May 2010

The Oil Disaster: When Will We Ever Learn?

Once again profit and greed - and our lust for oil - has backfired.  We are facing a huge ecological and social disaster.  Once again the precautionary principle was not followed.  It is also time for us to insist on reverse onus - where the industry initiating the project has to ensure - in an open and transparent way - that the initiative can be carried out safely and that there are plans in place should there be an accident.   When will we learn that enough is enough?  If we ever get out of this mess - and reaffirm that sustainability is a goa

Planning for a Sustainable Future: A Federal Sustainable Development Strategy for Canada

The Federal Government has published this document to encourage Canadians to respond and provide their views, thoughts, and opinions on Canada's draft Sustainable Development Strategy.   The Federal Government asks Canadians to respond by July 12 to   In 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg, South Africa, Canada along with all other countries, committed to develop a Sustainable Development strategy for the country by 2005.    Last year, the Government passed the Fede

SERONICA   This is the website for a new e-journal.  I have an article in the first edition on whether or not GMOs can reduce poverty.

The GM Pig

Health Canada could soon approve the first genetically modified (GM) animal for human consumption. The University of Guelph has applied for food safety approval of its GM pig - they call it “Enviropig™”.
The GM pig contains genetic material from a mouse and E-coli bacteria, and is engineered to excrete less phosphorus in its feces.

Climate Change Through Women's Eyes: G20 Peoples' Summit

When women look at climate change they see a crisis not of their making but affecting them in many ways: the largest proportion of refugees and of the poor, the least able to affect political change. But there are many examples of what women are doing.

Genetic Engineering: Synthetic Organism

Globe and Mail, May 21 2010, page A2 - Second Life:  A Breakthrough leads to first synthetic organism.   This headline may excite us about how great this scientific discovery is - but does it not also alarm us somewhat?  Do we really know enough about nature, the environment, and the potential of these developments to say so categorically that the creation of articficial life is going to benefit society?  Genome-mapping pioneer, J Craig Venter states, "This is the first self-replicating species we've had on the planet whose parent is a computer".    I

More on Scrupling

On Saturday April 17 2010 a follow up working session on scrupling was held at Friends House, Toronto.  Fourteen people attended including representatives of the Anglican and Presbyterian Churches as well as Quakers.   The objective of the working group was to discuss the possibilities of convening scrupling sessions within our communities.   It was agreed that we would share our experiences and prepare some background materials on scrupling for community groups.

GMO foods

At the Biotechnology Reference Group of the Canadian Council of Churches recent meeting on April 20 we reviewed the development of a curriculum on biotechnology issues for faith groups.   We also reviewed a draft petition on the labelling of GMO foods which the BRG is considering submitting the Federal Commissioner on Environment and Sustainable Development.  In the petition we will ask the Commissioner whether or not the Government of Canada has reviewed the effectiveness of voluntary labelling; reviewed what other jurisdictions are doing re labelling of GMOs, and

Climate Change is a Moral Issue

I participated on a panel on policy issues related to climate change as a moral issue at the United Church of Canada offices, Toronto on April 16.   I talked about the policy issues in Canada which are obstacles to us addressing climate change as a moral issue:  the high defence and military budget and the constant message on the need for economic growth at all costs.  I also talked about how there could be policy initiatives to help us better address climate change:  focus on conservation; alternative energy sources; alternative ways of doing things; change in