Thursday, May 06, 2010

Good News amongst the Rotten

Let’s face it. The news of late has been anything but uplifting. And while the Gulf Coast braces for the worst oil catastrophe in US history, I’m learning that more environmental nightmares are unfolding or are bound to happen if our governments continue to place industrial interests before environmental protection and public safety.

I’ve spent my week at the Hot Docs Festival in Toronto where I’m learning about how the US (and Canadian) governments are doing little to stop gas companies from seriously contaminating wells and rivers with natural gas and carcinogenic chemicals in their drilling practices (Gasland), and how Finland is the only country working on a ‘safe’ repository for its spent nuclear fuel (Into Eternity). Spent nuclear fuel remains radioactive for at least 100,000 years, likely more. Environmental protection laws get in the way of the bottom line which is why the current oil leak comes as no surprise. Scroll down below for the movie trailers. In Gasland, people can actually light fire to the contaminated water from their faucets.

But the good news. They did it!!

On May 5th, the majority of elected Canadian representatives voted in favour of Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Bill, for the final time. It was a close one. The vote was 149 to 136. Now it faces a Conservative Senate and three more readings before it becomes law. This may be tough. We’re not out of the woods yet. Next round will be about contacting senators to ask them to vote for the Bill. You know, the one supported by the majority of elected representatives.

What’s the Big Deal? – The Act will commit Canada to science-based greenhouse gas reduction targets. We absolutely cannot go beyond a two degree increase in greenhouse gases if we want to avoid runaway global warming, which could hit towards the end of this century. The Act will also mandate that the government set regulations to ensure they meet targets, including publicizing five year target plans and establishing independent reviews, and punish polluters who break regulations. It’ll make it much easier for all of us to go Carbon Slim!

“It is a great day for Canada as we finally have a blueprint for greening our future,” said New Democrat Leader Jack Layton. “We would not be here without the thousands of Canadians who called and wrote to their Members of Parliament, pushing them to finally adopt meaningful climate-change legislation.”

That’s you! A big thanks to everyone who contacted their MPs to support the Bill. Please do send them a follow up thank you email or letter, which they most rightly deserve (if they voted for it).

Gasland – the Movie Trailer

Into Eternity – the Movie Trailer

1 comment:

Christine said...

Thanks for highlighting the good news, Cheryl - as you say, it seems a little sparse on the ground these days!