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Showing posts from February, 2012

Fukushima Safety Hanging By Fingernails

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B. McPherson


Journalists had an opportunity to tour the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station on Tuesday. They witnessed wreckage still littering the plant grounds and makeshift repairs done to some of the critical systems that are keeping the radiation under control. For instance, plastic water pipes that supply cooling to the defunct reactors split during a cold spell and were repaired with tape. It is expected that the ultimate clean up of the site will take years.
"I have to admit that it's still rather fragile," said plant chief Takeshi Takahashi, who took the job in December after his predecessor resigned due to health reasons.TimeWorld
An independent group investigating the actions of TEPCO and the government in the critical days following the nuclear emergency, Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, delivered their report on the March 11, 2011 triple crisis which saw a massive earthquake, tsunami and radiation release combine. The report highlights the c…

Prince Rupert Says No to Enbridge Pipeline

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B. McPherson



Prince Rupert city council joined a growing list of BC coastal communities that are saying “No” to the Enbridge proposal to build a twinned pipeline from Edmonton to the coast. The decision of the Prince Rupert city politicians was unanimous. Already the village of Kitimaat, Terrace and the Skeena Queen Charlottes Regional District have voiced their opposition to the project.
There are ongoing hearings by a federal court appointed Joint Review Panel which are gathering input from interested parties about the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline which would bring crude petroleum from the oil sands of Alberta to the coast of British Columbia. The proposal would see a twinned pipeline run over the Rocky Mountains and through wilderness to the treacherous west coast. The proposed terminus at Kitimat would require tankers to wend their way through the maze of islands and reefs to load up at the head of Douglas Channel.
While the hearings and the findings of the appointe…

Greenpeace Accuses EU of Subsidizing Plunder of African Fish Stocks

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B. McPherson


Greenpeace International is accusing the EU of subsidizing the plunder of West African fish stocks. Loans to fishing companies have enabled consortia to modernize their fleets of trawlers and factory ships allowing them to take ever more fish from the waters off Morocco and Mauritania.
This has had the effect of depleting the fish populations in the area, forcing the African fishermen to venture ever further out in their small, low tech vessels in search of diminishing catches. In effect, the taxpayers of the European Union have been paying corporations to plunder the fishing grounds off West Africa.
Ten years ago alarm bells were ringing about the unsustainability of the fishing activity in the Mauritanian waters. Permits to foreign trawlers amounted to about 25% of the Mauritian economy. The native fishermen are badly outclassed when it comes to harvesting fish. They have open boats often powered by the wind. What used to take them less than a day to catch enough fish f…

Sea Shepherd Gets Boost From Dutch Lottery

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B. McPherson

If you have ever participated in a Swim With the Dolphins or Dolphin Show, you have an obligation to watch this brutal video. It will open your eyes to what is happening to these intelligent and social animals.


The Sea Shepherd Society received a big boost to their funding today with a donation of 900 000 Euros (about 1.2 million USD) for their anti-poaching campaigns. The Dutch National Postcode Lottery funds many different environmental and humanitarian groups. Since its start in 1989 the lottery has donated the equivalent of 4.6 billion US dollars to these groups.
Currently the Sea Shepherd society is fighting whale poaching in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary. There are three harpoon vessels and a factory ship in the Antarctic area. Using a loophole in the language, Japanese whalers seek to kill about 1000 whales each hunting season under the guise of scientific research.
Good news regarding activist Erwin Vermeulen who was found not guilty of assault for his attemp…

Northern BC Community Opposes Enbridge Northern Pipeline

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B. McPherson


Skeena Queen Charlotte Regional District has joined others in opposing the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. The regional district provides government services to the residents. They join many others living on the coast of British Columbia who are opposed to the build out of the twin pipelines that would carry Alberta Oil Sands petroleum from Edmonton to the village of Kitimat.
Jennifer Rice, a Prince Rupert councillor, said in a statement. "Any effort to ram this project through will be a direct attack on our First Nations, the fishing industry and other coastal economies. We encourage development, but the risks are too great with this particular proposal." CNews
The pipeline if built would carry bitumen from Alberta to waiting supertankers which would supply petroleum products to the Asian markets. At build out it is expected that about 200 supertankers would ply the treacherous waters leading up the channel to Kitimat.  The proposed route is through…

Forget Frankenfoods the Next Big Thing Will Be Stem Cell Steaks

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B. McPherson


Perhaps stem cell steaks are a bit of a reach but scientists at the Dutch Eindhoven University of Technology are culturing beef strips from beef stem cells. Chief scientist Mark Post has predicted that they will have enough of the in vitro produced muscle by October to produce a hamburger.
While this may sound like science fiction, the basics have already been dealt with and tiny strips of beef muscle have been cultured.
The scientists involved estimate that this will be a more efficient way of producing beef for consumption. Conventionally raised beef takes about 100 pounds of resources to produce 15 pounds of useable meat. The lab raised beef is estimated to produce 50 pounds for every 100 pounds of resources. Of course the first stem cell burger will actually cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The race is on to produce more meat for the growing human population. As living standards rise, people can afford more protein and often consume it in the form of animal fles…

Victory for the Whales Habitat Protection Mandated

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B. McPherson



A federal court of appeal in Canada has ruled that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) had failed in its duty to protect killer whales (orcas) by not protecting crucial habitat for them. Last year EcoJustice brought suit against the DFO for failing this duty and the lower court agreed with them. The decision of the lower court was appealed by the DFO.
“The court ruled that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans must legally protect all aspects of killer whale critical habitat — including their food supply and the quality of their marine environment.” EcoJustice
The iconic black and white whales have two main populations on the coast of British Columbia, the northern and the southern. The northern group is made up of 264 individuals and is considered threatened. The southern group is now reduced to 87 and listed as endangered. The southern group travels mainly in the Strait of Georgia south to Juan de Fuca Strait. Both are listed under the Species At Risk Act (SARA…

GM Alfalfa Soon to Be Released in Canada

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B. McPherson

Currently genetically modified alfalfa is not released in Canada, but is probably will be soon. The US approved it about this time last year with no restrictions. A farmer can plant Roundup Ready alfalfa next to an organic farmer and ignore the inevitable genetic pollution of the organically grown crop.
Monsanto has developed a patented seed that will allow farmers to spray their fields with Roundup or glyphosate to kill weeds. As with other GM seeds, if the modified plants are found growing in a neighbouring field, the farmer with the intrusive plants is in trouble and all kinds of hurt comes down on him from the corporation owning the patents.
A few GM plants in an organic farmer’s field are enough to disqualify him from using the organic label and consequently his crop losses mount as his crop loses value. Because farmers who do not qualify for the organic label, but eshew GM seeds cannot label their product as GMO free, people can only be sure that they are not cons…

Monsanto Guilty of Chemical Poisoning

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B. McPherson



A French court ruled today that Monsanto is guilty of chemical poisoning. In a landmark ruling the court ruled that farmer Paul Francois was harmed by inhaling Monsanto’s weedkiller Lasso. Lasso is now banned in France.
The incident took place in 2004. Francois maintained that there were inadequate warnings on the Lasso container. He suffers from neurological damage – memory loss, headaches, stammering. This weedkiller also goes by the name of Alachlor,Lasagrin, Lassagrin, Lazo, Metachlor, Pillarzo, Alanox, Alanex, Chimichlor. According to the Environmental Protection Agency this plant poison is the second most widely used plant poison in the US.“Alachlor is the second most widely used herbicide in the United States, with particularly heavy use on corn and soybeans in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin.” EPA
The EPA allows for a maximum of 2 parts per billion in drinking water. It also lists damage to humans exposed to contaminated drinking…

Sea Shepherd Society Vows to Continue Operation Divine Wind

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B. McPherson
Many people criticise Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for their methods. The following video allows him to explain his motivation.



The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has issued a statement that they will continue their Operation Divine Wind in the Antarctic until the end of the Japanese whaling season at the end of March. While the Japanese government maintains that their whaling operation is non-commercial and within the bounds of the whale protection treaty, many people would dispute their stand.
Each year a fleet of three whaling vessels has set out from Japan to the Antarctic during the southern summer to hunt whales. They set a quota of about 1 000 whales per season for scientific purposes. Australian researchers have offered to help the Japanese train in ‘no-kill’ whale research but have been rebuffed.
The Sea Shepherd Society has attempted over the past eight years to thwart the killing of whales in the Southern Sanctuary. Their efforts hav…

Ode to a Sealice in the Style of R. Burns

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B. McPherson
Many people do not understand the serious nature of the numerous parasitic sea lice that attack the wild salmon stocks on the west coast of British Columbia. These creatures attach themselves to the outside of salmon and feed on them.
Before the advent of commercial net pen salmon ‘farms’ sea lice were fairly rare.  They are now found in great numbers near the net pens and prey on the wild babies emerging from their natal streams. Sea lice are increasingly being blamed for the massive mortality of some of the salmon runs.
This ode was penned by a friend of mine – Andy Mathisen – and he has given me permission to reprint it here. To a SealiceWith apologies to Robbie BurnsHa! Where are you from, you slimy critter?That blemish coho's silver glitterPerhaps yon pens have spawned your litterOver floats and nets?By God! You must feed wellOn such tame pets!You parasitic, sucking blunders
Scourge of all the fish you plunderHow dare you spread to wild wondersSo fine as these!G…

Greenpeace Activist Paulo Adario to Receive UN Award Today

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B. McPherson
The following video shows a soybean harvest in progress. The farm is said to be eight years old and encompasses 8 000 ha of soybean plantings.



The United Nations in New York will honour Greenpeace activist Paulo Adario for his work in defending the Amazon Rain Forest. Adario has worked with Greenpeace since the 1990s in the Amazonas area uncovering illegal logging of the rain forest. Working with local tribespeople and the government he has helped protect about 1.6 million hectares from logging.
Among his innovations was his original concept of maintaining buffer zones between industrial development and the forest. His work also resulted in the banning of trade in mahogany in 2003.
"Following a campaign on illegal logging, which led to a moratorium in 2003 on the international trade in Mahogany, the impacts of Paulo’s work attracted death threats from forest criminals across the Amazon."Greenpeace
The gains in protection to the Brazilian rain forest are never per…

Yokohama School Next to Radiation Hot Spot

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B. McPherson



The news from Japan just keeps getting worse and worse. The newspaper Japan Todayis reporting that a radiation hot spot has been found in Yokohama next to a school. According to their report radioactive cesium has been found next to the school at a level 12x the allowable amount. The topsoil will be removed from the hot spot. Where it will be dumped is open to speculation.
There is no news about how long the radioactive hot spot has been emitting its toxic energy or the effect on the school children adjacent to it.
Yokohama is located south of Tokyo and well away from any evacuation/exclusion zone.
The handling of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant continues to unfold revealing incompetence and coverups. Now RT is revealing even more bad news. Over eight tonnes of water from the plant has leaked out of its containers because cold weather has split the pipes. The electrical company which has been presiding over this disaster has stated that the water is no…

UFW of America Calls for End to Methyl Iodide on Strawberries

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B. McPherson



The United Farm Workers is calling on California Governor Brown to review the use of methyl iodide now that a new head of the Department of Pesticide Regulations is in place. Methyl iodide replaces the use of methyl bromide to kill unwanted plants and their seeds, insects and nematode worms. It has also been implicated in causing miscarriages and cancers. It has been dubbed one of the most toxic chemicals on earth by Pesticide Action Network. It is also a known neurotoxin and endocrine disruptor.
The agricultural workers as well as those living in close proximity to non-organically raised strawberry fields are exposed to traces of this toxin which is injected into the soil and may infiltrate groundwater.
Methyl iodide is a known carcinogen that could cause spontaneous miscarriages and contaminate groundwater. Injecting it as a gas into the soil presents unacceptable risks to farm workers, nearby rural communities, pregnant women and children. Clearly, this toxic chemical i…

Northern Gateway Project May Damage Canadian Economy

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B. McPherson



Economist Robyn Allan has strong words about the economic feasibility of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project. Allan is quoted in the Calgary Herald this morning:
"The emperor has no clothes," Allan said in an interview. "We're told it is a gross producing economic opportunity, but in fact it's an oil price shock to the economy."
Allan, a respected economist, once named in the top 200 CEOs in Canada, presented her report to the commission charged with hearings about the project which would ship bitumen (oil sands product) overseas. Her report that the proposed pipeline would have a depressing effect on the Canadian economy is in sharp contrast to the sunny predictions put about by the Canadian PM Steven Harper and his Minister of Natural Resources of many good jobs and wealth to the government coffers. The cards seemed stacked from the start of the hearings into the pipeline project when the Minister of Natural Resources dubbed those…

Dead Sea Lions Showing Up on Seattle Beaches

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B. McPherson



Someone in the Puget Sound, Seattle area is shooting sea lions. To date eight dead sea lions have been found. Both the local Department of Fish and Wildlife and NOAA are investigating the crimes. According to Seattle’s King 5 News one of the dead was a Stellar sea lion, supposed to be protected by the endangered Species Act and another, a California sea lion, protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
There have been no arrests in the latest spate of shootings, but the Sea Shepherd Society has stepped up to the plate to offer a $10 000 reward for the apprehension and conviction of the killers.
Sea lions and seals have come under attack by fishermen because of their conflicting agendas. The fishermen want to harvest as many fish as they can and the sea mammals want to eat their fill of the fish. Some of the mammals have learned to fish the locks in Seattle where salmon get trapped in a relatively small area and are easy to capture. Some fishermen blame the seals and se…