Bill Maher on BP Disaster: Our Children Are Part Of The Clean Up Crew

Bill Maher on the BP Disaster:  “What has to happen before people change?…We shouldn’t be drilling offshore at all…In 50 years when there’s no fish and we’ve killed all the animals and there’s just cockroaches and jellyfish, that’s what we’ll be eating…”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfkHiwUNTuA]

I am away this week on a low-carbon canoe trip in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park. Enjoy the video!

350.org – Because The World Needs to Know

350 is the most important number in the world. It’s the safe line for our global climate and a start line for a global movement. This video is that first animation put together by 350.org, and it’s aim is to get the message out about climate change around the globe in a world where over 4,000 languages are spoken.  Enjoy, and be inspired!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5kg1oOq9tY]

Visit 350.org to join the movement (and invite your friends to the 350.org Facebook group!)

“Her Deepness”, Marine Biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle, Addresses Ocean Acidification from Climate Change

I am in the middle of a four-day course scuba certification course, so I thought this would be a good time to post a video of famed marine biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle. Called “Her Deepness” by the New Yorker and the New York Times, a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, and Time Magazine’s first “Hero for the Planet,” Sylvia Earle is an oceanographer, explorer, author, lecturer, Explorer in Residence of the National Geographic Society, Leader of the Sustainable Seas Expeditions, Council Chair for the Harte Research Institute at Texas A & M, Corpus Christi, Founder and Chairman of Mission Blue, and formerly the Chief Scientist of NOAA.

In other words, this woman knows a bit about the ocean, and scuba diving!  In fact, she lead the first expedition of women who lived underwater in a submersible for several weeks, back in the late 1970s.

I recently heard United Church of Canada Moderator Mardi Tindal say that we can’t speak about climate change without also speaking about the acidification of the ocean that is happening because of the large amount of carbon dioxide that it is absorbing from the atmosphere. It has been buffering us, on land, from the worst effects of global warming because of this. But the ocean, too, is approaching its tipping point. Soon, it will become so acidic that the shells of shellfish won’t be able to form properly, and the conditions  for most marine life to survive will be altered to the point they will die out. The mess in the Gulf right now from the eruption of the BP oil volcano is a very visible demonstration of the disaster we humans have been inflicting on the “Blue Planet’s” oceans. Although this video is nearly 30 minutes long, I would encourage you to take the time to watch it. Dr. Earle has important things to say that the rest of us, who can still affect change before it’s too late, need to hear.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuHnSdLnW0o]

Dr. Earle was also featured on Episode 2 of David Suzuki’s CBC Radio show, The Bottom Line. To go to the show’s home page and listen to it, click here.

If you are on Facebook, you can go to the Friends of Dr. Sylvia Earle page to get updates from her.

We Must Realize That It Truly Is Later Than We Think

This year Canada’s Parks Day, celebrated yesterday, recognized the International Year of Biodiversity as well as the 125th anniversary of the creation of Banff, Canada’s first national park. In honor of Canada’s Parks Day, here are some prescient words from American photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams, a passionate advocate for national parks. Adams, who was best known for his striking black and white photographs of the West, died in 1984 at the age of 82. Although he spoke them 45 years ago, these words are eerily accurate today, as we stand on the threshold of global, irreversible, climate change thanks to our unsustainable way of living.

The American Pioneer approached the Natural Scene in a very different way than we must now. The land and its provisions were seemingly inexhaustible. The problems of existence were most severe. The Pioneer undoubtedly cherished his farm, his ranch, and his range – representing something almost infinite in extent and bounty – young, vibrant, ever-enduring. Now, as the blights of over-population, over-exploitation, and over-mechanization encroach from all directions, we come to love our land as we would love someone very near and dear who may soon depart, leaving naught but the recollection of a beauty which we might have protected and perpetuated. We must realize – and with desperate conviction – that it is truly later than we think.

~ Ansel Adams, Charter Day Address, University of California at Santa Cruz, 1965

photo by Ansel Adams, from Wikimedia Commons

Comedian David Mitchell Tackles Climate Change

In this video, which found its way here via the blog A Sibilant Intake of Breath, David Mitchell muses on why tackling climate change is always presented to us by people who either tell us off or patronisingly try to convince us that tackling it is “cool” or “fun”, when actually it’s just something we have to do, because of facts:

I’d really like someone to convince me that it’s not [real]. Life would be a lot easier if astrology was true and climate change wasn’t. But bugger it all, it turns out that it’s the other way around…”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKUPUznJZoE]

Christopher Monckton Attempts Rebuttal of John Abraham’s Devastating Critique

It seems that Christopher Monckton’s supporters are spreading the word that Monckton has put together a slide show that responds to the one compiled by Professor John Abraham, A Scientist Replies to Christopher Monckton. I received this comment in my inbox this morning, in response to my May 28th posting Climate Change Denier Christopher Monckton’s Fabrications Eviscerated by University of Minnesota Professor . The comment, from somebody calling themselves “a friend” says “Please refer to the following for more information on this subject” and then provides a link to the Science and Public Policy website where Monckton has posted his response to John Abraham (it is also posted on Watt’s Up With That, where it is curiously titled “Abraham Climbs Down“). It should be noted that Science And Public Policy Institute is a global warming skeptics group – read more about its connections to the corporate-funded group The Frontiers of Freedom Institute on SourceWatch.com.

The initial response of The Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley was to threaten Mr. Abraham with being “hauled up before whatever academic panel his Bible College [for the record, Abraham teaches at the Catholic University of St. Thomas], can muster, to answer disciplinary charges of wilful academic dishonesty amounting to gross professional misconduct unbecoming a member of his profession.” For Monckton to question the credentials and honesty of his critics is the height of irony – he has a history of claiming dubious credentials and making questionable statements. To learn more, see Monckton Tries to Incite Academic Hearing Against Author of Devastating Science-Based Evisceration of His Fabrications or Professor Abraham’s original slide show.

If you take the time to view Professor Abraham’s slide show, you will see that he maintains a professional and respectful tone throughout. It is clear that it isn’t a personal attack on Monckton as a person. Rather Abraham, as a scientist, is responding to the scientific assertions that Monckton makes in his public presentations on climate change, or more accurately his presentations that try to prove that there are no human-caused changes in the climate occurring. What comes through, over and over, in Professor Abraham’s presentation, is that the assertions that Monckton makes do not meet the widely accepted standards of science. For example, in his response to Monckton’s criticism of his critique, Professor Abraham asserted:

You suggested that your temperature graphs referencing your own organization were properly cited. I disagree. It is the obligation of a scientist to show the original source of data, your work did not meet this standard. Citing your own organization is, in my view, improper, particularly since your organization was not involved in obtaining the data.

In contrast, Monckton’s response to Professor Abraham has been vitriolic and very personal. Besides calling the University of St. Thomas a “bible college” he said “at least we are spared his face —he looks like an overcooked prawn.” Monckton, it seems,  makes a habit of threatening the livelihoods of uncooperative academics – see The Monckton Files – More Threats for more on this. Just yesterday, on the anti-climate science blog Watt’s Up With That, Monckton appealed to readers to contact the President of St. Thomas University [at least he’s stopped calling it a bible college] to ask him to take down Abraham’s talk from the University’s servers, and instigate a disciplinary inquiry. What is Monckton so afraid of, I wonder? What is it about having his claims exposed to scientific analysis that makes him so alarmed? Dr. Abraham’s debunking of Monckton’s rubbish is firmly grounded in science. No wonder Monckton is so threatened by it.

If you’d like to show Professor Abraham support in the face on Monckton’s attempts to intimidate him,  go to Hot Topic and leave your name on a comment on the post Support John Abraham. Gareth Renowden will ensure these messages of support get to Abraham’s employers.

More links:

Hate-speech Promoter Lord Monckton Tries to Censor John Abraham

Monckton exposes his rebuttal: So much blather; so little substance

Monckton Tries to Censor John Abraham

Support John Abraham against Monckton’s bullying

Celebrate Summer and Fresh Strawberries, Even In the Midst Of a Changing Climate

The weather here in northern Ontario has been very un-July-like. Here in Canada, we love our hot, sunny summers after our cold winters,  so it’s disappointing to have a mediocre July. This July hasn’t been as cool and rainy as last year, thank goodness, but it’s still been unusually rainy and even many of the sunny days have been cooler than normal. It’s clear that the weather patterns are changing. But having said that, my husband planted a bed of strawberries last year, despite the less-than-enthusiastic comments from his wife. I pointed out that the small size of the strawberry patch would hardly satisfy our family’s love of fresh strawberries, which usually causes me to drive five hours away into Manitoba where I can U-Pick as much as we need for the year.

Well, my husband is enjoying the accolades his family is heaping on him this year, as his small but prolific berry patch produces enough delicious berries for us to enjoy fresh (although there aren’t enough to freeze for us to enjoy in January, but luckily I stopped by an organic strawberry farm on the way home from Winnipeg last week).  Even he was surprised at the heaping bowlful I picked yesterday morning for breakfast. So, here’s to enjoying summer, whatever the weather, and to fresh strawberries!

David Suzuki asks “What’s the Real Bottom Line?”

David Suzuki,  a Canadian scientist, broadcaster, and tireless environmentalist who was recently voted the person Canadians most trust, has a new CBC radio show on Sundays between 11:00 and noon. The 10-part show,  The Bottom Line, premiered last week.  The first two hours have been fascinating listening. The show describes its goal as:

“Exploring the disconnect between our modern values and the natural world. Environmentalists are often told by politicians and corporate executives that without a strong growing economy we can’t afford to do the kind of things they are demanding, that the economy is the bottom line. This series is a celebration of the earth, the atmosphere, water, soil, and energy of the sun that work in tandem to sustain life on this planet. The true ‘bottom line’.”

The first episode featured discussions between Mr. Suzuki and Jim Prentice, Canada’s Environment Minister while they were in Haida Gwaai marking the expansion of a federal park. Suzuki pushes Prentice on the false dichotomy that still persists in this government’s attitude between the environment and the economy. The old “we can’t do anything about the environment unless we have a strong economy” argument. Suzuki clearly presents the urgency of climate change and environmental degradation, and Prentice doesn’t “get it” at all. His responses to Suzuki’s questions include such platitudes like: “It’s about balance.” “We are taking steps forward.”We’ve set a goal of reducing emissions to 17% below 2005 levels.” “I’m proud of the scientists we have at Environment Canada.” “We need technology to address these issues over time.

Really Mr. Prentice?!The former Chief Economist at the World Bank has said that if the world doesn’t deal in a heroic way to reduce emissions, the consequences of climate change are economically catastrophic. The risk to humanity from climate change is second only to the threat of nuclear war. And yet this is the anemic response Canadians get from our government – “we hope that some technology comes along to save us eventually because we can’t possibly find ways to reduce our emissions, the highest per capita in the world”! Good grief. It’s pathetic.

Anyway, The Bottom Line is worth listening to, just to hear Suzuki and Prentice offer their very different points of view. And Mr. Suzuki is pretty gentle on Mr. Prentice, considering that the Environment Minister’s responses were so inadequate.

Also in the first episode is an interesting interview with Lord Nicholas Stern, former Chief Economist at the World Bank and author of a report on climate change and economics for the British government. Stern says that the current view that separates the economy and the environment is “a basic analytical and intellectual mistake.” In the future, he asserts, the two will be seen as working together. And in response to David Suzuki’s questions about the lack of urgency in the world’s response to this looming disaster, Stern states that Britain and the rest of Europe know from their experience with two World Wars last century that the inability to cooperate internationally leads to disaster, and hopefully this experience will assist in addressing the problem of climate change:

We’ve got to use the rationality that developed with evolution to anticipate these problems. We’ve got the ability, we’re going to have to use that. If we wait for experience to tell us we’re in trouble it’s going to be almost impossible to get out of it. People need to understand the great dangers, but we need to go beyond that and talk about the great opportunities that we’ll create if we go the sensible route.

“Sensible route”? Sounds good to me! Are you listening, Mr. Prentice and Mr. Harper?

Listen to “The Bottom Line”.

More links:

David Suzuki Looks Back With a Hint of Regret. Globe and Mail

“The Bottom Line” on Facebook

The Global Deal: Climate Change and the Creation of a New Era of Progress and Prosperity by Nicholas Stern.