Archive for October, 2010


Poor Polar Bears…

While the US and southern Canada relish a golden, warm autumn, way up north the polar bears of Churchill, Manitoba, are heading to the shores of Hudson Bay.

They are waiting for the bay to freeze so they can end their months-long fast and hunt seals. But these days their wait for the ice can be four to six weeks longer than in decades and centuries past. And in the spring the ice melts earlier, forcing them back to land where they fast again throughout the longer warmer seasons.

“It makes you appreciate how fragile the ecosystem is,”  Churchill zoo communications manager Steve Pine said. “It’s really too bad that it’s come to this- how can polar bears be expected to survive and multiply in these conditions? And what can one group or one person actually do?”

Personally, I certainly wish one person could make a huge difference. But it takes the agreement of corporations, the government, and the population to do anything real and substantial- this is why it’s so hard to actually tackle the (SUPPOSED) climate change. I only say ‘supposed’ because naysayers provide reasonable evidence, but how can you say that nothing is happening when a fragile ecosystem is getting ruined and not melting and freezing on time?

The melting of the polar ice caps is as real as the world we live in. How come we can’t solve these environmental problems?

Alberta’s oil sands are a reasonably sized source of oil located in one of Canada’s Prairie provinces, Alberta. Ezra Levant is a Canadian lawyer and blogger with an interesting opinion on the oil sands.

Environmentalists are constantly thinking about what they could be doing better to sell action on climate change. The folks on the other side, possibly including Ezra Levant, apparently are not afflicted with the same sense of self doubt.

How else can you explain a rebranding exercise being embraced by conservative commentators in Canada to market the produce of Alberta’s tar sands as “ethical oil”?

The case is being made in a new book by conservative activist Ezra Levant called: “Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s Oil Sands”.

From what I can glean in press reports, the gist of Levant’s argument is that yes, Canadian tar sands oil is really, really bad for the planet — it produces three times the greenhouse gas emissions as convention oil, poisons rivers and destroys ancient boreal forest — but it’s politically smarter than buying from the Middle East or Venezuela.

Or as Levant so subtly puts it:

“You can’t fill up your car’s gastank with solar panels or windmills or cold fusion or dilithium crystals. It’s Canadian ethical oil, or Saudi terrorist oil.”

It’s pretty clear to me that Ezra Levant cares more about politics than the environment. To Levant, Canadian ‘ethical oil’ is better than the alternative, Saudi ‘terrorist’ oil. But at what price does it come? Is it REALLY ethical if it means three times the emissions and destroying ancient forest?

For the larger part of my childhood, I grew up in and around these forests. It is NOT ethical oil if beautiful boreal forest is destroyed, no matter how great the political benefit.