Canada’s Prime Minister Harper has been receiving messages about halting the expansion of the Alberta tar sands from far and wide this week. First, it was the 400 Canadians who gathered on Parliament Hill this past Monday, 200 of whom put themselves on the line to get arrested, speaking out loudly and clearly for our children and grandchildren’s future.
On Thursday, Archbishop Desmond Tutu along with seven other Nobel Peace Laureates, wrote a letter to Harper calling on him to stop the tar sands expansion. On the same day, the National Roundtable on the Environment and Economy, an arm’s-length government agency with nary a climate scientist among them, warned that Canadians face a high economic cost from the impact of a warming global climate, and the country should act quickly to reduce the financial price by investing in adaptation measures.
Also on Thursday, a group of Canadian researchers released a report which outlined a huge loss of ice in the Canadian Arctic this summer.
Two ice shelves that existed before Canada was settled by Europeans diminished significantly this summer, one nearly disappearing altogether, Canadian scientists say in newly published research.
The loss is important as a marker of global warming, returning the Canadian Arctic to conditions that date back thousands of years, scientists say.
Individually, these messages are loud and clear. Together, they are impossible to ignore. The question remains: is Stephen Harper listening?