Category Archives: Environment

The Thing about Deniers: Holocaust and Global Warming

My daughter, who is a toddler and loves to dance, is addicted to the Weather Channel, particularly the local forecast because the music they play is fantastic to dance to. So while we do not quite have the TV on as wallpaper, often it’s on for her to dance.

This morning I saw on that channel yet another chat with David Suzuki talking about global warming. This time he was talking about how the media does a poor job of covering global warming. He says that as a member of the media we always try to be balanced and provide both sides of a story. That can be a problem.

His view, the correct view [and I know the risk in saying that, but keep reading], is that humans are contributing to global warming. He talked about thousands of academic studies that support that the planet is on a warming trend and we are part of it. Never before in human history have we had the power to influence the planet’s operation. And he talked about 980 recent studies that ALL agree that we are part of global warming. Further, many scientists who do not agree with the vast majority of those who recognize the truth of global warming are not climatologists and many of them are funded by fossil fuel industries, so they are possibly [or almost certainly] biased. I would add that many of the global warming deniers also have a stake in the status quo and don’t want to give up our lifestyle that direly exploits and abuses the planet [and the 4 billion or so of the poorest serf humans we keep impoverished with our global political economic system].

George Monbiot’s book Heat is considered to do a much better job than Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth in addressing far more than the ridiculously cosmetic solutions Gore argues for, in part I think because Gore falls into the category of being concerned, but not enough to recognize that Americans and the OECD world are responsible for a disproportionate amount of the sources of global warming so it is our responsibility to absorb a disproportionate amount of the lifestyle change to stop the problem. But Gore can’t argue that because doing so means telling Americans and the rest of the OECD world that our birthright is based on economically enslaving billions of humans and critically wounding our planet.

But back to the deniers. In its attempts to be balanced the media [which also has a stake in the status quo and is funded/owned by global corporations that even though they aren’t always in the fossil fuel sector depend on their products for the operation of the global feudal economy and their profit] spends far too much time presenting the skeptics’ side. Just by sheer numbers, the vast majority of scientists are recognizing the truth, which is far more than inconvenient, so you would think the media would reflect this. Not so much. The deniers and the politicians and celebrities who base their arguments on them get a ridiculously large share of air time.

And then I remembered Dan’s post about the Holocaust conference in Iran. If the media gave as much air time to the biased, often anti-Semitic, self-serving Holocaust deniers as they do global warming skeptics, the FCC and CRTC would not be able to answer all the phones or ever open their email ever again. The uproar would destroy media empires.

And when I said before that Suzuki’s view is the correct one, I mean that with all the sincerity of someone who says that the Holocaust did exist while there are some who for self-serving motives argue that it is something else entirely.

I now have a new level of disdain for global warming deniers. I just lump them in with Holocaust deniers and act accordingly.

Privatization and the Creation of Humanity’s Prisons…by Ameena Mayer

Privatization and the Creation of Humanity’s Prisons

Traditionally defined as the selling off of public assets to the private sector, over the years the term ‘privatization’ has taken on a variety of meanings, none of which leaves a palatable taste in the mouth of the tenderhearted. Take for instance British Columbia, a province redolent with fishes and trees and waters, soon to resemble those hapless African countries ravaged by colonization and forced to sell off everything to international sharks, whose citizens have been left with nothing accept some silver strands of hope and the spirit to fight for anything resembling a sane quality of life. Our salmon runs are being served in body bags to the Scandinavian companies who own BC’s murderous fish-farms, while an accidental dump of 40,000 litres of chemical soda into the Cheakamus by the mismanaged, privately owned CN Rail has turned a river once resembling an emerald-sapphire ribbon into a brown death soup. If that isn’t enough, Terasen gas is soon to be sold off to the Texan company Kinder Morgan Inc., despite the fact that its faulty pipelines have killed hundreds of people.

However, it is not only this well-known type of privatization that is decimating the world, sectioning it off to ill-intentioned stewards in tidy little packages, but a type which literally forces people into sick private pockets, cutting them off from the rest of the world. The best example of this sort can be seen in Palestine, where a hideous concrete wall, ridden with graffiti pleading its abolishment and firing bombs at whomever approaches it before its gates open, twists like a python around Palestinian villages. Severed from 70% of their wells and 45 % of their agricultural land, sorrow and pain swelling within them like broken roses, these Palestinians who cannot even view the sunrise and sunset are bereft of hope. And if Sharon’s purpose of confining Palestinians to 12 % of their traditional land is to reduce suicide bombings, to say he is in for a colossal surprise would be an understatement.

To unearth another case in point of people being forced to remain private from the mainstream, one needn’t look further than Canada, wherein the First Nations have been blotted out from the centre in no less callous ways than those experienced by the Palestinians. Like their Eastern counterpart, they have been deemed invisible and at best a problem to be swept like dust into miniscule pockets of land called reserves. There, the government attempts to appease them with tax exemptions and other monetary recompense, ironically slaughtering their lifelines to true wealth, namely, the forests and fishes and waters, through the traditional form of privatization. The story of the Cheakamus may have faded from the news, but the plight of the Squamish community living there will throb for years to come.

The effects of sectioning resources and humanity off into private spheres of dysfunction are pernicious: war, poverty, and perhaps worst of all, alienation from nature and each other. When we hand over public assets to a select rich few, when we hand over the right to participate in society to only certain individuals, we become fearful of each other. The end result is all of us becoming imprisoned in private worlds behind our locked doors. Armed with emotional and physical weapons lest our fellow human attack or threaten us, we shiver in dark isolation. And for a species that thrives on community and togetherness, that is a true tragedy.

Canadians Against Biological Weapons

While the big W is swimming in Iraqi bloodlust, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders promote the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention as a vehicle for ridding the world of abhorrent weapons.

In doing some research today, I stumbled over the United Nation’s website. I read in the title bar of their introductory homepage “Welcome to the UN. It’s your world.” I like that sentiment. It’s a reminder that even with big W Bush and his family’s bloodlust for Iraq, the world is actually OUR world.

What was the research I was doing today? I was looking into the BTWC, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention which just finished its Fifth Review Conference in Geneva. Details are here.

I had heard about this Convention from an email of a press release (#147) from Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham’s office. You can read it here.

In the press release, Graham, with the Australian foreign minister and the New Zealand Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control (what a great idea for a ministerial position!), affirmed their support for the BTWC, that it “remains a relevant and vital pillar of the global disarmament and non-proliferation framework, essential both to the campaign to rid the world of the scourge of biological weapons and to the pursuit of international peace and security.”

The press release came on November 15, 2002. Last Friday. The deadline for Iraq (a BTWC signatory 30 years ago) to comply with UN weapons inspection, spurred on by the USA (also a BTWC signatory in 1972).

So while the big W is spewing forth his beloved militarism, yet capitulates to “allow” the UN to embody its concern about Iraq’s weapons, here are Canada and Australia and New Zealand promoting the value of international conventions as a vehicle for international peace and security.

And while the big W is not a fan of signing international treaties and conventions that may limit his god-blessed sovereignty, Canada is part of a movement to promote more conciliatory approaches to global issues, assuming Iraq has anything worth inspecting.

And by the way, the big W, soon after taking office, backed his country out of a UN agreement to enforce the BTWC.

It’s good to be a Canadian. And a member of the UN. Because it is my world after all, and yours too.