Sunday 3 October 2010

We are the ones that we have been waiting for, right?

or Just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street.
Up, Down, Appendices, Postscript.

Uh Oh! Don't let's start making sense. :-)Everyone knows that old tune eh? Here's Ella Fitzgerald singin' it. This comes to mind because I still hope the silly wankers will carry the tens of billions of dollars they are throwing at the Tar Sands and at Nuclear Energy over onto ... well, over onto the sunny side of the street. Makes sense. Makes too much sense I guess.

A construção de um líder / Building a leader:
My government will distribute marijuana on Monday mornings.
It will be obligatory to smoke.
And if someone refuses?
They pay a fine and are released.

To understand this fully you should know that in Brasil everyone must vote (although the machines do permit spoiling your vote). If you do not vote your CPF (national identity number) is marked 'dirty' and you must pay a fine to have it 'cleaned.' Having a dirty CPF is a serious problem; for example, you are not able to make transactions requiring it such as a cellphone contract.

And indeed, Brasilians are voting today, even as I type this nonsense. Our Marina Silva never had a chance though she did manage to climb from 9% to 15% in the polls. Oh well, at least it is looking like Dilma Rousseff (who does have some credentials) will defeat José Serra, and in the first round yet! Could be worse.

Some people think that because she was CEO of Petrobras for a while she is unworthy. But you know, Petrobras ain't Chevron or Exxon/Mobil or BP or Shell, not by quite a stretch. Cold comfort.

So a thousand or two people demonstrated in Washington DC last week. It is interesting to me that the Washington Post article includes links to the protagonist web sites: Appalachia Rising & Faces of Coal which is more than our Globe and Mail (on their yet again re-designed and 'award winning' website, legends in their own minds) can offer.

Also interesting that the police in Washington seem to be able to arrest 100 people with a modicum of civility and without tear gas.

Godard Prénom CarmenGodard Prénom CarmenAppalachia RisingAppalachia RisingAppalachia RisingAppalachia RisingAppalachia RisingClean Coal Is A Dirty Lie.

The title for this post comes from what I heard a young woman (4th picture from the left) in this YouTube video say, Appalachia Rising march on the White House. A raggedy-ass bunch for sure - God bless 'em. I bet these folks leave a ring around the bathtub when they visit. And they also taught me how to pronounce 'Appalachia' properly - the second 'a' is short.

Jim Hansen was there and was arrested. His role is interesting too - absolutely no evidence of an ego trip whatsoever, none.

As for Obama ... oh well.

In Berlin, Germany 100,000 marched against Nuclear Energy on September 18. The video is in German, but really, whatever is in this video is in a universal language.

And in k-k-Canada our national Environment Minister, Jim Prentice, has actually struck an Advisory Panel to investigate Tar Sand effluents entering the Athabaska River:
Elizabeth DowdeswellElizabeth DowdeswellAndrew MiallAndrew MiallJohn SmolJohn SmolJohn SmolJoseph RasmussenJoseph RasmussenPeter DillonSubhasis Ghoshal

And I am surprised that I can find no fault with the makeup of this committee unless possibly with the chairwoman, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, whose claims to fame seem to be a B.Sc. in Home Economics and some considerable time spent as a mid-level bureaucrat at the United Nations.

Uh Oh! Look out. :-)That and she's a blonde.

You can watch this 2008 lecture by Peter Dillon. Eloquent, clear, dispassionate, scientific, indisputable. Good on ya Peter!

Gable, Saving the planetIt leaves me wondering how Prentice will manage to turn whatever report these people generate into an argument for carrying on with Tar Sand exploitation? But I have no doubt at all that turning it around is his intention.

The report is due early in December - I guess we will have to wait and see what they say. What could they possibly add to David Schindler's recent report? Maybe Prentice will simply delay publication until, say, Christmas? When such minds as there are among the hoi polloi are totally focussed elsewhere?

The full text of David Schindler's report, 'Oil sands development contributes elements toxic at low concentrations to the Athabasca River and its tributaries' can be found here (%$#! pdf).

I went along to a Toronto Climate Campaign TCC meeting - I was invited. And I have been thinking some more about the Climate Action Network CAN (or maybe it should be CANC? or even CANT?) and I think maybe I can see it now ... a long list of member organizations with more-or-less impeccable credentials - and money, and a secretariat of some kind that wants to hang onto 'em. So in addition to coalescing the climate aspects of each of their members they also tend to accrete some of the ideological baggage that comes along? Is that it? A simple bureaucratic error?

Whatever the case, the notion that women per se (or teenage girls, or ... elephants) have more stroke in whatever solution may help us is simply nonsense.

Keep a clean nose, watch the plain clothes. :-)And I guess I have to be a little careful about this lest I am labelled a misogynist for saying so. Oh well ... I think I may change my smiley gizmo to something from Atomkraft Nein Danke.

Be well gentle reader.

Atomkraft Nein DankeAtomkraft Nein Danke


As often seems to happen here these days, I never got around to making the point.

Politicians are not going to do what is needed. Does anyone doubt this? Does anyone think that they are? Organizations, though they can put things at least temporarily in the public eye, are generally strangled up in the face of ideological viruses; by bureaucracy, by faux-diplomacy and politesse, and by Blake's christian forbearance. So, my guess is that it is going to be up to the great unwashed, or nothing. God knows the odds are in favour of nothing. But what does God know? Probably not much.

Anasazi Sun DaggerAnasazi Sun DaggerAnasazi Sun DaggerAnd not only the great unwashed, but one by each.

A young man at the TCC meeting said something which I heard: "The Black Bloc is not a group, it is a tactic." And there's a lot in that ... Quite unlike Blake's poem (f'rinstance) A Poison Tree aka Christian Forbearance which is a rhetorical exercise rather than a tactic.

As to what any of this has to do with the Anasazi Sun Dagger in Chaco Canyon? And anyway, it is not there anymore. The stones shifted down the hill a bit and it is gone. I imagine that the shifting was caused by too many tourists crawling around peeking at it, but who knows? And gravity of course. As for the connection? I'll leave that for you to figgure out if you want to.

Here's a story: I went to see Force of Nature (and here and here), a film by Sturla Gunnarsson about David Suzuki, with my son and a friend. In the morning before the film my son was listening to CBC Radio on-line and sent me a link to hear Suzuki being interviewed. For some reason I couldn't get the link to play, but later on he told me part of what Suzuki had said - one of the big disconnects is that whereas 80% of us lived 'in the country' just a generation (and a bit) ago, and so understood at least something about something (say, real, say, via a commodius vicus of objective correlative), we are now about 80% urban, and so generally don't know sweet nothin' about nothin'.


Adds a dimension to what one might mean by 'common sense.' And we are transformed, in quite a literal way, into monsters. In this photo essay of Kristen McMenamy by Steven Meisel I catch a glimpse of the disconnect being understood, if only subconsciously:
Kristen McMenamyKristen McMenamyKristen McMenamyKristen McMenamyKristen McMenamyKristen McMenamyKristen McMenamy
And I trust the rest (taken from a magazine called 'Love' where there ain't none) is obvious. The first picture is of a nuclear power station somewhere in France:
Nuclear LoveLoveLoveLoveLoveLoveLoveLove
Was it Oceaxe or Tydomin in A Voyage To Arcturus? The completely absorbing female sexuality made manifest? ... I can't remember ... Ahh, I think it was Sullenbode. (thanks to Wikipedia) I will see about reading that one again.

I've seen the future, brother: it is murder.
Que safadeza!

A construção de um líder / Building a leader:
Once each year every person will have the right to beat the politician they voted for.
As a precaution, each politician can be beaten for a maximum ...
... of six hours.
On their birthday each citizen will have sex with whomever they choose.
It's enough to simply present an original birth certificate ...
... or a Xerox copy.


1. About 100 arrested in mountaintop mining protest, Frederic Frommer, September 27 2010.
2. Oilsands Advisory Panel, Environment Canada, October 1 2010.

About 100 arrested in mountaintop mining protest, Frederic Frommer, September 27 2010.

WASHINGTON -- About 100 people were arrested Monday outside the White House while protesting against mountaintop removal mining, temporarily trading their freedom for a chance to highlight what they consider an environmental calamity.

The protesters, arrested after refusing orders from U.S. Park Police to leave the sidewalk on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, were taken to a waiting city bus. As police escorted them one-by-one, hundreds of their supporters screamed encouragement from behind the police lines, like fans greeting runners from the sidewalk of a marathon. Most of those arrested went along peacefully, but a few resisted, leading Park Police to drag them to a police truck.

Park Police spokesman Sgt. David Schlosser said a majority of the arrests were for disobeying a lawful order - in this case, to come in compliance with demonstration regulations. A handful of others were charged with crossing a police line, he said.

Event organizer Bo Webb said that some had been released and that he expected most to be freed that night.

Among those arrested was climate scientist James Hansen, who issued a statement saying that mountaintop removal "destroys historic mountain ranges, poisons water supplies and pollutes the air with coal and rock dust."

"Mountaintop removal, providing only a small fraction of our energy, can and should be abolished. The time for half measures and caving in to polluting industries must end," Hansen said.

The industry-backed group FACES of Coal said in a statement that such a ban would cost tens of thousands of jobs and make the U.S. more dependent on foreign sources of energy. The group paid for most of the travel and lodging expenses for a protest two weeks ago by coal miners upset at steps the Environmental Protection Agency has taken to rein in the coal removal process.

The mostly youthful ralliers started Monday's protest at Freedom Plaza, then marched a few blocks to the White House. They carried signs like "Blowing Up Mountains for Coal Poisons People" and "Mountain ecosystems won't grow back." Some carried small white crosses adorned with messages such as "water pollution" and "corporate greed." The rally, dubbed "Appalachia Rising," was organized by protesters from West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee.

In mountaintop removal mining, forests are clear-cut, explosives blast apart the rock, and machines scoop out exposed coal. The earth left behind is dumped into valleys, often covering intermittent streams. Coal operators say it's the most efficient way to reach some reserves, supports tens of thousands of jobs and provides coal for electric power plants across much of the South and East.

Despite on-and-off showers, Monday's protest had a festive air to it, with horns, drums, chanting and singing accompanying the roughly two hours of arrests, with people even dancing as they waited for police to take them into custody. The last eight standing did a little chorus line move. One man wore stilts that made him tower over everyone else, along with a hat adorned like a U.S. flag and a long nose.

At one point, they turned and faced the White House and yelled, "Obama, stop mountaintop removal!," "Let us in!" and "Yes you can!" The protesters said the EPA hasn't gone far enough - they want a total ban.

"You cannot regulate destruction," organizer Maria Gunnoe told the crowd at Freedom Plaza.

In a statement, the EPA said it was using its authority to significantly improve protections by reducing the impacts of mountaintop mining. "We've set commonsense guidelines that protect the local waters, maximize coal recovery and reduce costs," the agency said.

The coal industry has filed a lawsuit against the EPA's new policy to tighten water quality standards for valley fills at surface coal mines in West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Tennessee. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said the goal is a standard so strict that few, if any, permits would be issued for valley fills.

The ralliers had a hippie, counterculture vibe, with some sporting face piercings and many of the young men bearded. They sang and chanted old standbys: "The people, united, will never be defeated," "This is what democracy looks like," "We shall overcome," and "What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now!"

Jeremy Cherson, a senior at American University in Washington, had a mandolin around his neck and held a carrot and stick in his hand. He said the carrot was a plea for clean energy and the stick was actions like Monday's rally. Cherson skipped a class on critical social thought to attend the rally.

"My professor said that was fine - this is critical and social," he said.

Oilsands Advisory Panel, Environment Canada, October 1 2010.

Elizabeth Dowdeswell - Chair

President, Council of Canadian Academies & Former UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UNEP, Founding President & [former] CEO NWMO Toronto, ON

Ms. Dowdeswell served as Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program and Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, Assistant Deputy Minister of Environment Canada, responsible for the National Weather and Atmospheric Agency and led a number of public inquiries, including into Canada's unemployment benefits program and federal water policy. Her early career included terms as Deputy Minister of Culture and Youth for the Province of Saskatchewan, educational consultant, university lecturer and high-school teacher. Ms. Dowdeswell holds a Master of Science degree in behavioural sciences from Utah State University, a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics, a teaching certificate from the University of Saskatchewan and, nine honorary degrees.

Dr. Peter J. Dillon

Peter Dillon is a Professor in Environmental and Resource Studies and the Department of Chemistry at Trent University. Professor Dillon specializes in biogeochemistry of lakes and their catchments. He was the scientific leader of the environmental research and long-term investigations carried out at the Dorset Research Centre in central Ontario for 25 years. He was awarded the Royal Society of Canada's Miroslaw Romanowski Medal for outstanding contributions to the environmental sciences in 2003 and this year he received the G. Evelyn Hutchinson Award from the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography for his pioneering work on lake eutrophication and acid rain. Peter directs the Water Quality Centre at Trent University which is dedicated to the development and application of innovative new techniques for the analysis of organic and inorganic contaminants.

Dr. Subhasis Ghoshal

Professor Ghoshal joined McGill in 1997. His expertise is in the area of soil and groundwater contamination by hydrocarbon pollutants. Professor Ghoshal has conducted research on the fate and transport of organic pollutants in subsurface environments, and on the clean-up of sites contaminated by petroleum liquids, coal tars and creosotes. Professor Ghoshal is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, and a William Dawson Scholar at McGill.

Dr. Andrew D. Miall

Andrew Miall is a Professor of Geology and holder of the Gordon Stollery Chair in Basin Analysis and Petroleum Geology at the University of Toronto. He specializes in teaching and research in the study of sedimentary basins. He has broad interests in energy and climate-change issues, and from 1998 to 2008 he taught a popular science-for-non-scientists course at the University of Toronto entitled "Geology and Public Issues". Professor Miall was awarded the Past President's Medal of the Geological Association of Canada in 1983 and became a Distinguished Fellow of that society in 1995. He served as Vice President of the Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) from 2005 to 2007 and President of the Academy from 2007-2009.

Dr. Joseph Rasmussen

Joseph Rasmussen is a professor of biological sciences at the University of Lethbridge and a Canada Research Council Chair in Aquatic Ecosystems. Professor Rasmussen's research has made a significant contribution to the development of tracer approaches that are used to model energy flow in aquatic food webs. His research has provided fresh insights and technical inroads into important ecological problems such as the biomagnification of persistent contaminants and the impacts of heavy metals on environmental quality. He is also a regular contributor to the Canadian Conference for Fisheries Research (CCFFR) and the Canadian Society of Limnologists (CSL), is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Animal Ecology, and serves as the chair of the Ecology, Evolution and Ethology section of the Canadian Society of Zoologists. Dr. Rasmussen was the recipient of the Frank H. Rigler award from the Society of Canadian Limnologists in 2010.

Dr. John P. Smol

John Smol is a professor in the Department of Biology at Queen's University where he is also holder of the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change. Professor Smol has been presented with numerous research and teaching awards, including the NSERC Gerhard Herzberg Gold Medal, Canada's top scientific prize, in 2004. His award winning research in the fields of limnology and environmental change has addressed impacts of acid rain, nutrients and climate warming on aquatic systems. J. Smol is the founding editor of the Journal of Paleolimnology and is currently editor-in-chief of the journal Environmental Reviews. J. Smol co-directs the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory at Queen's University, a group of about 30 paleolimnologists working throughout the world on a variety of limnological and paleoecological problems.

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