It’s always enjoyable (and all too rare!) to share good news, and I’m pleased that there’s some to share on this, the last Friday in April:
- The Ontario government under newly elected premier Kathleen Wynne announced on Wednesday that it will be partnering with the government of Manitoba and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) to keep the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) in northwestern Ontario open. The federal government of Stephen Harper made the controversial decision last year to withdraw funding and shutter the 40 year-old world-renowned freshwater research station. As the SaveELA website describes,
“Studies conducted at the ELA have provided sound scientific knowledge for the development of environmental policies both nationally and internationally. Some key areas of influence have been in understanding and managing algal blooms, acid rain, climate change, mercury pollution, greenhouse gas fluxes from hydroelectric reservoirs, and endocrine-disrupting chemicals.”
I understand that ELA scientists were gearing up to study whether or not emissions from the Alberta tar sands reached beyond that province’s borders. While carefully worded, the press release from the Ontario government does seem to underscore the importance of science to their government, in contrast to the anti-science bent of the Harper Conservatives. It will be interesting (in an appalling way, I’m sure) to see the spin Greg Rickford, the increasing elusive CPC Member of Parliament for the region (and my own MP) puts on the whole ELA disaster when he attempts to run for re-election in 2015. Here’s part of what the Ontario Government press release said:
Experimental Lakes Area is a one-of-a-kind, freshwater research region in northwestern Ontario that attracts scientists from across Canada and around the world.
The important science and research performed in this area informs our pollution reduction strategies, our understanding of climate change and how we can protect our lakes and rivers here in Ontario, across Canada and around the world.
Supporting science and research is part of the new Ontario government’s plan to build a fair, prosperous Ontario for the benefit of all. (Click here for full press release)
Kudos to Diane Orihel, who got the Save The ELA campaign off the ground last summer, and to Peter Kirby, the Kenora lawyer who has been working tirelessly to keep the momentum going when Diane pulled back to finish her studies. And of course Dr. David Schindler, the founder and former director of the ELA, has been a tireless and outspoken advocate for the ELA and against this reckless decision. A friend and fellow environmental activist wrote yesterday, “I’m in a bit of a shock because we actually succeeded” but it may still be too early to break out the champagne. As Dan Lett wrote in the Winnipeg Free Press yesterday, there are still stiff obstacles to overcome – mostly in Ottawa – before the ELA is secure. I’ve got my fingers crossed!
- This news may fall under the category of “too little, too late” but it’s still progress; President Obama tweeted around pointed attack on the climate deniers in Congress. The link went to a page on his website headlined “Call out Climate Deniers in Congress”. It reads:
The science on climate change is clear
But many members of Congress are in complete denial, and they’re standing in the way of progress.
We need to call them out.
Watch this embarrassing video – and join the fight to get serious on climate change:
Sweet! Have a wonderful weekend.