Tuesday, August 29, 2006

And Speaking of "C" Words...

I must admit that camping didn't suck this time around. We left Sunday early afternoon and returned earlier today.

I'd been to Murphy's Point a couple of times now. Mrs THIT claimed that she's never been there without having at least one deer sighting, to which I called bullshit. I didn't recall one my first time, but she trumped me by saying that she saw one while she was walking Oscar and I had dozed off at the site. Sounds like something I'd do, so I couldn't argue. Damn!

Regardless, we had no less than a dozen such sightings in the space of 48 hours. It was unbelievable. Surely we must have seen a couple of them more than once but regardless; that they were so...available...was a rare treat. I only managed a couple of pictures, and on a disposable camera that expired a month ago no less, but when I'm able to I'll post them.

Does that mean that I'm sold on camping now? If you just asked yourself that question, please follow the following instructions:

a) Pick up your keyboard so that the bottom end faces you lengthwise. In other words, the fingers on your left hand will be next to the F keys and the fingers on your right hand will be next to the space bar. The keys will face away from you.

b) Hit yourself over the head with it.

Of course I'm not sold on camping! I still slept like crap (thanks again, Oscar, for keeping me safe from CHIPMUNKS) and got eaten by mosquitos. Seeing deer didnt take that away; it just softened the blow.

But at the end of the day, I can at least appreciate that Christine enjoys it and it's time together that I've bitched in the past we dont get enough of (this seems like terrible sentence structure). So I'll still make my at-least-once-a-month forays into the wild next year as well. Hell, with the new house camping will probably be all we can afford!

The Overuse of the "C" Word.

That's right. Censorship.

Boy, that word gets tossed around an awful lot. Most recently, at least for me, it comes from the Forest Ethics folks.

Twenty-six major publications including Rolling Stone, Time, Entertainment Weekly, refused to run an advertisement critical of Victoria's Secret for its role in destroying Endangered Forests. Many publications refused to identify the reason, but those that did respond revealed an unwillingness to offend major corporate advertiser. The ad had been accepted and run by The New York Times and other publications.

We know we're not dealing with issues of acceptability here. We're dealing with censorship...It raises a very disturbing question: If these supposedly objective publications are willing to censor an environmental group out of deference to an advertiser, how much can we really trust the rest of their content?", said Todd Paglia of ForestEthics

There's nothing disturbing about it. To be published in any of those magazines is not a right that you have. It's their choice to make, just like I could choose to stop buying those magazines over it. Simply put, it's not censorship because they're not preventing you from getting your message out there, they're just refusing to serve as your podium. There's a huge difference there, Todd; you're still allowed to say what you want.

People who cry censorship whenever they're faced with disagreement dilute the impact of the word for people who truly feel its effects. Settle down, stop complaining and work on Plan B.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup!

I'm considering making this my next project. Not exactly in line with the CN Tower Climb or Run for Canada, but at least a bit more direct and certainly hands-on.

There are several potential locations in my area. I'm going to look into it when we return from our apparently rain-soaked camping trip.

I hate camping.

Green Star.

I know of a couple of people who might occasionally read this blog that may be interested in the news that Elizabeth May became leader. I was apprehensive about her for a couple of reasons, but there's no denying that she'll bring much more publicity.

My primary concern involves perception. The Party is more than just about the environment (it would be ridiculous to join a one-issue party, no matter how strongly you feel about the issue) but this doesn't seem to get across very well. May addresses this somewhat in an article from the National Post and has said in the past that she plans on making it a priority.

Considering that the bulk of her popularity stems from her environmental work, I hope she's able to follow through. She does bring have a bit of an edge to her that I believe will be refreshing for many people. Best of luck, new leader!

OTTAWA -- Environmental activist Elizabeth May has won a decisive victory for leadership of the federal Greens with a promise to broaden the fledgling party's appeal and finally get a toehold in the House of Commons.

May won with 2,145 votes, or 65.34 per cent of the valid ballots cast, party officials announced Saturday at a national convention before 400 cheering delegates.


May, 52, former director of the Sierra Club, called for party unity and said it must build a strong platform well before the next election. She said some voters have chosen the Greens only as a protest vote.

"What we need to do is clearly build a method and a platform so that they are not voting for `none of the above' but so that they are voting for `all my dreams,' " May said.

The party, launched in 1983, has run full slates in the last two federal elections but has not come close to winning a seat in the Commons.

The new leader said she would run in a Cape Breton riding unless there is a by-election somewhere else first. May said she will be in the gallery in Parliament during Question Period and will talk with the press.

"Since (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper isn't giving interviews, maybe some of you have some free time," May joked to reporters after her victory speech.

During the speech, May criticized the recent deal on softwood lumber between Canada and the United States, saying it demonstrates why the North American Free Trade Agreement needs to be renegotiated with the U.S. and Mexico.

"In signing this deal, Mr. Harper has said, `If you push us enough we will say uncle.' We're not against trade but trade must be fair and carbon neutral."

May said she would also push for compliance with the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

"We must stand up to the big lie that Canada cannot meet its Kyoto targets," she said.

To give the party more visibility, May said she is already talking with supportive senators and parliamentarians about creating a "green caucus" on Parliament Hill.

The Greens garnered 664,000 votes in the January election, or 4.5 per cent of the vote. That was only a slight improvement on its showing in 2004, when it won 582,000 votes or 4.3 per cent.


A Decima Research poll of 1,004 Canadians released earlier this month suggested the party currently has seven per cent support nationally, perhaps helped by a leadership campaign that increased party membership to 8,694 from 5,517.


Surveys since the 2004 federal campaign suggest a third of Canadians would consider voting Green, compared with 40 per cent who said the same of the NDP, he said.

"The party is particularly strong with voters under 40, and could make inroads in the west Quebec and Ontario."

May said she will make a special effort to reach out to youth, and noted the sector was important for her leadership victory. Acknowledging her French needs improvement, she said she hopes to take intensive lessons.

"I plan to be fluently bilingual by the time of the next leadership debates," May said.

Windy Hotspot.

Some time ago, I posted a newspaper article about the wind farm at St-Leon in Manitoba. It seems that, at least until these things (hopefully) become more common, they've had an additional side benefit.

Manitoba’s first-ever wind farm in St. Leon is not only good for the environment and the provincial economy, it’s also fast becoming a tourism hotspot, Energy, Science and Technology Minister Dave Chomiak and Culture, Heritage and Tourism Minister Eric Robinson said today.

“Manitoba’s wind tourism is our best-kept secret. Visitors are arriving by the busload to check out the giant wind turbines on the rolling prairie,” Chomiak said. The wind towers soar 80 metres into the air and boast blades longer than the wingspan of a 747 aircraft.

The 63 St. Leon wind turbines together generate 99 megawatts of electricity, enough power to serve approximately 35,000 homes or the total energy needs of Portage La Prairie and Morden combined.

“The steady stream of visitors to St. Leon demonstrates that people have taken a genuine interest in the generation of clean, renewable wind power,” Robinson said. “This is a real boost to tourism in Manitoba.”

Chomiak and Manitoba Hydro recently announced details of an invitation for expressions of interest in harvesting 1,000 megawatts of wind over the next decade.

Save The Planet: Drink More Beer.

I'm obviously still in need of training as a treehugger. I never touch the stuff.

From Metro.co.uk:

It may sound like an excuse made up by someone heading off for a night out – but drinking beer is good for the planet.

And, if you feel peckish after downing several pints, there is even more good news because a separate study reveals curry can boost brain power.

It is not the ale itself that has the green credentials, but the stuff brewers throw away as they make it.

The process of brewing from barley creates a waste product called beer bran.

The bran can soak up potentially fatal and cancercausing chemicals, often used in paint and glues, which end up in rivers and lakes.

Up to now, environment agencies have used expensive carbon filters to clean up polluted waterways. But they are not environmentally friendly to produce. Beer bran occurs naturally in brewing and is cheap, scientists from Kobe Pharmaceutical University in Japan told New Scientist.

I'm going camping again for the early part of the week. While I likely won't be environmentally conscious in this particular respect, no doubt some of our neighbours will pick up the slack if I share this great news.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Duck, Duck, Goose.

Oh dear. From time to time, Mrs THIT will be the one to recommend something for me to post on here. The Mrs may not be the activist type so much, and favours the silent protest by far (i.e. boycott, hence the vegetarian switch) but that makes her no less prone to fits of outrage.

So this morning she reads this in an article about banning foie gras in Chicago:

Foie gras -- French for "fatty liver" -- is commonly produced by force-feeding ducks and geese so that their livers increase by up to 10 times the normal size.

The state's restaurant association has filed a suit against the city seeking to have the ordinance thrown out.

The suit, filed on Tuesday, alleges the measure is unconstitutional and will cost the city US$18-million in lost revenue and taxes.

The suit points out: "All of the foie gras sold in Chicago restaurants is produced in Canada, France and New York."

A few restaurateurs showed their contempt for the edict by including the goose and duck liver delicacy as specials on Tuesday, the day the ban went into effect.

Even some who don't normally serve foie gras offered it, putting it on Chicago's famed deep-dish pizzas and soul food.

This was accompanied by a picture of a duck with a large tube crammed down its throat.

It...didn't go over well.

Now French being my first language, I knew what foie gras literally meant. I didn't think they went to such lengths, mind you; I'd never really stopped to think about it.

"Honey, I'm home!"
"Hello! How was work today?"
"Not bad...I force-fed 12 ducks and 14 geese because Tony called in sick again."

In any event, if anyone thought that the vegetarian thing was a phase for Christine, little reminders like that will see to it that it's not.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Take a Break, Sweetie.

Two-week-old Filomena, a puma, takes a rest at the National Zoo in Managua, Nicaragua, Saturday, Aug, 19, 2006. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

Somebody Stop That Turtle!

Well, in fairness, we all know how crafty turtles can be...

Willy...walks past the family dog Sunday, Aug. 21, 2006, in Ridgeville, S.C. After a month on the lam, the 40-pound tortoise with a 2-foot-wide, gold-colored shell is back in the wading pool at his owner's home. Kellie reported the tortoise escaped about July 1. A local emergency medical services technician spotted Willy on Sunday along a rural road about five miles away. During six weeks on the run, Willy averaged .005 mph, well short of a new land speed record. (AP Photo/Kellie Copeland-Burnup via the Post and Courier)

Reality Show: Mission to Mars!

I'm surprised Fox hasn't thought of televising it. Man, can you imagine trying this thing? How do you not drive each other nuts? Well, apparently, there's a bit of that too...

Volunteers line up for simulated mission to Mars

More than 70 people have volunteered to be confined in a mock mission to Mars – for 520 days. It would be the longest simulation of its kind.

The Institute of Medical and Biological Problems (IMBP) in Russia is undertaking the isolation study to learn more about the personal dynamics of long-duration space travel, according to Russian media reports. An actual round-trip mission to Mars could last about 30 months – about twice as long as this simulation.

Five people will be eventually be selected for the study. They will spend 250 days on a simulated space trip to Mars. Then, three of the five will leave the mock spaceship for a simulated "landing on Mars" that will last 30 days. The five participants will then embark on a 240-day journey "back to Earth". They will communicate with mission control by email.

Russia and the European Space Agency have done space isolation studies before. In these studies, researchers accurately reproduce the interior environment of a spaceship and the length of time crews would spend in space.

Full Article from NewScientist.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Ett Klick för Skogen

That rolls right off the tongue, eh? I think it means "Former Miss Sweden Annika Duckmark is a fox" in...well...Swedish!

Save the Swedish old growth forest!
Click For The Forest is working with the Swedish Government to find the next forest to save, and fundraising for this forest is already well on its way.

You can help to preserve this forest forever by buying trees, donating money or by simply clicking below for FREE everyday.

So help save a tree in Sweden. Do it for Annika.

It's about time I got to use this pic again. Get back on the ride, Sweden! You've been slacking! ;-)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

High Fidelity

An article about Cuba for the friends and family who have visited and enjoyed the place, courtesy of Grist Magazine.

Reports that Fidel Castro turned over power to his brother Raul last week because of surgery for intestinal bleeding have brought a flashback to the Cold War, with reporters rushing to doodle prematurely on his grave and interview the vociferous hard-right Miami expat constituency that has helped dictate U.S.-Cuba policy for the last 47 years. But they're missing a vital part of the story.

Tired of my government's hyperbole on the subject, I visited Cuba not long ago. I wanted to see it for myself and draw my own conclusions, before Castro died and the United States annexed it as a Sandals resort.

Reports of Cuba's denigration are greatly exaggerated by people with ideological fish to fry. Cuba is no North Korea, and Castro is no Kim Jong Il. No, it's not a perfect system -- the most obvious, insurmountable issue being that its 11.4 million people are basically held prisoner on that island. Freedom of speech, press, and assembly are severely restricted, and there are no free elections. These are not circumstances I wish for myself, nor for the people of Cuba.

However, the people have not risen up against Castro for several reasons. OK, one reason is that he has allowed dissenters to leave in several waves, and has taken a stern hand against resident dissidents who don't hew to his view. But there's another reason, and it's just as important. Cuba had a long history of imperial domination by Spain and then the U.S., with just a few short years of not-so-democratic democracy before Batista's coup and Castro's revolution. Since 1959, Castro has delivered on many of the revolution's promises of equality, and the state has provided for the people in ways that often go unrecognized. Today, its approaches to public health and the environment could be a model worth following.

Castro just had surgery. He was in a good place for it. Cuba has one of the best medical systems in the world, with twice as many physicians per capita as the U.S. Its infant mortality rate and life expectancy are about the same as in the U.S., and its HIV/AIDS prevalence is almost nonexistent. The country also donates its medical expertise abroad: it made a huge contribution to the Pakistan earthquake-relief effort, sending 2,500 medical personnel. It even offers free medical training for students from disadvantaged areas of the U.S., provided they agree to return home and work in low-income neighborhoods. A political gotcha maneuver? Well, naturally. Fidel is a sly guy. But the mostly non-white and female doctors who otherwise wouldn't get a chance to practice medicine are grateful, and Cubans take a great deal of pride in the program.

Cubans also enjoy a level of race and gender equality that I haven't seen anywhere else in my travels through 24 other countries. The revolution's principles of equal pay and equal opportunity for all have woven themselves into the social fabric. Because many who benefited under Batista were white or of Spanish descent, they were the majority who left during the first wave of emigration. Today, Cuba has a slight black or biracial majority. Interracial dating is commonplace, and kids of every color play together. People of every shade and both sexes are liable to hold any job. Most don't live in fancy digs, but no one is homeless.

It may be the country's environmental gains, driven by economic necessity, that are most impressive. Cuba is the only country in the world to have converted to organic agriculture in less than 10 years. On my travels, I saw fields near Viñales where corn and beans were grown together for better pest control. I also glimpsed the network of small, urban gardens that augments the country's agricultural system, the beginnings of which are chronicled in a book called The Greening of the Revolution.

After the Soviet Union collapsed, Cuba lost $4 billion to $6 billion in annual support, including food, farming equipment, pesticides, and petroleum. Facing severe shortages, the country had to rapidly convert its fields to food crops; since there was no money for chemical inputs, farmers learned organic methods instead.

It was hard for several years. Food was scarce, and public sentiment turned against Castro. He called it the Special Period in Time of Peace, which basically meant suffering wartime scarcities without war. But by the late '90s, the system was up and running. In 1999, the Grupo de Agricultura Organica, the organic farming association that spearheaded the conversion, won an important international honor -- the Right Livelihood Award, known as the "alternative Nobel."

Castro knows how to make lemonade. After the collapse, when the Soviets were unable to supply fuel and the giant autopista (think: autobahn) running the length of the country lay empty because no one had access to gas, he bought 1.2 million bicycles from China and manufactured 500,000 more, distributing them to the people. Most didn't know how to ride, and accidents were common. But the government gave classes, and people got the hang of it. When I visited, bikers expertly threaded their way through classic American cars, horse-cart buses, pedicabs, and Coco taxis -- not quite with the fearless bravado of riders in Asia, but with more laid-back flair.

The government also passed a law dictating that government vehicles must pick up as many hitchhikers as they can fit. It's common to see 30 people standing up in the back of an industrial truck rattling along a road. Unfortunately, it's also common to see people standing on the side of the autopista all day, fruitlessly waiting for the ride that never materializes. While the cities are filled with all kinds of random conveyances -- including giant buses called camelos (camels) that can hold 200 people -- getting between cities is a bit more of a problem.

While this devotion to alternative transportation is a step in the right direction, many vehicles in Cuba are still 1950s-era gas-guzzlers. In fact, air pollution has increased since 1990. This is particularly noticeable in crowded Havana. In other places, however, the relative scarcity of combustion engines offers clear vistas and easy breathing. And Cuba's per-capita CO2 output is one-tenth that of the U.S. While Castro's oil-bearing friend in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, may help up that ratio slightly, his input isn't likely to have a dramatic effect any time soon.

Outside the cities, pristine land seems to abound, and that extends to underwater areas. I went to Guanahacabibes National Park and got a fantastic five-hour tour of unusually eroded limestone caves and related habitat from the ranger, who had extensive botanical, biological, and geological knowledge. I also went scuba diving off Maria La Gorda, part of the Guanahacabibes Biosphere Reserve, designated in 1987. The waters there have been recognized as among the healthiest in the Caribbean, due in part to limited coastal development. The sea fans are flourishing, the tube sponges are neon green, and the corals have retained their color -- unlike so many places around the world, where they are bleached.

So is Cuba in a position to show other countries -- especially its neighbor to the north -- how to succeed with health-care reform, sustainable agriculture, alternative transportation, and protected ecosystems? Maybe, but only if those countries put aside their broken-record, Cold War-era reactions and really listen.

Cuba's system has obvious flaws, but many charges against Castro -- suppression of dissent, torture of enemies, backroom dealings with nefarious world players -- can be made against certain other leaders as well. As Castro approaches what the U.S. government euphemistically calls "the biological solution," let's try to look at his Cuba clearly, to realistically evaluate the revolution's successes and failures -- and perhaps even learn something. With some members of the Bush administration champing at the bit to widen their democracy experiment to Cuba, let's remember how audacious it is to assume that there is only one true way.

Erica Gies is a freelance environmental writer who lives in San Francisco, Calif.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Free Hummer With Your Happy Meal!

The Environment Working Group isn't crazy about McDonald's latest promotion...

Make Your Own McDonald's Sign to Celebrate Dumbest Promotion Ever

This month McDonald's is giving away toy Hummers — 42 million of them, in eight models and colors — with every Happy Meal or Mighty Kids Meal. That's right: The fast-food chain that helped make our kids the fattest on Earth is now selling future car buyers on the fun of driving a supersized, smog-spewing, gas-guzzling SUV originally built for the military.

Use the Ronald McHummer Sign-O-Matic to tell McDonald's and Hummer what you think of this misguided marriage of two icons of American excess. Make your own Golden Arches sign and ask McDonald's President to axe this promotion at the link below.

Make your own sign at:

Dumbest promotional idea? I think it gets stiff competition from the time they tried to make an "adult" burger. What the hell was that called again? They had the TV ads with Ronald hanging out in night clubs, playing pool and such.

That was pretty dumb. This one is more...misguided. Environmental concerns seem to be on the rise again, so you wonder what kind of market research went into this idea.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"Keeping Watch" Is Right

In a photo provided by the Zoological Society of San Diego, a 2-month-old keeps a watch on its three nearby siblings, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2006, at the San Diego Zoo in San Diego. This family of fossa is found in the zoo's Kiwi Trail, where the mother is taking care of the three male pups and one female. The fossa is only found on Madagascar where it is the island's largest carnivore. It is now considered an endangered species. (AP Photo/Zoological Society of San Diego, Ken Bohn)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

If You Have To Pick Up Dog Crap Anyway...

...may as well do it "cleanly". In their own words...

BioBag Dog is the first 100% biodegradable and 100% compostable "plastic" pooper bag in the world.

Our bags contain no polyethylene-based ingredients. BioBag Dog is fully certified by the US Composting Council and the International Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI). As natural as a dog's droppings, our bags are made to decompose in 40 days when placed in a regulated composting environment. Regular plastic takes well over 100 years to degrade.

I like that their website also supplies instructions as to how to go about picking up dog "droppings".

If you're looking at this now and saying "Ah, man! I've been doing it wrong all this time!!" then you have my deepest, sincerest sympathies.

MRs THIT bought some of these a couple of weeks ago, and I'd been dying to try them. Anything that makes one look forward to picking up wiener dog leave-behinds is pretty special in itself.

My big chance came this morning, as it was my turn to take Oscar on his morning stroll. No sale though. For some reason, it just wouldn't happen for him. Of course, if we'd have company coming over, he'd have decided that this was a good time to paint the house, if you know what I'm saying. L'il jerk. I'm sure I'll get my chance sooner of later though.

As is often the case, these are alittle pricier than the regular bags, but we'll pick up a box from time to time just to thin down our plastic "contribution", at least.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Sierra Club To Sue Rona Ambrose For Being Hot!

She is single-handedly causing global warming by being so hot. Or something like that.

EDMONTON, AB – A coalition of environmental groups today served Federal Environment Minister Rona Ambrose with a petition giving her 60 days to step in to protect two endangered plants in Alberta or face a lawsuit. Alberta Wilderness Association, Federation of Alberta Naturalists, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Sierra Club of Canada and Nature Canada, represented by Sierra Legal Defence Fund, are threatening the suit to test the federal government’s intention to protect Canada’s endangered wildlife.

“When Canadians were assured by the federal government that the Species at Risk Act would protect all of Canada’s endangered plants and animals, were they being told the truth?” asked Rachel Plotkin of Sierra Club. “This case will reveal the answer.”

Full article about how hot Rona is.

I'm a little disappointed in Rona. I've yet to receive a response about why they (the Conservatives) seem to ignore wind power as an option. I don't expect a 100-page report or anything...I even explained that it doesn't have to come from her directly! Anyone in the department can do it. And in all seriousness, when I write these e-mails, I don't write them as silly a way as I do my postings here.

All this leads me to think that she's going to turn down my offer for a date. :-( I was ready to pay for the popcorn and everything...Hell, I'd have even offered to pay for the ethanol that she no doubt uses in her smart car.

Oh well. I'll just have to come up with something else...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sweet Water.

Here's another way to help with barely any kind of effort, courtesy of Mrs THIT.

Christine brought back a couple of bottles of Earth Water...huh...water earlier today. Here's their claim:

Earth Water works in support of the United Nations by donating 100% of its net profits to be used in water aid programmes in developing countries.

For some reason, these were included in the organic section of the store that Christine went to. I'm not certain why, besides the fact that they probably expect the "type" that shops in that section to be more drawn to it because of its charitable aspect. But why not include it in the regular aisle where more people could see it? A 600 ml bottle costs less than $1 so it's not as though the price will turn people off. Isn't it about that for a 475 ml of the more common brands?

In any event, if you buy bottled water anyway, all this will cost you is a detour in your grocery store. And if the whole thing is bull$#!t, you've lost nothing. When faced with an option that I know won't help and one that might, I'll take the chance with the one that might, all else being equal.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

A Wine Maker After Our Hearts

Well now. We might have to go out of our way a little bit to suport these folks.


I grew up with dachshunds. James gave me a wire-haired dachshund puppy for my 30th birthday and was soon devoted to the breed as well, as was Steven. Otto died suddenly of heart failure in 1998 (we were all devastated) and his ashes are buried under the first Pinot Noir vine planted in 1999. We then acquired Ben, a beautiful big red wire-haired dachshund sadly killed by a speeding car. The current dachshunds-in-residence are Bella and Fanny. Calling the vineyard "Long Dog" just made us smile.

It seems from the site that you can only order directly from them. If so, we'll have to treat ourselves one time...

Thanks a Lot, Barney!

Lay off the broccoli, your purple weirdo!

And hey, that's some solid science there, Ralphy!

I've mentioned here that I'm a Green Party member. I enjoy making my way through their various message boards and press releases to learn the processes involved in running a political party, albeit a small one on the grow.

I occasionally toy with the possibility of getting more involved in the future, starting very small in order to learn the ropes first-hand. Some aspects are very unclear to me though and I sometimes wonder if I would have what it takes in terms of knowledge and personality traits.

Then I read nonsense like this and I tell myself "If this guy can do it..."

EDMONTON (CP) - Premier Ralph Klein has criticized former U.S. presidential candidate Al Gore for comments he made in a magazine interview in which he attacked the massive oilsands industry in northern Alberta.

Gore told an interviewer in the latest issue of Rolling Stone that oilsands processing is a huge waste of energy and creates an eyesore on the landscape of Western Canada. "For every barrel of oil they extract there, they have to use enough natural gas to heat a family's home for four days," Gore told the magazine.

"And they have to tear up four tonnes of landscape, all for one barrel of oil. It is truly nuts. But you know, junkies find veins in their toes. It seems reasonable, to them, because they've lost sight of the rest of their lives."

Gore concluded the United States must reduce its dependence on oil as the primary source of energy to save the planet from the devastating impact of global warming.

Klein, who was recently in Washington to promote the oilsands as a reliable source of energy for the U.S., said Gore's views are simply not realistic.

"I don't know what he proposes the world run on, maybe hot air," Klein told reporters Tuesday. "I don't listen to Al Gore in particular because he's a Democrat. And not only that, he's about as far left as you can go.

"The simple fact is America needs oil. They need gas. And unless he can find some other source, fine."

Klein has stirred controversy in the past by rejecting scientific data suggesting industrial pollution is one of the leading causes of global warming. He has even said global warming trends that occurred millions of years ago may have been caused by "dinosaur farts."

But the premier conceded for the first time Tuesday that the current causes of global warming are "man-made."

"I don't argue with the science that all of us - as we exhale, as the population grows, as there are more vehicles on the streets and more carbons produced - that we contribute to global warming."

Klein said although Alberta strongly rejected measures in the Kyoto accord to reduce global warming, he believes the province is taking a prudent approach in reducing emissions.

"We take the matter of global warming very seriously. We just don't think that the Kyoto Protocol is the way to go," he said. "As far as I know, we're the only jurisdiction in Canada to put in legislation to reduce greenhouse gases."

Full article.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Thousands Participate in HBC's Run for Canada

I subscribe to the Canadian Olympic Committee's newsletter because...huh...I like the Olympics. I hadn't really heard about results of my last little mission so I'm pleased that they chose to include a little write-up in the most recent communication.

I'm also pleased that the turn-out was so good because I was fearing a flop. It just seemed like I was never hearing about this thing and I thought people perhaps were less into it because it went from benefitting a charity (diabetes, if I recall correctly) to athletics. Doesn't look like that was the case after all. Good on them.

On July 1, over 10,000 Canadians participated in 10 events across the country to help support Canada's amateur athletes in the 3rd Annual Hbc Run for Canada. Joining them were over 150 of Canada's most accomplished athletes including Deidra Dionne (freestyle skiing, Red Deer, AB), Colleen Sostorics (hockey, Kennedy, SK) and Ryan Cuthbert (canoe/kayak, Carleton Place, ON). Pledges are still coming in and the final proceeds are expected to be available in September. All net proceeds from the events will go towards supporting Canadian athletes striving to reach the podium at the Olympic, Paralympic, Commonwealth and Pan Am Games between now and 2012.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Have I Mentioned I Hate Camping?

Well, I'm still facing at least one more trip to begin the last week of August. Argh!

But this time, I believe I'll try to be better prepared and bring the above, if I can locate it. I recently read in a newsletter I subscribe to (It's called "Ideal Bite" and they sell themselves as "A Sassier Shade of Green". Well, I'm nothing if not sassy!) that deet might be damaging to brain cells.

Fabulous. And here I bathed in it last weekend. And it didn't work worth a damn anyway, as evidence from the 15 or so unsightly lumps on my arms and legs.

In any event, in light of my recent success with Aubrey's shaving cream, I'm going to try to find Burt's bug repellent as recommended. It's deetless so it shouldn't make me any dumber than I already am. I'm optimistic here. Do right by me, Burt!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Rock, Roll, Recycle.

From the Toronto Star:

...a growing number of artists and promoters are working in various ways to minimize the negative environmental impact of the rock and roll road show. While it's too early for anyone to declare this a decisive moment in the Greening of Rock, the summer of 2006 might well be remembered as a significant milestone in the evolution of what some see as a necessary — even inevitable — trend.

Concerts ranging from the Dave Matthews Band to the Vans Warped tour are taking the lead on environmental initiatives, from solar-powered stages to biodegradable beer cups.
The Dave Matthews Band, which stopped at the Molson Amphitheatre in June, has vowed to offset 100 per cent of CO2 emissions from all of its past touring, dating back to 1991, by donating to Native Energy, a renewable energy supplier. Other bands, including the Rolling Stones, which pioneered the idea in 2003, are also at the forefront of "carbon neutral" touring, which involves balancing its CO2 output by investing in tree planting and renewable energy sources.

When Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young rolled into the Air Canada Centre last month, they did so on buses powered by vegetable-based biodiesel. The practice is favoured by a slew of other bands, including another recent ACC visitor, Pearl Jam, which this year announced a Carbon Portfolio Strategy that would see the band contribute $100,000 (U.S.) to initiatives promoting renewable energy. Melissa Etheridge, who plays the Hummingbird Centre next month, is another biodiesel proponent.

The kilowatts consumed by last month's Tragically Hip dates at Fort York — performed to a total of 15,000 fans over two nights — were replaced on the electricity grid by Bullfrog Power, an Ontario provider that gets its energy from wind farms and Environment Canada-certified low-impact hydro. Fans also drank from biodegradable beer cups.

Full article

While We're on the Subject of Sucking, So Does Camping.

Argh. I hate camping.

Yes, it's quality time with the wife without the distraction of television (in her case) or the computer (in mine). But at home, I'm also not distracted by being bled dry by mosquitos piercing through my coating blend of sweat and grime. I also get a decent night's sleep nine times out of ten, as opposed to reverse being true when I'm out in the woods with a wiener dog who's facinated by chipmunks.

There is one thing that might help make the whole a little less sucktastic, and that would be to allow dogs on beaches. Or at least have a beach for dog owners. I believe I'm going to get on my little soap box about that and contact the fine folks at Ontario Parks about it.

Is it a safety issue? I doubt it, because a kid could be mauled on any part of the camp grounds. Is it a sanitation issue? I doubt it, unless you somehow are more willing to ignore birds crapping on the beach and in the water. And don't kid yourself; that warm spot in the water next to the six-year old with the weird look on his face didn't get there by itself.

So what is it? The best way to find out is to ask. And I believe I'll do just that! By God, let my wiener be free!!

Eh eh eh...wiener dog jokes NEVER get old...