Environment UK Conservatives

uk conservatives gone green.

This shouldn’t be news to anyone who pays regular attention to the politics of the United Kingdom (as I know many of this blog’s readers do), but I found this article about the U.K. Conservatives move towards greener policies quite interesting.

Though it’s only an ocean away, the contrasts between the British Tories and North American Conservatives on environmental issues seems quite stark.


Environment wetlands

what’s a wetland anyway?

It’s crunch time in academia and I’m up to my waist in paper writing.

One of the papers I’m writing is on the topic of habitat protection in the wetlands of Louisiana. When writing about wetlands in the United States, it’s important to understand the many definitions of ‘wetlands.’ For example, until the Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands was created in 1989, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Soil Conservation Service, and the Fish & Wildlife Service all operated under different definitions of ‘wetlands.’ This created all sorts of hijinx as each agency had the power to designate areas as ‘wetlands’ and to affect people’s behavior accordingly.

I found this exert from Edward Schiappa’s article Toward a Pragmatic Approach to Definition: ‘Wetlands’ and the Politics of Meaning quite interesting (it was published in Environmental Pragmatism in 1996). It details the campaign promise of President George H. W. Bush to protect the wetlands of the United States (according to the EPA, the U.S. currently loses an average of 60,000 acres of wetlands each year).

You may remember my pledge, that our national goal would be no net loss of wetlands. And together, we are going to deliver on the promise of renewal, and I plan to keep that pledge…
Wherever wetlands must give way to farming or development, they will be replaced or expanded elsewhere. It’s time to stand the history of wetlands destruction on its head. From this year forward, anyone who tries to drain the swamp is going to be up to his ears in alligators

Bush described the protection of the environment as “a moral issue. For it is wrong to pass on to future generations a world tainted by present thoughtlessness.” Encouraging his audience to judge their actions in light of the verdict of future generations, Bush asked those present to imagine what might be said forty years from now:

“It could be they’ll report the loss of many million acres more, the extinction of species, the disappearance of wilderness and wildlife. Or they could report something else. They could report that sometime around 1989 things began to change and that we began to hold on to our parks and refuges and that we protected our species and that in that year the seeds of a new policy about our valuable wetlands were sown, a policy summed up in three simple words: “No net loss.” And I prefer the second vision of America’s environmental future.”

Of course, politics being politics, the discussion turned to the definition of “no net loss.

David Swann Environment Water

two out of six.

Calgary Mountain View MLA David Swann released two YouTube videos from his July 19 press conference in response to the Stelmach Tories Measuring Up report.

The government’s Measuring Up report indicated that only two out of Alberta’s six major riverways had “excellent” or “good” water quality. This is in decline from other years, and is of serious concern especially considering the diminishing quantity of water across the province.

Environment Universal Transit Pass University of Alberta University of Alberta Students` Union


This is great!

Voting wrapped up yesterday in a general election that saw undergraduate students at the U of A endorse the Universal Transit Pass by a wide margin in a show of support for affordable transit and the environment.

Students voted 84 per cent in favour of the $75 per term pass that will allow them unlimited access to regular scheduled transit service in Edmonton, St. Albert and Strathcona County. The vote represents the last political hurdle in the long-running process.

“This is a win for public transit, a win for our environment, a win for big ideas, and a win for students working together,” proclaimed Samantha Power, President of the Students’ Union, in a statement given today at the Students’ Union Building.

The final price was the result of lengthy negotiations between the three municipalities, students and the University of Alberta.

Al Gore David Suzuki Ed Stelmach Environment

mmm. gold bars.

So… some excitement in Edmonton

[David] Suzuki said Friday in Calgary that if the premier “doesn’t realize not doing anything about greenhouse gases is going to wreck the economy,” he doesn’t deserve to be a leader, according to a story in the Calgary Herald.

Alberta needs to ease up on oilsands development until industry catches up with more efficient ways of extracting energy, Suzuki said.

Stelmach hit back on Saturday. “Tackling the issue of greenhouse-gas reduction will require more than hot air and grandstanding.”

I agree. It will take action, from our politicians like Stelmach… which we have yet to see any… Stelmach continued…

“Mr. Suzuki’s comments reflect the unproductive emotional rhetoric and personal attacks that distract from efforts to find constructive solutions.”

Well, I’m sure if our political leaders were actually looking for and enacting “constructive solutions” there would be much less “emotional rhetoric” floating around.

I wonder if Mr. Stelmach has seen Al Gore’s now Oscar Award winning Inconvenient Truth?

BBC Environment Global Dimming

beware of global dimming.

I thought some folks would be interested in taking a look at this BBC documentary on global dimming. I found it very interesting.

Alberta Tories Environment Guy Boutilier Larry Johnsrude

john cleese, the mla for fort mcmurray-wood buffalo.

Larry Johnsrude posted a bizarre transcript of an Alberta Energy Utilities Board hearing starring Alberta’s Environment Minister Guy Boutilier who was not answering questions as a Minister, but only as an MLA…

Here’s a portion of the transcript, I encourage you to read the rest, bizarre, monty pythonesq…

Judge for yourself. The following is an excerpt from an exchange between Boutilier and Don Mallon, lawyer for the Mikisew Cree First Nation:

Q (Mallon). I’m going to talk about the paragraph where you look forward to fishing with your grandson, and today you said granddaughter, but I gather from what you said today and what it says in the following paragraph that you don’t have a
grandchild yet, or am I mistaken?

A (Boutilier). Actually my wife and I don’t have a son or daughter yet, but we’re in the process of privately adopting, so as a follow-up to our adoption, we expect to have grandsons and granddaughters.

Q. All right. So I’m going to assume that your grandson is precocious. And has become a river ecologist, a river biologist. And your son advises you as the Minister of Environment that the Athabasca River system’s ecosystem is in danger of imminent collapse and that you and he are not going to be able to fish in that river anymore. And the reason for it is that the flows are too low and that we’re removing too much water. Now, the responsibility that you have, which is an absolute responsibility, then, is to protect the river, right?

A. It’s important to recognize that I’m here as MLA, I’m quite prepared to answer any question, but not as Minister of Environment.

Q. Well, I’m sorry, sir, you don’t get to pick and chose who you are one minute and who you are not the next. You are the Minister of the Environment.

A. Right.

Q. And I’m asking you, sir, that as the Minister of Environment, is it not appropriate, if that ecosystem is in danger, to reduce or completely stop the withdrawal of those flows for the period of time that it takes in order to allow that system to get back to square one?

A. Mr. Chairman, I am here today as the MLA representing the region and citizens.

Q. And we know that Alberta Environment is the protector of the environment in this province.

A. Yes, I’m here today, though not as Alberta Environment but as the MLA.

Read the rest