Canada / Conservation / Degradation / Environment / Movement / Science

A Follow Up to an Open Letter

Hello everyone,

I confess I am surprised (but pleased) this many people are interested in this letter. I wrote it in a grumpy state Friday morning after finding out about the closure of ELA (and the demise of many experiments of ex-colleagues). There are several things that have either come up or that I would like to address. Firstly, I am not a professional ‘scientist’ – I have noticed I was called this on Twitter. I worked for Environment Canada in a scientific capacity, but did not have a PhD or do my own research. Other  things:

A) What is your ‘credibility’? There are several people here who want me to publish my personal information. I would never publish my address, employer, phone number, etc. online. However – people calling into question my credibility are misreading the letter. With the exception of the section where I stated that all contact information for the managers of the database I worked with (which I can only provide you the link to the website where I worked, but cannot prove that 3 years ago, contact information was on there – feel free to contact Environment Canada and ask them yourself, they shouldn’t deny it. There are also thousands of individuals across the world who used these databases and can attest to the fact that yes, contact information was previously available), everything else is public information that has been reported in the news, or are initiatives the Conservatives have announced themselves. This is why I included all the links – because that is how science thinking works. I don’t expect you to just believe what I say, so I provide you with the sources to go look for yourself. Some of you have told me that the links are broken, so I am re-posting all the links at the end of this entry.

So, no I am not posting my personal information so you can look me up – there’s no need to question my credibility because this is an opinion piece on publicly available information.

As a follow up, I am not currently employed by Environment Canada, and speak only for myself. What I am interested in is the continued decimation of environmental regulation and protection, and that is the point of this article.

B) What can we do? This is also an excellent question. I have put a few links for petitions on the page already. I am not associated with any of the organizations below, but believe that these are great motions in making our voice heard in the fight to protect our environment. Awareness of issues are the first step. Education is next. Action is the last. This letter was meant to synthesize what is already public information, but was told from my perspective. Some organizations (that I am not associated with, and encourage you to first research) that have petitions against the cutbacks/changes include:

Also: here is a link for all Canadian MP’s. Please note that Keith Ashfield is the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, if you feel strongly about the closure of ELA. www.parl.gc.ca/MembersOfParliament/MainMPsCompleteList.aspx

C) Oil is important, so your argument is pointless. Yes, we all use oil. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have the tar sands – I’d like it if we spent way less money on it, and invested way more money in sustainable energy research and projects, but obviously oil is part of our current society. However, the point is that the tar sands are one of the major drivers behind environmental deregulation, and the cuts to funding environmental research in Canada. The government obviously has money, since we can make room in the budget for billions of dollars worth of fighter jets, but saved a little bit decimating DFO and EC. This means that our environment is being regulated only when it serves a political purpose, and that is absolutely detrimental to the long-term sustainability of both our country and our planet as a viable, living being. We cannot accept environmental policies that are entirely driven by political/corporate/capitalist motives. They must be stand-alone initiatives, that serve to protect the environment for its intrinsic value. Because no matter what TV and your car salesman tells you, nature is the only reason you are alive. You will die without clean water, non-toxic food, and a healthy environment. That’s not a radical idea, that’s a fact.

To the majority of you who support the concept – please continue to research, educate, and act. Sign the petitions, go to protests, tell your MP. This is your land as equally as anyone else, and we all deserve a safe, protected nature to enjoy. Do your part otherwise as well – walk, bike, eat local, downsize your ‘needs’, fly less, buy less, share more, turn off the lights. We need to do bottom-up work, as well as fight the top-down effects. We’re in this together. Literally.

Sincerely,

A Canadian that still cares about the environment

**********************************

Links

Here are all the links from my original article – read these, research more, speak up. These are public facts.

Environmentalists are radicals according to the Conservatives: www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/01/09/pol-joe-oliver-radical-groups.html

Scientists are muzzled: www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16861468

Cuts to EC in 2011: www.greenparty.ca/media-release/2011-08-03/deep-cuts-environment-canada

ELA Closure: www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/tories-shut-down-groundbreaking-freshwater-research-station/article2436094/?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=Referrer%3A+Social+Network+%2F+Media&utm_content=2436094&utm_campaign=Shared+Web+Article+Links

Bill C-38/Environmental Destruction Act: http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2012/05/10/Bill-C38/

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15 thoughts on “A Follow Up to an Open Letter

  1. thank you for speaking up. of course as I’m sure you know, if they are working hard at discrediting you, you must be on the right track! keep up the great work.

  2. Thanks twoof2. It is a bit frustrating to come up against people who won’t accept publicly available information as truth and claim I’m making it up, but I’ll take some solace in your statement.

  3. Great blog post and follow up. Its a message that needs to be heard by more Canadians. Have you thought of starting a petition on change.org? Their new Canadian operation has brought a lot of attention to other important causes in Canada, and this seems like it might be a good platform to take your message further, faster.

  4. Too bad you’re not willing to put your name on your opinion. What are you afraid of? Your opinions are interesting, but without your name on it, it’s just so much more anonymous internet nonsense.

    • A more thorough read of the page would tell you why I don’t want to. Mostly because it wouldn’t accomplish anything – what would my last name to do to enhance an opinion piece on already public information? To call it anonymous internet nonsense means you didn’t bother to click on any of the links and see that it’s just a personal synthesis of what’s largely already known.

      It’s also ironic, considering you entered an invalid URL….

  5. @idland: whistle blowers are entitled to protection. It’s perfectly reasonable for her not to publish her contact details for fear of retribution. This government has ruined good careers out of spite and protecting one’s career is a valid reason to whistle blow anonymously even if she no longer works for them.

  6. What I like is how calmly you have dealt with adversity and that you ask people to educate themselves so we can all make informed decisions. Thank you and keep up the great work.

  7. I am a person who is living rurally, eating locally, and striving toward as much self-sufficiency as I can. That being said;
    1. It is not the Tar Sands. It is the Oil Sands. There is no tar in the sand. This is a term that was put out there with intent to make the Oil Sands seem worse than it really is. Yes, it has negative effects on the environment. However, not nearly as much as our high-standard of living does.
    2. The Oil Sands, off-shore drilling, shallow gas wells, etc. all got their start under a Liberal party government. You can’t dump this on just the Conservatives. This is a you, me, and every other Canadian issue.
    3. The massive debt and deficit of previous governments going back to the days of Pierre Trudeau have contributed to an economy that is causing many to suffer and ask the government to cut spending.
    4. Provincial governments of different parties have done the same thing. Witness the NDP government of Nova Scotia under Mr. Dexter. with loosening laws related to fish farms, legislating a boost in profit for the Nova Scotia Power (Mostly coal driven. If you think oil is dirty, you should see a coal plant.) and several other capitalistic ventures that will have long lasting effects on the land and the people.
    5. If you are a scientist working for the government, your logic should tell you that you are working in an illogical bureaucracy, regardless of the ruling party. Why not work in the private sector and be able to publish your findings? We all have to deal with similar situations in our workplaces.

    To sum up – don’t blame anyone but yourself and your fellow humans. Where governments and money are involved, you will never see the environment win. There is no incentive for a political party in that. LIfe your life as you think will have the least impact and help others to do the same. That’s the only way the change you want will come about.

    • Hey Guy 1) as an Albertan, I often call them the tar sands. “Oil sands” is no more accurate than “tar sands” so if you really care about technical accuracy you will call them the bituminous sands.

      3) The Chretien and Martin Liberal gov’ts had surpluses (not that I like everything they did to get there) The wasteful incompetent dishonest Harper Conservatives dragged us back down into deficits.

      4) You are correct to say that coal is another dirty fossil fuel; we need to push the governments to move away from burning coal for electricity, etc. We need to stop burning all fossil fuels; they all contribute to global warming.

      5) What makes you think scientists working for corporations can publish their findings freely? The ones in universities tend to have more academic freedom.

  8. Thanks. It’s been interesting, not having expected this letter to get the attention it did, and then dealing with such a wide range of emotions. While most have been positive, as with life, the negative ones are the most draining. But thanks for your words!

  9. thank you for both your posts. recently within the last couple of years i have begun following environmental issues and the exploitation of our planet for harper’s political/monetary gain. i find it disgusting, heartbreaking, mind boggling..irresponsible..anyways i’m sure im preaching to the choir but just wanted to give your props for your letter! the reactions from ppl who are in denial that our planet is being polluted while the rights and voices of canadians are attempted to be silenced….are simply uneducated on the issues and believe only what they want to hear…i posted this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3bKmz4od3g ( a documentary on the great bear rainforest) and received some vicious comments…i suppose the truth hurts and when ppl get stung by information they lash out…’forest ethics advocacy’ is a new organization w.o charitable status to combat harpers muzzling techniques…check them out! “_

  10. Kudos Naomi, some of my best friends are also scientists that are losing their jobs due to Harper’s Government complete lack of interest or respect for our Canada. Another link of interest is http://www.safetyeh.ca
    Thanks for writing this letter.

  11. Naomi, I’ve been following political and climate change blogs for years and am used to the fighting that goes on at many of them. I have to commend you for remaining calm and courteous. Don’t let the nattering nabobs of negativity get you down!

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