George Monbiot is the author of the best-selling books Heat: how to stop the planet burning; The Age of Consent: a manifesto for a new world order and Captive State: the corporate takeover of Britain; as well as the investigative travel books Poisoned Arrows, Amazon Watershed and No Man’s Land. He writes a weekly column for the Guardian newspaper. Monbiot is in Canada this week to participate in a public debate in Toronto with climate change skeptics. He and one of the skeptics, Bjorn Lomberg from the Copenhagen Business School, were on CBC radio’s The Current on Tuesday. Click here, and go to “listen to Part 2” to hear the discussion. (Lomberg’s argument seems to be that yes, global warming is a problem but the world must choose between helping the poor and addressing climate change?!).
On December 1, on Monbiot.com , Monbiot wrote that the most urgent threat to world peace right now is Canada. He observes that Canada:
is slipping down the development ladder, retreating from a complex, diverse economy towards dependence on a single primary resource, which happens to be the dirtiest commodity known to man.
Monbiot goes on to describe how the Alberta tar sands, and the dirty oil that they produce, are dominating our national government’s agenda, and determining Canada’s international strategy of disruption and intransigence at international climate negotiations. The tar barons are holding the rest of us Canadians ransom.
Meanwhile, the tar sands continue to contaminate fresh water at an alarming rate. The tailing ponds that hold this contaminated water are so toxic that in 2008 a flock of migrating ducks landed on them and died, and are so large that they can be seen from space! Downstream, animals and people are being poisoned, and ecosystems are being destroyed. One of the affected First Nations, Beaver Lake Cree Nation, is challenging the Alberta government in court. The Indigenous Environmental Network put it this way:
Animals are dying, disappearing, and being mutated by the poisons dumped into our river systems. Once we have destroyed these fragile eco-systems we will have also destroyed our peoples and trampled our treaty rights.
Remind Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Environment Minister Jim Prentice that Canadians want a diverse, healthy, and green economy. The majority of us don’t think that the toxic tar sands are worth the price of our future!
As the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen approaches, check out 350.org and click on “find a vigil” for the weekend of Dec 11 & 12. If there isn’t one being organized in your community, sign up to organize one!