It has been a week since the David Suzuki Foundation
announced the Blue Dot Tour, his last cross-country trek to visit every
province and discuss the concept of environmental rights, bringing along some
Canadian talent to share the stage with.
From The Planetary Society ("Empowering the world's citizens to advance space science and exploration"), the text Sagan wrote:
Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
-- Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994Sagan's audio recording of his words have been set to images; this powerful one is here (3 and some minutes):
An aside, from The Atlantic on-line, editor Rebecca Rosen's writes:
"A peek into the evolution of a beloved passage."
Stanley Bridge Centre Farms
(9AM - 1PM) and Charlottetown (9AM - 2PM) both have Farmers' Markets open
An excerpt,bold is mine:
European decisions, some
letters and an article from last week's Guardian, on various topics, but
worth a read:
However, this obsession with perfectly manicured lawns has me puzzled. Almost without exception, the predominant landscaping theme appears to be to remove all trees and shrubbery and replace it with massive neatly trimmed expanses of grass.
The golf courses are equally complicit in this regard. But we all know this comes at a price, and while it is heartening to hear that there is a small but committed minority raising the alarms about rampant pesticide use, their concerns aren’t being taken seriously.
While the rest of the country is waking up to the clear environmental and health risks of this practice, I am afraid that the local culture here seems a bit resistant to change. For those of us that just pass through each summer, the effects are minimal.
But for everyone else who calls this lovely Island home, and more importantly for their offspring, the desire for perfection will come at a very high price.
I hope that a change will come before the effects are irreversible and that P.E.I. will continue to be a healthy, peaceful place for future generations of Islanders and tourists alike.
Ian Dobson, Thunder Bay, ON
An Update on the Wheeler Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing:
in Nova Scotia should be put on hold to allow for more study: expert - The Guardian articlePublished on July 25, 2014
HALIFAX - The head of a panel reviewing the potential for hydraulic fracturing in Nova Scotia says the province should not allow the industry to proceed until a broader public discussion is held and more research is completed.
David Wheeler, president of Cape Breton University, says the province needs more time to get up to speed with the rapidly expanding unconventional oil and gas industry.
Nova Scotia imposed a two-year moratorium on fracking in 2012 as public concern grew over the potential impact of high-volume fracking.
Wheeler's comments come as his independent panel is about to wrap up a series of stormy public meetings, where the vast majority of participants said they were opposed to fracking.
The panel is expected to release a final report with recommendations next month, but Wheeler stressed his experts won't tell the province what it should do about the moratorium.
However, Wheeler says the panel will recommend that once the public has had a broader conversation and more research is completed, it should be up to The communities to decide whether to allow fracking within their borders.
Published on July 25, 2014With the purpose of expanding and strengthening the role of the present United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), a new governing body of the UPEP, with representatives from all UN member states, was conceived by the world leaders at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.
Subsequently, a landmark inaugural meeting of the UNEA was convened last month in Nairobi, Kenya, from 23 to 27 June 2014. Over 1,200 high-level participants attended this historic meeting —the highest-level UN body ever convened to discuss environmental sustainability issues.
“With its augmented role as a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly, UNEA has the mandate and capacity to position the environment alongside peace and security, poverty reduction, global health, trade and sustainable economic growth as an issue of crucial importance to every government,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at this momentous meeting.
Also, Ban Ki-moon emphasized the need for unwavering action to change humanity’s relationship with planet Earth. Protecting our life-supporting system of the Earth is integral to sustainable development.
He said forcefully and succinctly: “The air we breathe, the water we drink and the soil that grows our food are part of a delicate global ecosystem that is increasingly under pressure from human activities. As our population grows, we have to recognize that our consumption of the planet’s resources is unsustainable. We see the heavy hand of humankind everywhere — from tropical deforestation to depleted ocean fisheries; from growing freshwater shortages to increasingly polluted skies and seas, land and water in many parts of the world; from the rapid decline of biodiversity to the growing menace of climate change.”
The opening session of UNEA dealt with mounting environmental problems such as illegal wildlife trade, chemical waste, air pollution, and new development goals. Comprehending the fact that every second around 200 tonnes of plastic wastes are dumped into the world’s oceans is difficult. The fragile marine ecosystems are increasing jeopardized, despite our growing awareness of the problem, and the financial damage alone amounts to $13 billion a year, according to a recent UN estimate.
Environmental crime epidemic, such as poaching and trafficking of a wide range of animals, illegal fisheries, illegal mining and dumping of toxic waste, among other things, poses a shocking threat to security and development, according to a recent report from the UNEP and INTERPOL. The monetary value of all environmental crime is worth up to US$213 billion each year, compared with global Overseas Development Assistance of around US$135 billion a year.
“Beyond immediate environmental impacts, the illegal trade in natural resources is depriving developing economies of billions of dollars in lost revenues just to fill the pockets of criminals,” said UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim. “Sustainable development, livelihoods, good governance and the rule of law are all being threatened as significant sums of money are flowing to militias and terrorist groups.”
Given ever more disquieting state of the global environment, we have entered a new era in tackling the Gordian knot of sustainability challenges of the 21st century. First and foremost, a transition from inherently unsustainable development trajectory to sustainable development trajectory requires a fundamental change in our socioeconomic system. Surprisingly, four decades have gone by since the 1972 UN Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Over the years, there has been no dearth of international conferences, UN summits, and mountains of scientific reports that have dealt with sustainability crisis of our time. Yet, the crisis has been deepening. It is time to recognize the obvious fact that the root cause of the sustainability crisis has not been addressed at all. We have been trying to move towards sustainable development path without changing the system which is contributing to the problem. At levels of decision-making, we continue to think ‘inside the box’ rather than thinking ‘outside the box’ for taking bold action to cut the Gordian knot of sustainability.
Human and nature dynamics (HANDY), a mathematical model of developed by Motessarrie, Rivas and Kalny (2014), published in latest issue of Ecological Economics, shows that unsustainable exploitation of natural resources or increasingly unequal wealth distribution can independently lead to collapse of modern societies. Societal collapse can be averted if the rate of deletion of natural capital can be reduced to a sustainable level, with an equitable distribution of resources. The validity of this handy model lies in reproducing the irreversible collapses of past societies.
Just two years ago, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reminded the world community, during his opening statement at Rio+20, that our efforts in dealing with climate change and environment “have not lived up to the measure of the challenge.” He said: “Nature does not wait. Nature does not negotiate with human beings.”
Against the backdrop of what is going on in the global environmental landscape, it is time to reflect and ponder whether Homosapiens would be able to avert the possible collapse of modern societies with wisdom and foresight. Will UNEA pave the way for taking a sharp U- turn in moving towards sustainable development trajectory? Time will tell.
Dr. Palanisamy Nagarajan is emeritus professor of economics and Island Studies Teaching Fellow, University of Prince Edward Island.
just a give-your-head-a-shake letter:
Whose money was allegedly misappropriated by Senator Duffy?
Whose money was it that paid for the year-long investigation by the RCMP? Whose money will be used for a very lengthy trial, probably costing many millions? If the accused is convicted, whose money will be used to pay for his incarceration and rehabilitation?
The answer is you, the taxpayer, will bear the cost.
It is amazing that one citizen can singlehandedly change the political landscape of a nation. Mr. Duffy may well become the most important Islander in history.
Meanwhile, taxpayers’ money flows unrelentingly down the 1864 drain — bread and circuses.
M. Raymond Moore, Charlottetown
Tonight is the Bonshaw Ceilidh, 7PM, Bonshaw Hall.
A couple of interesting articles, for Sunday reading:
From EcoWatch, a sobering article on how fracking is changing everything in Appalachia, "How Fracking Changed the World."
Labels that help a consumer make better environmental choices:
From Nature PEI (Natural History Society), a blog entry from the Canadian Wildlife Federation about bats and the Species at Risk list. Bats have been decimated by White Nose Syndrome. I know I haven't seen any bats since earlier this summer, and we were pretty batty here in Bonshaw.
Comments from the public are welcome and might help. Deadline is August 18th. Read more here.
And another "Could this possibly happen in PEI? -- some waters off California are so polluted that fishing and tourism are affected. California businesses band together for environmental protection of their livelihood connected with the ocean.
Summer food gathering, as it is
Saturday, there are local farmers' markets open in:
So he gets asked to read and write forwards for others' books on
related-issues, as he did for Courtney White's book, Grass, Soil, Hope.
From the website about the book:
His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Farming, Acres Magazine, Rangelands, Natural Resources Journal, and Solutions. His essay "The Working Wilderness: A Call for a Land Health Movement" was published by Wendell Berry in 2005 in his collection of essays titled The Way of Ignorance.
Courtney is the author of the book Revolution on the Range: the Rise of a New Ranch in the American West, and he co-edited, with Dr. Rick Knight, Conservation for a New Generation, both published by Island Press in 2008.
(Chris's note: This Island Press is located in Washington, D.C., and deals primarily with environmental issues: http://islandpress.org/press/about.html
The website for the book: http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/grass_soil_hope/
And (finally) here is Michael Pollan's beautiful preface, originally posted on the Organic Consumers Association website:
Hope in a Book: Michael Pollan’s Foreword to Grass, Soil, Hope: A Journey through Carbon Country, by Courtney White
Hope in a book about the environmental challenges we face in the twenty-first century is an audacious thing to promise, so I’m pleased to report that Courtney White delivers on it. He has written a stirringly hopeful book, and yet it is not the least bit dreamy or abstract. To the contrary, Grass, Soil, Hope is deeply rooted in the soil of science and the practical work of farming.
Grass, Soil, Hope is at the same time a challenging book, in that it asks us to reconsider our pessimism about the human engagement with the rest of nature. The bedrock of that pessimism is our assumption that human transactions with nature are necessarily zero-sum: for us to wrest whatever we need or want from nature—food, energy, pleasure—means nature must be diminished. More for us means less for it. Examples of this trade-off are depressingly easy to find. Yet there are counterexamples that point to a way out of that dismal math, the most bracing of which sit at the heart of this book.
Consider what happens when the sun shines on a grass plant rooted in the earth. Using that light as a catalyst, the plant takes atmospheric CO2, splits off and releases the oxygen, and synthesizes liquid carbon–sugars, basically. Some of these sugars go to feed and build the aerial portions of the plant we can see, but a large percentage of this liquid carbon—somewhere between 20 and 40 percent—travels underground, leaking out of the roots and into the soil. The roots are feeding these sugars to the soil microbes—the bacteria and fungi that inhabit the rhizosphere—in exchange for which those microbes provide various services to the plant: defense, trace minerals, access to nutrients the roots can’t reach on their own. That liquid carbon has now entered the microbial ecosystem, becoming the bodies of bacteria and fungi that will in turn be eaten by other microbes in the soil food web. Now, what had been atmospheric carbon (a problem) has become soil carbon, a solution—and not just to a single problem, but to a great many problems.
Besides taking large amounts of carbon out of the air—tons of it per acre when grasslands are properly managed, according to White—that process at the same time adds to the land’s fertility and its capacity to hold water. Which means more and better food for us. There it is: a non-zero-sum transaction.
This process of returning atmospheric carbon to the soil works even better when ruminants are added to the mix. Every time a calf or lamb shears a blade of grass, that plant, seeking to rebalance its “root-shoot ratio,” sheds some of its roots. These are then eaten by the worms, nematodes, and microbes—digested by the soil, in effect, and so added to its bank of carbon. This is how soil is created: from the bottom up.
To seek to return as much carbon to the soil as possible makes good ecological sense, since roughly a third of the carbon now in the atmosphere originally came from there, released by the plow and agriculture’s various other assaults, including deforestation. (Agriculture as currently practiced contributes about a third of greenhouse gases, more than all of transportation.) For thousands of years we grew food by depleting soil carbon and, in the last hundred or so, the carbon in fossil fuel as well. But now we know how to grow even more food while at the same time returning carbon and fertility and water to the soil. This is what I mean by non-zero-sum, which is really just a fancy term for hope.
It has long been the conventional wisdom of science that it takes eons to create an inch of soil (and but a single season to destroy it). This book brings the exceptionally good news that this conventional wisdom no longer holds: with good husbandry, it is possible to create significant amounts of new soil in the course of a single generation. The farmers and the scientists who are figuring this out are the heroes of Grass, Soil, Hope.
The book takes the form of a travelogue, a journey to the grassy frontiers of agriculture. Some of these frontiers White finds in the unlikeliest of places: on Colin Seis’s “pasture cropping” farm in Australia, where annual grains are seeded directly into perennial pastures; on John Wick’s cattle ranch in Marin County, California, where a single application of compost has roused the soil microbiota to astonishing feats of productivity and carbon capture; in the tenth-of-an-acre “edible forest” that Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates planted, according to the principles of permaculture, right behind their house in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Each of these chapters constitutes a case study in what is rightly called “regenerative agriculture.” Taken together, they point the way to a radically different future of farming than the one we usually hear about—the one in which, we’re told, we must intensify the depredations (and trade- offs) of agriculture in order to feed a growing population. Courtney White’s book points to very different idea of intensification—one that also brings forth more food from the same land but, by making the most of sunlight, grass, and carbon, promises to heal the land at the same time. There just may be a free lunch after all. Prepare to meet some of the visionaries who have mastered the recipe.
Michael Pollan Berkeley, California December 2013
You can purchase “Grass, Soil, Hope: A Journey through Carbon Country,” by Courtney White, at a 35-percent discount (good through Dec. 31, 2014). Go here and enter the discount code: CGP35
What a lovely, hopeful bit of writing.
weekend The Green Party of Canada held its convention in Fredericton, NB, and
The Journal-Pioneer weighs in, its lead editorial a breezy gust
Published on July 23, 2014For many faiths water is a sacred element. It has been used in a thousand different ways since the dawn of human time.
Life cannot exist without it.
So how sobering a thought it is that we here on Prince Edward Island are metaphorically floating on a raft of fresh water in an ocean of salt.
P.E.I.’s fresh water supply is entirely supplied by groundwater.
If something happens to that supply. Game over.
Islanders would have to either invest in hugely expensive desalination plants to replace our supply or pack up shop and head for the mainland.
This reminder of water’s importance is notable because the government of Prince Edward Island is set to bring in a Water Act.
This act will, presumably, encompass any and all rules and regulations for accessing and utilizing this shared resource.
Premier Robert Ghiz and his government should be commended for doing this.
Frankly the fact this gaping hole in our legislation has been overlooked for so long is stupefying.
Ah well, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
In any case, this act has now been proposed and work on it will soon start, if that hasn’t happened already.
Those doing the writing need to keep some things in mind.
They would have done well to be in Stanley Bridge over the last couple of days, where a meeting of the Atlantic Province’s agrologists were discussing all things water.
Many of the professionals in attendance, scientists, environmentalists, business people, etc. were deeply concerned about the future of the Island’s fresh water supply.
Some asked why current and past recommendations by scientists have yet to be implemented, other’s questioned the validity of what science has already been done and still more lamented the politicizing of the issue.
Several people questioned whether or not this water act will be a slapped together affair – a token move to kick the proverbial can of debate further down the road.
One visiting businessman from the United Kingdom commented that in his country, they’ve been fighting over water rights for 10 years.
So how is P.E.I. supposed to do that in a year? Or however long the province expects to take to write this document?
These are all valid concerns.
We can’t afford to ignore them.
Our future on this Island depends on them.
F. Ben Rodgers writes very good letters, usually making me smile or grimace.
Published on July 22, 2014, in The Guardian
The present direction of this government concerns me. I’m referring to the probable removal of the moratorium on deep wells asked for by the potato industry.
Six months ago on CBC Compass, Environment Minister Janice Sherry stated she had received reports dealing with the issues concerning deep wells. The interviewer asked would she make them public? The minister said no, they were for her info only. Six months later, still no info. Such arrogance.
This minister needs reminding whom she works for, who pays her salary. The last time I checked it wasn’t the potato industry. Now it appears the lifting of the moratorium is a done deal. George Webster is in the provincial cabinet, which will decide the issue. Strange, isn’t Webster a potato farmer?
Then we have two defeated Liberals working on behalf of the potato industry lobbying to lift the moratorium. It all seems a little bit slanted in favour of a large industrial corporation.
The seriousness of this issue, if it becomes a done deal, is we can’t go back. It’s not like the other issues such as Plan B or the HST. This is about the survival of our Island, of risking the one sustaining and precious resource life depends on.
If government goes ahead with this reckless and irresponsible action it will be too late to reverse the damage. I ask the question, is this really what government wants to do? What about future generations, politicians have children/grandchildren too.
It’s difficult to understand why I have to write this letter of protest. The interests of government should follow the same lines as the majority of Islanders. They should share our concerns and act on the promises made during election campaigns.
Remember the last election campaign, they came to our doors smiling and promising to work on our behalf. Well, it is past the time for Robert Ghiz and his government to do the right thing. The Island can’t risk deep-water wells simply because a few greedy corporations can grow more potatoes.
F. Ben Rodgers, Abram Village
PS I am not sure of details, but I think tickets for David Suzuki's Blue Dot tour are set to go on sale today at noon. http://bluedot.ca/ and go to "The Tour" choice on the top bar. However, the website may not be caught up with the PEI stop details yet, which are Monday, September 29th, 7PM, Harbourfront Theatre.
standing up on lawn pesticides:
Published on July 21, 2014
Pesticides have been in the media a lot lately. And it's not good news.
- National Geographic is calling them a "Second Silent Spring," referring to biologist Rachel Carson's groundbreaking book written 50-plus years ago about the harmful effects of pesticides;
- The Globe and Mail released an article about pesticides being linked to causing autism from a recent study in California;
- the Ontario government just announced they are taking action by planning to reduce or eliminate the use of neonicotinoids - a class of pesticides implicated in the mass deaths of bees.
And the problem on P.E.I. is that we use a disproportionate amount of pesticides for such a small area. We spray our lawns with cosmetic pesticides, we have a lot of golf courses that use large amounts of pesticides and the biggest culprit of all is the 85,000 acres of potatoes that are sprayed up to 20 times a season.
Let's hope the government of P.E.I. takes swift action, especially given the recent onslaught of scientific proof of the detrimental effects and bans cosmetic pesticides which so many people have been asking for, for so many years. It's gotten old and tired, but now that the media is picking it up maybe that will be the incentive for the government to act. Kind of like how Premier Ghiz so quickly changed the legislation on the order of P.E.I. issue.
Pesticides are a political issue, sadly, and
they are impacting the health of the people and the environment of P.E.I.,
possibly being responsible for our high cancer rates. I think most people would
say they believe there is a likely chance for this to be true. Being willfully
blind to this cannot continue, not with so much evidence. Who's going to be the
politician to step up to this issue?
Maureen Kerr, Pesticide Free P.E.I.
And even The Guardian's lead editorial on Tuesday was
about the issue.
Let me be clear -- Gail Shea is channeling her inner Harper:
Trade has long been a powerful engine for Canada’s economy. It is even more so in these globally challenging economic times. Indeed, trade today is equivalent in size to some 60 per cent of Canada’s annual Gross Domestic Product and one out of every five Canadian jobs is dependent on exports.
When we trade, we become more competitive. Prices for goods and services go down. Wages, salaries and our standard of living go up, and businesses are able to hire more workers. All this is why our government has put so much effort into expanding market access for business people and investors here in Prince Edward Island as well as right across Canada.
Our government’s pro-trade plan is about creating economic growth and jobs in every region, rather than “advancing the rights of businesses” as a recent letter to the Charlottetown Guardian inaccurately suggested.
Since trade today can extend beyond the import and export of goods to encompass a vast number of business connections, Canada’s free trade agreements include provisions concerning foreign direct investments – an important input into the creation of new jobs and business innovation.
The Canada-European Union Trade Agreement (CETA) is no exception. CETA’s investment rules provide greater certainty, transparency and protection to Canadians who want to invest in the EU and will ensure that EU-member governments treat Canadian businesses no less favourably than they do EU businesses.
These new investment rules will ensure that markets remain open while protecting Canadian businesses against arbitrary government measures that discriminate in favour of domestic companies.
Let me be clear, there is absolutely nothing in CETA or any other Canadian trade agreement that restricts the ability of a national, provincial or local government to regulate and legislate in areas designed to protect the environment, public health and safety, our water supply, our health-care system, culture and a myriad of other such fields. Under CETA, foreign investors, like domestic companies, are subject to and must abide by the laws and regulations of Canada and P.E.I..
Despite the fear-mongering of CETA’s anti-trade critics, the reality is that this agreement will be of great benefit to P.E.I. across all sectors of our economy.
For example, tariffs on Canadian exports in the EU currently range from nearly 18 per cent for frozen French fries, to an incredible 25 per cent for seafood. When this agreement comes into force, 96 per cent of tariffs for fish and seafood products will be lifted. In the first year alone, the lobster industry stands to save $6.7 million. Seven years into the agreement, the last of the tariffs will disappear, and our lobster products can be sold completely duty-free. The long-term benefits of increased exports to Europe mean more jobs, higher wages, and greater prosperity.
Gail Shea is Egmont MP and Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Lead Guardian editorial from yesterday:
The issue of banning cosmetic pesticide use on Prince Edward Island has been a political hot potato for some time now. And, as with all such controversial debates, the devil is always in the details.
The issue is back in the news following some weekend advocacy by a group called Pesticide Free P.E.I. It is a grassroots organization that advocates for the prevention of what it terms pesticide-related health risks. On the weekend, the group reiterated its belief the provincial government should enact legislation protecting children and seniors from the potential risks of cosmetic pesticides.
While the group would be made most happy by seeing a complete ban on cosmetic pesticide use, for the time being it would be satisfied if the province moved to protect some of society’s most vulnerable citizens — children and seniors. It wants to ban spraying cosmetic pesticides near playgrounds, day cares, schools, bus stops, hospitals and senior citizen complexes.
Roger Gordon, a spokesman for the group and former UPEI biologist, said the request for a 25-metre buffer zone near those areas would be similar to a current requirement for homeowners. Residents who spray their lawns with cosmetic pesticides must give advance notice to all their neighbours within a 25-metre radius of when the spraying will take place.
Mr. Gordon and the group say it doesn’t make sense that while residents get notice when spraying is about to take place, there’s no provision to let children and their parents know when the area around a playground is being sprayed. What parent hasn’t heard the call from the wee ones in the back seat to stop at a colourful and fun looking playground. It would be nice to know a spraying program had not just taken place. And when it comes to children, Pesticide Free P.E.I. says there are studies that have found children are at a greater risk for harm from cosmetic pesticides than adults.
P.E.I. doesn’t have a ban on cosmetic pesticide use, but it does ban a key chemical ingredient that is used in many pesticides.
Of course, cosmetic pesticide use is only part of the pesticide debate in the province. There is also the issue of agricultural chemical spraying that is used to control pests. In the past, runoff from agriculture chemicals has found its way into Island streams with deadly results for fish. The industry has responded with better stewardship of the land, which is designed to prevent runoffs from reaching our precious waterways.
At least when it comes to agriculture pesticide use, the industry can argue the spraying is necessary to enable farmers to grow their crops and make a living. Farmers will argue that given the choice, they would just as soon not have to spray costly chemicals. Critics of cosmetic spraying argue that having a nicer looking lawn isn’t worth the price of causing health problems to neighbours or fellow citizens.
One of the areas where the call for a ban on cosmetic pesticide use gets dicey is when it comes to controlling legitimate insect or weed infestations. For example, is it realistic to expect homeowners to stand by and allow their house to become overrun with ants or some other undesirable visitor? Of course, there is usually more than one way to control such things, and the answer doesn’t always have to come from a spray can.
So the debate goes round and round.
In the absence of agreement on a cosmetic pesticide ban, Pesticide Free P.E.I.’s call for a buffer zone around playgrounds and senior citizen facilities seems like a sensible one and something the province should ensure takes place.
Tonight the second of three free Transition Island Talks is
at the Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, at 7PM. Tonight features Mike
Thususka from Summerside about their wind farm.
The David Suzuki Foundation is excited to announce the Blue Dot Tour, a cross country celebration featuring David Suzuki and a star-studded line up of Canadian performers, artists and leaders.
Between September 24th and November 9th, David Suzuki and the Blue Dot Tour will visit 20 communities from St. Johns, Newfoundland to Vancouver, BC. From engaging community events to spectacular concert experiences, this once in a lifetime experience is not to be missed.
The Blue Dot Tour is the celebration of a simple yet powerful idea: that all Canadians should have the right to drink clean water, breathe fresh air and eat healthy food.
(Suzuki and other are touring) for one simple reason: they believe that by coming together to take action locally, we can guarantee that all Canadians will have the right to a healthy environment no matter who they are, or where they live.
Website for The Blue Dot Tour
today's print Guardian (and on-line over the weekend), is a story about
the call from Pesticide Free PEI to the Department of the Environment to create
buffer zones from cosmetic pesticides to protect the most vulnerable. My
understanding is that buffer zones would not call for new *legislation*,
just *action* by the Department of Environment.
Group calls for pesticide ban near schools, seniors homes - The Guardian on-line article by Mitch MacDonald
Published on-line on July 19, 2014
A group of Islanders is calling on the province to enact legislation protecting children and seniors from the potential risks of cosmetic pesticides. Pesticide Free P.E.I., a grassroots group advocating for the prevention of pesticide-related health risks, has made its dealings with the government public after seeing little progress during private emails and conversations made during the past year. The group has made a public calling for the provincial government to ban spraying cosmetic pesticides near playgrounds, day cares, schools, bus stops, hospitals and senior citizen complexes.
Roger Gordon, a spokesperson for the group and former UPEI biologist, said five provinces currently have a complete ban on cosmetic pesticides. While the group would also like to see a ban on P.E.I., Gordon said right now the focus is on protecting the most vulnerable members of society. “We recognize the government is not likely to do that (a complete ban) in the immediate future unfortunately. What we feel urgently needs attention is protecting children and elderly people from cosmetic pesticide spray,” said Gordon. “This is not an unreasonable request.”
Gordon said the group’s request for a 25-metre buffer zone near those areas would be similar to a current requirement for homeowners. Residents that spray their lawns with cosmetic pesticides must give advanced notice to all their neighbours within a 25-metre radius of when the spraying will take place.
“It seems inconsistent to us that if any of my neighbours were to have their lawn sprayed we’d get a notice in the mail saying that spraying is going to be done… but there’s no provision to advise children that can come from all over the place visiting a playground,” Gordon said, adding that some studies have found that children are at a greater risk for harm from cosmetic pesticides than adults. “We think that is a dangerous situation and the very least the province can do is to put in place a buffer zone around these areas where children and elderly people congregate.”
Pressure for a ban on cosmetic pesticides increased after a public forum in Stratford a little over a year ago. Pesticide Free P.E.I. was formed out of that meeting and has remained active since by lobbying members of government and holding another forum last month in Charlottetown. However, Gordon said email requests and phone calls between the group and environment department officials have not led to any progress.
He said the group has been hitting a brick wall. “We reached a point where we thought ‘we’re getting nowhere doing things in private’,” he said. “That’s why we issued this press release, it’s not because this is the first request we’ve made along these lines. We’ve sincerely tried." The group sent an open letter to Environment Minister Janice Sherry, as well as the department’s deputy minister, assistant deputy minister and other high-ranking officials, earlier this week asking the government to immediately create buffer zones near the areas.
The group said it hopes for the buffer zones to be brought in ahead of the lawn spraying season for chinch bugs in August.
Pesticide Free PEI is meeting this Wednesday, July 23rd, 7PM, at the church hall of Trinity United Church, corner of Richmond and Prince Streets, Charlottetown, and all are welcome.
excerpt from earlier this month in her naturapathic column in The Guardian, regarding
changes that would make major changes to Islanders' health:
I suspect that eventually the perception of any gain from routine pesticide use will be considered equally ridiculous. Anyone who sprays their lawn I would say educate yourself about the reasons not to continue such behaviour and farmers as well to consider the impact on their health, those they love and the population at large. In my experience, many who say that pesticide use is not a problem have failed to take the time to really look at the evidence. For those who share these concerns speak up, avoid pesticides and choose organic foods (especially local) whenever possible.>>
Kali Simmonds, ND
If you wish to goof around
with a program that makes a little Lego-ish figure that shows you are unhappy
with Lego's partnership with Shell Oil, go here and follow the prompts:
unable to upload :( check facebook page for image
Not an accurate likeness.
Former Prime Minister Paul Martin is working on something called Mission Ocean, which is proposing a new agreement to protect the high seas and promote ocean heath.
Here is a Globe and Mail article with background and graphics.
There are eight proposals listed here, along with the report, many having to do with overfishing and pollution, but regarding oil and gas exploration, it's number 6 that caught my eye. It includes the line:
The Commission supports the adoption of international binding protocols with safety and environmental standards for offshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation on the continental shelf, including provisions for emergency response, and capacity building for developing countries.
...which implies that safety standards are enough. The whole endeavor of course is trying to improve things, and is worth finding about a bit more.
Three videos, the first two
being about neither the environment nor democracy issues in PEI, but worth
is long, but very worth it; consider reading it one section at a time:
Published July 12, 2014
When are we going to put our families ahead of our lawns? The spraying of noxious substances on our lawns has been denounced by the Canadian Medical Society, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, the P.E.I. Medical Society, the Ontario College of Family Physicians, the David Suzuki Foundation and the Sierra Club of Canada.
Here are a few natural weed controls one can apply to their lawns:
Dig dandelions manually with a Fiskal picker, fertilize with 10-10-10 (Agro Co-Op) in the spring, over seed with new grass seed at the same time, lime in the fall, always mulch the leaves and leave the mulch on the lawn.
For spot treatment of weeds, use a vinegar-based spray but not the whole lawn. Corn gluten (Phillip's Feeds) is supposed to control dandelions from germinating but you have to apply it as soon as the snow disappears, and it also stops new grass seedlings from germinating, so you'd have to wait to overseed the barren areas with grass seed.
For controlling chinch bugs and June beetles use a biological insecticide from Halifax Seeds. Look for “nematodes” or “entomopathogenic nematodes” on their website.
For insect control on vegetables and ornamentals, spray with soapy water. Crushed eggshells help to keep the slugs at bay.
Dr. Roger Gordon, retired UPEI biologist, presented this information in an article in the 2013 Stratford Town Talk entitled “Why Cosmetic Pesticides Are A Bad Idea”:
Long-term effects include: impaired blood clotting; impaired immune system; genetic damage; linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers.
Lastly, cosmetic spraying has been used to achieve perfection in our surrounding – but no one needs a perfect lawn. We need clean air to breathe and clean water to drink in order to stay healthy. Continued spraying will negate both of these.
Let's not be “P.E.I. The Pesticide Province”.
David Ing, Stratford
2014 Farmers' Market schedule, but today add Stratford, 9AM to 1PM, Cotton
Centre, Bunbury Road.
Meanwhile in Nova Scotia....
"Nova Scotia has had a moratorium on fracking since
2012, but wants to assess the public health and environmental risks to
communities before the industry is permitted to unlock natural gas trapped in
shale formations across the province."
Published 17 June 2014
The fracking panel led by Cape Breton University president David Wheeler has published two draft reports confirming an anticipated conclusion — that fracking should be permissible and is "safe" provided we watch it very carefully.
Considering the fracking industry’s history in Canada and elsewhere, this is not a confidence-building message. In almost every part of the country where fracking is licensed, this industry has been observed at least ignoring, if not violating, government regulations to get oil or gas — come hell or high water.
The impacts of other industrial practices that have threatened public health and environmental integrity in Cape Breton over the years are known full well and remain deep in the collective memory of families all over the island. All communities need to take a penetrating glance at what fracking can mean for them over the short term and long term.
Since the announcement that the provincial government wanted an independent review panel to examine fracking for all of Nova Scotia, there have been many strongly expressed opinions reflecting doubts about this panel's objectivity and impartiality. As its chair, Wheeler may well have achieved the independence and credibility he wanted for the job at hand. But the optics on the panel's impartiality have suggested otherwise.
For the provincial panel to endorse hydraulic fracking as safe with the condition that it be monitored is simply not supported as definitive by peer-reviewed research. In fact, there is no way of saying that with either the confidence of experience or of science. Monitoring shale gas exploration is different from monitoring other industrial activities, such as mining.
The Council of Canadian Academies, an independent research body that supports rigorous study projects and conducts expert assessments on science matters, has published reports on the fracking issue. Its panel's reports have pointed to problems with hydraulic fracturing, highlighting risks to surface water and groundwater quality, and threats to public health from air emissions and ultimately to the climate.
Even if fracking was "carefully monitored," the CCA observes that the industry does not know how to do it so as to prevent well leakage. In fact, the CCA observes that neither the industry nor governments claiming to monitor the geology around fracking can answer questions about its long-term effects.
Nova Scotia has had a moratorium on fracking since 2012, but wants to assess the public health and environmental risks to communities before the industry is permitted to unlock natural gas trapped in shale formations across the province.
Without a doubt, the policy implications on fracking will bring the water-energy nexus to the fore in a province that currently has one of Canada's most extensive source water protection programs. The political implications will also be significant if fracking is endorsed; they will be controversial and likely divisive in rural communities.
The millions of litres of water used at any fracking site is not returned to the hydrologic cycle. And unlike other water uses — in agriculture, privately or commercially — the water used for fracking is considered a permanent toxic withdrawal. The industry downplays these effects under the pretense of science, pointing to little or no risks involved.
While one of the draft papers presented by the provincial panel on fracking confirms the integrity of well bores, and dismisses risks of contaminants migrating through underground water, evidence in other provinces contradicts this position, showing that well bores predictably leak and leak a lot.
University of Waterloo professor emeritus John Cherry, a contaminant hydrologist who chaired the expert federal panel on fracking in Canada, has called the shale gas industry a "mess" and has criticized the lack of science on the methods and technologies being used to gain access to natural gas.
The business of fracking for natural gas is replete with contradictory evidence about risks to public health and environmental damage.
The CCA notes that many critical issues around fracking are still poorly understood. We don't yet know how to improve hydraulic fracturing techniques to avoid the kind of harm that might only become evident after decades of fracturing.
Jim Guy, PhD, is professor emeritus of political science and international law at Cape Breton University.
In the middle of the June
28 PEI newspapers was the 2014 "Fresh Products Directory". It
looks like a small sunny-coloured map, and it is a publication of the
Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
temporarily unable to upload. Please check facebook for photo.
mixed bag today:
Published July 8th, 2014
How about giving the future generations a healthy environment and clean water to drink. Giving the potato industry access to our deep water will be just another step in the destruction of the living environment on the Island. I am not a scientist; I am just a well-informed and well-read Islander who tries to live life in a sustainable manner. I do not understand the ins and outs of the production of potatoes, nor do I understand the science behind the living environment.
But, I do know that chemicals damage many life forms and it stays in our environment for a long time. Any person with a conscience and average intelligence knows that spraying these chemicals in our environment and on our food is terribly wrong for so many reasons.
Little P.E.I. has a cancer rate that is higher than the national average. That does not surprise me because potato producers are allowed to spray chemicals very close to our properties and our schools. Buffer zones simply are not enough.
Finding the perfect cancer cure will never happen because we are not doing anything about the cause. As long as we ignore the cause, we will live with this illness for a very long time. Why doesn’t our government or the potato industry do something about it? Money!
For them it is all about the bottom dollar and not about the environment or people’s health. Producers and governments have been brainwashed into believing that these chemicals are safe by the very corporation that sells them these chemicals.
Anne Gallant, Kensington
And it's a Lewis Carroll time of year:
"While the Father's of Confederation were meeting in 1864 Lewis Carroll was putting the finishing touches to his enduring classic novel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The Mad Hatter's Tea Party at the Farm Centre Legacy Garden will feature fresh picked strawberries from Penny's Farm and Garden and Cow's ice-cream, WI shortcake, Purity Dairy chocolate milk, Caledonia House gourmet roasted coffees and Lady Baker's Teas. 'We’re serving the best the Island has to offer to celebrate strawberry season,” says Farm Centre GM Phil Ferraro. “People with thirsty gardens will even be able to learn how to make nutrient rich garden teas!' "
performing three times in the next couple of weeks.
"Lego: Everything is NOT Awesome" is the title of this one-minute, 45-second film-message from Greenpeace regarding Shell Oil's partnering with children's block maker Lego, packaged with a bit of a background article from EcoWatch. The actual YouTube link is below the EcoWatch, but the YouTube comments are pretty pathetic.
If you anthropomorphize little Lego people, and animals, just beware things don't go well once Shell Oil starts digging in the Lego Arctic.
summer, many people who gave *so* much fighting the Plan B highway got busy
with their "other" jobs of being fantastic actors or musicians or
artists. I was thrilled and humbled by their talents. This summer
it is no different, and I am giving a bias and incomplete listing of a few
events this week:
"Environment session to be held in Charlottetown Tuesday. There
will be a free information session on the international transition movement and
transition surrounding the province in Charlottetown.
Journalists like ‘balance’ in reporting. Here are suggestions for the Toxic Tours series of the Island. We welcome the media to Tracadie to witness the violation of the Crop Rotation Act.
Reporters could drop by the QEH Cancer Centre to get testimony from Islanders suffering from rare diseases. A visit to graveyards in the ‘Potato Belt’ would also be very informative.
The June 28 story didn’t fool anyone. We don’t want our tax dollars used to fund media tours promoting dangerous industrial farming practices? Enough already.Marian White, Tracadie
Thursday, July 3rd, The Guardian published this letter:
Published on July 3rd, 2014
Fish kills, declining bees, butterflies and birds should all be considered ‘canaries in the coal mine’. Anyone who doesn’t see the connection of their decline to the declining health of Islanders is either in denial or simply too far removed from nature. I am all for sustainable farming and realize change will not happen overnight, but the time has come for government to enforce sustainable farming by significantly reducing our pesticides and doing much more to encourage organic farming. This is the only ethical and sustainable solution.
I wonder if we could organize a media tour to go around the various farming communities and talk to people like me who are faced with the choice of either staying inside on a beautiful summer day or risking being poisoned simply by breathing air, and who are afraid to drink the water from our own wells. We promise not to be spraying when you arrive.
Joan Diamond, Fairview
Saturday,The Guardian opined on farming and food and criticism:
Published on July 05, 2014Media tour shows kinder, gentler side of agriculture
Hold it for a minute. Farmers are getting a bad
rap these days. The recent flood of comment against deep-water wells and
pesticide spraying is painting an unflattering picture of farmers as greedy
abusers of the land. The P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture is so concerned that
it helped organize a media tour of farm operations around the province to allow
members of the press to see for themselves what is happening on the family farm
and tell other Islanders about the kinder, gentler side of farming.
Do we care how much time, money and labour were invested in that product? Yet, we still expect that cheap and plentiful food supply to keep appearing, as if by magic.
<<snip (a short editorial on Brad Richards, and on beer) >>
The story of some hens living in penthouse luxury in Freetown has ruffled some feathers in other chicken coops across the province. A poultry farm operated by the Burns family has installed the latest housing cages for their hens. For the bashful Rhode Island Red, there is a private, curtained-off area for laying eggs, while the leggy White Leghorn gets a scratching board to keep those pointed nails in perfect conformity. Alas for the Plymouth Rock which is heading for the kitchen crock-pot.
Published on July 5th, 2014
1. There are no buffer zones for humans, only for fish.
2. Farmers do not have to notify property owners, schools, nursing homes or hospitals about when or what they will be spraying.
3. There are two types of pesticide drift: particle (off target movement during application), and vapour drift (off target movement when evaporation occurs), which accounts for 40 per cent of all drift.
4. Last year 89,000 acres received 15-20 applications of pesticides. When Mr. Linkletter speaks of 1 kg per acre, he forgets to mention the mind-boggling magnitude of the total annual amount, and the cumulative effect on our soil, ecosystem, and human health.
5. Mr. Linkletter states “Potato growers are diligent with responsible pesticide use on P.E.I.” In fact, the 2010 State of the Environment reports that only 40.9 per cent of farmers have adopted the government endorsed environmental farm plans, down from 2009.
6. Although he predicts dire consequences if we stopped using them, our soil biodiversity continues to be depleted each year, due in large part to our industrial farming practices.
Mr. Linkletter finished off his lesson by informing us “Regulated and safe application of pesticides, which have been reviewed and approved by Health Canada, is an integral tool in producing only the best quality potatoes for Islanders.” In fact Health Canada relies on the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), as does our provincial government. Here are essential lessons on the PMRA:
• it relies upon studies financed by the pesticide industry
• 25 per cent of the PMRA's funding comes from the pesticide industry
• pesticide regulation was transferred to Health Canada to ensure protection of health, but the PMRA is yet to resolve its conflicting dual roles of approving pesticides while also protecting human health.
Blair Cowan, Charlottetown
Hope you survived the winds (and what rain there was) with
First of all, I’d like to say that I talk in a very monotone voice and my family accuses me of mumbling, so if you do not hear what I’m saying just stop me and I’ll speak up.
I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts today. I
asked for an opportunity to appear before this committee around my
concerns on water
and land use. I applaud this committee’s
our government’s recent decision that no further consideration will be
given to lifting the moratorium on high capacity wells for agriculture
irrigation until the water act and regulations are in place.
In our community, where there used to be a woodlot on most farms, there
isn’t anymore, and the natural treed hedges are few as they have been
cut and bulldozed out as well to make for bigger fields more conducive
to the large machinery that is required in industrial potato farming
today. I might add,
1: How much further do we go with the industrial model of agriculture? Deep water wells will add to that and reduce our number of farmers.
2: Can we afford the health costs associated with growing the perfect potato with the chemicals and pesticides getting into our water table along with the nutrients and organic matter being depleted in our soils?
3: The negative impact this can have on our tourism and fishing industry in the future.
4: When our soil is completely contaminated
and robbed of organic matter and its ability
to grow potatoes, how long will the
processors be here and what will the
economic impact be then if we just look at
the short-term profitability of this industry?
I would like to end my
with a couple of quotes.
The first quote is
from an ancient First Nations proverb. It
states that: We do not inherit the earth from
The second quote is from Gandhi:
Earth provides enough to satisfy everyone’s
need but not for everyone’s greed.
Published July 4th, 2014
The 2014 Celebration for the 150th anniversary is costing at least $29 million and I will bet my boots it will come in at $35 to $40 million by December 31st. That comes to at least $550,000 a week for 52 weeks.
We hear that the feds are assisting heavily and of course that makes sense since our federal debt is $1.6 trillion and our P.E.I. debt is over $2 billion. Our elected officials continue to spend like drunken sailors.
Let’s be serious and sensible. We can never get an increased return in tourism spending any way near this amount. But the party continues with no way to reduce or eliminate it al all. It's so far out of hand, it's a spending avalanche and when all is said and done, a two-day celebration with cake and a band and a flag raising ceremony would have easily satisfied us all.
No one enjoys a good party like we do but this excessive spending is outrageous. By the way everyone we have talked to feels the way we do.
We are told a Grade 1 class at Sherwood Elementary will have 27 students in September - that $29 million would go a long, long way to lower and offer a much better student - teacher ratio...
When will sensible, courageous, competent and future-thinking people take the reins and stop all this nonsense.
Maureen & Bruce Garrity, Charlottetown
"Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point," said Scrooge, "answer me one question. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?"
Still the Ghost pointed downward to the grave by which it stood.
"Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead," said Scrooge. "But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!"
--from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, 1843
The following is about water rights in Texas, a three page article, but worth
A Twenty-First Century Water War Erupts in Texas - Earth Island Journal article exerpt by James William Gibson
Gary Cheatwood grew up near the town of Cuthand, in far northeast Texas, and he always found peace along the wooded banks of Little Mustang Creek. His grandfather had bought 100 acres in 1917 and now Gary’s family owns 600 acres of bottomland near where the creek’s clear waters meet the Sulphur River. He especially loves the woods around the creek—some 70 species of hardwood trees, including a massive Texas honey locust that ranks as official state champion. “This forest is not making money,” says Cheatwood, a retired surveyor and construction manager. “But a lot of things are more important than money. The trees give me pleasure.”
Everything about the land pleases Cheatwood. Still wiry and lean at 75, he walks it every week, always wearing his standard outfit of lace-up work boots, jeans, plaid flannel shirt, and baseball cap. He collects finely crafted Caddo and Cherokee Indian arrowheads. In the spring, blue and yellow wildflowers bloom. He takes pleasure, too, in looking for rare creatures—the American burying beetle, a certain obscure shrew, even the eastern timber rattlesnake.
Yet as he stood on the creek bank this January, he knew his
family could have their homestead taken by the state of Texas. If Texas Water
Development Board planners have their way, sometime in the next 20 years or so
Cheatwood’s land will disappear under Marvin Nichols Reservoir, a proposed
72,000-acre lake meant to provide water to the Dallas-Ft. Worth “Metroplex” 135
miles to the west. Some 4,000 of his neighbors (a few estimates go as high as
10,000 people) will also become refugees, driven off their lands, either for
lake bottom or for the hundreds of thousands of acres to be taken as
letters and a link to a blog post, dealing with the call to lift the ban on
high capacity wells, and the bigger picture:
Published on July 2, 2014
Alan Holman’s June 21st, 2014, letter to the Guardian "Is the Island too tiny to embrace change?” with interest.
After digesting these comments, I don’t understand why some Islanders still cannot fathom that the P.E.I. has gone past its environmental breaking point in producing “biggie” fries for the Irvings. The place is a disaster for anyone with eyes: the rivers filled with silt, bees almost all but gone, hundreds of thousands of trout and salmon dead, incredibly high cancer rates likely linked to tons of pesticides being released into the air, putrid nitrates in people’s wells, entire shell fish operations wiped out, sickly green bays and estuaries, and yet … this is the necessary cost of doing business?
And are we as Holman suggests - in his criticism of Islanders as shallow beings incapable of understanding “progress” - to follow his advice and take all of this to the next level of catastrophe by supporting the Irving’s insatiable greed and their fist pounding for more deep water wells? How many billions do they need anyway?
What we really need is a new model to define progress that does not include making Islanders hostage to the Irving model of doing business. Their whipping threats against Islanders to obey them or else, in addition to the 38 mega wells that already exist - if granted - will aggravate this sickly problem to the extreme.
And we are to beg Cavendish Farms not to leave, while bankrupting our fast disappearing family farms? Even relatively small-scale traditional potato farmers like the Bests of Tryon are being booted out under the Irving model robustly supported by the P.E.I. Potato Board.
The exodus of the Irvings and their vertically integrated business model, and the backward local mindset supporting them, is actually the most welcome and immediate and long-term news to begin to address these problems with real and implementable solutions.
On the contrary, Islanders are not naive, hicks, backward, or wanting in their desire to protect the only fragile source of water we have - the same groundwater the Irvings and their servants are after. Their mega-wells will suck the land dry when we need it the most - for our homes. Holman's recent article is revealing of everything which is truly regressive in this Province in seeing that Islanders, now and in time their grandchildren, can ever sensibly take back our environment — let alone
vast ranges of once healthy Island land currently under the Irving’s control or ownership.
The absentee landlords have truly returned to P.E.I. as we celebrate 150 years and Confederation which permitted Islanders to reclaim and farm it for themselves in the first place. Truly forward thinking, at this point in our history, would see Islanders making progress to reverse this obvious damage around us, while pursing and developing other economic models, such as happening in California which has fully gone after the exploding global health food market and billions up for grabs.
What goes across the minds of Islanders when they see these products with whole sections devoted to them for sale at Superstore and Sobeys - an Irving company? The only thing backwards in P.E.I. are those who cannot develop or envision anything new other than the existing and very tired, old, and incredibly toxic economic mono-culture model which is frankly “done."
John Hopkins is a media producer/writer living in Breadalbane. Hopkins was hired by CTV’s W5 to investigate and research the situation for the documentary episode “The Perfect Potato.”
Here is a blog post from the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club, by Zack
Metcalfe. There are a few small factual errors, but overall it's a good
last, a fresh call for consumers to choose not to spend their money on Irving
products for the month of July, bold and link added by me. http://www.journalpioneer.com/Opinion/Letter-to-the-Editor/2014-06-30/article-3781639/Time-to-fight-back/1
Robert Irving has recently announced that if the government of Prince Edward Island does not lift the moratorium on deep well irrigation his company would no longer purchase potatoes grown here and he might even move his company, Cavendish Farms, elsewhere.Disappointing words coming from someone who has received a tremendous amount of government money in the past.
The wealthy elite of this country like to think that they hold all of the cards while we taxpayers are completely dependent on them. Nothing could be further from the truth. If Irving did leave there would be a financial vacuum, a vacuum that would be quickly filled by other entrepreneurs who see that there is a profit to be made. This would lead to competition as opposed to a monopoly, which the Irvings currently have, which would be better for everyone as competition is what keeps capitalism healthy.
Furthermore, the wealthy are far more dependent on us consumers than we are on them. We can get our products elsewhere but they rely on us for their money, which they are addicted to. Anyone with more than a billion dollars should be content. The fact that they feel the need to threaten people by saying they will monopolize the resources necessary for life in order to make more money, which will inevitably rot in a foreign bank account, clearly shows that they are consumed by the need to accumulate far more wealth than they will ever need. This is their weakness.
It is time we consumers demonstrate that we are not powerless, as our collective buying power is what makes people wealthy. It is in this that we have a choice. We can allow the ultra rich to take our resources from us, or we can force them to accept that when it comes to the resources necessary for life we will stand together to protect these important resources for all. We can easily do this by carefully choosing who we purchase from, denying them the power to accumulate more wealth.
I would like to challenge all Islanders to be more selective when deciding which companies to patronize for the month of July. When, in August, the profits for some have decreased dramatically, perhaps they will realize that the power is indeed with the people.
I have created a Facebook page under my name (Erman Vis) with more information about my plan. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007580567675&fref=ts
Everyone who is concerned for future generations should acknowledge this effort, because if we allow the wealthy to control our water, they will next want to control the very air that we breathe. Enough is enough. We must act now to save ourselves from incessant greed that threatens to make financial slaves of us all.
Erman Vis, Summerside, P.E.I.Tonight at 7PM, at the Haviland Club is the Connect meeting regarding FairVote and Leadnow, discussing electoral reform and other issues. All are welcome; it's a lovely spot near the waterfront, too.
It's Wednesday but it feels like a Monday after a holiday :-)
Something I saw yesterday, from Ecojustice:On Canada Day and Environmental Rights Legislation:
This Canada Day spread the word that environmental laws matter - Ecojustice article by Darcie Bennett
Since 1972, the right to a healthy environment has gained global recognition faster than any other human right. From Norway to Nicaragua, 92% of UN member countries now legally recognize their citizens' right to live in a healthy environment. So why doesn't Canada?
Canada has no national drinking water law. And even though the oilsands are one of the biggest industrial projects on the planet,
Happy Canada Day! I hope you have a great time,
whether it is at one of the community events, the big Charlottetown events,
having some quiet time at home, or some combination of these.
"In a precedent-setting case decided today by the New York Court of
Appeals, local communities have triumphed over the fracking industry. The
court ruled that the towns of Dryden and Middlefield can use local zoning laws
to ban heavy industry, including oil and gas production within municipal
"Calling all people who are concerned about shale gas development! Join us in the spirit of peace and friendship for meeting and sharing. Our goal is to strengthen relationships and prepare ourselves for the upcoming season.
Come and help us celebrate what we have stood for, what we have built together and the journey that we are traveling together. At noon we will share a potluck lunch and at the end of the day we will go to visit the site of a proposed well pad and plant markers to indicate the reclaiming of Mi’Kmaq stewardship of the land.Things to bring:
· Your contribution to the potluck lunch
· Your own cutlery and dishes, if possible
· An object that is sacred to you
Please RSVP to the New Brunswick Environmental Network at (506) 855-4144 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org