Humble Dogs

That they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts. Matthew 13:15b

Archive for the category “Environment”

God Has Made it Plain

“…What may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–His eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that men are without excuse” (Rom. 1:19-20)

I highly recommend the PBS program Earth From Space which aired last evening on most PBS channels.

For all who missed watching last night, it is available for direct viewing.

Earth From Space

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/earth-from-space.html
Earth From Space
Detailed satellite images reveal the web of connections that sustain life on Earth. Aired February 13, 2013 on PBS

Program Description
“Earth From Space” is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth. Viewers witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine “waterfall” off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the sun’s heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane. From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, the show reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet.

None other than Divine creation could have designed such an amazing life sustaining sphere. Although the program does not directly say so, it is plain to see; This is not by cosmic accident!

Doxology in Jude Takes On a Whole New Meaning

Jude 1:24,25 “Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”


Over the past week the weather in central Alberta has been fairly mild. Most have counted it as a blessing, a good and pleasant change from normal weather patterns. Yes it is, temperatures hovering around the freezing mark. No new or very little snowfall. No need for the customary heavy winter wear. Roads are finally becoming bare from the ice and snow.

A man clearing the sidewalk with a snowblower during a snowstorm in Boston, Massachusetts

Ontario Snow Storm: Major Snowfall Expected Before System Moves East http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/

Compare that with what Eastern Canada and North East USA has received since last Friday, we out west can feel fairly blessed. There is a tendency though to feel a bit of smugness seeing reports that the east coast struggled with what is often the norm for much of the northwest North America. Shoveling snow is more than a twice weekly event and temperature wind chills below 20° C. Whats new?

One of the difficulties with this, defrost during the day and refreeze each night, is that many sidewalks get trickled with melted moisture and then freeze making walking treacherous at times. There is a tendency for water to pool at the end of driveways and wheelchair ramps and when that water freezes they become very slippery.

In our neighborhood, several of us have managed to maintain our sidewalks and prevent much of this from happening with the use of gravel and salt and chipping where needed. Other areas in our community have not been so maintained. I had the adventure of having to walk much of those unmaintained areas today. Today was not a pleasant day to be outside with winds reaching 40 knots and gusts over. A type of day upon which G.K. Chesterton would have written his little essay “On Running After One’s Hat”.

“You can safely apply the test to almost every one of the things that are currently talked of as the typical nuisance of daily life.

For instance, there is a current impression that it is unpleasant to have to run after one’s hat. Why should it be unpleasant to the well- ordered and pious mind? Not merely because it is running, and running exhausts one. The same people run much faster in games and sports. The same people run much more eagerly after an uninteresting little leather ball than they will after a nice silk hat. There is an idea that it is humiliating to run after one’s hat; and when people say it is humiliating they mean that it is comic. It certainly is comic; but man is a very comic creature, and most of the things he does are comic, eating, for instance. And the most comic things of all are exactly the thing$ that are most worth doing such as making love. A man running after a hat is not half so ridiculous as a man running after a wife.

——-

So I do not think that it is altogether fanciful or incredible to suppose that even the floods in London may be accepted and enjoyed poetically. Nothing beyond inconvenience seems really to have been caused by them ; and inconvenience, as I have said, is only one aspect, and that the most unimaginative and accidental aspect of a really romantic situation. An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”

I have bad knees which tend to give out and my sense of balance is diminishing which is the main reason which caused me to retire and a reason for which I needs take daily walks. Today was my paper route day. 22 blocks in a unmaintained area of town. As I gingerly stepped on and around numerous patches of icy sidewalk, Jude 1:24 kept repeating through my mind. “Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling,”

I did neither slip nor fall. Thank you Lord, to you “all glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”

Obama Can Force Oil Sands to Clean Up Their Act

Keystone XL pipeline now awaits the decision from President Obama for the go ahead.

The pipeline, when completed would carry oil sands heavy crude oil from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast. It is well documented that the extraction and consumption of the oil would significantly worsen global warming and contribute to increasing overall environmental and ecological damage to a vast part of northern Canada.

Governor of Nebraska Backs Route for Pipeline
By JOHN M. BRODER
Published: January 22, 2013

WASHINGTON — The governor of Nebraska on Tuesday approved a revised route through the state for the Keystone XL pipeline, setting up a decision for President Obama that pipeline opponents say will be a crucial test of his intentions on climate change. Read more…

Rants of a Christian Enviromentalist

I am an environmentalist. I believe all people have a role to play in protecting the environment and the eco-systems we live in. Even more so for us who claim a dedication to Christian principles. We were created by God to be stewards of all He created.

Earth

View from Space

Genesis 1: 28; And God blessed them, and God said unto them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth”.

It is that word, “DOMINION”, which means REGENCY. God granted us regency in His creation. We, mankind, are to, use the land, the seas and all God has abundantly supplied but, we are to watch over it, take care of it, and return it to Him unsullied. God has asked us to be conservationists, environmentalists, ecologists and take care of this earth. Perhaps, at least in part, it is our failure to look after this earth that the final act of the creation story is to create a new earth, one fit for His Holy Kingdom.

I will admit, I get very judgmental over environment issues, especially towards those whose authority is to look after the affairs of our Country, Province/State, or community. Yes, I am referring to politicians  I live in Alberta, Canada and I realize that even though I am retired, much of the benefits I enjoy come from the resource revenues created by the Oil Sands industry. Some call it the Tar Sands, probably a more fit name but, that is another debate.

The last thing I want in this matter is to have the Oil Sands shut down. That would serve no one. What I would like to see is proper management applied to this resource. Both the Federal and Provincial Governments know the problems with pollution, they have conducted numerous studies, they know the solutions and yet due to heavy lobbying pressure by the oil companies involved, they choose to do nothing environmentally constructive. They boast about the monies the project brings in, they spread economic fear that unnecessary meddling will create economic disaster.

What I don’t understand is why the laws to protect the environment and ecology which are already in place are not enforced over the industries involved with the oil sands.

Several months ago a government authorized study conducted by the Univ. of Alberta confirmed that pollution, directly attributed to oil sands operations, is having a detrimental effect on the environment and the ecology in a wide path, mainly east,(prevailing winds) surrounding the Fort McMurray, Wood Buffalo region. These reports were not released to the public and scientists who worked on the report were put under gag order. The report was eventually leaked by a subordinate several weeks later.

I wrote to my Member of Parliament, Blaine Calkins, on this matter and received this reply:

Dear Mr. Tilley,

Thank you for your letter concerning the recent study done by Environment Canada that confirmed the studies done by Dr. Schindler.

As Environment Canada noted in their report, the levels of containments found in the samples were consistent with contaminants that have been found in areas with no development. Consequently, Environment Canada has decided to do further tests in an effort to better understand the levels of contaminants in the Oil Sands area.

“…the levels of contaminants found in the samples were consistent with contaminants that have been found in areas with no development.” Of course they are consistent – they are the same contaminants blown there by winds coming off the oil sands.
In other words; “We will continue to do nothing.”

I also asked him about the ‘Gag Order’ muzzling the UofA scientists, he replied:

With regards to your comments about monitoring reports being kept secret, and scientists being ‘gagged’, it simply isn’t happening. The process of making reports public is not new, and has not been changed by our Government.

OK, Let’s hear from the scientists themselves after the report was leaked. Watch the following news video.

Government Hides Proof of Oil Sands Contamination
http://www.albertaprimetime.com/Stories.aspx?pd=4450

Original Air Date: Monday, November 05, 2012
The public is learning Environment Canada knew of oil sands contamination and muzzled its scientists. What fallout will those revelations cause?

We speak with David Schindler, international acclaimed and outspoken environmental biologist from the University of Alberta.

Tar Pit #3

Tar Pit #3

This week a new report was released by Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario This time the report was published directly to major news sources. This report confirms the findings of the previous UofA reports of last November.

Oil sands development polluting Alberta lakes: study 
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/oil-sands-development-polluting-alberta-lakes-study/article7014184/

Oil Sands Polluting Area Lakes 
http://thechronicleherald.ca/canada/393673-report-oilsands-polluting-area-lakes

Oil sands pollution ‘clearly evident’, government-funded study says 
http://business.financialpost.com/2013/01/07/government-funded-study-concludes-toxic-hydrocarbons-from-oil-sands-pollute-lakes/

Margaret Munro, Postmedia News | Jan 7, 2013

Leading federal and academic scientists have uncovered “compelling” evidence that Alberta’s oil sands operations have been sending toxins into the atmosphere for decades.

Industry’s role as a decades-long contributor of PAHs to oil sands lake ecosystems is now clearly evident
The team has found “striking” increases in contaminants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at the bottom of six lakes up to 90 kilometres from the massive oil sands operations in northeastern Alberta.

PAHs began to climb in the lake sediments in the 1970s and are now up to 23 times higher than 1960 levels. It says the increased PAHs coincided with oil sands development and the compounds have a distinct “petrogenic” fingerprint different from PAHs generated by natural phenomenon like fire.

Levels of the toxins have almost tripled since the 1960s in Namur Lake, the most remote lake tested. It is about 90 kilometres northwest of oil sands operations in a provincial park known for its fishing. The PAHs are up to 23 times higher in the other lakes, which are within 35 kilometres of the oil sands operations.

“Given the planned expansion of the oil sands, the trend will likely accelerate in future,” says co-author John Smol, a Canada research chair in Environmental Change at Queen’s University.

Government and industry response is; “that many pollutants found in the lakes and rivers of northeastern Alberta are naturally occurring and leached from the bitumen deposits themselves.”

In other words; “We choose to do nothing.”

Snow – Oh Joy!

It is snowing like crazy today. I am off to shovel the sidewalks, – again.

As I venture out, warm jacket, hat with ear muffs, winter boots, wooly gloves, scarf – It can be a trial just getting dressed. I’m pondering, “Is snow a weather condition, sent by God, meant to try our patience? Our endurance?

Then I recall that famous quotation from G. K. Chesterton, on discribing the Battersley floods:
“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.”

Even though this be a minor in terms of what could be called severe weather, my sympathies to you all,

I pray that the snow keeps up. Then, God willing, it won’t come down.

An Environmental Disgrace

The Oil Sands and Canada’s Environment

I came across this series of photos while reading an article in the Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/ They are part of the Garth Lenz’ touring exhibition, “The True Cost of Oil”, which has played a major part in the fight against Alberta Tar Sands Mining.

As a Christian, I believe that environmental protection is an extremely important part in serving God. God made us stewards of this land and all the creatures that live on it. Without a clean and livable environment life, as we know it, can’t exist.

This presentation is directed at Alberta Canada’s oil sands. The single largest source of pollution in the world. Alberta contains only 3% of Canada’s fresh water, Yet, due to oil sands mismanagement, the oil sands pollute 22% of Canada’s fresh water, almost the entire Athabaska basin.

What does environmental devastation actually look like? At TEDxVictoria, photographer Garth Lenz shares shocking photos of the Alberta Tar Sands mining project — and the beautiful (and vital) ecosystems under threat.

Here are several photos from the video presentation:

Click on photo for larger view.

Syncrude Upgrader and Oil Sands

Syncrude Upgrader and Oil Sands

The refining or upgrading of the tarry bitumen which lies under the oil sands consumes far more oil and energy than conventional oil and produces almost twice as much carbon. Each barrel of oil requires 3-5 barrels of fresh water from the neighboring Athabasca River. About 90% of this is returned as toxic tailings into the vast unlined tailings ponds that dot the landscape. Syncrude alone dumps 500,000 tons of toxic tailings into just one of their tailings ponds everyday.

Boreal Forest and Coast Mountains

Boreal Forest and Coast Mountains

Boreal Forest and Coast Mountains / Atlin Lake, British Columbia | 2001
This area, located in the extreme northwest of British Columbia, marks the western boundary of the Boreal region. On the border of the Yukon and Southeast Alaska, the western flank of these mountains descends into Alaska’s Tongass Rainforest and British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest. Far from the oil sands, the greatest remaining coastal temperate and marine ecosystem is imminently threatened by the proposal to build a 750-mile pipeline to pump 550,000 barrels per day of oil sands crude to the coast. Once there, it would be shipped through some of the most treacherous waters, virtually assuring an ecological disaster at some point in the future.

Tailings Pond in Winter

Tailings Pond in Winter

Tailings Pond in Winter, Abstract #2 / Alberta Tar Sands | 2010
Even in the extreme cold of the winter, the toxic tailings ponds do not freeze. On one particularly cold morning, the partially frozen tailings, sand, liquid tailings and oil residue, combined to produce abstractions that reminded me of a Jackson Pollock canvas.

Aspen and Spruce | Northern Alberta | 2001

Aspen and Spruce | Northern Alberta | 2001

Aspen and Spruce | Northern Alberta | 2001
Photographed in late autumn in softly falling snow, a solitary spruce is set against a sea of aspen. The Boreal Forest of northern Canada is perhaps the best and largest example of a largely intact forest ecosystem. Canada’s Boreal Forest alone stores an amount of carbon equal to ten times the total annual global emissions from all fossil fuel consumption.

Tar Sands at Night

Tar Sands at Night

Tar Sands at Night#1 | Alberta Oil Sands | 2010
Twenty four hours a day the oil sands eats into the most carbon rich forest ecosystem on the planet. Storing almost twice as much carbon per hectare as tropical rainforests, the boreal forest is the planet’s greatest terrestrial carbon storehouse. To the industry, these diverse and ecologically significant forests and wetlands are referred to as overburden, the forest to be stripped and the wetlands dredged and replaced by mines and tailings ponds so vast they can be seen from outer space.

Dry Tailings

Dry Tailings

Dry Tailings #2 | Alberta Tar Sands | 2010
In an effort to deal with the problem of tailings ponds, Suncor is experimenting with dry tailings technology. This has the potential to limit, or eliminate, the need for vast tailings ponds in the future and lessen this aspect of the oil sands’ impact.

Tailings Pond Abstract

Tailings Pond Abstract

Tailings Pond Abstract #2 | Alberta Tar Sands / 2010
So large are the Alberta Tar Sands tailings ponds that they can be seen from space. It has been estimated by Natural Resources Canada that the industry to date has produced enough toxic waste to fill a canal 32 feet deep by 65 feet wide from Fort McMurray to Edmonton, and on to Ottawa, a distance of over 2,000 miles.
In this image, the sky is reflected in the toxic and oily waste of a tailings pond.

Confluence of Carcajou River and Mackenzie River

Confluence of Carcajou River and Mackenzie River

Confluence of Carcajou River and Mackenzie River | Mackenzie Valley, NWT | 2005
The Caracajou River winds back and forth creating this oxbow of wetlands as it joins the Mackenzie flowing north to the Beaufort Sea. This region, almost entirely pristine, and the third largest watershed basin in the world, will be directly impacted by the proposed Mackenzie Valley National Gas Pipeline to fuel the energy needs of the Alberta Oil Sands mega-project.

Black Cliff

Black Cliff

Black Cliff | Alberta Oil Sands | 2005
Oil sands pit mining is done in benches or steps. These benches are each approximately 12-15 meters high. Giant shovels dig the oil sand and place it into heavy hauler trucks that range in size from 240 tons to the largest trucks, which have a 400-ton capacity.

Oil Sands Upgrader in Winter

Oil Sands Upgrader in Winter

Oil Sands Upgrader in Winter| Alberta Oil Sands | 2010
The Alberta oil sands are Canada’s single largest source of carbon. They produce about as much annually as the nation of Denmark. The refining of the tar-like bitumen requires more water and uses almost twice as much energy as the production of conventional oil. Particularly visible in winter, vast plumes of toxic pollution fill the skies. The oil sands are so large they create their own weather systems.

Boreal Forest and Wetland

Boreal Forest and Wetland

Boreal Forest and Wetland | Athabasca Delta Northern Alberta | 2010
Located just 70 miles downstream from the Alberta oil sands, the Athabasca Delta is the world’s largest freshwater delta. It lies at the convergence of North America’s four major flyways and is a critical stopover for migrating waterfowl and considered one of the most globally significant wetlands. It is threatened both by the massive water consumption of the tar sands and its toxic tailings ponds.

Tar Pit #3

Tar Pit #3

Tar Pit #3
This network of roads reminded me of a claw or tentacles. It represents for me the way in which the tentacles of the tar sands reach out and wreak havoc and destruction. Proposed pipelines to American Midwest, Mackenzie Valley, and through the Great Bear Rainforest will bring new threats to these regions while the pipelines fuel new markets and ensure the proposed five fold expansion of the oil sands.

Stand for Social Justice

Jeff Denis, Assistant Professor of Sociology at McMaster University analyzed the First Nations demonstrations well when he said;

“For non-native people, Idle No More is a matter of social and environmental justice. When corporate profit is privileged over the health of our lands and waters, we all suffer. When government stifles debate, democracy is diminished. Bill C-45 is just the latest in a slew of legislation that undermines Canadians’ rights. In standing against it, the First Nations are standing for us too. If our government , PM Harper in particular, does not respect Indigenous and treaty rights, then the very legitimacy of the Canadian state — and thus of all our citizenship rights — is in doubt also. That’s what Idle No More is about.”

Mr. Harper has absolutely not a moral fiber in his body. He knows that a meeting with the Chiefs can only lead to repealing the government’s 2 omnibus bills passed earlier this year. They knew before passing the legislation that they had a constitutional obligation to meet with First Nations, they didn’t. The senate also knew the same before approving the two omnibus bills, they approved them both regardless. The Governor General knew the legislation needed First Nations consultation first, he gave both Royal Assent dispite the constitutional law. Does the matter now need to be settled in court?

Black Out Speak Out

TORONTO, June 4, 2012 /CNW/ – Websites of more than 500 Canadian organizations and businesses will be blacked out today, and tens of thousands of individuals are expected to send messages to party leaders in defense of nature and democracy via email and social media, as part of the nationwide Black Out Speak Out/Silence, On Parle campaign.

Black Out Speak Out was a big success in that it drew a lot of media attention. The government gave their typical response but they noticed and that was the main point. Can Black Out Speak Out become a catalyst for opposition that will cause Harper and co. to change bill C-38? Only if they see enough grassroots support.

Suggestion: Wave the Black Out Speak Out flag

Black Maple Leaf

Show support for Black Out Speak Out by waving a black flag at public events. Now is the summer of our discontent. Sorry Shakespeare.
Many people like to wave our National Flag at parades, sports events, community days etc. A public display of disapproval will go much further than groups which Harper and his neo-Conmen consider anti-Canadian radicals anyway.

Sales of a Black Maple Leaf could be used to help fund TV ads which would bring much attention and response.

This bill needs to be amended.

Dominion of Canada

When Canada became an independent nation, the founding fathers adopted the title “Dominion of Canada”. The term was taken from Genesis when God said to Adam, “You shall have dominion over all of creation” God was saying to Adam, “I have appointed you to be the caretaker over the land which I have given you”. It was a vice-regency title given to Adam from God and the connotation for Canada as being part of the Realm of the British Empire.

The term “Dominion” can be traced to a suggestion by Samuel Leonard Tilley at the London Conference of 1866 discussing the confederation of five of the British North American possessions, the Provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island into “One Dominion under the Name of Canada”, the first internal federation in the British Empire. Tilley’s suggestion was actually taken from the 72nd Psalm, verse eight, “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth,” This verse is echoed in our national motto, “A Mari Usque Ad Mare. latin for “from sea to sea”

By adopting the term Dominion, the founding fathers took on to themselves and passed on to us and all generations that follow the responsibility to be caretakers of the lands, the resources and ecology, the flora and fauna, the waterways, the land and the environment. To be a member of government is to shoulder that responsibility. It was written into the name of Canada – Caretaker. We are the caretakers of this land first before all other responsibilities, the onus is on us to make sure that Canada is passed on intact and viable for all generations that follow. Not only our children, but our children’s’ children forward to all generations.

The shame for Canada is that we have slowly but deliberately dissolved our responsibilities as vice-regents, as caretakers, and now only give lip service to care taking of our lands that make up this nation of Canada. So determined to not be labeled as “Caretakers”, our governments dropped the name Dominion Day and called July 1st Canada Day instead.

Alberta Oilsands #1 GHG Emitter

The Province of Alberta is ranked #1 of all jurisdictions, provinces and states, in North America for GHG emissions.
World wide, the highest source GHG emitter is the US military. The single entity highest source GHG emitter in the world is the Alberta oil sands.

The Governments of Canada and Alberta try to downplay the oil sands role as a GHG emitter.

This from: OilSands-GHG Emissions

“GHG Emissions – a shared challenge
Regardless of the source, GHG emissions are a shared global challenge. In 2009, GHG emissions from European electricity generation, which make up about a quarter of EU GHG emisions, were nearly 30 times greater than GHG emissions from the oil sands. On a per-country basis, GHG emissions from electricity generation were nearly seven times greater in Germany than emissions from the oil sands, while GHG emissions from electricity generation in the United Kingdom and Poland were each about three times greater.

Oilsands make up 6.5 percent of Canada’s emissions: 0.1 percent of global emissions.
Extracting bitumen and other heavy crude oil requires more energy than the production of lighter and more accessible forms of crude oil. This tends to make heavy oil production more emissions-intensive per barrel of oil produced.”

That is like saying, “My contribution to litter is so minor when compared to all the litter on the street, why should I recycle?”

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