Fearless Summer Heats Up

INM in New Brunswick.June 2013


  • There have been five arrests this week of people protesting the presence of SWN Resources Canada on traditional Mi’kmaq territory in New Brunswick. The protests are being led by First Nations leaders, and are a result of the fears that SWN’s seismic testing will result in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on the land. Read more at “Anti-fracking Arrests Continue on Highway 126″.
  • A new report states there are “potentially catastrophic” changes underway in Canada’s northern McKenzie River Basin. Published on Monday, the report from an international panel of scientists warns that Canada’s Mackenzie River basin—among the world’s most important major ecosystems—is “poorly studied, inadequately monitored, and at serious risk due to climate change and resource exploitation” – and is particularly at risk because of the tar sands development:

In a report, nine Canadian, US and UK scientists convened by the US-based Rosenberg International Forum on , say effective governance of the massive Basin, comprising an area three times larger than France—holds enormous national and global importance due to the watershed’s biodiversity and its role in hemispheric , stabilizing climate and the health of the Arctic Ocean.

The panel agreed the largest single threat to the Basin is a potential breach in the tailings ponds at one of the large oil sands sites mining surface bitumen. A breach in winter sending tailings liquid under the ice of the tributary , “would be virtually impossible to remediate or clean-up,” says the report, available in full online. Read more at http://phys.org/

And there was flooding in the Fort McMurray area this week, putting those tailing ponds even more than usually at risk of breaching.

  • Brace yourself – a climate scientist from the University of Ottawa is predicting that the Arctic summer ice will disappear this summer. On his blog on Sierra Club Canada‘s website, Paul Beckwith discusses his predictions and reminds us that it’s way past time for an adult conversation about climate change.
For the record—I do not think that any sea ice will survive this summer. An event unprecedented in human history is today, this very moment, transpiring in the Arctic Ocean.The cracks in the sea ice that I reported in my Sierra blog and elsewhere have spread. Worse news is at this very moment the entire sea ice sheet (or about 99 percent of it) covering the Arctic Ocean is on the move (clockwise), and the thin, weakened icecap has literally begun to tear apart.

This is abrupt climate change in real-time.

Humans have benefited greatly from a stable climate for the last 11,000 years (roughly 400 human generations). Not anymore. We now face an angry climate — one that we have poked in the eye with our fossil fuel stick — and have to deal with the consequences.

We must set aside our differences and prepare for what we can no longer avoid: massive disruption to our civilization.”


fearless summer

Because of all of the above, I have decided to attend the 4th Annual Tar Sands Healing Walk, July 5 & 6 in Fort McMurray Alberta, and join people from across Canada and beyond who are traveling there to support our First Nations in their fight for climate justice. Along with the other participants, I will call on the Alberta and Canadian governments to stop the reckless mismanagement of these resources. Go to HealingWalk.org for more information.

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