Michael Riordon

the view from where I live


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Frack off!

With remarkable foresight, in March an NDP member of the Ontario legislature, Peter Tabuns, introduced a bill (proposed law) to ban fracking in Ontario.  (Fracking = hydraulic fracturing of the earth’s crust for gas and oil.)

With remarkable stupidity, the ruling Liberal government immediately denied any need for such a bill. There is no fracking yet in Ontario, said Natural Resources Minister Bill Mauro, so there is no need for a ban.  More detail here.

Fracking cartoonWithout a ban, the door stays wide open. Wherever the door is open, oil and gas corporations walk right in and start drilling. And wherever frackers drill, disaster follows.   Ask people on what’s left of the ground in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, the Dakotas, south England…

Fracking consumes and poisons millions of litres of fresh water – for every well. The drillers inject a toxic brew of chemicals under high pressure to smash underground shale and force oil and gas to the surface. Fracking operations leak vast quantities of methane, a devastating greenhouse gas. They also set off earthquake epidemics where such incidents have been rare.  And then there are the pipelines to transport the gas/oil to refineries and ports, and with pipelines, spills and explosions.

Result: Immense profit for a few, incalculable harm for the rest of us and the earth.

Worldwide, as soon as people become informed about fracking, resistance grows rapidly, and people have won government bans and moratoria in many municipalities, provinces, states and countries. Check here for an up-to-date list.

Meanwhile in Ontario, the door – our door, by the way – remains wide open.

In a 2014 poll, 75% of Ontarians supported a moratorium on fracking.  As Peter Tabuns understands, the time to close the door is now, before it’s too late.

The bill to ban fracking is scheduled to come to a vote on May 7, a week from now.  Send a message to Premier Wynne, via a new email campaign from the Council of Canadians: Ban fracking in Ontario. Close the door now.

The underground story on fracking and the growing resistance is here, inside Bold Scientists.  Scroll down to chapter 10, The unsolved problem.


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Whole food for free-range minds in Winnipeg: a reminder

Wednesday, March 25

1:30 pm.  Bold Scientists, a talk at the University of Winnipeg.  Room 5L25, Department of Geography, Lockhart Hall.  Map.

7:30 pm.  Bold Scientists, a talk at the McNally-Robinson bookstore, Grant Park, 1120 Grant Avenue.  In the Travel alcove.  Map.

Pass it on.

 cropped-bold-scientists-front-cover8.jpg


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Bold Scientists in Winnipeg

Wednesday, March 25

1:30 pm.  Michael Riordon at the University of Winnipeg.  Room 5L25, Department of Geography, Lockhart Hall.  Map.

7:30 pm.  Michael Riordon at the McNally-Robinson bookstore, Grant Park, 1120 Grant Avenue.  In the Travel alcove.  Map.

Unspun science for dangerous times.

BTL BS poster, U of Winnipeg, March 2015


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Bold Scientists in Toronto: Exercise your Freedom to Read *

cropped-bold-scientists-front-cover8.jpgTuesday, February 24, 1 – 3 pm.  Michael Riordon at the Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street, north of Bloor.  Elizabeth Beeton Auditorium, ground floor, right-hand side of the building, back corner.  More detail hereMap here.

Wednesday, February 25, 7 – 10 pm. Michael Riordon at Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham Street, one minute west of the Bathurst subway stop on the Bloor line (Markham Street exit).  More detail hereMap here.

* February 22 – 28, 2015: Celebrate and defend Freedom to Read (and think, and speak, and share ideas….)

Great minds don’t think alike. They think differently.   Bring yours.

 


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Scotland the brave

Good news: Scotland freezes fracking.

Scots protest fracking

Scotland says: Don’t frack.  Photo: the-news-daily.com

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing announced that the moratorium would stand until “a full public consultation on unconventional oil and gas extraction” had been initiated and completed.

A week later, more good news: the Welsh government also voted to block fracking until it is proven safe for the environment and public health.  Note:  It cannot be proved safe, since it is everything but.

Neither of these initiatives is an outright ban, but in New York state, years of citizen campaigning led to a similar moratorium, and finally last month to a ban.

For a close look at the dirty business of fracking, see Bold Scientists.  Scroll down to chapter 10, The unsolved problem.

 


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Food fight, high stakes

In Independent Science News, January 12, Jonathan Latham sets out a stark bottom line for the survival of multi-cellular organisms – eg human beings – on this planet.

Industrial agriculture

Latham: “The project to fully industrialise global food production is far from complete, yet already it is responsible for most deforestation, most marine pollution, most coral reef destruction, much of greenhouse gas emissions, most habitat loss, most of the degradation of streams and rivers, most food insecurity, most immigration, most water depletion, massive human health problems, and so on. Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to say that if the industrialisation of food is not reversed our planet will be made unlivable for multi-cellular organisms.”

So then, a matter of life and death. Jonathan Latham offers a recipe for survival.  It’s worth a try.

For a taste of how to feed the world on a human scale, visit with Ann Clark, plant physiologist and farmer, in Bold Scientists, chapter 2, Digging thistles. Read an excerpt here.


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Bold Scientists, the trailer, now on YouTube.

“Tremendously hopeful and profoundly disturbing.”

Great minds don’t think alike. They think differently.  Here.

Bold Scientists trailer, screen shot