Michael Riordon

the view from where I live


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Bold Scientists in Kingston, Ontario: November 6

cropped-bold-scientists-front-cover8.jpgAuthor Michael Riordon in dialogue: Whole food for free range minds.

Thursday November 6, 1 – 2:30 pm. Room D214, Mackintosh Corry Hall, Queen’s University.
Map: http://www.queensu.ca/campusmap/main?mapquery=mackintosh.

Everyone is welcome.  Bring your own mind.

Co-sponsors: Studies in National and International Development (SNID), and the School of Environmental Studies.


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Stop! Dirty oil on the move

Tar sands oil is a cumulative disaster at every stage: extraction, processing, transport, refining, and end uses that dump incalculable amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

But the oil industry and its government backers are hell bent on getting their dirty plunder to port, for shipment overseas to countries where they can get a higher price.

Canada-Oil Train Derailment

Lac-Mégantic oil train disaster, July 26, 2014.  Photo: Boston Herald.

There is no safe transport method. Oil trains leak, derail and explode, oil pipelines leak and burst with shocking frequency.

A well-oiled corporate/government PR machine relentlessly denies the overwhelming risks, even after they’re proven by bitter experience. Fortunately for all of us, people living along the routes are onto these lies, and organizing to block the dangerous traffic.

These two crucial initiatives need and deserve support:

* The Enbridge corporation is pushing to activate the notorious Line 9 through southern Ontario and Quebec. If they succeed, within the next few weeks this aging, vulnerable pipeline could be pumping heavy oil under pressure through a densely populated region laced with vital freshwater sources. Citizens groups along the way are working hard to stop it.

In June, 2014, the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation launched a legal challenge to the National Energy Board’s approval* of Line 9, on the grounds that constitutional obligations for consultation and accommodation of Aboriginal rights had not been met. (*The NEB pretends to be independent, but the federal government has effectively stacked it with oil/gas industry supporters.)

The Chippewa challenge is yet to be heard in court, but a public petition in support of it is gathering momentum. Add your voice here: http://you.leadnow.ca/petitions/demand-the-neb-respect-indigenous-rights-sign-to-support-chippewas-of-the-thames-first-nation.

And:

* Now the St. Lawrence River in eastern Canada is also being turned into a transport route for tar sands oil, one of the world’s dirtiest fuels. On September 24, the Suncor corporation shipped the first ever vessel of heavy crude down the St. Lawrence River from a port east of Montreal, bound for Italy. A second vessel was stopped recently on the St. Lawrence and temporarily blocked from departing for safety reasons.

The St. Lawrence River is the second longest river in Canada, flowing from the Great Lakes into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean. Along the way it provides drinking water to millions of people. The river includes four areas designated under the UN Convention of Wetlands of International Importance.  The Gulf is the world’s largest estuary, bordering five of 10 Canadian provinces.

All of this faces imminent, irreversible threat. The oil corporations plan to send 20 to 30 vessels loaded with dirty crude down the river each year.

The Council of Canadians is pressing federal elected representatives to stop tar sands oil shipments in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin. Add your voice here: http://canadians.org/action/tar-sands-oil-shipments-st-lawrence-river-no-way.

Delve into the long struggle to defend the St Lawrence with Henry Lickers, Seneca First Nation biologist at Akwesasne, an island in the middle of the living river: When the river roared, chapter 1, Bold ScientistsRead an excerpt here: http://naturesciencepower.wordpress.com/inside-bold-scientists/excerpts/.


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New GM Crops: fields of insanity

A definition of insanity: If something clearly doesn’t work, do it again.  And again…

TRAUDT AERIAL SERVICEPhoto: Aurora Cooperative

The corporate leviathans that brought us GM crops promised no pollen spread. Fact: Any place these invasive crops are planted they spread pollen as far as wind and bugs can carry it, making it impossible to grow non-genetically manipulated crops for miles around.

The industry promised that GM herbicide-tolerant crops would need less chemicals to suppress competing weeds. Nature laughed. Fact: Very quickly, weeds developed tolerance to the most widely used herbicide, glyphosate. The resulting ‘superweeds’ already infest an estimated 70 million acres of US farmland, and they’re spreading rapidly.  It’s being called an agricultural crisis.  Another one.

The corporate solution to the new problem: Throw more chemicals at it. No surprise, chemicals induce dependency and generate enormous profits. The pushers are pushing hard – not that it takes much pressure – to get US government approval to sell the highly toxic 2,4-D herbicide/defoliant, infamous as a weapon of mass destruction in the US war on Viet Nam.

At the same time, the industry plans to release GM crops.2, corn and soybeans genetically manipulated to tolerate repeated dousing with multiple herbicides, including 2,4-D. Details here, in Wired: http://www.wired.com/2014/09/new-gm-crops/.

For a saner path, stop in for a visit with Ann Clark, plant physiologist and post-oil farmer, in Bold Scientists, chapter 2, Digging thistles. Read an excerpt here.


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Bold Scientists on Green Majority Radio

A feature interview on Green Majority Radio:  Fresh from the New York City climate march, host Daryn Caister chats with Michael Riordon about Bold Scientists.

MR and BS, Green Majority MediaWe range far and wide: science and scientists – bold and not, knowing our place (in nature), who owns knowledge, hubris and humility, power and resistance… Far and wide.

Hear it here: http://greenmajoritymedia.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/419-bold-scientists/.

 

 


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Bold Scientists @ Word on the Street

DSCF2417

Photo: Brian Woods.

Bold Scientists (and the author) at work in the non-fiction reading tent, at the giant Toronto literary festival Word on the Street, Sunday September 21, 2014.

This was the book’s public debut.

Wild thunderstorms in the morning, then the clouds cleared, and throngs of people filled the streets around Queen’s Park in downtown Toronto. The reading tent was full.

I gabbed a little and read several pieces from the book, including – in honour of Sunday’s climate change marches around the world — two excerpts on scientists who challenge official silence and inertia on the urgent climate crisis we all face.

Next event: Thursday October 16, 7 pm, at the Picton Public Library, 208 Main Street in Picton, Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada.

Come along!