Monday, 31 August 2009

not a blog XII

Up, Down.

Dakota HunterDakota HunterDakota Hunter, Tori YetmanTori YetmanTori YetmanDakota Hunter, Kelly Linklater, Zach Linklater
some wingnut social worker says "we'll try to get the kids some counselling," ... looks to me like these two kids, Dakota Hunter and Tori Yetman and their parents are the ones who should have been/should be giving the counselling, and not to supposedly shell-shocked highscool students either but to the whole damned nation ... the nation of k-k-Canada that is

watch and listen to Tori Yetman's video (2a. below) - this girl is 14 years old! she has poise and presence, she is articulate and clear - man! we sure do need some more of that good energy.

Justice Minister Rob NicholsonJustice Minister Rob NicholsonJustice Minister Rob NicholsonJustice Minister Rob NicholsonJustice Minister Rob NicholsonJustice Minister Rob NicholsonJustice Minister Rob NicholsonJustice Minister Rob NicholsonJustice Minister Rob Nicholson

Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again. (The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Bertolt Brecht, 1941 (thanks to Dawg's Blawg)

1. Disowning Canadians abroad, Editorial, Aug 31 2009.
     1a. Robert Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.
     1b. Robert Nicholson, MP Niagara Falls, Ontario.
     1c. Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade.
     1d. Stockwell Day, MP Okanagan-Coquihalla.
     1e. Peter Van Loan, Minister of Public Safety.
     1f. Peter Van Loan, MP York-Simcoe.
     1g. Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence.
     1h. Peter Gordon MacKay, MP Central Nova.
2. Town mourns 'humble' boy's beating death, Patrick White, Aug 31 2009.
     2a. Tori Yetman's Run 2009, YouTube.
     2b. Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN).
     2c. News Video 1, MSN.
     2d. News Video 2, MSN.
     2e. News Video 2, YouTube.
     2f. News Video 3, CBC.
     2g. News Video 4 - Dakota's Story (unfortunately distorted), CBC.
3. Community mourns murder of Manitoba teen, CTV, Aug 30 2009.
4. Pair arrested after Nelson House teen beaten to death, CBC, August 30 2009.

5. Debating How Much Weed Killer Is Safe in Your Water Glass, Charles Duhigg, August 22 2009.
6. Syngenta Stands Behind The Safety Of Atrazine, PRLog (corporate press release), Aug 24 2009.
     6a. Syngenta, Syngenta (Wikipedia), Atrazine (Wikipedia).
     6b. Atrazine: legendary marketing of a legendary molecule.
     6c. Atrazine CAS 1912-24-9 Suppliers.
     6d. EC21 Atrazine - 56 Products from 26 Companies.
     6e. What you should know about Atrazine.

7. Beware the harmful consequences of following junk science, Gwyn Morgan, Aug 31 2009.
8. Breathing is better, Letters, Farrah Khan, Sep 01 2009.
9. Great Lakes Rescue, NYT Editorial, August 31 2009.
10. Minc ironiza manifestação do Greenpeace contra pré-sal, Tânia Monteiro, 01/09/2009.
11. Servidores da Funasa morrem intoxicados no interior, Diário do Pará, 04/09/2009.
     11a. Malathion, Carbophos, Maldison, Mercaptothion.

12. The bomber dividing Tomslake, Nathan Vanderklippe, Friday Aug 14 2009.
Tomslake, Mike Graham, Tim Shields     The bomber dividing Tomslake, Nathan Vanderklippe 1.
     The bomber dividing Tomslake, Nathan Vanderklippe 2.
     Worse to come, bomber warns, Ben Gelinas.
     Dawson Creek residents angry at RCMP, John Bermingham.
     Second Letter ($#@!! pdf).
     The Dawson Creek Bombings: Eight months and no leads.
     The Dawson Creek Bombings: Everyone’s a suspect.
     The Dawson Creek Bombings: Are the blasts succeeding?.

Disowning Canadians abroad, Editorial, Aug 31 2009.

The Canadian government's appeal of a court order on the issue of Omar Khadr's repatriation from the United States is weak legally and even weaker morally. There is no serious principle worth defending

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson is taking the Canadian government out onto a weak limb, in its appeal of a court order on the issue of Omar Khadr's repatriation from the United States. It is weak legally and even weaker morally. There is no serious principle worth defending.

Here is the victory Ottawa seeks: that the Canadian government can be complicit in the abuse of a Canadian citizen's rights abroad – up to and including torture – without a court ordering that it do its best to bring that citizen home.

Whether the case is winnable is beside the point. Is it really a victory worth fighting for?

Mr. Nicholson might argue that he is upholding his duty as senior legal adviser to the Crown by defending the cabinet's right to undiminished authority in foreign-policy matters. But then, why did Ottawa not defend that right in June, when the Federal Court ordered Canada to repatriate Abousfian Abdelrazik of Montreal, a suspected terrorist who was passportless in Sudan? It accepted the decision, and brought him home.

Similarly, why did it not fight for the principle when the Federal Court ordered Ottawa in March to push U.S. authorities for clemency for the Canadian murderer Ronald Smith, on death row in Montana? It is hard to avoid the inference that the unpopularity of the Khadr family (dubbed “Canada's first family of terrorism”) helped Ottawa discover the will to fight.

Mr. Nicholson says the principle at issue is an alleged “duty to protect” Canadians abroad; he does not accept that such a duty exists. “Protection of whom?” asks his department's legal brief, filed in the Supreme Court. “From what?” The argument is disingenuous. The “duty to protect” arose only after Canadian officials interrogated a Canadian citizen knowing he had just been subjected to 21 days of sleep deprivation at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Federal Court of Appeal suggested those techniques amounted to torture. Mr. Khadr was a minor at the time, and he had no lawyer. Canada then turned over the fruits of this interrogation to his captors.

Think of the potential consequences. Mr. Khadr, now in his early 20s, faces life in jail if found guilty of his alleged crimes, including murder. In these circumstances, Canada exploited his torture. Canada acted as if there were no Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and no Geneva Conventions.

Mr. Nicholson is putting his department's lawyers in a dubious position. They will have to stand up before the Supreme Court of Canada and explain why this country's intelligence officials were willing to countenance sleep deprivation verging on torture, applied to a citizen and a minor. They will then be asked: Should the Canadian courts sit on their hands while the government abuses citizens' rights abroad? And the lawyers will reply that foreign policy is a cabinet prerogative. The Supreme Court may not be very happy with this answer.

The courts should be slow to tell the government what to do in foreign policy. But when a Canadian's rights are abused abroad, more than just foreign policy is at stake; it's also about the basic liberties of Canadians. Consider what happened to Suaad Hagi Mohamud, a citizen jailed in Kenya this summer for allegedly falsifying a Canadian passport. Canadian officials said they had “conclusive” information she had lied. The results (until she established her identity with a DNA test) were horrendous. She became stateless. She was marooned in a distant prison. When Canada acts arbitrarily or abusively toward its citizens, in Canada or abroad, the courts may be the last line of protection.

Canada exposed Mr. Khadr to a risk of lifelong harm by colluding in a major rights abuse. Now it complains of a duty to protect. How about the duty not to do egregious harm? How about the duty to uphold the rule of law?

As Attorney-General, Mr. Nicholson should have the “moral courage to advance unpopular causes,” as the late Ian Scott liked to say. He should not be fighting against the unpopular, for a principle not worth defending.

Town mourns 'humble' boy's beating death, Patrick White, Aug 31 2009.

Manitoba Cree teen inspired his friends

WINNIPEG — Dakota Hunter knew full well the perils of being a good kid in a tough town.

At 17, he was small for his age and had a reputation among his peers as a do-gooder. He raised money for cancer, participated eagerly in Cree ceremonies and belonged to the Lance Runners, a group promoting healing among native communities.

In the northern Manitoba town of Nelson House, 800 kilometres north of Winnipeg, those attributes drew violent taunts. He had enrolled in tae kwon do classes as a defence against his tormentors.

But he was no match for the ones he met early Saturday morning.

At around 4:30 a.m., local teens found the severely beaten young man along a stretch of road in the community of 4,000. Ten days from entering 10th grade, he was pronounced dead at Thompson General Hospital.

The RCMP have charged two 16-year-olds in the homicide.

"I can still see the blood outside my house," said Devon Spence, Mr. Hunter's friend, who heard the commotion that night. "I just thought there were some drunks outside."

Mr. Spence said he often went jogging with the teen and admired the positive things he did for the community despite the prevalence of corrupting influences such a drugs and gangs.

"He always tried to get me away from that bad stuff and told me to work out with him and things like that," Mr. Spence said. "Life won't be the same without him."

Around school, the Grade 9 student was considered "a very quiet, humble boy," said Natalie Tays, principal at Nisichawayasihk Neyo Ohtinwak Collegiate. "He was very shy, but he was always among friends."

Those friends included Tori Yetman, a local teen who holds annual treks to Winnipeg to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. Mr. Hunter accompanied Ms. Yetman on those 850-kilometre trips, helping raise $14,500 this year.

He was also an active member of the Lance Runners, a group that uses running as a way of promoting unity among aboriginal towns.

During the summers, he earned extra money doing yard work.

Mr. Hunter lived in Dog Point, a small cluster of about 30 homes several kilometres from the town centre, and his loss is being felt throughout the close-knit region.

"It's really shaken up the community," Ms. Tays said. "School is just around the corner and we'll try to get the kids some counselling."

Community mourns murder of Manitoba teen, CTV, Aug 30 2009.

It was only a few days ago that Dakota Hunter, a Manitoba teen, celebrated his 17th birthday with friends and family. But on Sunday, the youth's family was mourning the loss of one of their own after a savage beating claimed Hunter's life.

"I was horrified, I was mad I was really upset," said cousin Vince Beardy in an interview with CTV Winnipeg's Shaneen Robinson.

But as the details of the vicious incident spread through the small community of Nelson House, friends and family aren't the only ones who are shocked. Two 16-year-olds from the isolated community, which is located about 80 kilometres west of Thompson, Man., have been charged in the death.

According to police, Hunter was last seen alive on Friday evening with two other teens. But by 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, Hunter had been beaten and left for dead on the side of road.

"What I heard is that they burned his clothes then they tried to burn him," said Beardy. Though he was shy, Hunter was popular, said Beardy. "He was just an all around good kid," he said.

Each year, Hunter volunteered with friends to raise money for cancer research by taking part in a fun run, friends say.

Hunter was also a member of a youth group named the Lance Runners, who are a team of First Nations youths who travel to communities in the area to raise awareness about gangs, violence and drugs.

According to aunt Colleen Hunter, the death represents a larger struggle against violence in Aboriginal communities. While she isn't sure the death is related to gangs, she said the violence needs to stop.

"It's poverty, it's society ... it's peer pressure, it's easy money," she said.

Pair arrested after Nelson House teen beaten to death, CBC, August 30 2009.

Dakota Hunter was found badly beaten early Saturday on the side of a road in the northern Manitoba community of Nelson House First Nation. He died later at Thompson General Hospital, police said.

Police have arrested two teenagers after a teen was beaten to death on Saturday in the remote northern Manitoba community of Nelson House First Nation.

Two suspects from the community, both 16, are in police custody in connection with the death of Dakota Hunter, 17.

Hunter was found badly beaten about 4:30 a.m. CT on Saturday on the side of a community road about 80 kilometres west of Thompson, Man., and rushed to Thompson General Hospital, where he later died. A nurse who attended to Hunter said the boy was beaten "beyond all recognition."

An autopsy is scheduled Monday at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg. Formal charges were expected to be laid against the two teens on Sunday.

Hunter's aunt, Colleen Hunter, said the family is in shock and has no idea what prompted the violence against her nephew, who had been bullied in the past. "It's just out of the blue that this incident happened and then, like — our nephew — how did that happen?" she said. "We still have a lot of questions." She said her nephew was a quiet boy who was very involved in his community, which is home to the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation.

Hunter was profiled by CBC News four years ago when he started taking taekwondo lessons to deal with bullies. But after his story aired, his situation changed, the CBC's Mychaylo Prystupa reported. The bullying got worse and Hunter quit martial arts.

Gang violence is a problem in Nelson House, but people close to Hunter said he was not a gang member and found ways to serve his community, such as fundraising, Prystupa reported. Hunter was also a member of the Cree Lance Runners Society, a group whose goal is to build solidarity among members of the Cree nation and eliminate violence within its communities, she said.

The RCMP continue to investigate the beating on the reserve, about 850 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

Debating How Much Weed Killer Is Safe in Your Water Glass, Charles Duhigg, August 22 2009.

For decades, farmers, lawn care workers and professional green thumbs have relied on the popular weed killer atrazine to protect their crops, golf courses and manicured lawns.

But atrazine often washes into water supplies and has become among the most common contaminants in American reservoirs and other sources of drinking water.

Now, new research suggests that atrazine may be dangerous at lower concentrations than previously thought. Recent studies suggest that, even at concentrations meeting current federal standards, the chemical may be associated with birth defects, low birth weights and menstrual problems.

Laboratory experiments suggest that when animals are exposed to brief doses of atrazine before birth, they may become more vulnerable to cancer later.

An investigation by The New York Times has found that in some towns, atrazine concentrations in drinking water have spiked, sometimes for longer than a month. But the reports produced by local water systems for residents often fail to reflect those higher concentrations.

Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency say Americans are not exposed to unsafe levels of atrazine. They say that current regulations are adequate to protect human health, and that the doses of atrazine coming through people’s taps are safe — even when concentrations jump.

But some scientists and health advocates disagree. They argue that the recent studies offer enough concerns that the government should begin re-examining its regulations. They also say that local water systems — which have primary responsibility for the safety of drinking water — should be forced to monitor atrazine more frequently, in order to detect short-term increases and warn people when they occur.

The E.P.A. has not cautioned pregnant women about the potential risks of atrazine so that they can consider using inexpensive home filtration systems. And though the agency is aware of new research suggesting risks, it will not formally review those studies until next year at the earliest. Federal scientists who have worked on atrazine say the agency has largely shifted its focus to other compounds.

Interviews with local water officials indicate that many of them are unaware that atrazine concentrations have sometimes jumped sharply in their communities. But other officials are concerned. Forty-three water systems in six states — Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi and Ohio — recently sued atrazine’s manufacturers to force them to pay for removing the chemical from drinking water.

Representatives of the E.P.A. and Syngenta, the company that manufactures most of the atrazine sold, say that current federal standards are based on hundreds of studies showing Americans are safe. In a written statement, the E.P.A. said that it applied large safety buffers in regulating atrazine and continued to monitor emerging science.

“The exposure that the agency allows under its atrazine drinking water regulations is at least 300 to 1,000 times lower than the level where the agency saw health effects in the most sensitive animal species tested,” the statement said. New studies, while raising important issues, do not “suggest a revision to E.P.A.’s current regulatory approach, which has been built on the review and consideration of hundreds of studies, including animal toxicity and human epidemiological studies dealing with atrazine,” the agency said.

Syngenta said the lawsuits were baseless.

But the head of another government agency voiced apprehension. “I’m very concerned about the general population’s exposure to atrazine,” said Linda S. Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. “We don’t really know what these chemicals do to fetuses or prepubescent children.”

“At a minimum, pregnant women should have access to accurate information about what’s in their drinking water,” Dr. Birnbaum added.

Critiques of the E.P.A.

Atrazine is just one example of what critics say are regulatory weaknesses in the protections of America’s drinking water. Health and environmental advocates argue that the laws safeguarding drinking water and policing toxins are insufficient, and that the E.P.A. is often too slow in evaluating emerging risks, not cautious enough and too unwilling to warn the public when health concerns arise.

In January, a Government Accountability Office report said that the E.P.A.’s system for assessing toxic chemicals was broken, and that the agency often failed to gather adequate information on whether chemicals posed health risks.

Forty percent of the nation’s community water systems violated the Safe Drinking Water Act at least once last year, according to a Times analysis of E.P.A. data, and dozens of chemicals have been detected at unsafe levels in drinking water.

In interviews, some E.P.A. officials conceded that they were frustrated by the limitations they face in scrutinizing chemicals like atrazine. An estimated 33 million Americans have been exposed to atrazine through their taps, according to data from water systems nationwide.

“The public believes that the E.P.A. has carefully reviewed all the chemicals that are used and has the authority it needs to deal with risks, but that’s often not the case,” said Erik D. Olson, director of food and consumer product safety at the Pew Charitable Trusts, and a former lawyer at the E.P.A. and for the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works.

“The E.P.A. is working with weak laws, basic research at the agency is often seriously underfunded, and in some cases there’s institutional inertia against change,” he added. “That’s contributed to a sense that the agency is often slow to react to new science showing risks.”

Though the hazards posed by atrazine are far from clear, some scientists and health advocates argue that the chemical deserves special scrutiny because it is so widely used. The European Union, for instance, has banned atrazine as part of a precautionary policy that prohibits pesticides that easily contaminate groundwater. (European regulators did not evaluate the chemical’s health risks.)

Atrazine, which is sold under various brand names including AAtrex, is most commonly used on corn in farming states. But it can also be found on lawns, gardens, parks and golf courses. Sometimes, the only way to avoid atrazine during summer months, when concentrations tend to rise as cropland is sprayed, is by forgoing tap water and relying on bottled water or using a home filtration system.

E.P.A. officials note that anyone using atrazine must complete a short training course and is warned to wear long-sleeve shirts and pants, as well as chemical-resistant gloves and shoes, when spraying. The chemical cannot be applied near lakes, reservoirs or other bodies of water. And local water systems must produce an annual report detailing the highest concentrations of atrazine and other chemicals detected over the previous year.

Some high-ranking E.P.A. officials say there are concerns over atrazine, and that it, among other chemicals, is likely to be closely re-examined by the new E.P.A. administrator, Lisa P. Jackson.

“Atrazine is obviously very controversial and in widespread use, and it’s one of a number of substances that we’ll be taking a hard look at,” said Stephen A. Owens, who was recently confirmed as the E.P.A.’s assistant administrator for prevention, pesticides and toxic substances.

He went on: “I can’t say whether the outcome will be any different, but Administrator Jackson has made clear that we need to take a close look at decisions made in the previous administration, and be certain about the science behind those judgments.”

The New Science

Some of the current regulations governing atrazine in drinking water were established in the 1990s. Critics say that science has changed since then — but that the regulations have not.

Recent studies suggest that when adults and fetuses are exposed to even small doses of atrazine, like those allowed under law, they may suffer serious health effects. In particular, some scientists worry that atrazine may be safe during many periods of life but dangerous during brief windows of development, like when a fetus is growing and pregnant women are told to drink lots of water.

“There are short, critical times — like when a fetus’s brain is developing — when chemicals can have disastrous impacts, even in very small concentrations,” said Deborah A. Cory-Slechta, a professor at the University of Rochester in New York who has studied atrazine’s effects on the brain and serves on the E.P.A.’s science advisory board. “The way the E.P.A. tests chemicals can vastly underestimate risks.”

“There’s still a huge amount we don’t know about atrazine,” she added.

In recent years, five epidemiological studies published in peer-reviewed journals have found evidence suggesting that small amounts of atrazine in drinking water, including levels considered safe by federal standards, may be associated with birth defects — including skull and facial malformations and misshapen limbs — as well as low birth weights in newborns and premature births. Defects and premature births are leading causes of infant deaths.

Some of those studies suggest that as atrazine concentrations rise, the incidence of birth defects grows. One study — by researchers at Purdue University, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives — suggests that concentrations as small as 0.1 parts per billion may be associated with low birth weights.

The E.P.A. generally does not require water systems to notify residents unless the yearly average of atrazine in drinking water exceeds 3 parts per billion, and under a determination made earlier this decade, the agency considers one-day exposures of up to 297 parts per billion safe.

Another study suggests that concentrations of atrazine in drinking water below the E.P.A. thresholds may disrupt menstrual cycles.

Many of those studies examined large populations that are already exposed to atrazine and sought to exclude the effects of other contaminants and environmental or health factors. However, such epidemiological studies cannot prove that atrazine causes specific diseases. Definitive scientific proof would probably require unethical experiments, like exposing pregnant women to the chemical in controlled settings. Some research found that other pesticides may have also contributed to health problems.

Agency and Industry Rebuttal

In written statements, the E.P.A. and Syngenta argued there were problems with all of the studies suggesting health risks from low doses of atrazine.

Agency officials pointed out that epidemiological findings cannot fully differentiate between multiple influences, and that they only highlight associations, and do not demonstrate a cause-and-effect relationship, and that the “E.P.A. has required and extensively reviewed laboratory studies on atrazine and developmental effects.”

“Data from these studies,” the E.P.A. said, “do not suggest that birth defects, small-for-gestational-age, or effects on limb development would occur as a result of exposure to levels of atrazine found in the environment.” Officials added that the agency evaluates all studies as they appear and takes appropriate actions.

Syngenta said in a written statement that “the evidence is overwhelming that atrazine does not cause adverse health effects at levels to which people are normally exposed,” and that “studies have shown that atrazine does not cause birth defects and does not cause reproductive effects.”

But six researchers asked by The Times to review the epidemiological studies said the results were troubling. “These suggest real reasons for concern,” said Melissa Perry, an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. “The results need to be replicated, but they suggest there are real questions for policy makers about what constitutes safe levels of atrazine.”

Concerns have also been raised by researchers at the E.P.A. itself. Since 2003, for instance, research published by agency scientists in journals like Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology has shown that when rats are exposed to brief doses of atrazine as fetuses, some experience delayed puberty and their mammary glands change in ways that could make them more vulnerable to cancer later in life.

“The morphological changes we see look similar to those caused by other compounds that make tissue more susceptible to carcinogens,” said Suzanne Fenton, an E.P.A. scientist who has written about atrazine. “This theory hasn’t been tested for atrazine. There’s still a lot that we don’t know.”

E.P.A. and Syngenta representatives said that experiments showing changes in rats used higher doses than found in drinking water and that those studies did not provide the scientific confidence required for regulation. Outside scientists, in interviews, said other research suggested that similar effects could be observed at lower doses.

Dr. Fenton says she is no longer working on atrazine. Other E.P.A. employees also said they had been encouraged to redirect their energies to other chemicals, because of insufficient resources and competing priorities.

E.P.A. officials said that other researchers were currently working on atrazine and that the agency intended to convene a panel by 2011 to evaluate epidemiological and other studies.

Below the Radar

The federal Safe Drinking Water Act was created, in part, with cities like Piqua, Ohio, in mind. A town of 20,500, it has its own water system, and thanks to federal right-to-know laws created to warn residents about chemicals in their drinking water, Piqua’s officials must test for atrazine and other substances and inform people of the highest concentrations detected.

But when spikes in atrazine occur in Piqua and elsewhere, residents often do not learn of them, a review of E.P.A. and state data shows.

Since local water systems test for atrazine as infrequently as once a year, the E.P.A. has required that the companies manufacturing the chemical, primarily Syngenta, monitor the drinking water of a sample of towns — as many as 154 communities — as often as once a week. The companies submit that data to federal officials. The E.P.A. says those tests indicate that few towns have violated Safe Drinking Water limits for atrazine.

However, a Times review of Syngenta’s data shows that some communities had large spikes of atrazine in their drinking water, sometimes for months at a time. But residents were not warned.

For instance, in April 2005, the drinking water in Piqua contained atrazine concentrations of 59.57 parts per billion. The residents of Piqua were also exposed to elevated concentrations of atrazine in 2004 and 2007. Data shows similar patterns in dozens of other cities, like Versailles, Ind., and Evansville, Ill.

But the people of Piqua never learned about those spikes from local water officials or the E.P.A. City officials test for atrazine only once a month in the spring, and the annual report sent to residents in 2005 said the highest level of atrazine detected was only 11.6 parts per billion — 80 percent lower than the peak measured by Syngenta. Residents were also not told when peaks had occurred or how long they lasted or whether there were multiple spikes.

Syngenta said the company regularly provided city officials with testing results. Piqua officials were largely unaware of or did not use those notifications.

“I didn’t know that we got any information about atrazine besides our own testing,” said Frederick E. Enderle, Piqua’s city manager since 2005. “I’m not even sure what we would do with it.”

Some residents are angry.

“This makes my blood boil,” said Jeff Lange, a Piqua resident and environmental activist. “I have friends and family drinking this water. How are pregnant women or sick people supposed to know when to avoid it?”

Drinking water experts say atrazine spikes most likely occur in many other towns that are not monitored by Syngenta. In those areas, there is essentially no way for residents or officials to monitor how high levels go.

E.P.A. officials said that under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the data collected by third parties, like Syngenta, did not fall under right-to-know provisions and that Piqua was required only to notify residents based on the city’s testing.

But residents, including Mr. Lange, said Syngenta’s findings should have at least prompted the city to test more frequently, or led the E.P.A. to tell the city to change its testing schedule.

E.P.A. officials also said they do not believe that atrazine spikes like those in Piqua are dangerous. “A one-time reading of 59 parts per billion in finished water does not pose a risk to human health,” the agency wrote.

However, studies like the one at Purdue suggest there are health risks at much smaller concentrations, and other studies suggest those risks rise as exposures grow.

Critics contend that atrazine is just one of the many chemicals the E.P.A. has not regulated with sufficient caution.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, is expected to release a report on Monday saying that weak E.P.A. regulation of atrazine poses risks to humans and the environment. Other organizations have made similar charges about a variety of chemicals, including fuel additives, dry cleaning and manufacturing solvents, and industrial waste dumped into water supplies.

“There’s pretty broad consensus that the laws regarding toxic substances need to be modernized and overhauled, and that the E.P.A. needs more resources,” said Mr. Olson of Pew, who added that the agency’s new leadership had begun addressing many issues.

“But in the meantime, people are getting exposed to dangerous chemicals,” Mr. Olson said. “And the E.P.A. isn’t responding swiftly enough.”

Syngenta Stands Behind The Safety Of Atrazine, PRLog (corporate press release), Aug 24 2009.

Crop protection products play a crucial role in bringing abundant and affordable food to our dinner tables

Forty percent of the world’s food supply would not exist without products like atrazine.
• Atrazine is one of the best studied herbicides available today.
• Atrazine helps farmers grow crops sustainably.

Crop protection products play a crucial role in bringing abundant and affordable food to our dinner tables. Forty percent of the world’s food supply would not exist without products like atrazine, a herbicide that helps farmers fight weeds in their corn, sorghum and sugar cane crops.

After 50 years of use, growers have come to rely on atrazine. It is a mainstay of American agriculture. And it is one of the best studied herbicides available today. Safety reviews around the world by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), World Health Organization, Canada, Australia and the UK have all come to the same science-based conclusion—atrazine, as labeled, can and has been used safely.

Atrazine is a critical tool for use in conservation tillage and no-till systems—farming methods that eliminate plowing and/or reduce tillage. Conservation tillage makes cropland much less vulnerable to soil erosion, which is reduced by as much as 90 percent when compared to intensive tillage. When soil erosion is prevented, so is the runoff into our waterways of sediment—identified by EPA as the top pollutant in US streams and rivers.

Farmers would not use a product that puts their own families and communities at risk, and after half a century, who would know better? Today, in part because of atrazine, farmers are able to grow more corn than ever, using environmentally sustainable methods. That means more food to feed a growing population.

Syngenta is a responsible company which takes the stewardship of all our products seriously—and atrazine is no exception. We’ve gone above and beyond the extensive studies required to register this product to ensure its safe and effective use. And as with all crop protection products, wide margins of safety exist with atrazine.

It’s easy to believe fear-provoking claims about our nation’s water when all the data and facts aren’t presented. Let’s be clear – water systems in the U.S. are safe where atrazine is concerned. Over the last three years, no water systems in the U.S. had atrazine levels in their drinking water that exceeded legal limits.

Syngenta is doing its part to ensure agriculture’s sustainable use of our water supplies. Agriculture cannot exist without water, and Syngenta is at the forefront of research in drought-tolerant crops and inputs. Examples include drought-resistant maize and sunflower and a variety of sugar beet that can grow in tropical climates. We educate farmers and landowners across the globe on the use of best management practices to improve land management and protect water quality. To learn more about what Syngenta is doing in the critical area of water protection, please visit: ...

With 7,000 employees and their families living in communities across the United States, all of us at Syngenta are interested in seeing that atrazine is properly regulated in the water we drink. We are convinced that it is. We stand firmly behind the safety of atrazine.

Please visit for more information.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

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Beware the harmful consequences of following junk science, Gwyn Morgan, Aug 31 2009.

'My global "junk science" award goes to the myriad environmental groups and associated acolytes united in opposition to genetically modified foods'

The man who removes the moss from our lawn after the West Coast's winter rainy season was depressed and bewildered. After spending decades building his clientele and practising his trade in the most careful and responsible manner, he is being legislated out of business. The Canadian Cancer Society is calling for a B.C.-wide ban on the sale of weed killers and insecticides for "non-agricultural" use. Several B.C. municipalities already prohibit the use of such products, even to the point where the bits of vinegar our lawn guy puts on our patches of paving-stone moss are considered a public danger.

Here in Victoria, many of the city's signature cherry trees will go through a slow and ugly death from blight because of the banning of a product that could safely protect them. It also means ferns, dogwood and other native species will be defenceless as they are overrun by introduced foreign invaders. The cancer society bases its campaign on the claim that weed killers such as Roundup and insecticides such as Raid may be linked to certain types of cancer. Yet the medical evidence is scant. One study found that men working in pesticide manufacturing plants had a slightly elevated frequency of prostate cancer, but several other studies found no relationship between pesticides and cancer. Some studies have suggested that farmers who use large amounts of weed killer may have an increased risk of lymphoma, but a large U.S. study found the difference to be a statistically insignificant.

Those who defend such knee-jerk public policy actions often cite the "precautionary principle." But if believing in junk science means people are to be driven out of business and public landscapes are to be left unprotected from blights and invasive species, and if home gardeners are forbidden from using the latest and best products, what is "precautionary" about that?

Unfortunately, junk science is a widespread disease. Environmental activists are generally against so-called chemical fertilizers. But what makes manure and compost more virtuous than nitrogen and potassium fertilizers?

Let's start with nitrogen. The scientific fact is that the soil doesn't know the difference between nitrogen sources, as long as it gets enough. Potassium fertilizers are made from a naturally occurring mineral called potash and, here again, the soil doesn't care where it comes from. While organic products are generally very safe, there is no doubt that the raw animal waste sometimes used as fertilizer carries a higher consumer and groundwater pathogen risk. On the other hand, the composting often used in organic gardening has a positive impact on soil stability and water retention.

If soil science doesn't make organic food a superior choice, what about the claims of nutritional superiority? A recent large-scale U.S. study found no discernible difference. Organic foods cost more because they are more labour-intensive, and yields per arable hectare are lower than conventional farming.

The plain fact is that organic food consumption is a feel-good indulgence for those willing and able to pay a premium, but organic farming methods could never begin to feed every Canadian, let alone the world's population.

My global "junk science" award goes to the myriad environmental groups and associated acolytes united in opposition to genetically modified foods (GM foods), or as they have labelled them, "frankenfoods." Policy makers in Europe have reacted by banning domestic production or importation of GM foods. This despite the fact that there are no credible studies showing negative impacts from consuming GM foods, and there isn't even a plausible scientific theory as to why there would be.

Most of the grains, fruits and vegetables that make up modern diets are vastly different than their ancient ancestors. Humans have continuously cross-bred food plants in search of higher yields, improved taste, better nutrition and disease resistance. An important Canadian example is canola; traditional "genetic modification" methods transformed the bitter rapeseed into a healthy and tasty oilseed.

Astounding progress in identifying the genetic building blocks of organisms has accelerated the long and arduous genetic modification process, offering huge potential leaps forward in the increasingly urgent search for higher yielding and more nutritious crops to feed a hungry world. Erosion caused by denuding natural vegetation, groundwater depletion and biological runoff make agricultural production the most damaging human endeavour to our planet's soil, water and aquatic life. GM foods research shows promise of making a big difference.

Seed crops that lower fertilizer requirements and need less water are already a reality. Agra-giant Monsanto has developed an herbicide-resistant seed grain that eliminates the need for fallow tillage to control weeds, thereby reducing water needs, air emissions and soil erosion. This is only one of the GM foods advances made by this innovative and research-intensive company, yet the frankenfood crowd's propaganda has portrayed Monsanto as an environment-destroying corporate pariah.

And so we come full circle in the great farm and garden junk science game, from British Columbia's well-meaning but scientifically illiterate municipal councillors, to the Canadian Cancer Society's campaign against weed and bug killers, to the organic industry's self-serving claim of environmental and nutritional superiority, to the GM foods-opposing frankenfood crowd. It's hard to find evidence that supports any of these claims, but it isn't hard to see the harmful consequences these misguided policies can, and do, have.

Gwyn Morgan is the retired founding CEO of EnCana Corp.

Breathing is better, Letters, Farrah Khan, Sep 01 2009.

Toronto — When it comes to protecting my health, I'm inclined to put my trust in the Canadian Cancer Society and not the chemical industry (Beware The Harmful Consequences Of Following Junk Science - Report on Business, Aug 31). While pesticide manufacturers are motivated by making a buck, health and environment groups have our best interests in mind.

Simply put, pesticides are designed to kill. Should we allow the companies that produce these poisons to write our laws or should we leave it up to the real experts - doctors, nurses and other health professionals - to look out for our us? I urge B.C. to ban lawn and garden pesticides. With such legislation in place, we will all breathe easier.

Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment,

Great Lakes Rescue, NYT Editorial, August 31 2009.

Barack Obama, of Illinois, is the first president since Michigan’s Gerald Ford to come from a heartland state that depends heavily on the Great Lakes for its economic well-being. Hopes have thus been raised that the Great Lakes will at last get the help they need.

The Clean Water Act of 1972 did much to stop direct discharges from industries and municipal sewage systems. But the lakes still suffer — from lingering industrial pollution, toxics like mercury, deteriorating wetlands and, more recently, invasive species that have devastated the fishing industry and fouled shorelines.

In response, the Environmental Protection Agency will soon roll out recovery programs known collectively as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. In June, the House gave the program the entire $475 million the White House wanted. The Senate should do likewise.

This is a small down payment on a project that could ultimately cost $20 billion. But it is an important start that will be administered by one agency, the E.P.A., in an effort to avoid the scattershot funding that undermined earlier restoration efforts.

Many of the tasks that lie ahead are easily identified, and some are “shovel-ready,” awaiting only an infusion of federal energy and money. But nobody has found the answer to what has become the lakes’ biggest and most complex enemy — the invasive species.

The worst is the quagga mussel, a fingernail-sized shellfish that made its way to the lakes on an ocean freighter. First documented in Lake Erie in 1989, these tiny creatures now carpet the lake floor and filter out the tiny organisms at the bottom of the food chain with such efficiency that there is little left for bigger fish. Species vital to local economies — like salmon and whitefish — are disappearing. Recreational fishing in Lake Huron has nearly collapsed. Lake Michigan could be next.

The hope is that a truce of sorts can someday be reached between native species and the exotics. But that will not happen unless new invasions stop — which will require sterilizing the ballast of overseas freighters or, possibly, closing the lakes to foreign shipping.

That would be a radical step, but not irrational. It seems increasingly clear that the economic damage from exotic species outweighs the benefits of allowing polluting ocean ships into the Great Lakes.

Minc ironiza manifestação do Greenpeace contra pré-sal, Tânia Monteiro, 01/09/2009.

O ministro do Meio Ambiente, Carlos Minc, ironizou a manifestação da ONG Greenpeace, durante a apresentação do marco regulatório para exploração do pré-sal. Membros da ONG permaneceram durante todo o discurso do presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva com uma faixa advertindo para os problemas de poluição que o pré-sal pode provocar. No início do discurso do presidente da Câmara, deputado Michel Temer (PMDB-SP), dois integrantes subiram ao palco e conseguiram esticar uma faixa de cerca de 2,5 metros que dizia: "Pré-sal e poluição. Não dá para falar de um sem falar do outro".

"No meu tempo era mais bonitinho, mais impactante (as manifestações). Hoje, foi tudo muito comportadinho", declarou o ministro, ressalvando, no entanto, que é importante que se esteja atento às questões que afetam o meio ambiente, porque "o petróleo tem grande impacto ambiental". O ministro comemorou ainda a decisão do presidente Lula de incluir no fundo social a aplicação de recursos provenientes do pré-sal também na área ambiental. "Eu pedi e o presidente endossou. Foi uma grande vitória", disse.

Servidores da Funasa morrem intoxicados no interior, Diário do Pará, 04/09/2009.

O trabalho de combate à malária, realizado ao longo de muitos anos por funcionários da Fundação Nacional de Saúde (Funasa), em diversos municípios do interior da Amazônia, ainda hoje traz consequências graves a esses trabalhadores.

Na semana passada, dois funcionários do órgão federal morreram em decorrência de intoxicação por causa dos anos que trabalharam com os compostos DDT e malathion, que atualmente tem sua venda, estocagem e distribuição proibida por lei federal.

A primeira vítima foi Damião Cosme da Silva, que morreu no dia 24 de agosto em uma área de garimpo, a 7 quilômetros de Itaituba, sudoeste paraense.

Além dele, José de Jesus da Silva morreu dia 27, em Altamira, no sudoeste do Estado. Os corpos já foram sepultados nos respectivos municípios.

De acordo com Francisca Campos, coordenadora geral do Sindicato dos Trabalhadores do Serviço Público Federal no Pará (Sintfep-PA), essa não é a primeira morte registrada em decorrência do trabalho que esses servidores realizaram ao longo dos anos.

O DDT e o malathion eram usados em bombas de borrifação para matar insetos, principalmente os transmissores da malária e febre amarela.

O sindicato diz que a Funasa não estaria cumprindo com a obrigação de dar assistência aos servidores que hoje sofrem as consequências da longa exposição a esses produtos químicos.

"Há uma decisão judicial que obriga a Funasa a cuidar desses companheiros, mas ela vem sendo negligente. Na época em que começaram a usar esses produtos, não deram orientação nenhuma de que eram venenos perigosos", afirma Francisca Campos.

A reportagem tentou entrar em contato com a Funasa no final da noite de ontem, mas ninguém foi localizado para falar sobre o assunto.

The bomber dividing Tomslake, Nathan Vanderklippe, Friday Aug 14 2009.

Feelings toward the EnCana blasts are split in Tomslake, B.C. Some residents welcome the industry's influx of wealth, while others quietly support the person responsible for six explosions since October.

TOMSLAKE, B.C. - Bill Mazanek will not soon forget the time, two years ago, when his peaceful ranch in northeastern British Columbia turned into a little slice of Texas.

He could walk to his front yard and see six drilling rigs and a dozen natural-gas flares, their flames licking high into the sky. When the wind wasn't blowing, the air bore a metallic tang.

“Have you ever been to a welding shop when everybody's quit welding? There's still that little taste in the air,” he said. “That's what it would be like first thing in the morning.”

Mr. Mazanek's home was in the throes of a huge transformation. Tomslake, his community of 375 households, was no longer the backwoods cattle-and-canola country it had long been.

It began in 2003, when EnCana Corp., a Calgary-based oil and gas company, announced a record-breaking $500-million purchase of 200,000 hectares – about one-third the size of PEI. The rest of the industry flocked to the area, and drilled hundreds of wells, many near Tomslake. In the past six years, EnCana alone has drilled 185.

Mr. Mazanek loves it. As the local fire chief, he is the closest Tomslake has to a mayor, and he has made his own 461 acres of land a welcome mat for industry. Thirteen wells have been drilled on his ranch; nine more are in the works.

The smell worried him, though, so he had an air-quality monitor installed at the fire hall, to test for anything that could be dangerous.

“It's never tripped,” he said. “So far, everything's hunky-dory.”

But as anyone here will tell you, it's no longer the air they're worried about. It's everything else – including their lives.

Not everyone likes the oil and gas industry, which has brought clouds of dust, a barrage of noise, and the threat of deadly sour-gas leaks to a once-tranquil part of the country. Some murmured their displeasure, some fought the gas companies in court.

Almost no one noticed.

Then, last October, local news outlets received an anonymous letter that demanded the “terrorists” of industry pack up and leave. Two days later, a blast damaged a sour-gas pipeline in the area. In the following 10 months, five more blasts followed. RCMP labelled the bomber a “terrorist” who was attacking critical energy infrastructure and endangering lives.

The country took notice. And Mr. Mazanek grew angry.

“I believe in vigilante justice. There's a whole bunch of us that do. Our necks are kind of red down here,” he said. “I wish I knew where the bomber was from, believe me. He would be in one of my muskeg holes.”

But in Tomslake, not everyone agrees.

On a warm summer evening, a steady stream of cars trickled onto the gravel parking lot at the old Tomslake Community Cultural Association hall.

Inside, 30 people gathered. Farmers wearing mesh ball caps and plaid shirts sat next to women in Gap sweatshirts. They are Rural Crime Watch volunteers. Many have dedicated unpaid hours to patrol local roads to find the bomber.

They listened as RCMP Staff Sergeant Stephen Grant outlined his plans to catch whoever is responsible, which includes a new temporary detachment in Tomslake. This crowd has a personal stake in putting the bomber behind bars, and many were happy to hear it. Their meeting fell on the same day police revealed the contents of a second anonymous letter from the person they believe to be the bomber, who warned that if EnCana did not begin to pull back from the area in three months, “things will get a lot worse.”

Then a woman raised her hand to speak. She feels differently. She has watched natural-gas wells form an unwanted perimeter around her land, company helicopters spook her cattle, and equipment shatter the silence on a road to her home that, in the past, rarely saw more than a vehicle a week.

She wants the industry gone.

“The bomber is at least giving us a bit of a voice,” she said.

Staff Sgt. Grant, commander of the detachment at Dawson Creek, 30 kilometres to the northeast, has heard this before. While the explosions could easily kill someone, there are plenty who feel more sympathy for the bomber than the infrastructure he or she has damaged.

“This person would like to think they're Robin Hood,” he said. “But they're endangering the people that live here.”

The regular morning crowd at the Dawson Creek Tim Hortons rises early, and sips coffee late. Pulp workers, businessmen and pipeliners, they have a lot to say about the energy industry, especially the evils of what John Miller calls “the flipping oil field mentality.”

Mr. Miller, a welder and long-time resident, outlined the many ways the industry has shown disregard for long-established community protocols. The oil and gas companies take too long to pay their bills. Their semis dangerously speed down local highways. Their pickup trucks block driveways. They fly up high-powered lawyers to fight ranchers looking for small increases in land access fees. “Their attitude, it stinks,” Mr. Miller said.

Sitting next to him, Fred Lumnitzer, a construction worker, pointed to EnCana as the worst offender. “They remind me of a sandbox where all the kids are playing and a bully comes along and says, ‘I'm going to play with that truck,'” Mr. Lumnitzer said.

Both he and Mr. Miller know the industry has brought new wealth. Houses have tripled in value in the past decade. The roads are full of shiny pickups. The recession has skipped over this place.

EnCana has worked diligently to win local hearts. It began a Courtesy Matters campaign, aimed at making the company more responsive to complaints about traffic, noise and garbage. Its most visible presence in the community is its large logo on the Dawson Creek EnCana Events Centre, an arena and swimming-pool complex it sponsored.

“With the vast majority of our relations with surface land owners and stakeholders, we work through the challenges and their concerns,” said company spokesman Alan Boras. “And a measure of that is in the probably 200 leases that we have in place up there: Only two have gone to mediation or third-party arbitration.”

The company also offered a $1-million reward for information leading to the bomber's capture.

Still, mistrust of EnCana runs deep. Mr. Lumnitzer and many others see the bomber as a vandal attacking the companies that have damaged the area. They refuse to call the bomber a terrorist – they say they don't feel terrorized, and don't believe he is out to hurt anyone.

But if the bombs don't much frighten the Tim Hortons crowd, they've cast a tremor through many in the community who live near the energy infrastructure – and especially among those work in it.

“If the idiot keeps going, somebody's going to get hurt or killed,” said one EnCana employee, worried he would lose his job if he were identified. A well-placed hit on one of the many natural-gas compressor stations in the area would “be like a little atomic bomb,” the employee said.

Doug Harper got a preview of what that might look like when, early on July 4, his usually calm neighbour banged on his door, looking terrified. Not far from Mr. Harper's house, a huge explosion had ripped through the night followed by the sound of natural gas roaring into the air. “I went out practically undressed,” he said. “I told my wife, ‘Jesus Christ! Get a move on! Let's go or we'll die!'”

The explosion, set on a pipeline, was the bomber's sixth. It was set just 500 metres from where crews were working to fix the fifth explosion.

Mr. Harper, whose ancestors were among the first to settle the area, acknowledges that industry has damaged the landscape. Some of his favourite grouse-hunting trails have vanished beneath oil and gas roads, and his 194 hectares are no longer as peaceful as they once were.

But he has little but praise for EnCana. One snow-heavy winter, the company dispatched a bulldozer to help clear his driveway, unprompted, and at no charge. In summer, when the dust starts to build on nearby gravel roads, he places a call and the company sends someone to water the road.

“They do really make an effort,” he said. “Although there's a lot of people that have resentment towards them, I think they really try to be a good corporate citizen.”

The disturbance is the price to pay for a society that depends on hydrocarbons, he said. And while he doesn't have a well on his land, he wishes he did.

Tomslake is filled, said Mr. Mazanek, with a silent majority that has tallied the gains and losses of natural-gas production, and come out in favour of industry. He is one of them.

Where others protest, Mr. Mazanek profits. He has signed contracts with companies such as EnCana to bulldoze land for roads and wells. He grinds straw, erects fences, digs water dugouts – and pulls in good margins on it all.

Agriculture, once the lifeblood of this area, is dying. Mr. Mazanek has sold all but 16 of a cattle herd that once numbered 165. “It's just not worth it,” he said.

Now he makes $4,000 a year to lease out land for a single 1,600-square-metre oil lease.

“My great- great- great-grandkids could farm that sucker, and they aren't going to make that much,” he said.

Industry, he concluded, arrived just in time.

“Not all of us are against the oil companies,” he said. “To the ranchers and farmers that have oil and gas on their land, it's a lifeline.”



Friday, 28 August 2009

not a blog XI

Up, Down.

Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.
Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.
Gordon Edwards at Vanier College, at Wikipedia.

Bjarnie Hannibal PaulsonGordon EdwardsGordon EdwardsGordon EdwardsPeter OttensmeyerRobert Del TrediciGideon FormanGideon Forman

Gordon Edwards, Nuclear Power - Hope or Hoax?: YouTube Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Aubrey Beardsleymany years ago we staged a demonstration parade which stopped at the AECL offices on Slater Street in Ottawa and demanded an audience, things were more graceful in those days and one of us, myself, went up to talk, I had very little to say, blew the opportunity, and the only image that remains is a series of framed pictures in their reception area, the pictures were copies of that fellow ... faux-victoriana nudes they used to publish in Playboy now and then ... what was his name? I think it started with a 'B' ... maybe I will remember later ...

Bizarrosome more years after that we gave an Artificial Intelligence workshop to a dozen people from that same office, I was one of those consultants who think they can learn anything about a computer in a few minutes and again I blew it, embarrassed my colleague (who actually still could learn things overnight - I was at the beginning of a sort-of divorce which I have never recovered from ... excuses, excuses) and later on the client demanded his money back (he didn't get it, my colleague was at the top of his game), and the only person I remember from their group was a woman, 30 maybe, slim and dressed in leather clothes, some kind of engineer ... soi distant

point being that links between sex and the environment are deep and wide, trite huh?

remembered ... it was Aubrey Beardsley

Helmut NewtonHelmut NewtonHelmut NewtonHelmut NewtonHelmut Newton
Helmut NewtonHelmut NewtonHelmut NewtonHelmut NewtonHelmut NewtonHelmut NewtonHelmut NewtonHelmut NewtonHelmut NewtonHelmut Newton

Yakumama, Alianza Popular Revolucionaria AmericanaYakumama, Dignidad Alberto PizangoYakumama, Amazonas ResisteYakumama, Amazonas Ruge
Yakumama vs Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana (Alan García's party), can't find where the association came from(?)

In the mythology of the indigenous people of South America, the yacu-mama is a sea monster, fifty paces long, believed to inhabit the mouth of the Amazon River and the nearby lagoons. According to the legend, the yacu-mama would suck up any living thing that passed within 100 paces of it. To protect themselves, the local Indians would blow on a conch horn before entering the water, believing that the yacu-mama would reveal itself if it was present. It is a giant snake.

Massacre in Peru: A trip into the Amazon brings answers and more questions, Ben Powless, June 20 2009.
A personal testimony on Bagua massacre in Peru: exclusive VIDEO interview with Ben Powless.

Peruanista (blog).

Entrevista a Daisy Zapata (YouTube), Daysi/Daisy Zapata, Peru.

Los artistas del Colectivo Andamio integrantes del CSLA, Centro de Medios Independientes Peru.


A legend that tells of two beings who travel the three worlds. They begin in the inner world, crossing into this one and continuing to the outer. One is Yakumama and the other is Sachamama. Both are represented by great serpents. Sachamama does not slither on the ground but walks vertically with such slowness that it hardly seems to move. Upon arrival in the outer world, Yakumama transforms into the lightning and Sachamama becomes the rainbow. The rainbow is a deity that fertilises the earth giving colour to all the plants and beings. It is the sign of fertility for all living beings and the earth itself. The three worlds thus find themselves united by these two mythic serpents, gods of water and fertility.

EducaSitios EcoAgua, Cuidar el agua , es cuidar nuestro futuro.
David Hewson, El Proyecto Pirámide, Adam Cave Exhibition, Guilford College ($@%$! pdf).

Pachamama - Mother Earth, Mother Universe
Yacumama/Yakumama - Mother of the Water, the Lower World
Sachamama - Mother of the Forest, the Middle World
Huayramama - Mother of the Air, the Upper World

Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn? Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee? Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever? Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens? Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants? Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears? Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more. Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him? None is so fierce that dare stir him up.   (or her as the case may be)

Job Chapter 41.

Poderás tirar com anzol o leviatã, ou apertar-lhe a língua com uma corda? Poderás meter-lhe uma corda de junco no nariz, ou com um gancho furar a sua queixada? Porventura te fará muitas súplicas, ou brandamente te falará? Fará ele aliança contigo, ou o tomarás tu por servo para sempre? Brincarás com ele, como se fora um pássaro, ou o prenderás para tuas meninas? Farão os sócios de pesca tráfico dele, ou o dividirão entre os negociantes? Poderás encher-lhe a pele de arpões, ou a cabeça de fisgas? Põe a tua mão sobre ele; lembra-te da peleja; nunca mais o farás! Eis que é vã a esperança de apanhá-lo; pois não será um homem derrubado só ao vê-lo? Ninguém há tão ousado, que se atreva a despertá-lo.

1. The search for a nuclear graveyard, Anna Mehler Paperny, Tuesday Aug 25 2009.
2. Making the world less safe, Globe Letters, Gordon Edwards, Friday Aug 28 2009.
3. Making the world less safe, Globe Letters, Gideon Forman, Friday Aug 28 2009.
4. Nuclear 'waste' is fuel, Globe Letters, Peter Ottensmeyer, Friday Aug 28 2009.
5. My letter to the Globe (not published), 28/8/9.

6. Is this the end of the age of our social cohesion?, Michael Valpy, Sat Aug 29 2009.
7. NYT: Marina Silva é 'criança da Amazônia' que abala o Brasil, 29 de agosto de 2009.
8. A Child of the Amazon Shakes Up a Nation’s Politics, Alexei Barrionuevo, August 28 2009.
9. ‘Stagnation’ Made Brazil’s Environment Chief Resign, Alexei Barrionuevo, May 16 2008.
10. 'Guardian': saída de Marina é maior problema do PT para 2010, Terra, 25 de agosto de 2009.
11. Brazil's former environment minister leaves ruling party over 'destruction of natural resources', Tom Phillips, Wednesday 19 August 2009.
12. Brazil after Lula, Conor Foley, Tuesday 25 August 2009.
13. PV festeja filiação de Marina Silva em São Paulo, Terra, 30 de agosto de 2009.

The search for a nuclear graveyard, Anna Mehler Paperny, Tuesday Aug 25 2009.

40,000 metric tonnes of radioactive waste is stored at sites across Canada. Anna Mehler Paperny reports on the hunt for a permanent solution

Wanted: Friendly, open-minded community in need of jobs and a whack of infrastructure cash. Must be willing to play host to nuclear waste, perhaps until the end of time.More than six decades after joining the nuclear club, Canada is home to 22 nuclear reactors, 18 of them in operation, producing about 15 per cent of the country's electricity. Canada also has 40,000 metric tonnes of radioactive waste - and counting.

For years, the issue of how to best dispose of this waste has plagued policy-makers, scientists and citizens. Suggestions have included shooting it into outer space or exporting it to the South Pole.

Now, Canada is preparing to get rid of its nuclear detritus once and for all - by burying it.

That solution will cost $16-billion to $24-billion, and it could take until 2020 just to choose a location. But if all goes well, millions of bundles of spent nuclear fuel will be buried half a kilometre underground in a complex network of subterranean rooms forever. Or at least until future generations come up with something better to do with it.

One niggling question remains: Where?

The multidecade, multibillion-dollar endeavour is the brainchild of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, established by the federal government in 2002 to come up with a solution to the problem that has plagued Canada's nuclear-safety regulators since the 1940s - what to do with the waste that builds up as a result of all nuclear activity, and which continues to emit potentially harmful radioactive energy for decades, centuries or even millennia.

It's early days yet: Consultations are just beginning on how to select a location.

In May and June, those consultations took the form of town-hall meetings in 14 cities in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick - chosen, said NWMO spokesman Michael Krizanc, because they're "regional centres" in Canada's nuclear provinces.

When the information session came to Sudbury in late May, it became clear just how radioactive this issue will be - and how likely to cause political fallout.

Just before the meeting, Sudbury's Liberal MPP, Rick Bartolucci, urged city council to reject the nuclear-waste repository.

"There is no dollar figure, no salary, and no number of jobs that would be worth risking the health of our children, our landscape and our future,'' Mr. Bartolucci said in a statement at the time.

"We are not the dumping ground for Canada's nuclear waste, nor do we ever want to be."

Taking note of Mr. Bartolucci's statement, the opposition New Democratic Party observed that his reluctance to see a nuclear-waste repository in his back yard made it difficult for Ontario's governing Liberals to justify their pursuit of nuclear power. Less than two months later, the Ontario government's reluctance to commit to new nuclear reactors rendered the question moot.

Mr. Bartolucci said he was simply voicing his constituents' concerns.

Mr. Krizanc said communities willing to have the waste will have to come forward on their own - no one will put pressure on towns to take the spent nuclear fuel.

"We're not going to actively invite communities to, you know, consider being a host," he said. "They would have to invite themselves into the process."

The NWMO's invitation for feedback notes that the nuclear-waste repository will bring "economic benefits, including direct employment for hundreds of people at the facility for many decades, plus many more indirect jobs" to residents of the community that takes the two million used uranium fuel bundles now in existence - a number that will grow significantly if Canada continues to conduct nuclear research and use nuclear reactors to generate electricity.

Right now, the spent fuel is in specially licensed above-ground concrete-and-steel silos on reactor sites.

The plan is to bury the waste deep enough below ground that it doesn't cause harm, but in such a way that it can be retrieved if a better way of storing it is discovered.

The site will require about six square kilometres of open land in an area away from groundwater, heritage sites, mineral deposits or national parks.

Once a selection process is established, planners estimate it will take up to 10 years to choose a site. Add the timeline for environmental assessments, licensing and construction, and it will be at least 2035 before the facility is functioning.

Mike Buckthought, a climate-change campaigner for the Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy group, said he's skeptical of plans to store tens of thousands of tonnes of nuclear waste underground.

"The nuclear industry has not demonstrated that it is capable of keeping highly radioactive waste isolated from the outside world for millennia," he said. "A nuclear waste repository could be damaged by earthquakes and other natural phenomena over such a long time period."

The inability to deal safely with the remains of nuclear power generation should be reason enough to phase it out, he said.

But Mr. Krizanc said that, ultimately, this is less about the merits of nuclear energy - which Canada has used, for better or worse, for the past several decades - and more about fairness. The massive silos now storing nuclear waste above ground will degrade and future generations would have to replace them.

"It's a fairness and an ethical question," he said.

"If you keep it where it is, above ground, in the types of facilities that it is now, you would be passing it on as a legacy to future generations. They would have to actively monitor it; they would have to repackage it every few hundred years."

Some places, however, see an opportunity in solving Canada's nuclear-waste problem. The Uranium Development Partnership, a think-tank established by the government of Saskatchewan to explore ways the province can extract more value from the uranium mined there, has suggested the nuclear-waste facility might be a perfect fit for the province. A report released in March noted that "the potential benefits to that community and to the province of hosting the facility would be significant."

UDP chairman Richard Florizone, vice-president of finance and resources at the University of Saskatchewan and holder of a PhD in nuclear physics from MIT, said it all adds up.

"Carbon emissions are driving increased interest in nuclear power," he said. "You have to do something with the spent fuel, and that fuel might have future value. ... So the nation has to put it somewhere."

Dr. Florizone said Saskatchewan's position atop the geologically stable Canadian Shield makes it ideal for the long-term storage of nuclear waste. Moreover, the project "would clearly have a very positive economic impact" on a province whose economy is susceptible to the vagaries of commodities markets.

Still, he adds, "social acceptance in these things is absolutely key. ... [But] my sense is there are some communities who are interested in this. They see spent fuel as maybe a future resource rather than as waste."



Blueprints for storing Canada's nuclear waste underground make provisions for a massive research facility that proponents hope will become a centre for nuclear innovation. The waste will be stored so that it is easily retrievable if those in charge ever decide to do something else with it.

Technology exists to reprocess spent uranium, but it requires the high-grade plutonium to be separated. This frightens both governments and non-proliferation agencies. Plutonium is a key component of nuclear weapons and a potential target for theft and sabotage.

Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Washington-based Nonproliferation Policy Education Centre, said the desire to put nuclear waste out of sight and out of mind doesn't justify the expense and risk of moving it from above-ground storage.

"You put it in a dry cast and you keep it on the site, voila!" he said. "If you're going to keep it [underground] for a very long time, you have to worry about the geology changing or water running through it.

"People have fantastic expectations - They say, 'We want to keep it there for 10,000 years.' What is 10,000 years? ... Who the hell knows?"

But Frank von Hippel, director of Princeton University's Program on Science and Global Security, wrote in an e-mail that the "minor" risks of long-term underground storage pale in comparison to reprocessing.

"The result of public resistance to underground radioactive waste disposal is what keeps reprocessing alive, even though it is uneconomic and makes the waste disposal problem much worse."

Anna Mehler Paperny



As Canada prepares to bury its nuclear waste deep underground, a similar project that has already cost the United States government billions of dollars and several decades of research is going nowhere fast.

In 1987, Congress chose Yucca Mountain, in what was deemed to be a suitably dry, remote region in the Nevada desert, to bury the country's nuclear waste. Since then, more than $10-billion has been spent researching how to do that so the waste stays away from humans indefinitely.

The project has since run into myriad roadblocks, both political and practical. The State of Nevada has long opposed it, going so far as to take legal action against the federal government. Research found water flowed more quickly through the mountain than thought, raising fears the waste could contaminate groundwater over time.

It didn't help that the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, is a Democrat from Nevada who has opposed the plan for years; or that President Barack Obama slashed funding for it in his 2009 budget.

It isn't clear what will happen to the 77,000 tonnes of nuclear waste in the U.S. if the Nevada project doesn't go through. But the federal government has already paid more than $1-billion to utility companies who sued after it failed to make good on a promise to take the companies' nuclear waste starting in 1998.

Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Washington-based Nonproliferation Policy Education Centre, said the project offers a cautionary tale to any other jurisdiction trying to come up with creative ways of disposing of nuclear waste.

"What a disaster - billions of dollars pissed away on nothing."


Cities in consultation on nuclear storage: Bathurst, Edmundston, Fredericton, Whitby, London, Toronto, Brockton, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Quebec City, Trois Rivieres, Montreal, Saint John;

Used fuel storage: Quebec City, Saint John, Whitby, Toronto, Brockton, Ottawa;

Research reactors: Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Trois Rivieres;

Electricity-generating reactors: Ottawa, Quebec City, Saint John, Whitby, Toronto, Brockton.

Special handling: How the waste will be packaged

If they could be stacked like cordwood, all of Canada's used nuclear fuel bundles could fit into six hockey rinks, from the ice surface to the top of the boards.


Making the world less safe, Globe Letters, Gordon Edwards, Friday Aug 28 2009.

So the hunt is on, we're told, for a permanent nuclear waste solution (The Search For A Nuclear Grave-yard - Aug. 25). But the human race has never successfully disposed of anything. The only way to truly get rid of persistent toxic material is to destroy or neutralize it. We can't do either with radioactive waste.

Plans to "dispose" of used nuclear fuel are really motivated by two desires: to solve a nuclear public relations problem so the industry can continue to produce more of this toxic stuff; and to get the irradiated fuel into one centralized location for reprocessing - dissolving it in nitric acid and extracting the small percentage of plutonium that it contains, leaving millions of gallons of high-level liquid radioactive waste behind to deal with.

So geologic disposal is not a plan to make the world safer from nuclear waste. It's just a pretext to give the nuclear industry a chance to expand for centuries to come, making the world less safe by creating horrific security problems through the "plutonium economy" - and making the global radioactive waste problem more intractable.

Gordon Edwards, president, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.

Making the world less safe, Globe Letters, Gideon Forman, Friday Aug 28 2009.

If we make a mistake with wind power - build too many turbines or place them in the wrong place, say - we can take down the installations and largely be done with it. But nuclear doesn't work that way. Because its waste is poisonous for hundreds of thousands of years, we are never done with it. The harm we're causing is forever.

Gideon Forman, executive director, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.

Nuclear 'waste' is fuel, Globe Letters, Peter Ottensmeyer, Friday Aug 28 2009.

Letter writers Gordon Edwards and Gideon Forman (Making The World Less Safe - Aug. 27) have their heart in the right place with respect to nuclear "waste" but look at an incomplete picture. The current "waste" is 99 per cent fuel that has only been used up to the 1-per-cent level. It needs to be repacked, with no plutonium extraction, to "burn" in fast-neutron reactors.

U.S. fuel pins have burned to 25 per cent in the French Phénix fast reactor, and fuel redesign could raise this to 90 per cent in one pass. At those levels, the fission products that stop the reaction are removed in order to burn the rest - without plutonium extraction.

The fission products contain no long-lived actinides; these are burned as fuel - or, as Mr. Edwards wants, "destroyed" - in those reactors, extensively detoxifying the true waste that's left. That waste can then be disposed of permanently by the use of subduction, the slow natural submersion of the Earth's oceanic bottom plates underneath our continents, inaccessible and well away from our biospheres.

We can extract 100 times more energy from our spent reactor fuel, simultaneously burning the long-lived actinides, then disposing of the remainder. That is a humongous amount of energy from existing "waste." And it is carbon-free.

Peter Ottensmeyer, professor emeritus of medical biophysics, University of Toronto.

My letter to the Globe (not published).

ok Globe and Mail,

You've got a biologist/biochemist, a physicist, and a philosopher/bureaucrat with opinions on nuclear waste, and all of them are credible on the face of it, and they do not agree - it's time for a real debate of this issue on your pages don't you think?

What about Peter Ottensmeyer's statement, 'the fission products contain no long-lived actinides'? Is this true? It is incredible to me, but I am not a physicist - then again, neither is he. We have seen what happens when you try to sweep CO2 under the rug, (or into the skies as the case may be). What happens when you try to sweep nuclear waste under the continent? Can this even be accomplished? I'm not a geologist either.

The human race seems incapable of addressing an issue with a horizon of 50-100 years and it is very likely incapable of addressing an issue with a horizon of thousands of years. But ... you have to start somewhere.

Get on with it and do a proper job - please.

Is this the end of the age of our social cohesion?, Michael Valpy, Sat Aug 29 2009.

Discrepancies in recent poll results may be a symptom of increasing fragmentation in Canadian society, rather than of any fault in the methods of data collection. It is harder to find a representative sample when people actually have less and less in common

From Saturday' s Globe and Mail Last updated on 02:58AM EDT

For eight months, opinion surveys have told Canadians their enthusiasm for their two main national political parties has all the liveliness of a dead cod. Then a few days ago, without anything having happened, a poll placed Stephen Harper and his Conservatives 11 points in the lead.

The Conservatives themselves doubt its accuracy. The pollster, Darrell Bricker of Ipsos-Reid, defends the findings, saying they show the Liberals have no momentum and their Leader, Michael Ignatieff, is a “cipher” whom Canadians do not know.

That presupposes sufficient numbers of Canadians are accessing media where Mr. Harper and Mr. Ignatieff might be expected to appear. It pre-supposes that enough Canadians have sufficient knowledge of national affairs to pass meaningful judgment on what the two parties are doing.

It assumes that out of the fractures – the eroding social cohesion – of Canadian society, the poll bears a message that would actually serve to guide the two parties on how they should serve Canadians' democratic interests.

In True Patriot Love: Four Generations in Search of Canada – Mr. Ignatieff's new book that, like all his books, reads significantly better than his speeches – the Liberal Leader touches eloquently on the need for social cohesion.

“We need a public life in common,” he writes, “some set of reference points and allegiances to give us a way to relate to the strangers among whom we live. Without this feeling of belonging, even if only imagined, we would live in fear and dread of each other. When we can call the strangers citizens, we can feel at home with them and with ourselves.”

And reaching for a codicil from his intellectual hero, he adds: “Isaiah Berlin described this sense of belonging well. He said that to feel at home is to feel that people understand not only what you say, but also what you mean.”

A glorious objective.

Since his book was published in late spring, Mr. Ignatieff has been indicted by media commentators for offering a dearth of glue to bind his fellow citizens together. That should not tarnish the importance of his thesis.

Canadians have a conundrum of a country whose inhabitants, particularly anglophones, demonstrate a higher attachment to their nation than the inhabitants of any other advanced Western nation – says the Ottawa-based Ekos Research – but whose sense of common purpose and belonging together is disintegrating.

According to social scientists who study the issue, Canada is developing a social-cohesion deficit. Too little holds us together, and the potential threat to the democratic conduct of our affairs is cause for concern.

Canadians collectively have not thought seriously about nation-building since the Trudeau just-society era of the 1970s. The politics of consensus once so strongly imprinted on Canadian society have vanished.

At a time when historians are re-interesting themselves in the nation as a cultural notion, as a frame for identity – after a long hiatus when they sought to escape the dead-white-man narratives of political and economic nation-building – Canadian culture shows up with cleavages deep enough to be indecent.

The demographic bloat of baby boomers, more pronounced in Canada than anywhere except Australia, has dragged the country from Yuppiedom to Grumpydom – from young urban professionals to grown-up mature professionals – shifting the public-policy agenda along the way from social equality, human rights and statism to crime worries, security and fiscal retrenchment.

The Canadian median age in 1967 was 26, when Pierre Trudeau was getting ready to lead the country. It is now 43. Thus, not surprisingly, for the first time since Ekos began asking Canadians 15 years ago how they self-identify, a slightly larger number label themselves small-c conservative rather than small-l liberal, reinforcing policy indicators such as declining support for pacifism and a single-payer public health-care system.

The boomers eventually will totter off stage, but the people behind them are cleaved into two significant age-related groups, what Ekos president Frank Graves calls “open cosmopolitans” and “continental conservatives.”

The open cosmopolitans, with an over-representation of Generation X, are extremely receptive to diversity, immigration and the outside world and hold generally progressive views on issues such as foreign policy. The continental conservatives, with an overrepresentation from Generation Y (the under-30s), are comfortable with current government directions and see Canada being more closely drawn into a North American partnership.

There is no identifiable successor group on the radar screen to the vanishing supporters of Pearson-Trudeau progressive statism, in case anyone was hoping.


But there is a deep split between megalopolitan Canada and everywhere else. (Think of a Conservative government with no elected members in Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal.)

There is a deep split between those with postsecondary education and those without. Canada has the world's highest proportion of people with postsecondary education.

And there is a marked split between genders. Among current voters, for example, women tend significantly to dislike both Stephen Harper and Mr. Ignatieff. Actually, for the past three years, Canadians as a whole have rarely got beyond mustering tepid interest in the two major parties, a favour the Conservatives and Liberals have returned by offering nothing approximating a national vision.

No mind-map, no soul-map, of Canada.

A nation is an imagined community, wrote the U.S. political scientist Benedict Anderson.

Thought is not private, contrary to what Rodin's statue of The Thinker implies. Thought is predominantly public and social, and therefore a nation is a community of people who understand that those with whom they shop, ride public transit and share the roads and the sidewalks also share values, community knowledge and mythologies.

It is what enables us to talk to one another with some confidence of being not only heard but, as Isaiah Berlin would have it, being understood. It is what enables Canadians to live together with sufficient levels of trust and security and to conduct their democracy more or less under the rubric of having a common purpose and serving the common good.

It is that facility which is in danger of unravelling – without, it should be noted, any rescue being offered by polling, the shotgun substitute for public consultation that politicians and governments have so heavily relied upon.

Polling methodology is breaking up on the rocks. People's increased unwillingness to respond to surveys is making it harder to assemble demographically representative samples and thus meaningful results.

Public cleavage is contributing to polls' debased value as an expression of public will: What public, or how many publics, are we talking about?

And the erosion of shared knowledge is undermining polls – not to mention social cohesion: that fundamental element of Benedict Anderson's imagined community, the information and knowledge that enable citizens to engage in debates and have opinions about what they should be doing together as a society, whether it is university education, health care or garbage pickup.

The central instruments of social cohesion have been the mass media, now being gnawed away at by specialty channels and the Internet, and by new generations who do not feel affiliated (the word communications theorists use) with TV networks or CBC radio or newspapers.

And what appears to be the greatest single impact of digital media is the disappearance of what political scientists call the public space – the very public space that, two centuries ago, newspapers created in Canada.

Prof. Gene Allen of Ryerson University's school of journalism cautions against assuming that mass media created some monolithic national consciousness in the past. “The fact you give someone a message,” he points out, “really doesn't tell you what they're going to do about it.”

Rather, he says, the significance of shared knowledge and its importance to social cohesion is more complex.

Shared knowledge means that equally important to what is said on the nightly newscasts, or what newspapers say, is that so many Canadians can assume that so many other Canadians are watching the same newscasts or reading the same newspapers.

As the U.S. media sociologist James Carey once said, reading a newspaper is like attending mass.


With network ratings and circulations falling farther and farther behind population growth, there remains, says Prof. Allen, “a strong desire among people to know what is socially known … [but] the cohesive core of common information is shrinking.”

The nature of the glue being provided by the new social networking instruments like Facebook and Twitter at this stage isn't known, he says. What may be immediately at peril is the mass-media serendipity of being intellectually challenged and engaged.

“The thing about newspapers is that you always find things you didn't know you were looking for. You come across views that you don't agree with or don't like,” says Christopher Waddell, director of Carleton University's school of journalism. “When you're searching for things on the Internet, I think it's much less likely that you're searching for things that challenge you. You're much more likely to be searching for positive reinforcement.”

The resulting risk, he says, is a polarization of attitudes. People will be less likely to expose themselves to opposing legitimate views.

“Society is always better when someone is trying to undermine your views. And particularly, social cohesion is better, because being challenged forces you to think through why you believe what you believe. It's the stimulus for debate and discussion and a recognition of multiple others.”

Pierre Trudeau once declared that if Canada broke apart, it would be a crime against humanity. What would he say if its citizens become strangers to themselves?

NYT: Marina Silva é 'criança da Amazônia' que abala o Brasil, 29 de agosto de 2009.

Com o título "Uma criança da Amazônia que abalou a política de um País", o jornal New York Times publicou neste sábado um perfil da senadora Marina Silva (AC). O texto contrasta a infância e adolescência da ex-ministra do Meio Ambiente "no coração da Amazônia" com o "ícone do movimento ambientalista" que ela representa hoje.

O artigo também destaca que Marina "abalou a política brasileira" ao anunciar sua saída do Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) e sua filiação ao Partido Verde (PV), no qual poderá ser candidata à Presidência em 2010, e que sua história, "de uma mulher humilde que superou a pobreza extrema e a doença para se tornar uma das maiores forças da política brasileira", poderia ser "uma inspiração para o povo brasileiro em sua busca por um presidente para substituir" Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

O jornal afirma que "se esta mulher vencer, a história será feita", lembrando que o Brasil nunca teve uma presidente mulher e, ainda, com "origens negras".

O artigo do jornalista Alexei Barrionuevo narra a história de Marina, nascida na cidade de Bagaço, no interior do Acre, suas atividades como seringueira ao lado do pai e dos irmãos, e a hepatite que a atingiu seriamente quando tinha 16 anos e que a levou a buscar cuidados médicos na capital do Estado, Rio Branco.

O texto afirma, no entanto, que o passado de Marina com sérios problemas de saúde - além da hepatite, malária e contaminação com metais pesados -, poderia ser usado contra ela pelos adversários políticos em uma provável candidatura presidencial. O artigo destaca ainda o fato de que Marina perdeu a mãe com 11 anos de idade e duas irmãs mais novas por problemas de saúde relacionados a doenças como sarampo e malária.

O artigo conta também a juventude de Marina em Rio Branco, onde cursou a faculdade de História e começou a militar no movimento ambientalista da Amazônia ao lado do sindicalista Chico Mendes, assassinado em 1988.

Para o NY Times, sob o comando de Marina enquanto ministra do Meio Ambiente de Lula desde 2003, o Brasil "engendrou um plano nacional de combate ao desmatamento e criou reservas indígenas do tamanho do Texas". O artigo também cita dados que mostram a queda dos índices de desmatamento entre 2004 e 2007. Marina deixou o cargo de ministra em maio de 2008.

A Child of the Amazon Shakes Up a Nation’s Politics, Alexei Barrionuevo, August 28 2009.

BRASÍLIA - FOR Marina Silva, life began in the heart of the Amazon. From the age of 11, she walked nine miles a day helping her father collect rubber from trees.

These days, as an icon in the environmental movement, she has dedicated her life to protecting that same rainforest.

Illiterate and seriously ill from hepatitis, Ms. Silva left her home when she was 16 and headed by bus to the city of Rio Branco seeking medical care and an education. There she learned how to read and write, graduated from college and became a teacher and a politician.

She worked closely with her friend Chico Mendes, the rubber tapper and environmental activist, before he was gunned down in 1988 by ranchers opposed to his activism. When Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was elected Brazil’s president in 2002, he picked Ms. Silva to be his environmental minister, and on her watch Brazil devised a national plan to combat deforestation and created an indigenous reserve roughly the size of Texas.

Last week Ms. Silva shook up Brazilian politics by announcing that, after nearly three decades, she was leaving Mr. da Silva’s Workers’ Party to join the Green Party, where she is likely to be its candidate in next year’s presidential election.

Her story — that of a humble woman who overcame extreme poverty and illness to become a force in Brazilian politics — could prove an inspiration to Brazilians in their search for a president to replace the popular Mr. da Silva, himself a product of humble beginnings, political analysts said.

“Marina is a person that earned her own wings, and it is not surprising to discover that those who have wings can fly,” said Jorge Viana, the former governor of Acre, Ms. Silva’s home state.

Her candidacy would pit her against Dilma Rousseff, President da Silva’s chief of staff and his choice to succeed him. Political analysts say the two women have been at odds since 2003 over the country’s economic development policy, including energy projects that Ms. Silva has questioned for environmental reasons.

Ms. Silva has “shaken up the race, mixed up all the cards,” said David Fleischer, a political science professor at the University of Brasília.

If either woman wins, history will be made. Brazil has never had a woman as president. In addition, the country has never had a black president; Ms. Silva is black.

Ms. Silva resigned as environmental minister last year, after expressing concerns that the government might give in to pressure from business interests to ease off emergency measures she put in place to counteract a jump in Amazon deforestation. She returned to the national Senate, where she continued to press her environmental agenda.

IN an interview here, Ms. Silva, 51, said she grew frustrated with the internal struggle to persuade members of the Workers’ Party to pursue a more sustainable economic development strategy.

“With the opportunity to try to construct this new future for Brazil and for the planet, I prefer to put my hopes in this movement,” she said of her switch to the Green Party.

While many admire her, some political analysts say they believe that Ms. Silva’s past serious health problems could become a political liability in a presidential contest. Hepatitis, malaria and heavy metals contamination have caused her to be hospitalized for long stretches.

Concerns about Ms. Rousseff’s chemotherapy treatment for a melanoma have dogged her in recent months and led some supporters of Mr. da Silva to urge him to back a different candidate for his successor. Brazilians still remember the case of Tancredo Neves, a popular president-elect who became severely ill in 1985 and died before taking office.

Still, Ms. Silva has spent a lifetime proving doubters wrong.

BORN in Seringal Bagaço, a small community of rubber tappers in Acre, Ms. Silva was one of 11 children, three of whom died. The family’s nearest neighbor lived about an hour away on foot through the thick forest. Reaching Rio Branco, about 43 miles away, sometimes took a week during the rainy season, when the family car would get stuck in the muddy road, she said.

Disease was common in the Amazon, and it took its toll on her family. Her mother died when Ms. Silva was 11. Two younger sisters later died with measles and malaria.

At 11, she began working with her father as a rubber tapper. They would typically leave the house at 5 a.m. and return about 12 hours later. To increase the family’s productivity, her father would go to one area of the forest and she and her sisters to another.

To keep her from being robbed or tricked by rubber buyers, her father taught her simple mathematics at an early age, she said.

After Ms. Silva became ill with hepatitis, she resolved to head to Rio Branco to find treatment. She wanted to become a nun and study.

She enrolled in a course for illiterate adults, worked as a maid and soon finished primary school. During vacation breaks, she returned to her father’s home and helped him collect rubber.

She dropped her idea of becoming a nun and entered college, graduating at 26 with a history degree.

While at the university, she joined the Revolutionary Communist Party, a clandestine group working to oppose Brazil’s military dictatorship.

During that period, she met Mr. Mendes, a rubber tapper who organized workers to warn about the dangers of burning and clearing the forest and about the displacement of traditional Amazon communities.

Ms. Silva joined Mr. Mendes’s movement, which involved peaceful demonstrations, and it led her into politics. After being elected a town councilwoman in Rio Branco, she went on to become a state legislator and a federal senator.

With her staunch advocacy of the Amazon, Ms. Silva “was clearly the candidate of the Brazilian environmental movement,” said Steve Schwartzman, the director of tropical forest policy at Environmental Defense Fund in Washington and a longtime friend.

“Marina was part of the movement that made the Amazon and deforestation and the possibility of a different development model a national issue in Brazil in a way it had never been before,” he said.

Her advocacy won her acclaim from international environmental groups around the world, which say that clearing of the forest for Brazilian industries could be affecting global climate change. Although deforestation continues, the rate slowed significantly from 2004 to 2007.

But in May 2008 Ms. Silva resigned her position, blaming “stagnation” within the government on its environmental policy. She had become increasingly isolated in Mr. da Silva’s government over her criticism of some proposed hydroelectric dams and of genetically modified crops.

STILL, most of the policies she set in motion have continued, environmentalists said.

She credited Mr. da Silva, whom she considers a “living hero” along with Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama, for Brazil’s progress on protecting the environment. But she said the government must preserve the advances it had made.

“I was fortunate to achieve some things, but they were far short of what Brazil and the world needs us to do,” she said.

‘Stagnation’ Made Brazil’s Environment Chief Resign, Alexei Barrionuevo, May 16 2008.

RIO de JANEIRO — Marina Silva, the environmental minister who resigned this week, blamed “stagnation” in the government for her decision at a news conference on Thursday and acknowledged that governors in frontline Amazon states were pressing the president to rescind measures intended to check deforestation.

“There were questions from some governors about those measures, and they couldn’t be relaxed,” Ms. Silva said.

“It is crucial that we preserve the advances we have made, it is crucial that we don’t take a step backwards,” she said.

Her resignation on Tuesday shocked the international environmental community, which saw Ms. Silva, a former rubber tapper, as a bulwark against deforestation of the Amazon.

It also surprised the government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who came into office in 2003 being hailed as his country’s first “green” president.

Ms. Silva has said she will return to the Brazilian senate, a decision likely to complicate matters for Mr. da Silva, who has struggled to react to the political fallout over a recent spike in Amazon deforestation, the first such increase in three years. In response, the government has restricted credit to those businesses involved in illegal deforestation and initiated a multiagency police operation to crack down on illegal logging.

Nongovernmental organizations were clearly alarmed over the resignation. Greenpeace Brazil called it a “disaster” that clearly demonstrated a “change of posture” in the government.

Despite the timing, Ms. Silva’s departure was not entirely unexpected, however. She had become increasingly isolated in the administration and had lost several political battles to Mr. da Silva. Most notably, she opposed approval of new hydroelectric dams in the Amazon and criticized the president’s biofuels program. She also lost a fight against the planting of genetically modified crops.

In leaving, she underscored the tension between environmental concerns and the powerful agribusiness sector that has been a primary engine of growth in Brazil’s commodity-led economy. On Thursday, Ms. Silva acknowledged to reporters that the governors of the states of Mato Grosso and Rondonia had resisted her agency’s directions. The last straw for her might have come last week when Mr. da Silva designated Roberto Mangabeira Unger, the minister for strategic affairs, to coordinate an Amazon sustainable development initiative instead of Ms. Silva, who had been reared in the tropical rainforest she sought to preserve. Ms. Silva said the president never consulted her about selecting Mr. Unger, a former Harvard law professor who first visited the Amazon last year on a “fact finding” mission.

Some environmentalists expressed concern that without Ms. Silva in the cabinet the da Silva government of would put the economy ahead of protecting the Amazon. “If Lula is buckling or considering buckling from pressure from agribusiness to back off of fighting deforestation it will have a high cost for Brazil’s international reputation,” said Stephan Schwartzman, co-director of the international program at Environmental Defense Fund in Washington.

The record Ms. Silva helped set for Brazil gave Brazil international credibility and allowed Mr. da Silva to become a new player in global climate change talks. “All of the hard-nosed deforestation control initiatives have come out of the environment ministry and have prospered under her leadership,” Mr. Schwartzman said.

They included designating more than 49 million acres of Amazon land for environmental protection over the past five years. And partly through a moratorium on soybean plantings in the Amazon, deforestation levels dropped for two straight years, only to spike late last year after global prices for grains also shot up.

The advances and advocate strategies gave Brazil the credibility to propose that other countries and businesses donate money for deforestation. Norway said it would donate close to $2.8 billion over five years as payment to developing countries that preserve their forests.

While Mr. da Silva publicly supported Ms. Silva’s efforts, she had become a thorn in his side. He grew frustrated with Ibama, the federal environmental protection agency Ms. Silva led, because its technicians refused to issue environmental licenses for large development projects, including badly needed hydroelectric projects, said David Fleischer, a political analyst in Brasilia.

In the middle of last year Mr. da Silva split Ibama into two agencies, separating the environmental protection functions from the issuance of such licenses. Ibama workers went on strike, forcing him to call in specialists from the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank to further study the projects on the Madeira River in Rondonia State, Mr. Fleischer said.

At that point many analysts said Ms. Silva should resign, but she stayed. She said Thursday that the president never was prepared “to give the license, to change the law.”

Now the delicate task of charting the Amazon’s future will fall to her successor Carlos Minc, the state secretary for the environment in Rio de Janeiro. Mr. Minc, 57, is an economist and geography professor who was a founder of Brazil’s Green Party and received a United Nations Global 500 Roll of Honor award in 1990 for being a standout defender of the environment. Mr. Unger, who will also play a role, in an interview vowed to stay away from “extremist” positions. “An environmental policy bereft of an economic strategy is self-defeating,” he said. “We need to establish an intimate link between preservation and growth.”

'Guardian': saída de Marina é maior problema do PT para 2010, Terra, 25 de agosto de 2009.

Um artigo publicado nesta terça-feira pelo site do jornal inglês The Guardian destacou a saída da senadora Marina Silva (AC) do PT como "o maior problema a abalar" a sucessão presidencial no Brasil e a popularidade do presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Na opinião do colunista Conor Foley, Marina era a segunda maior personalidade internacional do PT depois de Lula e sua candidatura à Presidência em 2010 pelo PV pode não sair vitoriosa, "mas fatalmente irá enfraquecer" a candidatura da ministra da Casa Civil, Dilma Roussef.

O colunista também afirma que a candidatura de Dilma, a qual o PT espera que "se contagie com a crescente popularidade internacional de Lula", ainda está atrás dos dois potenciais candidatos do PSDB: o governador de Sâo Paulo, José Serra, e o governador de Minas Gerais, Aécio Neves.

O artigo do jornal inglês, intitulado "Brasil depois de Lula", enumera os "impactos" sofridos pelo PT nas últimas semanas. Entre eles, as acusações de corrupção no Senado contra o presidente José Sarney (PMDB-AP), definido pelo colunista como "o resumo do que muitos brasileiros consideram o pior da política do seu País". O artigo também comenta o fato do PT ter exigido dos seus senadores que apoiassem Sarney, o que provocou a saída de diversos políticos do partido, entre eles Marina Silva.

Na opinião do colunista, Marina representa "uma ligação mais profunda e emocional com as raízes do PT" do que os dissidentes do partido da época do escândalo do mensalão, como a deputada federal Luciana Genro (Psol-RS) e a ex-senadora Heloisa Helena (AL). Neste sentido, destaca dados da biografia de Marina, como o analfabetismo até o início da adolescência, o fato que ela se filiou ao partido junto com o sindicalista Chico Mendes, assassinado no Acre em 1988, e que foi a senadora mulher mais jovem já eleita no Brasil.

Por fim, o colunista conclui afirmando que o PT "sempre foi mais fraco do que o seu carismático líder", mas que a perda de Marina Silva "torna ainda mais difícil para o partido definir o que ele ainda representa".

Brazil's former environment minister leaves ruling party over 'destruction of natural resources', Tom Phillips, Wednesday 19 August 2009.

Marina Silva is expected to make a 2010 presidential bid and put the environment back on the agenda

Rio de Janeiro - Brazil's former environment minister, the rainforest defender Marina Silva, has resigned from the ruling Workers' party, paving the way for a 2010 presidential bid, which supporters hope will put the environment back on the political agenda of South America's largest country.

For weeks speculation has been growing that Silva, who resigned from government last May after a dispute over the development of the Amazon region, would defect to the Green party in order to dispute the presidential elections next October.

Speaking at a press conference in Brasilia earlier today, Silva, who has been a Workers' party member for over 30 years, said politicians had failed to give sufficient attention to the environmental cause.

In her resignation letter to the president of the Workers' party, Silva said her decision was an attempt to break with the idea of "development based on material growth at any cost, with huge gains for a few and perverse results for the majority" including "the destruction of natural resources".

She added that "political conditions" had meant that "environmental concerns had not been able to take route at the heart of the government."

Silva, 51, stopped short of formally announcing a presidential bid but few doubt that she will now front the Green Party's 2010 election campaign.

The Brazilian media has been overtaken with Marina mania since earlier this month when rumours about a possible bid for the presidency began spreading. This week one major news magazine stamped Silva's photograph onto its front-page alongside the headline: "President Marina?"

Writing in the O Globo newspaper yesterday, the influential columnist Zuenir Ventura said Silva could bring a touch of Barack Obama to the Brazilian elections.

"Marina excites young people, those who are disenchanted with the current situation [and] with the Workers' Party … in such a way that she could create a spontaneous and contagious movement within society … as innovative as that which occurred in the US with Obama," he wrote.

Born in an impoverished community of rubber tappers in the remote Amazon state of Acre, Silva was orphaned at 16 and was illiterate until her early teens.

In 1994, aged 35, she was elected as Brazil's youngest ever female senator and subsequently became renowned for her staunch defence of the Amazon rainforest and its inhabitants, winning a succession of international awards for her work. The president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has not so far commented on her resignation.

Brazil after Lula, Conor Foley, Tuesday 25 August 2009.

The popular president's party, rocked by the departure of Marina Silva, will struggle to to maintain its position when he steps down

Last week's resignation from the Brazilian Workers party (PT) by Marina Silva, the country's former environment minister, is only the most high profile of the blows that President Lula's administration has just suffered.

Silva resigned from the government itself last May after a series of disagreements with other ministers, including Lula's chief of staff and chosen successor, Dilma Rousseff. Quitting the party she has belonged to for more than 30 years clears the way for her candidacy in next year's presidential elections for the Greens. She is extremely unlikely to win this but she could fatally weaken Rousseff's own presidential bid.

Rousseff has been gaining in the polls in recent months but still lags behind two potential candidates from PT's main rival the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB): José Serra, the current governor of São Paulo, and Aécio Neves, the governor of Minas Gerais.

Lula is constitutionally required to step down after two terms in office, and PT is hoping that enough of his phenomenal personal popularity will rub off on Rousseff – who cuts a rather dour figure despite her history as a former guerrilla and political prisoner. He has called her the "mother" of his economic development programme and accompanies her constantly at meetings across the country. The Brazilian economy bounced out of recession fast and Lula's international stature is growing, so the strategy might work, but it has hit a number of bumps in the road in recent weeks.

The biggest of these comes in the shape of the current president of the senate and former president of Brazil, José Sarney, who has been the target of repeated allegations of corruption, cronyism and family nepotism. Sarney, who the Economist recently described as a dinosaur, sums up what many Brazilians think is worst about their country's politicians. But his centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement party (PMDB) is a key component of the political alliance PT needs for its presidential campaign.

Lula has exhorted his party to put the equivalent of a clothes peg on its nose and support Sarney. He is also pressing PT to make local pacts with PMDB, which often requires them to stand down their own candidates in places where they have a shot at winning seats. Much of the support that PT historically enjoyed was because of its reputation as a "clean hands" party, so the strategy is causing widespread internal unease.

Last week matters came to a head in a Senate vote when PT's parliamentary leader threatened to quit if his party's representatives on a committee were forced to back Sarney, then didn't when they did. Silva was one of a number of people who resigned from the party in the aftermath of this debacle and many regard it as the worst split that PT has suffered since the mensalão corruption crisis of its first term.

Lula survived that incident and came back to win a second term, convincingly seeing off both the PSDB challenger and two former PT dissidents – from the party's middle-class intellectual wing – who ran against him. However, Silva represents a deeper and more emotional link with PT's roots. Born in an impoverished community of rubber tappers in the remote Amazon state, she was orphaned at 16 and was illiterate until her early teens. She joined PT along with Chico Mendes, the murdered trade unionist and environmental activist who is still venerated as a virtual saint within the party. She became Brazil's youngest ever female senator and won a string of international awards for her defence of the environment and its people. An evangelical Protestant who holds fundamentalist views on a number of social issues, she will nevertheless be a difficult candidate for PT to attack during the election and will pick up a large protest vote from many of its natural supporters.

In the meantime, Rousseff's candidacy has been damaged by an as yet unproved allegation that she ordered a public employee to help cover up corruption allegations in the Sarney case. Her recent battle with cancer has won her public sympathy, but also raised concerns about whether she is strong enough for an arduous campaign – and the job itself. This week rumours began circulating that PT was considering a possible alternative candidate, Antonio Palocci, a former finance minister, who was forced to resign around the time of the mensalao scandal. Palocci is hoping to soon be officially cleared of any wrongdoing. He also has a base of support in São Paulo, Brazil's largest state and the heartland of PSDB's Jose Serra. However, the fact that no one has yet been convicted in relation to this scandal – the biggest in Brazilian political history – makes its legacy potent and swapping candidates this late into the race could prove problematic.

PT's basic difficulty is that the party has always been weaker than its charismatic leader. Lula's decision not to push for a constitutional amendment to allow him to run for another term, as has happened elsewhere in Latin America recently, has undoubtedly strengthened Brazil's still fledgling democracy. But the loss of Silva, who was its best known figure internationally after Lula himself, makes it even harder for the party to define what it still stands for.

PV festeja filiação de Marina Silva em São Paulo, Terra, 30 de agosto de 2009.

Senadora foi ovacionada no evento por representantes do PV e pelo público

A ex-ministra do Meio Ambiente, a senadora Marina Silva (AC), assinou neste domingo o seu termo de filiação ao PV em uma luxuosa cerimônia no bairro de Pinheiros, zona oeste de SP. Centenas de militantes compareceram ao local, lotando o espaço Rosa Rosarum. A ficha de filiação de Marina ao PV foi abonada pela filha de Chico Mendes, Elenira Mendes, pelo presidente do partido, José Luis Penna, pelo secretário do Verde e do Meio Ambiente da cidade de São Paulo, Eduardo Jorge, e pelo deputado federal Fernando Gabeira (RJ).

Entre as lideranças do partido estavam presentes ao evento também o ministro da Cultura Juca Ferreira, o líder do PV na Câmara, deputado José Sarney Filho (MA), e uma deputada do Parlamento Europeu, a francesa Catherine Greeze.

Antes da filiação oficial de Marina, diversos líderes do PV de quase todos os Estados do País realizaram pronunciamentos para o público presente.

O deputado federal Fernando Gabeira criticou o Governo referindo-se aos recentes escândalos de corrupção. "Temos no Brasil um governo moralmente frouxo, um congresso apodrecido e um supremo tribunal em processo de decomposição", afirmou.

As lideranças e os militantes presentes foram recepcionados com uma convenção em clima de festa, com faixas saudando a chegada de Marina e com um farto coquetel.

A senadora é apontada como um dos principais nomes na disputa pela Presidência da República em 2010. Há duas semanas ela anunciou sua saída do Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT), no qual esteve vinculada por 30 anos, alegando não encontrar "condições políticas" para avanços na questão ambiental. Sua filiação ao PV é considerada o primeiro passo para uma eventual candidatura presidencial, que ainda não foi oficializada.