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, which is just silly. 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. That’s creepy and unnecessary. I was never a big-wig, I don’t have any science publications, etc. If someone wants to take me to court, I’ll gladly bring along all my contracts I signed for my positions, proving that I worked there. Otherwise, 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. I lost any potential for continued work with them over 2 years ago, and am over it. What I am not over, 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 towards halting Bill C-38, and otherwise 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. That’s not my point. The point is that the tar sands are one of the major drivers behind environmental deregulation, and the cuts to funding envionmental research in Canada. The government obviously has money, since we can apparently 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. If you can’t see that, than this is just lost on you anyway.
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.
A Canadian that still cares about the environment
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/