Thursday, September 16, 2010

Climate Change Leads To Arctic Gold Rush

The Arctic is the one place no one argues about or disputes the rapidly changing climate. The ice pack has shrunk so much ...that two ships are now attempting a polar circumnavigation of the globe by sailing along both the Canadian and Russian Arctic coastlines.

 The current gold rush that's taking place for the Arctic's riches would not be happening of course if it were not for climate change. Polar nations are currently in a race to stake claims over the continental shelves of the Arctic Ocean that,  before global warming kicked in, were once inaccessible. In fact just this year, Arctic sea ice extent reached its third-lowest level on record. Even more troubling this week the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reported that it's not just the extent that's shrinking but the thickness of the ice -- that is the total ice volume is diminishing and the older and thickest sea ice is rapidly disappearing.

Needless to say with change happening so rapidly it's important to get Arctic territorial disputes settled as fast as possible so as get to the business of exploiting it. With that in mind it was announced on Wednesday that Russia and Norway had settled their Arctic boundary disputes (they divvied up 175,000 square kilometers of ocean) so that a vast estimated reservoir of 40 billion barrels of oil can now be exploited.

For Canada, settling their bilateral disputes with the U.S. and Denmark the smart thing to do sooner rather than later as there are other issues in play as well as other claims. Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States are all expected to file ambitious, competing and overlapping claims stretching towards and even beyond the North Pole.

They must also sort out Canada's claim that the Northwest Passage is sovereign waters, an assertion rejected by Washington and other powers who believe it should be an international passage like other key maritime lanes. Canada does however have legitimate concerns about the state of the ships that will eventually be using the Passage as a major spill could cause untold and lasting damage to very delicate eco-systems.

Canada needs to move forward quickly and decisively on these issues as waiting for the UN to sort this all out might not be the most rewarding strategy. Yet, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lawrence  Cannon has rejected calls from those who believe the rapidly changing Arctic ...warmed, accessible and at risk as never before in human history – needs a new international regime to control the area. So just sit back and hope for the best then, is the Tory strategy for claiming Canada's stake in the Arctic?

Conservative Stereotypes

Saw on the news the charming John Baird trying to divide and conquer, putting against those evil Toronto elites against  I suppose the good down to earth rural westerners. I contend there is just as much if not more white trash in Toronto as there is out west.

If your want to stop Sun News proposed television station should it come about it's easy, cancel your cable and tell them why. NMPCANADA will be promoting cancel cable day. The exact date depends on when the station goes to air. Stay tuned for future developments.

Gotta finish The Street is about to start. But seeing how much Mr. Baird likes playing with his gun I thought he might think of future job opportunities when his political career is over . And of course everybody's favourite,a littile Liza



Eric Fromm: The Relevance of Socialism Today

In this 50 year old speech Eric Fromm describes socialism in a way many have probably not heard. Only the corrupted versions get into the media. Fifty years ago socialism's evils are described as those set to bring centralization, bureaucratization and uniformity to life -- things he believes capitalism ended up bringing.

 Fromm argues that socialism is not godless at all and in fact respects the soul, unlike what the propaganda of the day claimed. Socialism is also attacked for being impractical as man's motivations are always for his own betterment, his desire for material gain and this is what stimulates man to put forth his very best effort. he notes that this is in direct contradiction to what western culture is supposed to be about: belief in the spirit and the soul. Yet the profit motive is spoken of as the only motive that can get man to do his best in the world. This, he argues, points to man's unlimited capacity for double-talk and rationalizations without self awareness of the contradictions of what he's saying and accepting as truth.

Socialism he says wants to realize justice and human brotherhood - it wants a society in which no one lacks the material basis for a dignified and rich human life. It seeks to build a new form of society in which the individual can truly stand on his own feet. The aim is individuality, liberation from economic bonds and not making material concerns the main focus of life. Each man is an end in himself and must never be the means to ends for other people. Man takes precedence over things.

He invokes Huxley's 'Brave New World,' and says that we are in danger of becoming automatons - well fed, well clad, manipulated consumers. He goes further and notes that any clever ad writer, any clever politician, any clever user and manipulator of symbols can persuade man to believe that the way he lives is good for him, regardless of the truth. Have a listen and please leave a note. I see so many parallels to the current state of our society and I'd like to have a discussion about what he says here. The idea and ideals of socialism have been drowned out by the manipulators of symbols and seemingly lost to public discourse. Stephen Harper and those on the right in the US use the word "socialism" as a cudgel to frighten people when few know its actual meaning.



Fromm's idea of us as automatons reminded me of the Annie Leonard video, The Story of Stuff, so I'm posting that to include as part of the discussion (if one breaks out).