This blog will look at environmental and political issues that will affect the quality of life for future generations of all species. Including; sustainability, media labels of "environmental issues," and different kinds of resistance to environmental oppression. I will also post on anything I think someone interested in the aforementioned would be interested in...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Conservatives to sell Atomic Energy Board!?!

Story HERE...

Areva (Cogema) and General Electric are already getting excited...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Peace is not a profitable commodity

... this is just a short blog to point out that the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) is more powerful today then it ever has been... mainly because MIC corporations have long controlled the United States, and their reach is gaining strength...

It is no wonder the United States has been at war with one country or another for over 50 years... the military-defense industry is the most profitable in the entire corporate sector...

The military industrial complex is interconnected with other profit-accountable corporations such as the nuclear industry, oil, and Big Pharma... essentially any profit-motivated corporate sector...

MIC has turned war into a profitable commodity... profits shared by a shrinking coporate elite that has heavy influence and involvement in global, national, provincial, and local politics...

Now do the horrendous wars in Vietnam and Iraq make sense? In an economic-based trans-national corporate agenda society, where profits are power and progress... These wars are justifiably `right.`

This dominant MIC ideology is a majour factor in the ongoing ignorance and apathy in regards to preventing anthropomorphic climate change...

COUNTLESS lives, ecosystems, and entire species have already been lost in the name of profit; past, present, and future.

Canada is only a little less directly responsible for (or infected by) the MIC...

How much public money is wasted on subsidies/research on non-renewable or military technological subsidies?
Pretty much all of it (a source)

Ignoring climate change is more expensive than preventing it... unless you are one of few corporate elites profiting from the destruction of life as we know it on this planet (and dont care about the legacy your leaving your children, and all the countless unborn)...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A University of Regina Student's Reflection on recent election results, and the political culture in Saskatchewan

If you were like most students at this university, you watched the recent election results with shock and horror. TWO Right-wing Conservative Governments at the same time?! These election results illustrate the enormity of Saskatchewan's continued ignorance about the biophysical processes at work on this planet!

I'm not saying Saskatchewan residents and students really had many other options though. The NDP, raised our tuition to be the 3rd highest in Canada. Then, 16 years too late they offered to lower fees by $1000 a semester. The Liberals were offering a measly $500 a year to full-time students only.

What did the NDP do with all their dirty money? By dirty money, I mean the huge amounts of revenue they generate from the mining and export of uranium. One-fifth to one-half of uranium miners die from lung cancer. Yet the provincial government refused (and likely still will refuse) to commission a study on the incidence of lung cancer in uranium miners in Northern Saskatchewan. Due to what is known as the "aboriginal exclusivity deal," most of these miners are aboriginal. The cultural genocide in Saskatchewan continues.

The Bayda Commission [1976] could have ended uranium mining in this province. Instead, it created the model of preferentially hiring aboriginals to work in this carcinogenic and toxic industry. The judge in charge went on to become Chief Justice in Saskatchewan (stepping down just last year).

Five years after he was chief justice [1986], Sylvia Fedoruk, the first female member of the Atomic Energy Control Board (Canada's corporate-controlled nuclear regulatory agency) became the first female Lieutenant-Governor of Saskatchewan. It's interesting to see how friends of the nuclear and uranium industry end up in top positions of prestige and power of the political institution here in Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan uranium almost always finds it's way into nuclear weapons. Most of the nuclear bombs in the world have a little piece of Saskatchewan in them, and that means our province economically profited from such bombings as; The Manhattan Project, Hiroshima, and more recently, the Shock and Awe attack by the US on Iraq. But we're making money on it. Peace is not a profitable commodity.

No wonder Lorne , Brad, and David were all too afraid to bring up the uranium/nuclear issue during their campaigns. (The Green party did bring up this issue, but not surprisingly, they were not allowed at most business ( i.e. Chamber of Commerce) and corporately-run debates (like CanWest's CTV).

Sadly, the NDP's corporate tax cuts [$190 million a year] weren't enough to buy them the business-vote in Saskatchewan [Many nuclear, uranium and oil companies contribute thousands in donations to the Sask party]. So now we're stuck with an even more corporate-interest government, and looking at further natural resource exploitation and even the possibility of a nuclear power plant built here in Saskatchewan. Don't think they won't try, especially when pro-nuke advocates are in control of Enterprise Saskatchewan.

Yes, I voted Green this past election. And Yes, I'll probably vote Green in the next one too, but they're the ONLY ones talking about these real issues (and willing to follow through on their talk with action!)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Environmental Action Network at the University of Regina

A new group has formed at the U of R...


The Environmental Action Network at the U or R is a group of students, faculty, and community members interested in direct action in regards to creating awareness of the Environment and environmental issues in our community (local and global)...

Some of the Current Issues we are working with...

- Helping to organize and network faculty and student's interested in having a say in the creation of the new interdisciplinarty Environmental Studies degree at the Unviersity of Regina

- Informing the staff and student's at the university of Regina in regards to local environmental issues and creating a discourse on relevant subjects...

- Helping URSU [the university of Regina Student's Union] and the university admininstration(?) create an ethical purchasing and gift-acceptance policy that reflects their commitment to the UN Millenium Development Goals (espicially in regards to environmental sustainability and maternal health)... rather than a commitment to further corpratization of our campus!

- add our facebook group!

- come to our next meeting!
Friday November 23 (Ad-hum pit U of R) 4PM

- if your not from the U of R, start a similar group on your campus or in your community!

- for more info contact

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

(Nuclear Powered) Oil Sands Development in Saskatchewan!

... globe and mail article ... on oil sands development

A NY Times Article reports on Alberta's hidden health effects...

THE federal government is IGNORING THE HEALTH CONCERNS as well!

(Harper recently flew over this scene in a helicopter... then went on to say how happy he was with Alberta's "progress")

Some ALARMING health concerns over effects of radiation and uranium mining in Ontario
(thanks to John for the info)

Meanwhile, Welcome To Uranium Country...

Friday, November 9, 2007

A nuclear future for Saskatchewan!

Saskatchewan has just surrendered the next four years of it's future to the hybrid liberal-conservatives of the Sask Party... current estimates (not official for at least a couple weeks) put the Sask Party in another bipartisan majority legislature with ~38 seats versus an slightly more left NDP opposition of ~20 seats...

what does this meen for Saskatchewan? for Saskatchewan's children?

A politicaly wiser-than-me friend predicts...
"a largely moderate legislative agenda, with incentives to encourage capital investment in the province, the development of resources like oil, diamonds and uranium, and the announcement sooner rather than later of the building of a nuclear reactor in this province."
(word on the street is that the 3 major provincial party leaders {not sure about Sandra Finley} as well as several candidates read his blog!)

... points to remember when watching that film...
-Most of the nuclear bombs in the world have a little piece of SASKATCHEWAN URANIUM in them
-The U.S. currently refines SASKATCHEWAN URANIUM in two coal-fired (LOTS of green-house-gas emmissions) plants... the DEPLETED URANIUM is then used in various nuclear and pseudo-nuclear weapons used by the US in Afghanistan and Iraq... AGAINST CIVILIAN POPULATIONS!
(for further details... scroll down and read the open letter...)
-various NUCLEAR and URANIUM corporations contribute financially to the Sask party!

... lets hope that enough bleeding hearts unite to stop further nuclear proliferation here in saskatchewan

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Bottled beverages on our campus...

Scientists, environmentalists, and conscientious consumers have begun raising concerns about the safety of a plastic used to manufacter water bottles and canned food lining. It is also found in most plastic bottled beverages around the univeristy of Regina.

Recent studies have confirmed what environmentalists and preventative health-care advocates have been have been worrying about for years. These studies found trace amounts of a toxic chemical known as Bisphenol A leaching out of many common plastics, including shatter-resistant (Nalgene) water bottles and even baby-bottles.

Bisphenol A (BPA) has been shown to have developmental toxicity, carcinogenic effects, and possible neurotoxicity from amounts as low as 2-5 ppm (parts per million). Research has also linked BPA to changes of the genital tract, prostate enlargement, declined testosterone, pre-cancerous breast cells, prostate cancer, early puberty in females, and hyperactivity.

Most commonly, toxins like BPA slowly leach from plastic pop and water bottle containers. The amount of contamination varies based on amount of use and length of time the bottles spent sitting in transport trucks or on shelves.

Looking at the bigger picture, this new revelation is merely another product of the corporate risk-management mindset that continues to dominate our political culture.

This isn't the first time a corporation (in this case many corporations) has used a cost-benefit model that valued short-term monetary profits over any long-term health/environmental costs. If our society continues to allow corporations to be un-accountable and non-transparent, many more problems are sure to arise.

It's time student's start demanding that their own representatives, like the student's union, begin acting in the interests of the student rather than reinforcing the corporate-interest model that dominates our campus.

So far this year, the University of Regina Student's Union (URSU) has given out green re-usable water bottles with their logo on it, as well as miniature Dasani non-reusable bottled water (some with the Lazy Owl logo).

Should we take the first step and ban bottled water/pop on our campus? Both URSU and university president Jim Tomkins have publicly declared support for the millennium development goals. Two of those goals include "maternal health" and "environmental sustainability." Maternal health encompasses preconception, prenatal, and postnatal care. Supporting bottled water/pop on our campus does not meet these promises. Maybe it's time student's held URSU and the university administration accountable to their promises?

We are a Coke campus.
Coca-Cola has a ten-year exclusive deal with our university. Coca-Cola corporation gave $1 million to the university in 1998 for this deal. At that time, the deal was supported by both the university president and student's union, who saw the immediate benefit of short-term profits. It didn't seem to matter that Coca-Cola has been linked to human rights violations, massive ecological destruction, and outright murder of union leaders and members in South American countries.

URSU should dig a little deeper before they decide to support the contract renewal coming up in May 2008. Is our student union a $3.5 million a year corporation? Or is it an organization that puts student's first and represents their interest regardless of how profitable that interest is. It's time for student's to decide.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Open Letter to Provincial Party Leaders regarding lack of discussion about NUCLEAR issue!

One of the "raging grandparents" named in this open letter, Dr. Jim Harding, recently published a book entitled "Canada's Deadly Secret : Saskatchewan Uranium and the Global Nuclear System"...

Jim Harding has also recently written in to the Leader Post newspaper... which led to Pro-Nuclear Industry Propagandists attacking his qualifications as an expert on this subject!

... the author of the letter, Walter Keyes, works for the corporate-funded hidden-agenda publication "Keewatin Publications"... I refrenced one of their pro-nuclear publications in a paper I did last semester... since then, the site has been quite convincingly camoflauged... maybe they got another 'grant' from the uranium industry?

When corporate-sponsored advocates attack the qualifications and not the facts... I think it only strengthens the chilling truth revealed within the book, and this open letter....



Why Are You Ducking The Nuclear Question?

There is something surreal about this election, for none of you has had to fundamentally justify your pronuclear policies. Saskatchewan is now the major front-end uranium supplier of the global nuclear system, and this issue demands public scrutiny.

Last year Premier Calvert travelled to France to get support from Areva to build a uranium refinery here. Saskatchewan exports all its uranium, and some argue a refinery would add value before export, and strengthen the provincial economy. Meanwhile, Calvert is on record as opposing nuclear power here, and in this election has highlighted a commitment to expand non-polluting renewable energy use at home. What’s good for the goose (us) is, apparently, not good for the gander (those who import uranium from us).

David Karwacki and Brad Wall haven’t pointed out this huge disconnect, perhaps because they wish to hide their own. In the televised leaders’ debate about the future political direction of the province there was not one mention of “uranium” or “nuclear”, even when directly asked a question about global warming.

Sask Party literature quotes the Suzuki Foundation that Saskatchewan has the highest per capita greenhouse gases (GHGs) in Canada. Yet Mr. Wall won’t come out and say whether or not he supports nuclear power replacing coal plants here. And Mr. Wall doesn’t quote Suzuki on how heavy oil development in the tar sands (which all of you want to further develop in Saskatchewan) is soon to become the world’s largest single source of GHGs?

As the leaders of your parties you are letting each other off the hook on nuclear and energy policy. This is patently irresponsible in view of the Saskatchewan economy becoming more dependent on the production of non-renewable energy that contributes to radioactive contamination and global warming. That the media has not asked you the hard questions is disconcerting. So let us ask you a few.

Is Nuclear Sustainable?

Any short-term economic spin-offs from a uranium refinery would depend on the continuation of billions in public subsidies that have kept the nuclear industry afloat. Without these subsidies the market cost of nuclear would likely triple. Despite this help nuclear is quickly losing ground to renewable energy sources, which already produce more electricity globally than nuclear. Aren’t you concerned that our growing dependency on a non-renewable energy economy will cripple our future?

All of you acknowledge the need for a sustainable economy, yet seem unwilling to evaluate your pronuclear policies in those terms. The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) estimates at today’s low usage, where nuclear provides only 16% of electricity and 3% of primary energy worldwide, uranium reserves would run out in 85 years. Meanwhile, each job from nuclear costs one million or more dollars in capital.

How do you justify diverting scarce capital into a costly uranium refinery, or nuclear power plant, when there is such urgency to create truly sustainable, non-polluting, renewable energy systems to avert catastrophic climate change? Especially when these sustainable alternatives are cheaper, create far more and much safer employment, and can get on-stream quickly enough to make a difference?

We are not picking on Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan is not alone in having a huge economic dilemma over sustainability. Even though asbestos has proven to be highly carcinogenic, and is continuing to kill thousands of people exposed to it, the world’s largest asbestos mine in Quebec has not yet been shut down. Short-term economics there, too, dwarf human health, the environment and morality. The consequences of spreading radioactivity from uranium and nuclear across the planet are, of course, far more devastating, and include the added dangers of catastrophic nuclear reactor accidents and the spread of radiation weaponry.

Is Nuclear Environmentally Healthy?

You all seem to have accepted some version of the nuclear industry propaganda that it provides the “clean” magic bullet for global warming. But the nuclear fuel system contributes to GHGs. Saskatchewan uranium is enriched at two dirty coal plants in Kentucky, and let’s not forget the huge quantities of energy used in uranium mining. For example, the Globe and Mail reports that the Cigar Lake mine requires the largest cement plant in Saskatchewan to try to stabilize its underground tunnels.

The private nuclear plants proposed for Alberta will be used to enhance the production of heavy oil, the dirtiest of all fossil fuels. The Battleford area is most likely being targeted for a uranium refinery because of potential demand in the tar sands. We ask you in all sincerity: what does this proposed twinning of nuclear and heavy oil say about the nuclear industry’s “environmental ticket”?

The new Candu design proposed for Alberta would use reprocessed spent reactor fuel (nuclear waste). This would increase the pressure to make Northern Saskatchewan and/or Alberta an international nuclear waste dump. Again, as with uranium mining, it would primarily be Indigenous land that would be sacrificed for this military-industrial venture. What is your position on Saskatchewan becoming a nuclear waste dump?

We hope each of you has reflected on the more-than-disturbing fact that the plutonium in nuclear wastes is toxic for at least 8000 generations – which is five times the period it took humans to migrate from North Africa around the whole planet. The continued production of nuclear wastes in return for small economic payoffs today places unjustified burdens on future generations. Please tell us: in what sense can expansion of this industry be considered the moral, let alone sustainable path to follow?

How is promoting nuclear as “clean” more credible than tobacco industry’s claims that its product was benign? The Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) has publicly stated that harm from low-level radiation has not been proven; meanwhile the U.S. Surgeon General now considers low-level radiation from radon gas to be the second leading cause of cancer after smoking. Uranium mine tailings will release radon into the larger environment for millennia. Is appeasing the corporate community blinding you to these vital matters of worker and public health?

The August 13th MacLean’s reported a study that found that children 9 and under, living near nuclear facilities were 24% more likely to die of leukemia. (This study, reviewing 17 studies, covering 136 nuclear sites in 7 countries, including Canada, was published in the European Journal of Cancer Care.) The International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE), representing 100,000 doctors from 40 countries, recently endorsed a non-nuclear energy policy in part due to the risks that nuclear presents for human health. The doctors are, of course, concerned about the prospects of huge radiation releases from future nuclear meltdowns like Chernobyl and the risks from nuclear proliferation that come with any expansion of the nuclear industry.

You are so willing to debate the pros and cons of a universal drug plan. Why are you not willing to debate the implications of nuclear expansion for the life or death of children? With all your talk of health promotion averting rising healthcare costs, how do you justify supporting what is clearly a cancer causing industry?

Is Nuclear Peaceful?

Lastly, why is it that you never discuss nuclear weapons when you support uranium mining and nuclear expansion? Each of you may prefer to hide behind the outdated notion that uranium from Saskatchewan is only used for “peaceful purposes.” Can we consider such a toxic cancer-causing substance as uranium to be “peaceful” in any sense?

About 85% of the uranium exported to the U.S. remains available for use in weapons after the enrichment process that creates reactor fuel. This depleted uranium (DU) is used to produce nuclear bombs and other DU weapons that are presently killing civilians in the Middle East. Each of the 300,000 uranium bullets fired during the U.S. “Shock and Awe” invasion of Iraq likely had a bit of Saskatchewan within it. The extremely carcinogenic uranium aerosols from these exploding bullets are now in the air and on the land virtually forever, and are already responsible for vast increases in birth deformations and childhood cancers in the region. How does this violence of the so-called peaceful atom truly make you feel?

All of you, we are sure, would endorse human rights. Are you aware that it is a war crime and a crime against humanity to make and use weapons that indiscriminately kill civilians? It is no longer possible to hide behind the reassuring rhetoric of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, so, we ask: what is your position on Saskatchewan uranium being a major source for these horrendous uranium weapons? Be honest. Do you believe that the end justifies the means: that short-term economic benefits of uranium here justify spreading radiation and cancer across other people’s homelands?

Can you turn your heart and head away from such suffering, and from our complicity in it? Do you really support economic growth at any cost? Do you place short-term benefits and votes here, above concerns for global impacts and future effects? Surely if the labour movement is willing to make the sacrifices to make the conversion to sustainable jobs, business should also be willing to come on side. But where is the political leadership on the necessity for such conversion? Why are you not raising these vital questions? Do you think the continuation of political amnesia is really good for our wellbeing and for our democracy? Or for our grandchildren, who will reap the burdens of inaction on preventing radioactive contamination and climate change?

We are looking for some sign that those of you wanting to lead our Province actually care about what the nuclear and uranium industry is doing to people and the planet, and about getting serious about averting cataclysmic climate change. This is too big an issue for you to duck during this election. So, why the general silence on these vital issues of sustainable energy, environmental and human health, and the travesties of radioactive war? Have we so lost our way, and become so amorally parochial, that such considerations no longer matter enough to be raised and debated during an election in our province?

We are sure many others would also like a detailed and heartfelt response.

Yours truly,

Bill Adamson, retired Professor of Pastoral Theology, past President of St. Andrews Theological College, University of Saskatchewan, member of the Saskatchewan Conference of the United Church.

Dale Dewar, Associate Professor, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan; past President, Physicians for Global Survival.

Jim Harding, retired Professor of Environmental and Justice studies; author of “Canada’s Deadly Secret”, past Councillor, City of Regina.

Jim Penna, retired Professor of Philosophy, Saint Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan; past Trustee, Saskatoon Separate School Board.

Dick Peters, Regional Coordinator, for KAIROS Prairies North Region, Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives.

Michael Poellet, Ph.D., for Inter-Church Uranium Committee Educational Co-operative (ICUCEC).

Graham Simpson, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Saskatchewan; past Board member, Saskatchewan Council for International Co-operation (SCIC).

Sylvia Thompson, retired United Church of Canada Diaconal Minister, for Saskatchewan Non-Nuclear Clearing House (SNNCH).

Karen Weingeist, concerned citizen, for Coalition for a Clean Green Saskatchewan.

Dave Weir, for Regina Non-Nuclear Network.

Contacts: Jim Harding (306) 332-4492, Jim Penna (306) 373-0309 or Dave Weir (306)352-3195