science

Murder for business by Greg Gallinger

Alex Paterson, writing at The Uniter:

A Canadian Senate committee recently recommended the termination of 70,000 grey seals in order to benefit the country’s cod fishery, raising the ire of scientists and environmentalists from coast to coast.

Despite the evidence indicating that overfishing is actually the main cause of the declining cod population the Canadian Government has sided with business and the Newfoundland/Labrador Minister of Fisheries.

In essence the government has decided that in order to continue killing more cod they need to kill more seals, their logic fails to compute. Given the people involved, like Minister of Fisheries for Newfoundland and Labrador Daren King, it's not surprising. In response to the Russian ban on Canadian harp seal products King has been quoted as saying

"Our government has expressed its concerns to the government of Canada and urged action to be taken against any proposed restrictions on the trade of harp seal products."

He also claims that the those opposed to the hunt have been misinformed, that it is a sustainable and humane practice.

Anyone who has seen photos of video of the hunt knows that this simply is not true, there's nothing humane about killing a young seal with a large hook. For anyone paying attention this decision is just one of many that have blatantly ignored scientific data and professional recommendations in favour of politically and economically motivated decisions on the part of the Harper Government.

Valuing the Earth and Future Generations: Imagining Post-Capitalism by Greg Gallinger

I recently discovered the plethora of talks Kim Stanley Robinson has done about how human society may conceivably operate in the future.

Unlike many other science fiction authors Robinson embraces the complexity of human evolution and our relationship with technology. His books do not read like science fiction action movies, rather they are epic speculations looking at all the frameworks of society including the economic and political systems and how they may be forced to change and adapt as a result of the global environmental crisis and new technologies.

Robinson says he is an optimist, you can take this as such in that many of his books take place in a future where humans have managed to survive beyond peak oil, global warming, and global Capitalist-Feudalism.

In this particular talk* Robinson outlines many of the realities humans will be forced to address and what the future 200 years from now might look like. If you've read his most recent novel 2312 many of these ideas will be familiar to you.

*FYI it's a fairly lengthy talk, don't let that discourage you from watching it, but be forewarned it's not just for passive consumption.

Canada's PM Stephen Harper faces revolt by scientists by Greg Gallinger

From The Guardian:

"The Harper government is the most environmentally hostile one we have ever had in Canada. Harper pulled Canada out of the Kyoto protocol, gutted the Fisheries Act (our strongest freshwater protection law), and hollowed out our environmental assessment legislation, making it easier for extractive industries to get licences to exploit," said Maude Barlow, a former UN advisor on water and chair of the Council of Canadians. "It is heartlessly shutting down a programme that costs very little to run given the incredible benefits it brings, in order to silence the voices who speak for water."

Canada is becoming increasingly polarized around environmental issues. There are those who believe that Canadians have a responsibility to protect and nurture the many natural wonders within our borders (and around the world), and then there are those who see only resources ready to be exploited for short term economic gain.