Climate Change

 

(This article was first published by the Halifax Examiner on September 14, 2018)

A no-fracking float in a 2011 parade in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia. From 2011 until 2014, when Premier Stephen McNeil put a moratorium on the practise, Nova Scotians staged frequent demonstrations to call on the government not to allow fracking in the province. Photo: Joan Baxter.

On a late summer evening in September 2018, about 200 people gathered in Pugwash, filling the Northumberland Community Curling Club for a debate framed around the resolution “fracking will be beneficial to Cumberland County” in northern Nova Scotia.

The audience was, not surprisingly, clearly divided between those in favour and those against. For many, including several members of the Nova Scotia Fracking Resource and Action Coalition (NOFRAC), it was like déjà vu, a step back in time to 2011 through 2013, when they took to the streets frequently in their efforts to try to convince the then-NDP government to ban on fracking.

Eventually the NDP government of Darrell Dexter launched an independent review of the socio-economic impacts of the process under the leadership of then Cape Breton University president, David Wheeler.

It’s now four years since the report by a panel led by Wheeler recommended that a great deal more knowledge was needed about the many risks of hydraulic fracturing before the controversial practise be allowed in Nova Scotia. A few weeks later, the government of Stephen McNeil passed a bill to place a legal moratorium on fracking in the province.

But the matter has hardly been laid to rest, and certainly not by die-hard proponents of fracking, who have been popping up all over the province this year. Continue reading “Pig in a poke”: die-hard proponents want to open Nova Scotia to fracking

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BY Joan Baxter

“The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” This hard truth comes from a 183-page document that makes a plea for our species to come to our senses and hear “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor”.

It’s a powerful cri de coeur for humankind to stop the plunder of the planet, confront climate change and end unfettered capitalism that is driving the destruction and disparity between rich and poor. It continues: “Many of those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms, simply making efforts to reduce some of the negative impacts of climate change.”

Strong words, revolutionary even. The kind of language one might expect from the environmental or social justice groups often labelled “radical” or “extremist” by the powerful elites these statements condemn.

But they’re not. They come from the Encyclical written by Pope Francis, arguably the single most influential man on the planet as spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Catholics around the world. Continue reading It’s way more than the economy: climate change, unfettered capitalism and Canada’s election

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