is widely recognized: Today, over half of commercial ships register in nations like Liberia or Panama to enjoy relative freedom from taxes and environment, labour and safety regulations. Even our ex-Prime Minister, shipping magnate Paul Martin, does it.

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