Tag Archives: water

Feeding Our Cars

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You know we’re at a crossroads in our future when more is spent to feed our cars than the people on this planet.

The Gazette shares this update recently and discloses that more corn is now used to create ethanol than to feed livestock.

Now, this might be because more livestock is being grass-fed (ie. naturally) as opposed to being stuffed with a product that they aren’t naturally supposed to eat, but the more realistic prospect is that we’ve pushed demand for hybrid fuels to stupid levels because of bad planning and design on behalf of our auto manufacturers.

This is the first time since the dawn of the use of domesticated animals that we’ve allowed this change to happen.

Which brings me back to a term that I created a while ago:  euthanol.  Definition:  the generation of a product that effectively starves most of the planet for the benefit of a select few.

Avaaz Petition to Stop Massive Water Poisoning in Ontario

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http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_quarry/?cl=1151300608&v=9556

Here’s the original text from Avaaz:

An American hedge fund is about to break ground on a massive mining project that could poison a million people’s drinking water and the headwaters for five major rivers. They want to create an open pit deeper than Niagara Falls and decimate thousands of acres of lush farmland — and we have 4 days to stop them.

For years, Highland Companies deceived Ontario residents, posing as a potato farming company and quietly buying up thousands of acres of land from local farmers. Then, it was suddenly revealed that the massive plot of farmland would be converted into a limestone quarry — a 2300 acre pit so deep it would seriously interfere with the ground water system in the region. But, in order to start digging, Highland must win approval from Minister of Natural Resources Linda Jeffrey.

Jeffrey is taking 4 more days to consider public opinion on this quarry before making her decision. We can deliver an overwhelming wave of opposition to Highland’s destructive plan. Sign the petition, forward it to everyone and it will be submitted to Jeffrey before the consultation period ends.

Highland’s mega-quarry is smack dab in the middle of farmland the whole country depends on for food production. If built, it could poison clean ground water that feeds the lakes and rivers many Canadians use for drinking water. The quarry would require over seven thousand trucks to transport limestone each and every day, upping carbon emissions and requiring new roads to handle the exploding traffic — further destroying the natural habitat of hundreds of species of animals. The city-sized pit would scar the land long after the mining was finished.

But, residents and environmental activists are working hard to oppose the quarry’s license — even the Environment Minister has called for further assessments. Ontario’s Liberal government faces a tough re-election fight in October and Liberal Minister Linda Jeffrey is concerned about public opinion in these key months before votes are cast. A national call will put pressure on Jeffrey and her party to stand up for Canada’s environment, its farmers and the fresh water many Canadians depend on for survival.

Let’s bring the voice of all Canadians to Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources and force her to kill Highland’s plan for environmental destruction. Sign the petition and then forward widely.

Tories to Flush Canada-led Water Monitoring Program

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Original story here .

I suppose this goes in the ‘if it ain’t oil, we ain’t going to watch it’ file.

Ironically, water will one day be more valuable than oil, but we’ll leave that problem to our kids, I suppose.

All to save a shitty little $1.5 million.  How embarassing.

DETAILS:
Tories to flush Canada-led water-monitoring program
Written by Sue Bailey, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Thursday, 13 November 2008

OTTAWA – The Harper government wants out of a Canada-led UN program that monitors freshwater around the world – a move being slammed as the latest Tory abdication of global causes once championed by Ottawa.

Experts say they’re shocked Canada would abandon a database it designed and has managed for 30 years, just as dwindling water supplies emerge as a critical issue. Environment Canada spokesman John Carey says the Global Environment Monitoring System is no longer a priority.

"We would like someone else to take it over," he said of the database that tracks trends from 2,700 water-quality monitoring stations in more than 70 countries.

Twenty-four United Nations agencies rely on those details to assess how increasingly precious freshwater sources are being managed.

Canada has most recently co-ordinated the system from labs at the University of Saskatchewan and in Burlington, Ont.

The previous Liberal government set up a five-year trust fund worth $1.5 million that was allowed to expire last year, Carey said in an interview.

"We considered within the department at our management board last spring whether there was any opportunity to replenish the trust fund. And we could not find one. We began considering looking for a partner then.

"We like the program. It’s just not a priority for Environment Canada."

Funding for three related salaries and "a relatively small amount of operating dollars" for the database will continue "until we find someone else to take it over," Carey said.

Errol Mendes, a University of Ottawa law professor and former adviser to the United Nations, says the timing is baffling.

"What will be the most important commodity in the second half of this century? It will not be gold. It will not be oil. It will be water. Water is not a question of whether or not you have more money in the bank. It’s a question of whether you live or die.

"And the fact is some of the most critical countries in the world are literally running out of potable, drinkable water – which this institution was supposed to monitor."

Mendes said the move away from the water system mirrors Canada’s about-face on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Canada under the Conservatives was one of a handful of countries that refused to support the landmark document, citing concerns it would conflict with existing laws.

The rebuff was in stark contrast to support for the process under the Liberals.

Canadian Maude Barlow learned of the impending water-program pullout less than a month into her appointment as the UN’s first adviser on water issues.

"That Canada would remove this support from this program is just outrageous and an embarrassment," she said.

"It’s yet another example … that the Harper government is parochial, that it sees its environment commitments really in terms of optics.

"I have people say to me around the world: whatever happened to your country? We used to be able to count on Canada to take stands. And now Canada is in some cases worse than the United States – just absolutely refusing to partake and participate in international programs."

Germany is among countries reportedly interested in picking up Canada’s slack, Barlow said.

"But why should it move from Canada when it was built on Canadian expertise and technology? When it’s been here for 30 years?"

Monique Dube, an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Environment and Sustainability, is a former research scientist at Environment Canada.

"As a scientist, I’ve used the database myself and I understand the significance of (it) in terms of understanding global water trends, water quality – and how absolutely critical it is.

"If this goes after 30 years of investment, I can tell you … it will take a lot longer than 30 years to rebuild."

Dube says federal apathy for the program is especially wrong-headed because it costs so little to give Canada major international profile on a vital issue.

"What this gives us in terms of a contribution to global water sustainability is unmatched. So a million dollars is a drop in the bucket for something that has such impact."

Maude Barlow Named First UN Water Adviser

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Original link here

Congratulations Maude!  There is hope for the world’s water supply!

Canadian activist Maude Barlow has been appointed as the United Nation’s first senior adviser on water issues, a role she hopes to use to establish water as a human right and to convince Canada to "change its shameful position" on the issue.

Barlow, chair of the citizens’ advocacy group Council of Canadians, will work with the current president of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to advance a more democratic and transparent method of policy making around water at the global level than now exists," Barlow said in a press release. "Water is a commons, a public trust and a human right."

Barlow said there’s "growing momentum" in the international community for water justice but will focus some of her attention on her home country.

"I also plan to take this opportunity to get the Canadian government to change its shameful position, and to finally join the international community in recognizing water as a human right," said Barlow.

D’Escoto extolled on Barlow’s ability to “combine humanitarian vision with a practical approach to problem solving” and has expressed support for her crusade, calling water a "human right as basic as the air we breathe."

Barlow holds six honorary doctorates and has written or co-written 16 books. She is also co-founder of the Blue Planet Project, a group that works to protect fresh water from trade and privatization around the world.

The United Nations estimates 42,000 people die every week from diseases related to bad water and poor sanitation.

US on the Prowl for Water?

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Full Story Here.

Quote:

… local distrust of U.S.-backed lending institutions—along with the presence of U.S. troops in Paraguay—has spawned suspicions that Washington is exerting slow control over the aquifer as insurance against water shortages in the U.S.

“The United States already has water problems in its southern states,” said Adolfo Esquivel, an Argentine activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. “And it is clear that humans can live without oil, gold, and diamonds but not water. The real wars will be over water, not oil.”


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