Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas wishes ... and moving forward

Hello Everyone,

I hope this note finds you well, and that you have had a Happy Christmas. I hope you had some time to sit or take a walk, visit with someone you wanted to check in with, be as busy or as relaxed as you wanted to be.

Around here, we've had rain for the last few days on and off - altho' it's sunny right now and I think I'll do some laundry and get it outside to dry.  

I'm sure that for most of the years of my childhood there was snow for Christmas, so, no matter what I try to tell myself about how Christmas is spirit and family, and no matter how tasty dinner was, and no matter that everyone liked their gifts ... well, I have this feeling of something not quite right.  And, in the way of synchronicity, I thought I'd check in with Elizabeth May's blog and her last post was her December 14 post about the Climate Change talks she'd attended in Lima, Peru, earlier this month.

I'd followed her posts from Lima, where talks went two days longer than scheduled, and it seemed like no agreement of any kind was possible between the many countries.  Well, there was an agreement of sorts ... at least an agreement that countries were agreeing to keep talking; as May said tho', climate activists were not happy.  

May is an optimist in her very nature, which I admire and appreciate.  She points out that the U.S. did not pull out of the talks, no country did. 

Her optimism is of the best kind, based in practicality, based in working from the situation at hand, based in encouraging those of us who aren't politicians to keep communicating with the politicians.  To us Canadians she says: "Between now and next year at COP21 we need to keep a focus on the climate.  We need to demand that Canada meet the weak pledge Harper made in Copenhagen.  We must insist that Canada meet the agreed upon goal for all developed nations ... and to do so in the first quarter of 2015 ... and above all else, we need to make sure that climate change is an election issue." And she goes on to say "This is a moment that allows us to think like a human family. We need to make the most of 2015."

My blunt opinion is that the only way Canada can go forward without being shamed internationally is to get rid of the dictatorship that exists at the Federal level of government, that cabal that names itself after its leader, and is already putting out national commercials saying to elect that leader ... completely ignoring that we do not elect that person, he is elected in his riding.
I'll give some praise to provincial and municipal officials who recognize that at their levels of governance they can move on a huge range of issues that affect climate change, without needing federal o.k.  Change is going to come from everywhere, everyone ... except that guy currently at the "top" and his phrase-perfect clones.

Get radical everyone ... radical in the meaning of root.  Root yourselves in ideals and ideas, root yourselves in local support.  

Enjoy a few days off over this so-advertised "holiday" season if you really do have time off from paid or family work.

And then find your support, find your concerns, find your place in the big picture of change. 

With kindest regards as the daylight comes back,

Why's Woman

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Pollinator Health Strategy for Ontario - everyone has a say

Hello everyone,

I hope this note finds you well.  

Over the last months - well, over a year - I've been doing so much reading about bees and other pollinators, and neocotinoid insecticides that I've sometimes thought I'd burst.  

Today  I attended the first of four public meetings, set up by the Ontario Agriculture and Environment ministries, to receive comment on a proposed Pollinator Health Strategy (PHS).  The controversial part of the PHS is its aspirational goal of reducing use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soy seed by 80 percent. 

People with very different perspectives exchanged ideas and opinions. Facilitators ensured everyone participated.  I am an urbanite concerned about food systems, environment and economy; differing opinions around the table did not "dilute" my comments.  I use that word "dilute" because the Grain Farmers of Ontario complained that their opinions would be diluted if they made them in a room full of city dwellers.  I've got to admit, that hurt my feelings at first  ... then I just laughed about how silly it was.

Isn't it supposed to be a good strategy to "be at the table", hearing what the other guy is saying?  Or, to use the joke, Isn't that the same as "keep your friends close and your enemies closer"?  (I figure members of Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) were at the meeting despite advising its members to boycott it; good strategy would require it)

The PHS recommendation to reduce acreage planted using neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seeds is based on peer-reviewed studies of  those insecticides' negative effects on pollinators, arthropods, and birds.   

Ag/chem interests are always saying we should base our decisions on "sound science". "Science" is a set of methods for gathering and interpreting information.  Rigorous scientific method may or may not give you the answer you want to a question; getting an answer you do not want does not make the "science" unsound. 

In my thinking the science behind the PHS is pretty sound.  And I've sure done the reading over the last year!

There are actually even stronger measures I'd like to see our provincial government take, and I'd like to have a much expanded over-arching pollinator health strategy than is outlined in the proposal.  I'm hoping the big picture stuff will be more fully worked up in the report due out July 2015.  

But I'm really pleased to see my provincial government take a step ahead of other provinces and the feds, and acknowledge that something has to be done to save our ecosystem and food supply, and to come up with a practical measure to make change ... even tho' it's ticked off the big ag chemical companies to a degree they haven't been ticked off in years.  

O.k., ... I admit ... especially since it's ticked 'em off.

Good on ya, ministers Leal in agriculture and Murray in Environment and Climate Change. 

Very best regards.  I hope your day was as satisfying as mine.

Why's Woman