Fossil of the Day

harper_cowboyWell, with the Copenhagen climate talks about to wrap up, it’s about time I said something.

I am ashamed of the Canadian government. Canada’s international reputation is in tatters. How’s this lovely headline:

Throw Canada out of Commonwealth for climate record – Rising emissions and support for tar oil sands leads prominent figures to call for suspension (Ecologist, 27th November, 2009)

Kicking us out of the Commonwealth? That’s a part of who Canada is!

Now is the time for dramatic action. Some scientist are claiming we’re already gone too far, and even if greenhouse gas emissions stopped altogether tomorrow the planet will still warm to an unacceptable level from what’s already in the atmosphere. Harper can be all concerned about our economy if the tar sands can’t keep pumping out the oil and pumping out the emissions, but when the temperature rise starts killing ocean life, have fun with that economy. Just because their is oil in the ground doesn’t mean we have to take it out. Creating alternative energy sources will also create jobs and create a branch of the economy that isn’t designed to run out and explode in our faces.

So as a result of Stephen Harper and the Conservatives’s lack of action on climate change, Canada is leading the pack in Fossil of the Dayawards. This award is given to counties that are doing their best to impede climate change action. Congrats Canada, you’re now an environmental villain.

**Hilarious Edit**  `Harper not on Obama`s climate guest list`Obama`s having an emergency climate party and Harper isn`t invited. Even Australia got invited! No offence Oz, but we have similar world influence and we even live next door to Obama!

Exxon Mobil pleads guilty? Shocker

birdsExxon Mobil pleaded guilty to the deaths of 85 migratory birds. The birds died after landing in natural gas well reserves and waste water. Somehow I find 85 to seem like a fairly small number, considering the deaths took place in several states over five years (2004-2009). But at least it’s something.

Exxon Mobil is giving $600 000 for the preservation of wetlands as a result of the guilty plea and promising to improve facilities to prevent this from happening in the future. $600 000 is pocket change for a corporation this large.

While it is very refreshing to see a company actually admit it did something wrong to the environment, I find these days that I have such a high degree of skepticism about anything that happens that in anyway involves a corporation. They so often seem above the law and social norms.

I recommend watching The Corporation. It was very eye-opening for me. Happy watching!

The Canadian Seal Hunt

harp-seal-485027So this seems to have become a passionate issue for me recently.

The European Union has recently voted to ban the sale of seal products. Article here. This has caused joy and elation among animal rights groups. So much so that it seems everywhere I turn I see the lines “ban the cruel seal hunt”. I’m tried of it!

What, exactly, is cruel about the seal hunt? Sealers and northern natives go out and hunt seals. The majority (~90% is the quote from Danny Williams) are killed with a gun, not a club. Imagine that. Also, you cannot kill a baby seal. If I hear the phrase “clubbing baby seals” one more time I will lose it. I do believe the seals must be a minimum age before being killed, judged by the colour of their coat. The “club” is also a traditional weapon called a hakapik that has been judged to be a humane way to kill seals.

How is this such a major animal rights issue? There are many, many more issues that I feel do not receive the press they deserve. The slaughter of tonnes upon tonnes of cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, etc. happens everyday. These animals are herded, crammed, stuffed into slaughterhouses and killed.

I feel animal rights groups have picked the seal hunt as an issue because seals are cute and have large eyes and it is easy to win over the hearts of the people. They have picked the easy battle and I feel their efforts could be much more helpful in other areas of animal slaughter.

In Danny Williams’ interview on Larry King he claims the WWF has observed the seal hunt and finds nothing inhumane about the process.

In conclusion, please redirect animal rights efforts to a cause that needs it.

Swine Flu: What can I do to help?

swine-flu1So, having taken a class that covered the Spanish Flu of 1918 (Dr. Perrins’ History of Medicine, Acadia…great course…take it!), the Swine Flu is terrifying. This is what I’ve been waiting for ever since that course. A new flu that is going to be more deadly than anything we’ve seen for decades, maybe worse. Now, I’m not saying that is what is going to happen, just that this virus seems to have high potential to become very serious, based on what the WHO is saying.

Now, fingers point to Mexico as the starting point of this outbreak, although it hasn’t been confirmed where/how the virus was created. Possibly due to conditions and practices at huge factory farms (not confirmed by research yet!). Hmm….why do we have those huge factory farms again? Oh right! Huge demand for meat products!

Now, in an effort to not be preachy (I am in no position to preach, as I have been know to ingest meat products every blue moon), I in no way expect you to become a vegetarian. That is a personal decision that requires a lot of research and thought. But what are small ways we can all change to maybe take the pressure off intensive livestock practices that are not in the best interest of the future of our society?

1) You can eat one less meal with meat a week. That’s not too bad! Have a veggie lasagna. It’s so filling you won’t even notice. Burritos can be made with just re fried beans, skip the beef. Don’t say it’s too hard…my parents (former meat and potato people) are doing a great job of it, and I didn’t even have to harass them! Here’s a recipe for black-bean burgers even my super meaty boyfriend likes.

2) When you do buy meat, buy organic (when you can, I know it can cost more). That way, you can increase the demand for organic, causing more farmers to become organic, causing less use of antibiotics that can create super-bugs.

3) If you live in the country, try the farmers markets or even go direct to your neighbours. It night not be certified organic, but many small scale farmers don’t need to use heavy loads of antibiotics.

4) Know a hunter? Ask for some wild game! Rabbit stew is yummy. If you happen to be in Australia, try the roo (sometimes farmed, but much less intensive than cows). Grab a fishing rod and catch supper. It’s more fun than standing in line at the supermarket too.

Now, again, I’m not saying swine flu started on a factory farm. However, the conditions on factory farms are primed for outbreaks of nasty diseases than could jump to humans. So just to try do whatever you can to help a little bit. If we all help a little bit, it will help a lot (wow that’s cheesy, nice ending Carolyn). 🙂

Trip to the Zoo

Meerkat Manor! Kinda

Meerkat Manor! Kinda

Brad and I went to the Melbourne Zoo not too long ago. We were able to see a slew of native animals; Kangaroos, Wombats, and even a platypus! There was also lots of non-native species. I saw lions, gorillas, elephants, and meerkats (which were the cutest, see pictures).

I’m a bit on the fence about zoos. I’m not for keeping animals in unnatural, tiny settings, not letting them hunt and socialize like they do in nature. I remember going to the Oaklawn Farm Zoo in Nova Scotia for a biology class. They boast the world’s largest lion. As in weight. This lion was seriously overweight. It was sad to see. And this was on the main sign going into the zoo!

However, many zoos have animals that were rescued and can’t be released. This is often the case with birds. Other zoos really focus on pushing the message of conservation. “Hey Kids, love the river otters? Help protect our rivers!”, etc. I was really impressed with the aquarium in Shanghai, which I felt had a great focus on conservation.
As for the Melbourne Zoo, there was some conservation issues addressed, but nearly as much as I would have like to have seen.
So next time you make a Sunday trip to the zoo, think about what the zoo means for the animals and maybe decide not to visit those zoos without a rescue/conservation emphasis. Support things that are good for animals and good for the environment!

Roos and an Emu!

Roos and an Emu!